Guyanese garlic pork is a pickled meat dish based on dishes that came with Portuguese settlers. Well-seasoned pork is brined and then fried until the meat is browned. It’s often eaten on Christmas morning with rich egg bread. Nigel Gordijk provided this garlic pork recipe.
2 kg (4 lbs) well-marbled pork, cut into 4-5 cm cubes – use cuts such as shoulder and button ribs
Juice of one lime or 15 ml (1 tablespoon) vinegar
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon salt, divided, as needed
3 heads of garlic, chopped roughly
10-12 springs of fresh thyme
750 ml (3 cups) white vinegar
250 ml (1 cup) water
Oil, for frying, if needed
Light soy sauce, as needed
Slices of egg bread, good sandwich loaf, or similar type of bread
Stage one – curing the pork
Wash and sterilize jars and their well-sealing lids, as well as tools such as spoons and tongs. You’ll need approximately three one-litre jars.
Rinse the pork well, pat dry, and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice (or 1 tablespoon of vinegar). Sprinkle one tablespoon of salt over the meat, adding more, as needed to liberally coat the meat. Transfer the meat to a colander and rinse for about three minutes under cold running water. Let the water drain. Using tongs and paper towels, pat the meat dry.
Mix the garlic, thyme, and salt and using a spoon (or tongs) mix well into the pork.
Spoon the seasoned pork into the sterilized jars, being careful not to overpack them.
Mix the vinegar and water in a jug and pour over the spiced meat. If the meat is not covered with the acidulated water, top it up with extra water. Release any air bubbles before lidding the jars. Keep the jars in the fridge for at least 6 but no more than 14 days.
Stage two – cooking the pork
When the pork has cured, heat a large frying pan or wok on high. If the meat is on the leaner side, heat some oil in the pan before adding the drained meat in batches. Fry until the water has evaporated, the garlic is golden, the thyme is aromatic, and the meat is fully cooked in the melted fat. Just before you tip out the meat drizzle in a little soy sauce and fry for a few seconds.
Serve with bread for sopping up the garlicky-thyme juices. For an additional treat, you can fry the bread in the pan’s flavourful fat.