See that little lovely above, mahogany-glazed, tinged pink with smoke, and so juicy you can see the knife glisten?
That’s one of my babies…..isn’t she beautiful!
Since I started working at Cook’s Illustrated over a year ago, I’ve developed a bunch of recipes for the magazine, and this slow-smoked pork roast is one of them. Not yet published in the magazine (it’ll be in the July/August issue), it is one of 5 of my recipes that will be cooked and shared with our audience as part of the 2017 season of the America’s Test Kitchen TV show which starts filming in just a couple of days. I must say, that as exciting as it was when my first recipes started actually appearing printed in the magazine (about 9 MONTHS after I started working there), the prospect of them being showcased on TV is even cooler. As you might imagine, there’s lots of “TV magic” required for a dish like this one, that calls for an overnight dry-brining, and about 1 1/2 hours of cooking, to appear as though it was cooked start to finish in the span of a 20 minute TV segment. This roast was cooked by one of my talented co-workers, Matt Fairman, who will be grilling a bunch of them behind-the-scenes as backups for the roast actually being cooked on-screen by the show’s hosts. Matt will likely need to cook 6-8 of these roasts, each to a different stage of recipe completion, to be shuttled before the cameras as “twins” for the on-set roast so the whole cooking process can appear to be condensed into a short time frame. This was a “practice run” that he cooked and presented to me for my approval to make sure it looked and tasted the way it’s supposed to before he’s actually called upon to cook it with cameras rolling. It was perfect, he did an awesome job!
For TV, each of us test cooks are assigned a handful of recipes that we’re responsible for cooking in support of filming. Some are recipes we developed ourselves, others were created by someone else. I’ll be cooking 2 of my own recipes (which I’ve made so frequently that no further practice is necessary) and 3 that were developed by teammates of mine. Like Matt, I spent part of last week practicing those recipes so I don’t implode when tasked with cooking them for TV. If all goes according to plan, when production starts we all know the recipes so well that everything moves smoothly in the back kitchen and there are no problems that would bring filming to a halt. I sooooo don’t want to be that guy who screws up in the back kitchen and forces the 30 people involved with filming to have to sit around with their thumbs up their bums waiting on me to deliver presentable food to the cameras. That would be a very expensive mistake in so many ways.
Fingers crossed…..wish me luck!
Cheers – Steve
p.s. I’ll post the recipe for this roast here once it’s been published, so check back around the beginning of July to check it out.