Growing up in Marinduque, Pinoy Pork Steak was a staple at our dinner table. But it wasn’t until I ventured out into the big, wide world that I realized pork steak meant something different elsewhere!
Pork steak in the Philippines refers to thin slices of pork cooked in a sweet and sour sauce made from soy sauce, calamansi juice, and sliced onions like this Beef Steak here. It’s one of the tastiest and easiest dishes to make. The pork is usually cut from the tender pork shoulder, which stays juicy and flavorful even with a bit of tough love in the pan. As kids, we’d slurp up the savory sauce with steamed white rice, fighting over the sweet white onions! The bold flavors of salty, sour, and sweet totally transports me back in time.
But the thing is, when I visit my cousins in Manila, I see steak on menus described as a thick cut of beef, usually grilled or pan-fried with butter and served with mashed potatoes. What a mind warp that was for this provincial girl! It took me years to realize Western countries also have steaks, but they are grilled or pan-seared plain slices of tender beef cuts. Who knew the same name could mean such different things? Language can be so funny that way.
Now, as you may know, this little island of mine isn’t just beautiful – it’s also blessed with the most prized porkers in the entire Philippines. We’re famous far and wide for our gorgeous black native pigs, renowned for their nicely marbled meat that just melts in your mouth. These heritage hogs roam free in the grasslands, foraging on all the delicious roots, fruits and veggies our fertile soil produces. That pastured lifestyle sure does produce some ridiculously tender pork!
I still make traditional Filipino pork steak recipe at home often as it brings us such comfort. But recently have also become enamored with the simple pan-grilled pork steak ala American beef steak but using pork shoulders or what we call locally as “Kasim”, Pork shoulder steak is an incredibly versatile, flavorful, cheap, and easy-to-make steak.
Coming from the shoulder area, these pork steaks see a lot of action as the pig is routin’ and toughin’ through the grasslands all day long. That daily workout builds up some serious muscle in these chops. Less marbling than the loin or belly cuts might mean they can get tough real quick if you don’t cook em right.
The problem with pan-fried pork steak is that you’re going to end up with a dry “inihaw na baboy” if you’re not careful. It won’t have that juiciness that you get with beef steak. But with the right prep and technique, these shoulder steaks can be just as tender and flavorful as any other pork cut out there. They just need a little extra TLC to really bring out their best. That’s where my simple pan-fried method comes in handy.
I’ve updated my cooking method a bit for the pan-fried pork steak recipe since discovering the magic of sous vide. By sealing thick slices of pork shoulder in a vacuum bag and slow cooking them to perfectly tender-doneness, I ensure they stay moist inside while developing a beautiful crust when seared.
By slow-cooking the inside to medium rare, you seal in all the juices and collagen without leaving it tough and chewy. Then by searing the heck out of the outside, it forms a delicious crust. The result is melt-in-your-mouth meaty bliss thanks to the piggys hard work building those muscles over years of happy grazing.
But April, what even is Sous Vide?
If you’ve been hiding for the past few years then you might not have heard about this crazy cool cooking technique that’s blowing minds all over. I’m talking about SOUS VIDE – the magic little gadget that’s perfect for us busy mamas who want restaurant-quality meals with half the stress. Sous vide (which is French for “under vacuum” is a method of cooking food sealed in plastic bags in a water bath at an accurately regulated temperature. With sous vide, you can cook foods to the perfect doneness without over or under-cooking it because you’re using temperature control rather than time. No more dry chicken breasts or steaks that are still mooing on the inside!
The first time I tried sous vide I was like woah, this is life changing stuff. I decided to give it a test run by making the laziest meal ever – eggs. I cracked a few in a bag, sealed it up, and tossed it in the water bath set to 65C for 45 mins. When I took them out later, the yolks were perfectly runny and the whites were so creamy and indulgent. It was like eating at a fancy hotel for breakfast! From then on I was hooked.
Some key things to know about the magic of sous vide – foods cook super slow and low which makes even tough cuts of meat tender as Taylor’s new album re release. It’s perfect for things like pot roasts that would take all day in the oven. Safety is not an issue since the tight seal of the bag and constant temperature kills any bad bacteria. And best of all, once your food is done cooking all you have to do is a quick sear or broil to get that delicious browned exterior. No more standing over a hot stove!
As a busy mom, sous vide is a total game changer. I can throw a bunch of chicken breasts in a big batch, let it slowly cook while I’m at work or running errands, and come home to perfectly safe, moist packets of protein that just need a quick sear. (If you’re looking for a sous vide machine -this is the one I’m using -cheaper than leading brands and works just as well!)
With sous vide, no more dry, overcooked pork stealing the show! The technique gives me pork steak with all the familiar flavors and tenderness I love, but without the worry that it’ll be overcooked if I leave it for a second.
Recipe for Pan Fried Sous Vide Pork Steaks
1/2 kilo thick cut pork shoulder steaks (about 1 inch thick per piece)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1⁄2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 Mccormick Grillmates spice rub. (optional)
Now, I usually just throw these together in a sous vide bag but if you’re the extra mama, do pre-sear the meat for a minute on each side for that extra oomph. Set the sous vide at 80 C for an hour. Once time’s up, simply remove the chops and pat em dry. Then it’s right back to that piping hot pan in butter and the leftover seasoning from the bag for another 2-3 minutes a side to caramelize up that bark and crisp the outside to a beautiful mahogany.
So if you’re looking to discover a new favorite and want some new easy recipes for pork steak, give my Sous Vide Pork Steak a try. PS, the McCormick Grillmates are awesome for any kind of pork grilling! Even if you’re not using sous vide, it’s gonna turn out awesome!
Relax Lang Mom
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