CRISPY TROTTER BUNS

Here is Mr. Alpenglow’s Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired riff on a Momofuku pork bun. The use of smoked trotters (pig’s feet) is the secret weapon (you can also use ham hocks or shanks, which will be meatier, but the trotter’s bits are tastiest). You basically braise the hell out of the pork until it falls off the bone, form meat logs, allow them to congeal overnight, slice them, bread them, and fry them. Crunchy radishes, a simple parsley salad dressed with lemon, and sweet apple butter help to balance the porky explosion. It’s magical.

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CRISPY TROTTER BUNS
(Mr. Alpenglow original recipe; makes 12)

4-5 lbs. smoked trotters, ham hocks, or ham shanks
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 leeks, roughly chopped
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of homemade coarse breadcrumbs
1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
1 small jar of apple butter
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 potato rolls, warmed

Place the smoked pork, bay leaves, peppercorns, and leeks in a large stockpot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours until the meat can be easily pried from the bones. Add water as necessary. Remove the meat and discard everything else. Allow the meat to cool. Break it down with your fingers. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and spoon half of the meat onto it to form a log. Roll the plastic sheet tightly, twist the ends, and tie a knot. You may have to repeat this step with a second sheet of plastic wrap to achieve a tightly rolled log. Do this again with remaining meat. Chill the logs overnight. When you are ready to make the buns, cut the log into slices approximately 1/2 inch thick. Dip each slice in egg and then the breadcrumbs. Pan fry in oil or butter until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes each side, taking care to avoid burning. To assemble, place a finished slice of crispy pork on each roll with 3 radish slices, and a bundle of parsley leaves (tossed with lemon juice and olive oil). Slather the upper roll with apple butter and place it on top. Serve immediately.

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