Paired with Hibiscus Beers
Start to finish, this meal requires three to four days of preparation—but it’s well worth the wait. The pickled watermelon rind offers a tart snap that’s a perfect complement for the savory, slow-roasted pork. Throw in cherry tomatoes, cilantro, onions and the heat of spicy serrano peppers, and this meal is a perfect ally with any of the beers mentioned below. Serves 5 people.–Chef Jeffrey Vance of No Anchor
The Pickled Watermelon Rind
4 tablespoons dill seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 whole star anise
1 cup vinegar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup kosher salt
1 cup cold water
1 bunch fresh dill
6 cloves garlic
The Pork Shoulder
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons coriander seed
2 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
2 gallons cold water
8 ounces kosher salt
3 ounces white sugar
1 pork butt (3-4 pounds)
1. Peel and discard skin from watermelon. Separate flesh from rind and reserve for another use—or enjoy now! Cut rind into bite-sized pieces.
2. Toast dill seed, mustard seed and star anise until aromatic.
3. In a large container or Mason jar, dissolve salt and sugar in vinegar. Add water, spices, fresh dill, garlic and watermelon rind. Cover and refrigerate for three to four days.
4. One to two days later, prepare the brine for the pork shoulder. Toast black peppercorns, coriander seed, bay leaves and cloves until aromatic. Tie toasted spices into a sachet using cheesecloth. In a large container, dissolve salt and sugar in cold water and add sachet. Completely immerse pork in brine. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours.
5. After 48 hours, remove pork from brine and dry. Roast the pork in an oven at 325 degrees F (or in a charcoal grill) until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 190 degrees F. Using two forks, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces.
6. To assemble tacos, warm corn tortillas in a cast-iron pan. Place shredded pork, pickled watermelon rind, cherry tomatoes and sliced serrano peppers on tortillas. Top with chopped onion, cilantro and any additional toppings of your choosing.
Pairings: Hibiscus Beers
Brewers continue to experiment with specialty ingredients, pushing the boundaries of flavor. Since a good beer deserves a good meal, All About Beer Magazine asked Chef Jeffrey Vance of No Anchor in Seattle to taste a few beers infused with hibiscus and offer tasting notes and pairing suggestions. Get more pairing ideas and recipes at allaboutbeer.com/food.
Great Lakes Grandes Lagos LagerABV: 5.4% | Mexican-Style Lager w/ Hibiscus Flowers
Tasting Notes: Slightly bitter lager with a high malt character and lightly floral from the hibiscus. Light touches of honey and bay laurel. Super-easy drinking. Would have a great place next to spicy or Mexican food. Would also pair perfectly with oysters. An interesting and contrasting dessert pairing with a fruit sorbet that has high acidity.
Tröegs Crimson PistilABV: 6.2% | Hibiscus IPA
Tasting Notes: Hop-forward bitter IPA that is juicy with lots of berry and melon musk. This beer would be ideally paired with barbecue such as smoked brisket or chicken. Also would pair well with fresh or roasted brassicas (radish, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.).
Dogfish Head Beer To Drink Music To ’17ABV: 6.8% | Blond Ale w/ Hibiscus Flowers & Kiwi Juice
Tasting Notes: Lots of tropical fruit notes against a slightly toasty malt backdrop. Orange peel, grapefruit and a slight amount of passion fruit dominated the tropical notes for me. Pretty mellow floral notes. Ideal pairings would be a whitefish ceviche with a mellow spice and lots of herbs. Roasted pork or a salad with a sweet dressing.