Apr 23rd, 2010
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Spicy Cinnamon Pork

Looking for inspiration a couple of months back, I stumbled across a great sounding recipe for spicy cinnamon pork. Thanks to Debbie’s recent post, I learned that I heart cooking clubs (IHCC) is featuring Mark Bittman recipes. Yes, you guessed it! That spicy cinnamon pork recipe that made my mouth water came from one of Mark Bittman’s cookbooks – How To Cook Everything . Of course, I adapted the original instructions to make this richly flavoured pork in my slow cooker. The IHCC theme this week is ‘pot luck’ – what dish do you bring to pot lucks?

The addition of cinnamon to the spicy pork is what really had me curious. I love cinnamon. Scaling up the recipe meant I would need ten cinnamon sticks, (or 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon) – I don’t have that kind of cinnamon laying around! I figured I could get away with less since the pork would be in the slow cooker for eight hours instead of on the the stove for just two. I used two tablespoons of ground cinnamon and one whole cinnamon stick.

My only complaint about Mark’s recipe is that he leaves you hanging with regard to the quantity of cayenne or red pepper flakes to add. Of course these depend on your taste for heat, but a range would be helpful. I used 1 teaspoon of cayenne for a 5 pound pork butt, and the heat compared to a batch of medium chicken wings. So, unless you like suicide strength hot sauce be conservative.

We loved it! Rubbing the spices onto the pork butt before browning produces a cinnamony crust, while the flavour laden juices permeated deep into the meat keeping it moist and rich. The single teaspoon of cayenne pepper added kick without overpowering the tasty cinnamon.

Now that you’ve heard the juicy details, would you bring this dish to a pot luck? (or at least devour it if someone else did?)

Spicy Cinnamon Pork

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 hours (low)
Yield: 8-10 servings (prepared in a 6.5 quart slow cooker)

  • 4 lb pork butt or shoulder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne (adjust to taste)
  •  14 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 6cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  •  12 cup rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar)

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat.

Trim excess fat from pork and pat dry.

Combine garlic, ginger in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Reserve any remaining rub.

Brown all sides of the pork in the hot skillet. About 4 minutes per side. (This step is optional. If you are in a hurry just place the spice-covered pork into the slow cooker. Note: you will miss out on the crunchy outer layer)

Place inside the slow cooker insert.

Pour rice wine vinegar over the meat. Sprinkle with the remaining spices. Wedge the cinnamon stick where it will get moistened by the juices as the pork cooks.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. The meat will be more tender cooked on low.

Remove the cinnamon stick.

Using two forks, pull the pork into chunky pieces.

Serve over rice or with a side of vegetables.