I wish I had a smoker. You know, for smoking pork, chicken, fish, and other meats. I guess that is a project to work on. Meanwhile...
I've found a method for cooking meat that I really like: steaming it. I steam it in a big pot on top of the stove, on a folding steaming rack that in French is called a marguerite. That's because it looks, if you stretch your imagination a little, like a daisy, and that's what the word marguerite means. It fits in pots of different sizes because the "petals" fold up. These steaming racks or baskets are used in other countries too.
Yesterday at SuperU I bought a pork roast. On the label, it said « Filet de porc sans os » — boneless pork fillet — but that's not what it was. In reality, it was what I'd call a pork loin roast — une longe de porc. That's not the tenderloin — le filet mignon — but a very lean, drier cut of pork.
To cook it, I decided to steam it. That way, I could cook it for a long time without the risk of drying it out or burning it. Cooked in the oven, in dry heat, pork loin can get stringy and unappetizingly dry. This is the second pork roast I've steamed this way, and I'm pretty happy with the result. Steaming is a good way to cook a lamb or pork shoulder too.
All you have to do is set the roast or shoulder on the steaming rack and pour in enough water to just come up to the bottom of the rack. Salt, pepper, and otherwise season the pork as you like. I put on some crushed hot red pepper flakes and a good quantity of smoked paprika. I also put about half a cup of distilled vinegar — vinaigre blanc — into the steaming liquid.
Writing this, it just dawned on me that this would be a very good use for a pressure cooker — une cocotte minute. I have two of them, and I hardly every use either one. Next time I'll try it in the little stainless-steel pressure cooker I have sitting around doing nothing.
Steam the roast until its internal temperature, measured with a meat thermometer, gets up to at least 195ºF, or 90ºC. My roast actually went up to 205ºF. At high temperature, all the collagen and other connective tissue in the meat melts, adding moisture to the meat and tenderizing the muscle fibers.
When the roast is done, you can reduce the steaming liquid in the bottom of the pot and use it as a sauce. In my case, I shredded and then chopped the pork to make a kind of pulled-pork dish resembling Eastern N.C. "barbecue" but without the need for a long- and slow-burning wood fire. The smoked paprika adds smokiness, and some extra vinegar and hot pepper only improves the sauce. I'm not above putting a spritz of hickory or mesquite liquid smoke in it too.