Makes About 2 1/2 Pounds
1 pound (500g) pork fat back.
3/4 pound (3-400 grams) pork spare ribs in 1 or 2 pieces
2 pounds (1kg) lean pork shoulder roughly cut into 2-3 inch squares
1/4 cup (50ml) water
1 tablespoon (22 grams) salt
Cut the fat back it into 1/2 inch dice and place in a large pot with the water. Place the spare ribs on top of the fat, and finally the shoulder. Cover the pot and the heat it over medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil. Render the fat at the bottom of the pot, which will become a base for the meat to poach in. Keep an eye on the bottom to make sure nothing is sticking, adding bit water as necessary. Once an inch or so of fat has collected in the bottom of the pot, it’s safe to leave it simmering, stirring only occasionally. The pork should simmer for 2-3 hours as it fat-poaches and turns tender, and the pork bones release their stock into the liquid.
After 2 or 3 hours, start to check for doneness by removing a piece and crushing it on a cutting board to see if it breaks apart. It should take about 4 hours of cooking to get to the stage where the meat would shred quite easily. Remove the rib pieces at this point and cool.
Clean the meat off the bones and return to the pot. With the lid off, turn up the heat to medium and begin to evaporate the moisture from the rillette. The juices and the meat will begin to brown, forming a glaze on the bottom of the pot. Regularly mix this back into the meat as the moisture continues to leave the rillettes which will shred the meat into small pieces and prevent burning. If the lard is still cloudy, moisture remains, so the process is not complete. It will take close to an hour to fully remove all the moisture, as the rilettes deepen in color. The rillettes should come together in a mass with just a little fat on the bottom of the pot. Press the rillettes into jars or container and press down with the back of a spoon to remove any air pockets. Place sheets of plastic wrap against the surface of the meat to remove any air. the rillettes should cool and chill overnight. Kept this way, they can be served within 5 days. If you’d like to keep them longer, render fresh lard the following day and paint the chilled surface with burning hot fat to sterilize and seal it. If you’re certain they are completely sealed with no air pockets, the rillettes can be kept for months refrigerated. The rillettes should be eaten cool or just below room temperature and the fat should just be beginning to run.