Pork Rillettes

Pork rillettes probably sound fancy, but really they’re the opposite of fancy. Their presentation is rustic, and 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 rillettes, with great flavor!!!

By Published On: July 20th, 201569 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

69 Comments

  1. cookinginsens July 20, 2015 at 8:09 AM - Reply

    Goose rillettes are my favorite but I’ll take any ole homemade rillettes :)

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 8:32 AM - Reply

      They actually taste very similar, to my tastebuds! Just fabulous stuff!

  2. Darya July 20, 2015 at 9:09 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 9:12 AM - Reply

      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!

      • Darya July 20, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        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)

  3. DellaCucinaPovera July 20, 2015 at 9:23 AM - Reply

    ah – you had me with duck fat<3

  4. thesinglegourmetandtraveller July 20, 2015 at 9:52 AM - Reply

    Delicious. One of my favourite things, especially when I’m in France.

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      And why are they so fabulous? It’s interesting, when they’re really so plain!

      • StefanGourmet July 20, 2015 at 10:57 AM

        It’s the fat that makes them fabulous if you ask me.

  5. Chica Andaluza July 20, 2015 at 10:33 AM - Reply

    Absolutley beautiful – why have I never made them?!

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:40 PM - Reply

      I don’t know! They’re really fun. If I had to choose, I’d have to choose pate, but they’re still really fun.

  6. Our Growing Paynes July 20, 2015 at 10:50 AM - Reply

    I saw rillettes on some menus there but my google translator proved to be utterly useless so I didn’t know what they were. My loss based on this recipe.

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:39 PM - Reply

      oh, well that’s too bad. But in a way they’re also bland, or should I say subtle. So if you ever got some pate or terrine slices while you were in France, then I’m sure those didnt disappoint!

  7. StefanGourmet July 20, 2015 at 10:56 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:38 PM - Reply

      ooops! Thanks for catching that. I bet sous vide would work, because it’s essentially pulled pork, at least how the Americans do it!

    • safifer July 21, 2015 at 7:22 PM - Reply

      I hope you try this with the sous-vide and give us a post on your blog! That seems like it should make awesome rillettes.

  8. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso July 20, 2015 at 11:12 AM - Reply

    mmmm I’m salivating here only by the photos, and can imagine how tasty it is in reality. Lucky friend! :)

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:37 PM - Reply

      Thanks! We always cook for each other anyway, but the rillettes allowed us to reminisce about our fun trip!

      • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso July 20, 2015 at 7:24 PM

        Indeed some dishes deliver memories and feelings on top of the actual food… What a nice way to remember a trip. :)

  9. Amanda | What's Cooking July 20, 2015 at 11:38 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:36 PM - Reply

      Thank you! Ken and Jody have a recipe? I obviously missed that. With chicken, do you only use thighs?

      • Amanda | What's Cooking July 20, 2015 at 7:06 PM

        Yes! They used preserved lemons too! It was from last year. I used thighs only. You need the fat. And I used the slow cooker. Good stuff.

  10. anotherfoodieblogger July 20, 2015 at 11:49 AM - Reply

    Yumm, I am salivating over the thought of making this sometime! Do you think an electric hand mixer would work? I don’t have a stand mixer.

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:35 PM - Reply

      I think it would. It’s just like separating pulled pork – but you want small “strands.” It could even be chopped.

  11. The Literate Chef July 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM - Reply

    Oh, Mimi. My mouth is watering. I cannot wait to try this. Thanks for a great post.

  12. My French Heaven July 20, 2015 at 1:15 PM - Reply

    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! ;)

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:34 PM - Reply

      No, Stephane, because it’s just shitty bread here and it doesn’t work quite the same. So I just served a little Dijon, which can be overpowering, but I love the combination!

  13. eliotthecat July 20, 2015 at 3:12 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:33 PM - Reply

      We were actually practically in tears remembering all the good times, food, and drink!

  14. SweetRevelations July 20, 2015 at 3:49 PM - Reply

    I love picking away at trays like this! Fresh bread, good wine, olives, cheese and pâté, ooh yes! Trying this!

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:32 PM - Reply

      They’re fun to make, and yes, I could live just on hors d’oeuvres!

  15. dianeskitchentable July 20, 2015 at 4:12 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi July 20, 2015 at 6:32 PM - Reply

      I love spreadable meat. I mean, what’s not to love!!!

  16. Mr Fitz July 20, 2015 at 4:23 PM - Reply

    Superb! Love these.. Just love em!

  17. Anna Buckley July 20, 2015 at 5:27 PM - Reply

    Rillettes, sourdough and cornichons…heavenly chef Mimi x

  18. bitsandbreadcrumbs July 20, 2015 at 10:07 PM - Reply

    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!

  19. thepaddingtonfoodie July 20, 2015 at 10:25 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi July 21, 2015 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      That’s a wonderful idea! I love terrines, too…

  20. The Gourmet Gourmand July 20, 2015 at 11:12 PM - Reply

    Omg! That’s what rillettes are!! I have definitely eaten this before thinking it was pate and thinking “there is no liver in this and that makes me happy, but what the heck is this???” GREAT post!

    • chef mimi July 21, 2015 at 9:57 AM - Reply

      I read your comment to my husband. I practically forced him to try the rillettes I made recently, and he did, but only one bite. He says it’s a mental thing, but he’s just sure I’ve snuck liver into them. Oh well, more for me!

  21. cheergerm July 21, 2015 at 6:45 AM - Reply

    Nice one CM. Will remember this next time we have leftover pork. Evocative photos.

  22. Karen July 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM - Reply

    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!

  23. safifer July 21, 2015 at 7:20 PM - Reply

    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!

  24. hotlyspiced July 22, 2015 at 11:42 PM - Reply

    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

    • chef mimi July 23, 2015 at 8:58 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It’s flavorful, but in a meaty way!

  25. Heather @ Sweet Precision July 23, 2015 at 1:34 PM - Reply

    How have I never heard of Pork Rillettes before?! I fell in love with terrine during a visit to France a few years ago and this reminds me of that in a way. I can imagine that it has a wonderful and almost creamy texture?!

    • chef mimi July 24, 2015 at 9:36 PM - Reply

      Not creamy, but soft and spreadable. Nothing you would slice like a terrine – more like a coarse pate!

  26. Paige July 23, 2015 at 2:54 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi July 24, 2015 at 9:42 PM - Reply

      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!

  27. Charlotte July 26, 2015 at 10:45 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi July 26, 2015 at 3:11 PM - Reply

      they’re not only easy to make, but they can be made from an “inferior” piece of meat, what we call pork shoulder or a pork butt. Anything with marbling!

  28. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome July 26, 2015 at 3:54 PM - Reply

    Very nice! Duck rillettes are some of my fav to make when I have some confit. So simple!

  29. Kim Bultman August 11, 2015 at 7:33 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi August 11, 2015 at 9:03 AM - Reply

      Yes, you will have rillettes through the winter months I imagine!

  30. Sabrina September 26, 2015 at 9:20 AM - Reply

    I love duck rillettes and I’m sure I would love this too! Looks delicious!

    • chef mimi September 26, 2015 at 3:20 PM - Reply

      They taste so similar to goose rillettes!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2015 at 11:42 PM - Reply

      They’re very similar to goose rillettes, which I’ve had in France. Not sure I could tell the difference, in fact!

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