Haitian Griot: Worth the trouble and then some

Haitian Griot: Worth the trouble and then some

I lived in Port au Prince Haiti during some of formative years, and so I often get called on to make a recommendation when folks are visiting a Haitian restaurant. I always tell them to try to the Griot, whether they are pork eaters or not. It's simply too tasty to pass up.

The basic recipe for griot, which is a form of marinated, baked and then fried pork, is not too tricky. You start with boneless pork shoulder, cut into large cubes. It's best to keep the thick layer of fat on the outside, both because it's tasty and because the meat gets dry without it. In Haiti, you often get griot with a little bit of hair still on it, which I like a great deal, but I suppose the average person does not.

In addition to the pork shoulder, you'll need orange juice (sour orange if you can get it), salt, garlic, and oil. You marinate the cut up pork shoulder overnight, then boil it, then fry it, and serve it warm. I use olive oil for the frying (do it on the stove top, although it can be done in the oven as well); in Haiti a rather generic mixed vegetable oil is often used for this component. Ideally you should serve it with the marinade (cooked up all together) and something called Haitian pikliz, which is a super tasty spicy garnish made of cabbage, carrots, onions, vinegar and scotch bonnet peppers.

Or probably, you should just try this at a Haitian Restaurant. In New York, the best one is Kombit in Brooklyn. In other large cities, look for any Haitian restaurant with lots of cabs parked out front.