Iberico pork can be purchased either cured or raw. If you manage to get a hold of some raw pieces of meat, it can be intimidating to cook with. Due to the rarity and high cost of the meat, it is hard to know how to cook it to get the best flavor.
The rack of ribs from Iberico pork can be even more tough than most. Traditionally, Iberico pork ribs are coated in sauces and marinades that hide the flavor and make it nothing more than an exceptionally fatty piece of pork.
Keep reading to learn about the best Iberico rack of pork recipe, and some tips and tricks to help you get started.
Best: Slow Cook
Slow cooking your Iberico rack of ribs is the surest way to get the best flavor. Thanks to the high-fat content in Iberico pork, slow roasting allows that fat to soften and infuse into the rest of the meat, as well as holding onto a lot of flavors.
Like with duck, you want to cross-hatch the fatty part of the ribs. Where most of the meat is located, you will want to score it to allow the fat to dissolve more and get crispy. There should be a thick layer over the top of the meat.
You’ll want to prepare your oven or grill to sit close to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
You can put any sauce or marinade on your Iberico pork rack. However, if you want to fully embrace the distinct flavor profile of Iberico pork, and not mask it, simple is best. For your first round, a basic salt cook is one of the best options, as it allows you to taste Iberico pork in all its glory.
Traditionally, it is cooked with a simple herb mixture. Big Green Egg has an excellent recipe that is simple enough to enhance, and not hide the flavor of the meat. They dress their meat in a simple mixture of garlic, oregano, and fresh mint.
It takes about five to six hours to fully cook an Iberico rack, so it is best to prepare this well in advance. You can tell when it is done, as the inner temperature should be close to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). This is a much lower temperature than other pork and it will tend to retain a faint pink color. Well-done pork may be good most of the time, but with Iberico pork, if you make it well done, you lose out on most of the flavor.
Simple grilled or roasted veggies do best as an accompaniment. When roasting in a pan in the oven, allowing vegetables such as onions, potatoes, carrots, or Brussel sprouts to cook in the fat of the rib rack is best to accentuate that nutty flavor.
Tips and Tricks
- It can be hard to find Iberico pork in America, due to the lack of producers that pass US standards for their food, so the prices are often more costly there than in other parts of the world.
- It has a distinct flavor, unlike other pork. Though it can fit most sauces and marinades, to take advantage of the fact it is Iberico pork, salt, and pepper is usually more than enough.
- Due to its high-fat content, Iberico pork doesn’t have to be brined or tenderized like traditional pork products. It also isn’t nearly as dry as regular pork can be.
- When cooking, traditionally people will cut off a few chunks of fat from the pork to cook with, instead of bringing in another oil like olive or avocado oil.
- Though it is fattier than traditional pork, you can often use the same cooking methods. It just does better being cooked a little less.
- Since it is so fatty, you can put it in a pan at high heat to get a crispy, brown, outer coating without it drying out as traditional pork would.
- However, the fat is softer than beef fat, containing oleic acid. This means you don’t have to heavily focus on roasting the fat to break it down like you would with beef. It melts easily and isn’t tough and chewy.
Iberico pork can be intimidating, but is very forgiving. It has soft, easily meltable fat meaning you won’t get tough fatty areas when you don’t render it down enough. It also doesn’t dry out quickly when put on a hot pan, unlike other types of pork.
For the best meal, a simple coating of salt and pepper in an oven allows you to fully experience the taste of Iberico pork. Otherwise, follow the Big Green Egg’s recipe for a simple herb coating that will help enhance the flavor and add something a bit new to the taste, without masking it.