Pork Shoulder Steak and Ranch Dressing

I’ve never really understood the appeal of ranch dressing. I guess it must be an American thing, but I’ve just never really been wow’ed by it. Sure, it’s tangy and creamy, but ranch has never been at the top of my dressing list. The thing with me and ranch dressing is that I’m not sure what to eat it with. It seems a bit heavy for salad dressing, and like with oysters I prefer raw vegetables naked.

Chang’s Ramp Ranch Dressing recipe calls for ramps. I’ve never seen ramps in Vancouver, and as it usually goes with Momofuku ingredients, my ramp search turned up nothing. Based on my indifference for ranch, I didn’t search too hard, especially since Chang says that if you can’t find ramps you can substitute store-bought picked pearl onions, which is just what I did.

To make the Ramp Ranch Dressing, you combine buttermilk, lemon, ramps (pickled onions), scallions, and kewpie mayo. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did: the dressing tasted just like ranch! I never knew you could make the signature ranch taste with so few ingredients. It was creamy, tangy and extremely fresh and refreshing. I couldn’t stop dipping my fingers into the dressing for another taste.

The ranch dressing tasted fabulous on the pork shoulder steak. The creamy, tangy, smoothness of the dressing went fantastically with the smoky, charred pork.

The pork in this dish is pork shoulder steak. I’ve never heard of this cut of meat before; basically they’re steaks cut from pork shoulder. They’re supposed to be like pork chops, but better because they have more fat marbled throughout.

They didn’t have any shoulder steaks at the butcher so I bought a chunk of shoulder and cut them into “steaks.” This probably wasn’t what Chang had in mind when he put this recipe in the book. He talks about Bev Eggleston’s pork, which is supposed to be “magic.” My pork wasn’t magic. Though it tasted alright, it wasn’t so fantastic that I’ll be making this again. I ever have the chance, I definitely want to try Eggleston’s magical pork.

Regardless of the pork however, I learned something else. Ranch, I was wrong about you.

16 Comments add yours

  1. Glad to see that you found a liking for ranch, try it on popcorn or fried cheese curds, so tasty. I have to admit that I’ve never made ranch from scratch and yours is quite ambitious, too cool. Thanks for the great pics and recipe, and even just OK pork is better than no pork at all?

    Hmm, ranch dressing on popcorn? I’ll have to try that. And pork is good always!

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 12:51 am
  2. Too bad the pork wasn’t what you wanted. What was your issue with it?

    Brian,
    I just thought it was going to be mind-blowing. It was good, just not mind-blowing. It’s a interesting way to cook pork shoulder though, I’ve never had it like that before.

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 12:52 am
  3. Ranch dressing can be good on some chips.
    I think it is one of those things that taste pretty good homemade, but from a bottle you just have to be one of those people who like that specific taste. You know, they use the same thickeners and additives in them so they end up gloppy and overly sweet.

    Consider real Italian or French dressing compared to what Kraft has.

    It’s true, homemade, real stuff is always better than mass produced.

    I’ll have to try ranch with chips!

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 12:53 am
  4. pickled onions = ramps?? Maybe I am confused about what ramps are…

    Ramps are also known as spring onions and are members of the Allium family, so they are related.
    The white part looks like a scallion/green onion, but the green part has a couple of big leaves instead of the tubular green part of a scallion.

    The pickled part confuses me though.

    I guess pickled pearl onions taste like fresh ramps? Or maybe when you combine all the ingredients together it just manages to work somehow.

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 12:56 am
    Andy on March 28th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Nope, ramps are ramps, those wild leek like vegetables. I think pickled onions just simulates the flavour somehow.

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 12:56 am
  5. I love Chang’s Book and have eaten at a few of his restaurants. I have also cooked pork shoulder in a variety of ways but i could never understand this recipe. Pork shoulder has a lot of connective tissue which is why it is usually cooked for long periods of time. How this ‘steak’ could be tender is beyond me.

    -BTW I love your blog

    I totally agree with you! I’m not sure how it can be tender either. I guess there’s a world of difference between regular pork shoulder steaks and Bev Eggleston’s pork shoulder steaks, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tasted it.

    I made this yesterday with pork butt steaks from my amazing local butcher (where the meat is so good that I drive an hour to buy it there and I can no longer bring myself to cook with meat from anywhere else…) and it was awesome. The pork steaks reminded me of a rib-eye: tender, juicy, and delicious. Maybe it’s all about the source of the pork?

    I have pictures of it here:
    http://emilysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/2010/04/sunday-cookbook-adventures-momofuku_11.html

    I think it is about the source of the pork so I’m going to have to find me some delicious pork shoulder steaks from somewhere…

    Thanks for sharing your post, your pork looks amazing!

    steph on April 11th, 2010 at 10:35 pm
    emmo on April 11th, 2010 at 7:19 am
    steph on March 30th, 2010 at 5:21 pm
  6. Thats a great picture with the pork shoulder in the pan.

    Thanks!

    steph on March 30th, 2010 at 5:22 pm
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