When it comes to meat sauces, ragù Bolognese is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. To arrive at this version, I started with Barbara Lynch's great recipe, adding a few tweaks here and there to enhance meatiness and texture (hello pancetta, gelatin, and fish sauce!), and employing a unique oven-based cooking technique that develops rich browned flavors all while maintaining the tender, silky texture that the best sauces have. This is the kind of sauce that will leave you and your loved ones weak in the knees.
Swedish meatballs, stars of 1960s-era cocktail parties and IKEA shopping trips, are, on the surface, pretty simple: a mix of pork and beef that's lightly spiced and served with a rich gravy. Getting them just right, though, requires some fine-tuned tinkering. Here's our ultimate version, as good on a plate with buttery potatoes and lingonberry jam as speared on a toothpick.
There's a reason why these meatballs have a permanent place on the menu at Marcus Samuelsson's Harlem hotspot, Red Rooster, and why they get mentioned in nearly every review of the place: his grandmother was on to something. In an act of kindness, he shares the recipe—her recipe—in his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty, and it's a winner.
What's better than spareribs? How about Filipino deep-fried spareribs. First marinated with garlic and vinegar, then deep fried until browned and crisp, they're an addictive plate of pork.
This easy black eyed pea stew starts with andouille sausage and pork belly cooked until browned and crisped, then gets flavored with the Holy Trinity of Cajun cuisine: onions, celery, and green bell peppers, along with some leeks and garlic for extra flavor. Tender braised kale transform this into a full-on meal, while a shot of apple cider vinegar brightens up all the flavors.
This slightly spicy, ancho chili-inflected meatloaf incorporates deeply flavorful add-ins—sautéed jalapeños, onions and garlic for flavor; bloomed gelatin, chicken stock, eggs, and ground saltines to bind it and keep it moist; and a molten cheddar cheese core. Then, it's spread with homemade chili sauce and baked in the oven until glistening.
This shepherd's pie-inspired meatloaf is stuffed with a mixture of carrots and peas. Then it's slathered with Parmesan potatoes, dotted with butter and baked in the oven until browned. Meanwhile, a quick Stilton cheese sauce simmers on the stove, waiting to be served alongside.
The first time I had cassoulet in its home turf it was a revelation. This loose, almost soup-like stew of beans and meat was so far removed from all versions of cassoulet I'd had in the United States, or even in other parts of France. It was a large, bubbling vat of beans and meat, covered in a crust so dark that it was almost black. Rich, meaty, and overwhelmingly simple, the main flavor was just that of the cured meat, a good stock, and beans.
This recipe starts off with crumbled Italian sausage cooked down in a bit of butter. I sauté a few types of mushrooms in the rendered fat, then flavor them with shallots, garlic, and a little bit of soy sauce and lemon juice. They get finished in a simple creamy sauce flavored with Parmesan cheese. Add some pasta, top it all of with crisp bread crumbs, bake it directly in the cast iron pan you cooked it in, and you've got yourself a one-skillet meal fit for normal everyday folks who perhaps might occasionally feel like kings.
Inspired by a campfire hamburger tradition, this unusual take on meatloaf is loaded with onions, garlic, pickles, and mushrooms, then topped with a rich beer-cheese sauce.
Roasted in the oven and basted with beer, these German-style pork sausages turn out juicy, tender, and lightly browned all over. Quick-pickled peppers and onions, meanwhile, add a flavorful, bright counterpoint.
Containing a mix of light and dark meat, country-style pork ribs braise well, yielding tender meat that both flavors and absorbs the liquid they cook in. With that in mind, I built mine from rustically cut nubs of carrot, celery, onion and garlic, plus burnished tomato paste -- prepped in the same Dutch oven that's used to brown the pork. Then, the pan is deglazed with white wine, cider vinegar, chicken stock and apple cider and spiked with Dijon mustard and aromatics. After a time spent in a low oven, the whole shebang is served atop creamy mashed potatoes.
A sacred Italian-American institution, Sunday gravy is a meat-forward, all-day-simmered dish with as many recipes as there are Italian families who make it. My version incorporates flank steak braciole, Italian sausage, tender meatballs, and pork ribs along with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, all simmered together in a rich red sauce.
Homemade Italian sausage is formed into patties and stuffed with nuggets of mozzarella cheese. Then, the burgers are heavily pepper-crusted on the rims and finished with a dollop of creamy ricotta, red sauce, and fresh basil. Perhaps best of all, though, is the garnish of vinegar peppers that roast in the oven (or, alternately, cook in a tin right on the grill).
Assertively seasoned with garlic, oregano, pepper, and enough salt to form a crust, pernil—a Puerto Rican mainstay—lingers in the slow cooker for 18 hours until browned and fork-tender. It's served with vinegar-based pique criollo, a hot sauce made with peppers, garlic, pineapple and herbs.
Crispy bits of slow-cooked pork, ready to cradle in a warm tortilla—carnitas is rightfully one of the best-loved taco fillings out there. In Tacolicious, Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave go a fairly traditional route for their carnitas: Fatty pork shoulder gets marinated overnight, then slow-cooked stovetop in the marinade and lard, after which it's pan-fried until delectably crisp.
There are too many great meat dishes in the Korean canon to pick a favorite, but this one of stir-fried marinated pork with kimchi is definitely in my top five. Easy to make, it features thin strips of pork shoulder in a spicy-sweet blend of Korean chili paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil—plus a bit of Asian pear for both flavor and its tenderizing effect on the meat.
Asian flavors seem to bring out the best in pork. So if you're working with a gorgeous rack of grilled baby back ribs, dousing them in gingery, orangey, soy sauce is a pretty great way to go, like in this recipe from The Big-Flavor Grill, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.
This ain't your grandma's pork larb. Unless your grandma happens to be of Lanna descent and native to Northern Thailand, in which case, this is probably very much like your grandma's pork larb. Unlike Isan larb, this is a darker mince, with tender bits of lean pork mixed together with chunks of fat, chewy bits of intestine, and a rich, thick sauce flavored with crushed spices and pork blood. It's not larb for the faint of heart, but it's one worth seeking out or cooking at home if you've got any interest in offal.
After years of learning convoluted tricks for making competition-worthy pork ribs, I've realized the ribs I like best are made more simply and have bolder flavors, like the earthy, spicy rub and fruity, smoky apricot sauce in this killer recipe.