Haitian pork chops are cooked twice and they are actually chunks rather than chops. Pork griot, pronounced ‘gree-oh’, is a much loved Haitian dish, served with the sauce made from cooking juices, Haitian pickles and rice.
What is pork griot?
Twice cooked pork or pork griot, Haitian meat dish, is truly fantastic as well as unusual.
Meat is expected to be seared first and roasted, baked, braised afterwards. Griot defies the tradition, baked for a spell in the oven first and jumping into a frying pan only last thing.
Cut into oversized dice it is slow cooked in the oven with the hottest chilies and, uncommonly, four kinds of acid. It’s then drained and fried crisp in a pan while the strained cooking liquid makes gravy to die for. It’s better than the best pulled pork and completely worth the additional frying pan washing up.
What cut of pork for griot?
The best cut for it in my experience is pork shoulder which is not too lean but with no gristly or tendony bits. I have tried pork tenderloin and would not advise you to do so unless your taste is for extremely dry and lean meat, albeit full of flavour.
Pork belly can be griot-ted too and will probably resemble those crispy squares served at Chinese dim sum – it’s always fascinating how remote cuisines reach out to one another.
Twice cooked, twice as tasty
This is also the dish to overcome anyone’s innate aversion to reheated food, and I know many suffer from that phobia. Leftovers, scraps, slop, dregs – these are not complementary words.
The opposite of ‘freshly cooked’, it’s food that has been standing around and then got reheated. Day-old; stale; refried: if you read those words in a restaurants’ reviews you’d stay well clear.
And yet if the reheating process is done on purpose, the results can be amazing: triple cooked chips for one, arancini balls for another. Some dishes gain flavour when reheated, like cassoulet or chilli; and try and find tastier morsels than refried beans or pasta fritta.
How to marinate pork for griot
All the chopping, dicing and preparation is done ahead because the meat needs to marinate overnight.
The pork is diced chunkily, the onions and peppers more finely as their task is to almost disintegrate into the gravy.
The herbs, chillies and aromatics all go in and the whole casserole sits covered in citrus juices and vinegar. That’s to both tenderise the meat as well as stop it from disintegrating during the long, double cooking process.
Oven or hob?
Traditionally griot is braised with the marinade, but whether that happens in the oven or on the hob is debatable.
As with all traditional recipes, interpretations vary so even Haitians might argue which is the correct approach. I like to braise it in the oven but there’s certainly nothing wrong with simmering the pot on the hob, minding the liquid doesn’t all cook off.
Grill (broiler) or frying pan?
After the braising stage, the meat cubes need to be browned into crisp beauty.
Again, it’s a cause for clashing opinions. Health and mess considerations will suggest you scoop the meat out of the sauce, arrange it on a grilling rack and brown it under hot grill or broiler.
But in my view that might dry the pork out a little too much by the time it crustily browns. A little coconut oil and shallow frying will achieve the expected result more readily, and you can minimise the mess with a splatter guard.
Sauce and sides
I strain the sauce and reduce it down to thickish gravy, but you might prefer to blend the sauce with all the aromatics in it. In which case it will be prudent to keep the level of liquid a little higher in the pot, whilst braising.
Griot is traditionally served with rice and pikliz: spicy Haitian slaw pickled in vinegar. For a vibrant fusion, why not serve it with kimchi?
Griot flavour variations
The griot is probably as versatile as any casserole and you could experiment with different flavours created every time you cook it, by adding mushrooms instead of chilli, carrots instead of peppers etc. The acid is a constant ingredient so it keeps the meat from disintegrating in the long cooking process.
I trust Melissa Clark’s recipes so did not originally veer from her instructions on NYTimes Cooking. But next time I’ll certainly freewheel. Because there will be many next times for sure.
More Caribbean recipes
Green papaya salad with sweet and sour dressing is crunchy, juicy and incredibly full of goodness. Plus, it helps digest meat!
Easy dirty rice with minced pork and homemade Creole seasoning, a bomb of flavours and a healthy main course ready in about 40 minutes.
Jamaican hummingbird cake is a wonderful thing: easy and unpretentious, but gorgeous enough for a birthday or wedding. Try my version with crushed pineapple, pistachios and apple buttercream.
More pork recipes
Butter beans with ham hock, a slow cooked stew of incredible flavours and richness, the ultimate comfort dish. Butter beans need soaking overnight, but what’s difficult about that?
Greek pork gyros served with tzatziki and pita bread. Another street dish impossible to replicate at home? Wrong: you can cook it in the oven.
Twice cooked pork fillet with mushroom sauce, inspired by Mark Bittman at NY Times. Pork tenderloin is seared whole then browned again in slices; simple and brilliant.