Uncommon pork cuts from Chef Jesse Morrison at The Common
When I met some friends after work one Friday at The Common’s new location on 109 street and 99 ave in Edmonton, I was impressed with the unique pork options on the menu. An ideal place to meet for drinks after work, the scene was hip and the food coming out of the kitchen looked incredible.
I was eager to chat with the chef, but it was packed he couldn’t get away from the kitchen so I left my card.
I connected with The Common‘s chef, Jesse Morrison, who recognized my last name (it turns out he used to break dance my brother). Excited to meet a chef who is also a B Boy, Jesse invited me back to The Common to learn a little more about what he is doing to make some secondary pork cuts a number one option on the menu at The Common.
POUTINE . RED BRAISED PORK, CHEESE CURDS, SCALLIONS, GRAVY $11
I got an eyeful of Jesse’s braised pork belly poutine on my second visit to the common. I was used to seeing roasted cuts of belly, but this dish of skinny fries smothered and covered in pulled pork belly (and a gravy made from the juices/stock) is a popular snack off the menu.
MAC & CHEESE . HAM HOCK, CAULIFLOWER, PEAS, PANKO CRUST $8.50
This was the first time I had seen pork hocks accompanying mac and cheese on a menu. Braised at 200 degrees for 16 hours, the meat from hocks is firmer when pulled off the bone, and Jesse has created a complimentary texture that goes well with the ultimate comfort food. This dish is getting an update for the summer menu, so if you want to try this… you better head down this weekend. (Or you cross your fingers it comes back in the fall).
BRAISED PORK SHOULDER . CABBAGE ROLLS, CELERY ROOT PUREE, WALNUT & CHILE PESTO . $18
Converting collagen to gelatin is key to achieving a tender pork shoulder, and slowly braising this cut leads to those melt in your mouth pieces of pork you don’t even need a fork to pull apart. Reusing the foil from butter to reheat his cabbage rolls, I watched Jesse recreate a dish in minutes that involved some serious prep time. Slowly cooked, this dish will not take long to devour.
The skin is removed from the shoulder, hocks, and belly after they have respectively been braised. Jesse dries the skin and is prone to deep fry it to be served as bar snacks. Braising juices and iiquids are saved and reserved as gravies and other sauces.
Not wanting to waste any party of the animal, Jesse is helping to create awareness and demand of some underrated cuts from the pig. Secondary cuts are also more economical, which is important to help keep everything on the menu at The Common under $20.
The new menu launches the last week on June and Jesse told me he will be serving pork tenderloin made with BBQ spices, with grilled peaches and corn succotash. Whether it is lunch, supper, day or night, Jesse Morrison is serving up some tasty pork dishes worth devouring.