Sometimes things come across as so simple you think they aren't good enough. I remember the first time I had pork served this way. I was working on a photo essay while in college in a very small town called Freedom here in Indiana. The essay was on a sixty-year-old woman who ran the only gas station in town. Her husband had died and she took over running it. She had been running the station for twenty some years when I met her and that was in 1985. Being a college student I guess she thought I was hungry and she would always have something for me to eat when I got to the station to shoot pictures. One day I showed up and there was a dish very similar to what I have made. I asked how she made it. She told me she rubbed the pork with brown sugar and salt then cooked it until it was fall apart tender and then added the greens. I have decided to cook the pork more like prime rib. It is succulent and tender but does not fall apart. The greens are cooked long enough that they get sticky tender because of the pork fat and juices. I really like the mop sauce but I always serve it on the side for people to make their own choice. Oh, I did manage to get her persimmon pudding recipe. The ladies of southern Indiana know their persimmon pudding, trust me. One ahead of time note: Most of the time this is unattended cooking with short prep but it is a seven hour deal so plan accordingly. When buying a roast for this I definitely look for good quality pork and I really like it when the pork is very dark. You want pork for this not the other white meat. —thirschfeld
Test Kitchen Notes
This simple, straightforward technique lets a good piece of pork shine. The meat is tender and juicy enough to cut with your fork. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper. The collard greens are very tender. They are a nice side dish without having to make something else or dirty another pot. The sauce only takes a few minutes, and its well-balanced flavors add a real kick to the dish. The vinegar and mustard are offset nicely by the sweetness of the honey. You only need just a bit of sauce to add a lot of flavor to the pork. - Stephanie —The Editors
For the pork:
3 - 31/4 pounds
dark brown sugar
collard greens, ends trimmed
For the mop sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons
dry white wine
whole grain Dijon
Italian parsley, minced
unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
Combine the brown sugar and kosher salt. Mix it well breaking up any clumps of brown sugar. Rub the mix over the entire Boston butt. Set in a container with sides, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Remove the pork from the fridge and give it a very quick rinse, like one time under from end to end, under cold water and then pat it dry. Place it, fat side up, into an 8 quart enameled Dutch oven. Place it in the oven. Set the timer for 1 1/2 hours. When the timer sounds off bast the pork roast with the juices. Set the timer for another hour.
Meanwhile trim the ends of the greens and then roll a bunch up and cut them into 1/2 inch ribbons and then cut the the ribbons into half inch squares. I used a salad spinner, but you could use a colander also, but rinse the greens and spin them dry.
When the timer goes off remove the pork from the oven and place the pork on a plate. Turn the oven to 325 dgrees. Place the Dutch oven onto a burner over medium heat. There should be about two tablespoons of fat in the bottom. If there is not add some canola oil. If there is more remove some.
Add the greens and turn them with some tongs to coat them with the fat. Cook them until they just begin to wilt. Place the pork roast on top of the greens, cover the pot with a lid and place it back into the oven. Set the timer for 50 minutes.
Place a small sauce pan over medium high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of butter. When it melts add the shallot and saute until they start to soften. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the wine and let the alcohol burn off. Then add the vinegar, mustards, tomato paste and honey. Simmer until the sauce is thick.
When the timer goes of remove the pot from the oven. Remove the pork roast to a cutting board. Stir the greens and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Place the sauce pan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer. Add the parsley and chives. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until just melted. Set it aside.
To serve. Place the greens on a platter. Slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices and place attractively on the greens. Serve the sauce on the side.