Deconstructed Tamales: Trisha's Cheese Grit Cake with Tamale-Style Pulled Pork

Total Time:
5 hr 45 min
30 min
1 hr 20 min
3 hr 55 min

6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound Trisha's Pulled Pork, recipe follows, plus about 1 cup cooking liquid
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Grit Cakes, recipe follows
  • Corn Salsa, recipe follows
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Chopped green onions, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Trisha's Pulled Pork:
  • 3 pounds boneless country-style pork spareribs
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • Grit Cakes:
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the parchment
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Corn Salsa:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thawed frozen white corn
  • 1 jar medium salsa (or hot, if desired)
  • About 1 cup vegetable broth
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and heat to a shimmer. Add Trisha's Pulled Pork, the chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin and black pepper; stir to combine. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to coat the meat but not saturate it. Cook until the meat starts to brown and the spices become fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and hold.

  • Place a Grit Cake on each serving plate and top with some pork, Corn Salsa, sour cream, chopped green onions and cilantro.

Trisha's Pulled Pork:
  • Season the ribs well on all sides with salt and pepper.

  • In a large Dutch oven over high heat, heat the oil to a shimmer. Add the ribs and sear until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the ribs and transfer to a plate. Add the garlic, carrots and onion and cook until golden and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 more cups of water and stir to combine.

  • Return the ribs to the Dutch oven, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until fork-tender, about 3 hours.

  • Remove the ribs from the liquid and transfer to a baking sheet to cool. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. When cool enough to handle, use 2 forks to shred the pork.

  • Yield: about 2 pounds

Grit Cakes:
  • Line an 8-by-10-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving any excess hanging off the sides, and spray with cooking spray.

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vegetable broth, grits and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the grits are thickened and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in the cheese. Pour the grits into the prepared pan and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Using a round cutter or a knife, cut the grits into 2 1/2-inch cakes.

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil to a shimmer and add the cakes. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and continue cooking until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

Corn Salsa:
  • In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the corn and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 4 minutes. Add the salsa and enough broth, starting with a 1/4 cup, to make it thick yet pourable. Serve warm.

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