In its home province of Pampanga in the central Philippines, sisig is a rough-hewn dish of chopped pig ears and jowls, first boiled, then braised and fried before ending up heaped onto iron sizzle platters. Here in the U.S., on the streets of San Francisco, Chef William Pilz makes a less rustic version that he serves from his Filipino food truck, Hapa SF. Pilz adds sustainably raised pork shoulder to the ear-jowl mix, marinating the meats overnight in an aromatic soy brine before braising, simmering, or roasting each separately. The final step calls for seasoning the meats with sautéed onion, chiles, and calamansi juice. It’s a two-day process with a succulent payoff, assuming you’ve thought to provide sisig’s two essential accompaniments: hot rice and cold beer.
What to buy: A meat purveyor who specializes in whole-animal butchery is your best source for the jowl and human-grade pig’s ear. Jowl has generous streaks of fat, much like pork belly, which makes a good substitute.
The calamansi is a smaller, slightly milder cousin of the lime—if you can’t find it in your local Asian market, fresh lime juice makes an acceptable substitute.
Game plan: The shoulder, jowl, and pig’s ear can all be cooked up to 2 days ahead and stored separately in the refrigerator. Cut them up and do the final sauté when ready to serve.
For the pork:
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