Johnny Cake Community: Cornmeal Pancakes, Brown Sugared Pork Shoulder, Moxy-Q, Hot Sauce, Crispy Shallots, Pickled Cucumbers

Adapted by
July 2013
Yield: 12 portions


Johnny Cakes
1 cup polenta
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups milk
1 eggs
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced chive
2 tablespoons honey
black pepper
Brown Sugared Pulled Pork Shoulder
1 cup sugar
1 cup , plus 1 tablespoon salt
1 pork shoulder, bone-in, about 7 pounds
2 quarts veal stock
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup whole-grain mustard
Moxy-Q (Molasses BBQ)
3 ribs celery, diced
2 onions, diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 gallon whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
2 red jalapeños, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup molasses
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon hot sauce
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup red wine vinegar
Hot Sauce
2 quarts whole peeled tomatoes
24 Fresno or red jalapeno peppers, diced
2 cups rice wine vinegar, plus additional as needed
1 sugar
1 tablespoon salt, plus additional as needed
2 tablespoons pickling spice
Pickled Cucumber
3 English cucumber, cut into ⅛-inch-thick rounds
4½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Crispy Shallots
9 shallots,thinly sliced on mandolin
all-purpose flour for dredging
fryer oil


For the Johnny Cakes:
Prepare and preheat cast-iron griddle over medium flame. Lightly coat parchment paper lined sheet tray with nonstick spray. Combine all ingredients. Rest batter 20 minutes. Ladle 3-inch-diameter rounds of batter on griddle, Cook as with pancakes, flipping once. Transfer cakes to tray. Wrap tightly and let cool.

For the Brown Sugared Pork Shoulder:
Combine sugar and 1 cup salt and press into pork to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.  Preheat oven to 300°F. Drain pork and braise in enough stock to cover halfway, basting every hour, until tender. Remove from oven and increase heat to 500°F. Transfer pork to sheet tray with wire rack; strain and reserve braising liquid. Combine half the brown sugar and remaining salt and distribute evenly over pork, patting sugar mixture into pork to coat. Return to oven and roast until golden crust forms. Let cool slightly. Pull pork in large chunks; discard excess fat, connective tissue, and bone. Reheat braising liquid, whisk in mustard, and remaining brown sugar, and pour over pork shoulder. (Not all braising liquid will be needed; reserve some for assembly and service.)

For the Moxy-Q:
Sweat celery, onions, and peppers until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until softened. Transfer to blender and purée, adding remaining ingredients. Pour into wide heavy pot and reduce over high heat to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning and cool.

For the Hot Sauce:
Combine tomatoes, peppers, and half the vinegar and gently simmer until peppers are soft.,Transfer to blender and purée, adding sugar, salt, pickling spice. Pour into wide heavy pot and simmer until thick. Adjust seasoning with vinegar and salt.

For the Pickled Cucumbers:
Toss all ingredients together, let rest at least 15 minutes, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

For the Crispy Shallots:
Heat oil to 300°F. Dredge shallot in flour and fry at until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel and season with salt while warm.

To Assemble and Serve:
Gently warm Brown Sugared Pulled Pork Shoulder with reserved braising liquid; season if needed. Serve in crock with lid. Warm Johnny Cakes in steamer. On large plate, arrange Johnny Cakes, lettuce leaves, and the crock of pork. Serve Hot Sauce, Moxy-Q, Pickled Cucumbers, and Crispy Shallots on side.