I’ve recently been thinking quite a bit about long cooking times. Either overnight or all day, great meals can be made without a lot of fuss and active time.

Since we end up with the pig head a lot after the butchering classes and I don’t have that much time to babysit a cooking pig head during the day, I have taken to cooking overnight. With the pig head I usually stick it into the biggest pot that will fit in the oven and turn it on at 220º. Then I wake up about 4am to the smell of pork permeating the house and get up to turn it off. In the morning I pick the meat and make head cheese.

A few nights ago I put a piece of pork belly (streaky bacon, to the English) and a piece of shoulder into a Descoware dutch oven with a bunch of onions and apple cider. Then we put it in the oven at 235º and went to sleep.

after a night in the oven, pork belly turns to gold.

after a night in the oven, pork belly turns to gold.

In the morning take the meat out of the liquid and let it all cool in the fridge. This allows you to skim off the fat when you get home, reduce the liquid, pull the pork and dig in.

There is a lot you can do with low and slow. You want fattier meat, dark poultry, pork shoulder or belly. Beef short ribs or oxtail work well too.

Be careful if you’re going to be cooking all night while you’re asleep, this can be dangerous. I don’t recommend cooking on the stove, but in the oven while you’re asleep should be ok if you have an electric oven, as there’s no chance of a gas leak if the flame goes out. DO NOT cook overnight in a gas oven.

or you can get a slow cooker and cook all day, or all night!