Recipes: Pork

Adapted Recipes

Roast Leg of Pork

Adapted from Leslie 1840


  • 20 lbs pork leg, usually one leg
  • 1/4 cup grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 heads garlic, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, halved
  • 3 bunches, oregano, chopped


  1. In a bowl combine minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and oil.

  2. Using a sharp knife make parallel cuts all over the leg, cutting through the skin and fat but not the meat. Cuts should be spaced 1/2 inch apart. Using a smaller knife cut ten 1/2 inch slits into meat between the parallel cuts. Stuff each slit with half a garlic clove.

  3. Pat garlic mixture all over pork, ensuring to push the mix into each line and covering the pork. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bag, and leaving the top open to let the skin dry. Refrigerate overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

  5. Position rack in lower third of oven. Remove pork from bag and place in large roasting pan, skin side up. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour wine into pan.

  6. Roast for 45 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and continue roasting until the thickest part registers at 145F- roughly 3 hours. Check temperature every 15 minutes during last hour.

  7. Let rest 1 hour before serving.

Original Recipe

Take a sharp knife and score the skin across in narrow stripes (you may cross it again so as to form diamonds) and rub in some powdered sage. Raise the skin at the knuckle, and put in a stuffing of minced onion and sage, bread-crumbs, pepper, salt, and beaten yolk of egg. Fasten it down with a buttered string, or with skewers. You may make deep incisions in the meat of the large end of the leg, and stuff them also; pressing in the filling very hard. Rub a little sweet oil all over the skin with a brush or a goose-feather, to make it crisp and of a handsome brown. Do not place the spit too near the fire, lest the skin should burn and blister. A leg of pork will require from three to four hours to roast. Moisten it all the time by brushing it with sweet oil, or with fresh butter tied in a rag. To baste it with its own dripping will make the skin tough and hard. Skim the fat carefully from the gravy, which should be thickened with a little flour. A roast leg of pork should always be accompanied by apple-sauce, and by mashed potato and mashed turnips. (Leslie 1840:116-117)

Roasted Pork Loin

Leslie 1840

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2.5 lb boneless, pork loin roast, trimmed
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

  2. Mix chopped rosemary, kosher salt, garlic cloves, and pepper in a bowl.

  3. Rub garlic mixture over the pork. Place pork fat side down in the roasting pan.

  4. Roast pork 30 minutes. Turn roast fat side up, continue roasting until thermometer inserted in center reads 155F. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.

  5. Pour any juices into a small saucepan. Set over low heat to keep warm. Cut pork into slices. Pour juices over.

Original Recipe

Score the skin in narrow strips, and rub it all over with a mixture of powdered sage-leaves, pepper and salt. Have ready a force-meat or stuffing of minced onions and sage, mixed with a little grated bread and beaten yolk of egg, and seasoned with pepper and salt. Make deep incisions between the ribs and fill them with this stuffing. Put it on the spit before a clear fire and moisten it with butter or sweet oil, rubbed lightly over it. It will require three hours to roast. Having skimmed the gravy well, thicken it with a little flour, and serve it up in a boat. Have ready some apple-sauce to eat with the pork. Also mashed turnips and mashed potatoes. You may roast in the same manner, a shoulder, spare-rib, or chine of pork; season it with sage and onion. (Leslie 1840:117)

Pork Pie

Adapted from Leslie 1840

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups water
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground pork
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 15 oz package of frozen pie crust enough for two pies (bottom and top)


  1. In a large saucepan mix the ground pork, cloves, cinnamon, onion, salt, celery, bay leaf and water. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 3 hours or until all the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

  2. Towards the end of the cooking time, put potatoes in a separate saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and mash. Mix with the pork.

  3. Preheat oven to 350F.

  4. Line two 9 inch pie plates with bottom crusts. Spoon equal amounts of pork filling into each crust. Cover with the remaining crusts and flute the edges.

  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Original Recipe

Take the lean of a leg or loin of fresh pork, and season it with pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Cover the bottom and sides of a deep dish with a good paste, made with a pound of butter to two pounds of flour and rolled out thick. Put in a layer of pork, and then a layer of pippin apples, pared, cored, and cut small. Strew over the apples sufficient sugar to make them very sweet. Then place another layer of pork, and so on till the dish is full. Pour in half a pint or more of water, or of white wine. Cover the pie with a thick lid of paste, and notch and ornament it according to your taste. Set it in a brisk over, and bake it well. (Leslie 1840:122)

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Adapted from Leslie 1840

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 6 bone-in pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 3 cups apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup cider
  • kosher salt
  • pepper


  1. Trim excess fat from chops. Heavily season with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and swirl in oil. Lay down the chops and brown on each side for roughly 3-5 minutes. If working with a smaller skillet do not crowd the pan. Transfer to a warm plate and cover lightly with foil.

  3. Swirl the butter into the pan. Add the onions and apples. Saute until the onion slices are lightly carmelized and the apples have softened. About 8 minutes.

  4. Stir in the cider simmer for a moment and return the chops to the pan.

  5. Cook until pork is tender- another 10-15 minutes, turning and covering with apple mixture. If sauce needs thickening, transfer chops out and simmer on high until sauce is sufficiently thickened.

  6. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Original Recipe

Pork steaks or chops should be taken from the neck, or the loin. Cut them about half an inch thick, remove the skin, trim them neatly, and beat them. Season them with pepper, salt, and powdered sage-leaves or sweet marjoram, and boil them over a clear fire till quite done all through, turning them once. They require much longer broiling than beef-steaks or mutton chops. When you think they are nearly done, take up one on a plate and try it. If it is the least red inside, return it to the gridiron. Have ready a gravy made of the trimmings, or any coarse pieces of pork stewed in a little water with chopped onions and sage, and skimmed carefully. When all the essence is extracted, take out the bits of meat, &c., and serve up the gravy in a boat to eat with the steaks. They should be accompanied with apple-sauce. (Leslie 1840:120-121)

Crispy Spare Ribs

Adapted from Carter 1796


  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced, fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup minced, fresh ginger
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced white and green parts separated
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 3 cups soy sauce
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 navel orange, juiced and zested
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 1/2 lbs baby back ribs, roughly 3 racks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch


  1. Preheat 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, combine the smashed garlic, with the sliced ginger, scallion whites, star anise and 1.5 cups of soy sauce, water, ginger ale, white wine, orange zest and juice, and granulated sugar. Set over two burners and bring to a boil over moderately high heat.

  2. Add the ribs to the roasting pan, cover tightly with foil and bake for about 2 hours. Let cool to room temperature then spread the ribs out on a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled and firm. Discard the braising liquid.

  3. In a large saucepan heat the 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger, the scallion greens and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until fragrant. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

  4. In a large, sturdy pot, heat 1.5 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees (use a thermometer). In a large bowl combine the flour with the cornstarch. Cut the racks into individual ribs and toss in the mix, shaking off the excess.

  5. Working in batches fry the rubs until the coating is lightly golden and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then add to the sauce and toss to coat.

Original Recipe

A spare-rib is to be roasted with a fire that is not too strong, but clear; when you lay it down, dust on some flour, and baste it with butter; a quarter of an hour before you take it up, shred some sage small; baste your pork, strew on your sage, dust on a little flour, and sprinkle a little salt before you take it up. (Carter 1796:22)

Homemade Cured Hame

Adapted from Leslie 1840

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes



  • 7 lbs fresh, bone-in pork shoulder, skin still on
  • 6 quarts water, divided
  • 18 ounces kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 7 tsp pink salt #1 curing salt
  • 1 tbsp picking spice, or to taste


  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt



  1. Place kosher salt, brown sugar, pickling spice, and pink salt in a container large enough to hold the brine and the ham.

  2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and pour over the brine ingredients, whisk to dissolve. Pour in 1 gallon of fresh cold water to cool down the mixture.

  3. Score the skin side of the pork with a sharp knife in a criss cross pattern. Cut into the fat beneath the skin but not into the meat.

  4. Lower the meat into the cooled brine, skin side up. Weigh down the roast so that it is completely submerged. Seal the container.

  5. Refrigerate for 1 day for every 2 pounds of pork. Turn the pork halfway through the brining process.


  1. Remove from brining liquid and discard the liquid. Transfer pork back to the container and cover with fresh cold water. Depending on how salty you want your ham you can soak it for a few minutes or overnight. Remove from water and blot dry.

  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add a cup of water to a roasting pan. Place roast on a rack in the pan.

  3. Roast until ham reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees, roughly 2 hours. If water has evaporated add more. Increase oven temp to 425 degrees. Continue to roast until skin if browned and crispy and internal ham temperature reaches 145-150 degrees.

  4. Combine glaze ingredients together in a bowl. Brush over ham and return to oven for about 5 more minutes.

Original Recipe

When killed and cut up, begin immediately to salt them. Rub the outside of each ham with a tea-spoonful of powdered saltpeter, and the inside with a tea-spoonful of cayenne pepper. Having mixed together brown sugar and fine salt, in the proportion of a pound and a half of brown sugar to a quart of salt, rub the pork well with it. This quantity of sugar and salt will be sufficient for fifty pounds of meat. Have ready some large tubs, the bottoms sprinkled with salt, and lay the meat in the tubs with the skin downward. Put plenty of salt between each layer of meat. After it has lain eight days, take it out and wipe off all the salt, and wash the tubs. Make a pickle of soft water, equal quantities of salt and molasses, and a little saltpeter; allowing four ounces of saltpeter to two parts of molasses and two quarts of salt, which is the proportion of fifty pounds of meat. The pickle must be strong enough to bear up an egg. Boil and skim it; and when it is cold, pour it over the meat, which must be turned every day and basted with the pickle. The hams should remain in the pickle at least four weeks; the shoulders and middlings of the bacon three weeks; and the jowls two weeks. They should then be taken out and smoked. Having washed off the pickle, before you smoke the meat, bury it, while wet, in a tub of bran. This will form a crust over it, and prevent evaporation of the juices. Let the smoke-house be ready to receive the meat immediately. Take it out of the tub after it has lain half an hour, and rub the bran evenly over it. Then hang it up to smoke with the small end downwards. The smoke-house should be dark and cool, and should stand alone, for the heat occasioned by an adjoining building may spoil the meat, or produce insects. Keep up a good smoke all day, but have no blaze. Hickory is the best wood for a smoke-house fire. In three or four weeks the meat will be sufficiently smoked, and fit for use. During the process it should be occasionally taken down, examined, and hung up again. The best way of keeping hams is to wrap them in paper, or to sew them in coarse cloths (which should be white washed) and bury them in a barrel of hickory ashes. The ashes must be frequently changed. (Leslie 1840:126-128)