Poc Chuc (Grilled Pork with Fiery Salsa)

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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For curing the pork:

1 piece pork loin, boneless, tenderloin, or chops
3 tablespoons salt, coarse (kosher or sea)
1 cup water

For the pickled onions:

1 red onion, large, peeled, root end left intact
1 cup orange juice, fresh and sour or 3/4 cup fresh lime juice plus 1/4 cup fresh regular orange juice
2 tsp. salt

For the salsa chiltomate:

2 tomatoes, fresh, ripe, medium sized
1 to 3 habanero or scotch bonnet chiles
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fresh
3 Tbsp. orange juice, fresh and sour or 2-1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice plus 1/2 Tbsp. fresh regular orange juice
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
8 flour tortillas (6 inches or larger), for serving


To prepare the pork:

To obtain 4 broad sheets of meat about 1/4 inch thick, butterfly the pork according to the directions for butterflying pork tenderloin.

Combine the salt and water in a shallow bowl and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the pork pieces to the brine, cover, and let marinate for 15 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice to make sure all are equally exposed to the brine. Drain and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat the grill to high.

To prepare the pickled onion:

Cut the onion into 8 wedges. Do not trim away the root end on each wedge it will help hold the wedge together as it grills. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Arrange the wedges on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely charred on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Trim off the root ends of the onions and transfer them to a small serving bowl stir in the sour orange juice and salt. Let the onions marinate at least 10 minutes.

To prepare the salsa chiltomate:

Meanwhile, arrange the tomatoes and chiles on the grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely charred on all sides, about 8 to 12 minutes in all. The idea is to char the skins without cooking the vegetables through. Transfer the tomatoes and chiles to a plate to cool, 5 minutes.

Combine the cooled tomatoes and chiles with the garlic in a blender or food processor and process to a coarse purée. Add the cilantro, sour orange juice, and salt and process just to mix. Transfer the salsa to a serving bowl.

To prepare the dish:

oil the grill grate and add 20 fresh coals, if necessary, to bump up the heat. Arrange the pork on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Press the pieces against the grate with the back of a metal spatula to make well-defined grill marks. Transfer the pork to a platter. Place the tortillas on the grate, just to warm, about 20 seconds per side. Serve the pork, accompanied by the grilled pickled onions, salsa, and a basket of warmed tortillas.

Yields 4 servings.

Recipe from www.dvo.com.