Pork Rillettes

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Pork rillettes probably sound fancy, but really they’re the opposite of fancy. Their presentation and rustic, and their flavor subtle. But they’re fabulous!

You serve rillettes the same way you serve a pâté or terrine, with good bread, olives and cornichons. It’s especially good as part of a cheese platter.
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But the difference between pork rillettes and pâtés or terrines is that there is no liver included. It’s just pork.

I typically make rillettes in the fall, but after visiting Stéphane in France last May, he served my girlfriend and I goose rillettes not once but twice! I think we begged for them the second time! So I thought it might be okay for me to make them now, in July. Not that I’d serve them outside in 100 degree weather.

Another motivation to make rillettes was that this same girlfriend who went to France with me was going to be visiting me over an upcoming weekend, and I thought it would be a surprise to serve them to her! Just for the memories. If I could only get the same good bread…

Rillettes are sometimes called potted rillettes because it’s traditional to store them in little pots or jars or terrine molds for a prettier presentation.
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Pork Rillettes

1 pork butt, about 7 pounds, bone included
Black pepper
Seasoning salt
1 onion, quartered
Baby carrots
Celery, chopped
1 leek, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
4-5 bay leaves
A bunch of parsley
Fresh rosemary branches
Fresh thyme branches
Handful of peppercorns
A few whole cloves

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Season all sides of the pork with pepper and your favorite seasoning salt. Place the pork butt in the bottom of a large and deep pot.

Add the remaining ingredients. Then cover the pork with water, at least 1″ above the pork.
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Bring the water in the pot to a boil on the stove. Cover the pot tightly with a lid, then place the pot in the oven and bake for the pork for 6 hours.

Halfway through cooking, turn over the pork, carefully, to ensure it cooks evenly.

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Remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid, and let everything cool.
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Carefully remove the pork from the broth using large forks and place in a bowl. Then strain the broth and reserve. It makes a lovely base for a soup or a stew.
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After cooling completely, place the tender pork and in a bowl of a stand mixer. I got the idea to use a stand mixer to shred the pork from the book, “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. Also include some of the pork fat; it adds flavor and texture. Keep the broth on hand in case you need a little.
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Taste the pork and the broth and season if necessary. I added some dried thyme, some salt, and some ground allspice to my pork. The seasoning shouldn’t jump out at you. It’s more subtle, highlighting the pork’s flavor.

Slowly start the mixer at a low speed. Add a little broth if necessary. You don’t want the meat watery, but the broth keeps the meat from being dry.

Try some rillettes on a little toast or cracker to test it. That way, you can season again if necessary, and also adjust the fat and broth amounts. Continue mixing until it’s the perfect texture. It took less than a minute for me to get the desired texture.
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Place the rillettes in clean jars, patting them down to remove major air holes. Then cover the rillettes with melted duck fat or butter.


I actually used some duck fat that I’d saved from when I made duck confit, which is why it looks darker than normal. The fat is really just used to preserve the meat in the jars, although the refrigerator will do the trick.

Any leftover rillettes can be frozen. Make sure to use a clean jars and lids.
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Serve the pork rillettes with bread, toasts, or crackers, alongside a good mustard, olives, and some cornichons. Make sure the rillettes are at room temperature first so they are spreadable!
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Stéphane served fresh garlic with the rillettes to rub on the bread first.
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Rillettes are kind of the ugly step-sister to a pâté or fancy terrine, but you’ll not care once you try them!
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note: You don’t have to turn all 7 pounds of pork into rillettes, unless you’re feeding an army. Any pork left over makes fabulous pulled pork, with great flavor!!!

69 thoughts on “Pork Rillettes

  1. I Love rillettes, love the sound of this… even during summer, in sandwiches for a pic nic! I tried making rabbit and prune rillettes once, and they were delicious, but a bit dry… I’ll drench them in lard next time (my butcher uses lard for his pork rillettes, but they are very very fatty). I love goose rillettes and duck rillettes too!

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    • i’ve even made salmon rillettes, but accidentally deleted that post. So now I get to make them again! The prune addition sounds lovely. Sometimes my terrines I made from ground mixed meats end up too dry because it’s hard for me to add FAT. But sometimes you just have to do it!

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      • Yes, one should either be reconciled with the idea of eating tons of fat, or simply not eat rillettes. Fat-free or “light” rillettes make no sense to me :D (and I’ve made smoked mackerel rillettes and sardine rillettes, which are great for summer heats, with a glass of chilled white wine)

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  2. Great post, Mimi. I’ve not made rillettes myself yet. It seems to me that it would benefit from a sous-vide preparation, so more of the pork flavor will end up in the rillettes rather than the stock. Good idea to use the stand mixer (funny typo: stand mixture) to create the right texture.

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  3. Oh Mimi, this is sooooo good. You literally just made one of my favorite things in the world. I do mine with chicken and not terribly often so I don’t eat the whole jar. I made Ken and Jody’s recipe and I’m still obsessing over it. Your rillettes are just gorgeous and i love that you served them with the whole gerkin, charcuterie, cheese, nut mix. Oh what I wouldn’t do for this meal. Bravo!

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  4. Oh they look so delicious and soft and moist. I’m sure Gabriella loved them! Did you guys rub some garlic on your bread? I’m sure you did! ;)

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  5. This makes me think of fall. This really sounds delicious and I appreciate you introducing me to this recipe. Hopefully your friend liked it and you were able to reminiscence about France.

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  6. Well it sounds fancy enough to me! I love the sounds of this one & I think serving it in a cute little pot would make it look extremely fancy. Oh, on top of fresh bread & with all those little nibbles on the side? Love it.

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  7. I love pate but am too lazy to make it. I’ve also had pork rillettes before and really enjoyed them. I had no idea this was how you made them but I’m pinning this to try in the fall. A perfect picnic food!

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  8. I had no idea that rillettes were in fact a fancy version of pulled pork. I made a terrine for my husband last year for Father’s Day as charcuterie is one of his all time favourites. It’s his birthday this weekend so perhaps I’ll surprise him with this.

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  9. Thanks for sharing the recipe as your post brought back nice memories of the rillettes that were presented with toast while my husband and I were perusing the menu at a small restaurant in the Loire. Delicious!

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  10. One of my favorite foods! I’m working hard not to drool on my keyboard. It’s SO hot here right now that I think I’ll wait until fall, but I must make this. I hope StefanGourmet will try using the sous-vide. Great post!

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  11. It looks like pate but without the livers and more texture! I do love your presentation and I can see the rillettes being wonderful on some crusty bread with a few pickles. And I like how the pork is cooked – it must have great flavour xx

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  12. Mimi – this looks soooooo delicious! My mom recently visited France, and she told me how delicious the rillettes were there! I can’t wait to try this!

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    • You won’t be disappointed, but the flavor is subtle. If I had a choice, I’d have pate, but many people don’t love the liver aspect. Your mom might have goose rillettes, and there’s a subtley better flavor with those, although it does depend how they’re prepared!

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  13. Beautoful mimi! I just love rillettes and I can’t really ifnd them here in the UK – or for a prohibitive price! I had always assumed thaty were quite difficult to make but your recipe makes it look quite straightforward!

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  14. Chef Mimi, this looked so delectable I went straight to my kitchen and started cooking. The aroma coming from the oven is incredible — can’t wait to taste the final result. (And thank heavens for air conditioning!) It’s worth running the oven for 6 hours for something as wonderful as this — plus I’ll have a freezer stash for the dog days of summer! Thanks.

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