Home » How to Make Traditional French Pork Rillette: Simple and Delicious Recipe
Side view of French Pork Rillette with Pickled Red Onions and micro greens

How to Make Traditional French Pork Rillette: Simple and Delicious Recipe

This French Pork Rillette is incredibly easy to prepare and unbelievably delicious! Get that charcuterie platter ready for the star of the show!

Rillette served on platter with condiments
Rillette served on platter with condiments

If you haven’t had a good French Pork Rillette, you’ve been missing out! My first experience with this incredible fare was at a Chicago institution called The Publican. Known for its meat- and beer-centric menu, I tried their rillette and was immediately hooked. Funny enough, three years after that first foray into what’s also known as “Potted Pork,” my wife and I hosted our wedding reception at there. And yes, all guests walked away that night with a favor bag of potted pork, jam, and French bread! Proof of our love for meat below.

Jumping back in time, after that first experience of rillette, I was keen to make it. The following day, I was looking up recipes and at the grocery store buying a pork butt, pork belly, and all the ingredients needed for a good rillette. My first attempt was a total success! I remember sticking the pork in the oven of my apartment and coming back a few hours later to the delicious aroma of pork, white wine, rosemary, and thyme. Since then, I’ve tweaked my recipe here and there, and it eventually fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until I had a bland potted pork at a Michelin-starred restaurant that I knew it was time to pull out the secret recipe. At that moment, my craving was satisfied!

What is French Pork Rillette?

I’m sure many readers are asking themselves this very question… Think of it as the “OG” of pulled pork, but better! Basically, you take fatty pork, cook it in a Dutch oven with more fatty pork, duck fat, white wine, garlic, and a plethora of herbs and spices until the meat is as tender as possible (4-4.5 hours). After you’ve shredded and packed the meat in shallow mason jars, you seal the top with the excess fat and refrigerate it. What comes out is the most flavorful spreadable pork imaginable. It can literally be used on toast for breakfast, on a lunch sandwich, or as a beautiful addition to a charcuterie board. Often, it’s served with a few accompaniments, which I will get to shortly!

French Pork Rillette in Jar with herbs

The Origins of the Rillette

As noted in the title, rillette is French. According to Wikipedia, the etymology of the word (according to Wikipedia) comes from Old French, with “rille” meaning slices of pork and the suffix “ette” meaning little one. Interestingly enough, rillette doesn’t necessarily have to be pork. Traditionally, the French would use goose, duck, rabbit, and even make fish rillette!

The first recognized recipe for pork rillette dates back to 1845, but realistically, the French had likely been making rillettes for much longer than that. If you think about it, the practical reason for the fat cap on top of the meat was to seal it from bacteria, making the rillette shelf-stable. After meat was harvested and butchered, there were realistically three options: eat it all, salt the meat, or can (pot) it. This wasn’t a new or revolutionary idea in 1845.

How To Serve Pork Rillette

Traditionally, a rillette is served on toasted bread or toast points. And of course, while I say toast points, I really mean gluten-free toast points! While I recommend keeping it refrigerated (unless you can it, which I’ve done), you’ll want to serve it closer to room temperature. After you pull the jar out of the fridge, let it sit for 20-30 minutes to soften the cap on the pork before trying to spread it.

In regards to the seven elements of taste, I like to add a few accoutrements to pair with the pork rillette for a beautifully balanced bite. The pork and toast itself cover the elements of salt, fat, and umami. The elements missing are sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy! Spicy isn’t essential, but you do get some spice from the black pepper. Either way, we’ll set this element aside. Here are the garnishes that will help round out that next bite to near perfection.

Pickled Red Onions

I have a recipe included for these delicious slivers. These pickled red onions bring out a few elements of taste: sweetness, sour, and potentially salt. The acidity of the vinegar helps break through the fat, allowing for more flavor, whereas sweetness and salt act like little flavor catalysts for your taste buds.

Fresh Jams

This is to your choosing, as pork pairs well with so many flavors. My favorite jams to serve with pork rillette are blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, or peach! Each jam, depending on the fruit, has a different sweetness level and obvious flavor profile. Peach jam, for example, is relatively subtle in flavor but tends to bring forward more sweetness. Blackberry, on the other hand, has a brighter, fresher flavor but has a more mild sweetness. Instead of picking just one, try out a few different jams!

Whole Grain Mustard

Whole grain mustard not only brings out salt, sour, and umami but also spice! Personally, I think it’s a must. I can forgo many of the other extras, but I love my whole grain mustard. Also, the whole grains bring out an interesting texture. While texture is not technically an element of taste, it’s an essential part of the eating experience.

Micro Greens or Baby Arugula

Microgreens and baby arugula bring out a nice freshness and even some spice to your rillette. Additionally, going back to the whole eating experience, not only does the foliage add texture to your bite, but it’s also visually appealing! Most people immediately judge whether food is good or not well before it gets to their mouths. This is done primarily through sight and scent, so add the greenery.

Other additions to include with your pork rillette are pickles and capers. I won’t go into details, but they’re also very complementary to a rillette.

Overhead view of French Pork Rillette with Pickled Red Onions and micro greens
Overhead view of French Pork Rillette with Pickled Red Onions and micro greens

What is Needed?

As I said, this recipe is pretty simple and while it can be done in an Instant Pot, it really isn’t as good as in the oven. When I first started making this recipe, as a 24-year-old, I didn’t own a Dutch oven. While I recommend getting a Dutch oven, such as my Ingrid from Amazon Basics, you can also use a casserole dish and tin foil just as aptly! And yes, I do name all my Dutch ovens.

So, other than the preferred Dutch oven and mason jars, everything else is pretty standard. And of course, you’ll need the ingredients! The actual prep work takes little time; it’s essentially throwing ingredients into a pot, covering it, and letting it cook in the oven.

Get at it and let me know if you have any questions!

Overhead condiment platter for potted pork with pickled red onions, pickles, microgreens, whole grain mustard, and jam
Overhead condiment platter for potted pork with pickled red onions, pickles, microgreens, whole grain mustard, and jam

Tips and Trick of French Pork Rillette

Use the Right Cut of Pork

Opt for a combination of pork butt and pork belly for the best balance of meat and fat. The pork butt adds a meaty texture, while the pork belly ensures the rillette is rich and spreadable.

Low and Slow Cooking

Cook the pork at a low temperature (around 275°F or 135°C) for 4-4.5 hours. This slow cooking process ensures the meat becomes incredibly tender and infused with the flavors of the herbs, spices, and wine.

Season Generously

Don’t skimp on the seasonings. Use plenty of garlic, rosemary, thyme, and black pepper. The generous seasoning enhances the flavor and makes each bite of the rillette more delightful.

Proper Fat Cap

Ensure you seal the rillette with a generous layer of fat. This fat cap not only preserves the rillette by keeping out air and bacteria but also adds to the luxurious texture. Duck fat is a great option for sealing.

Let It Rest

After cooking and packing the rillette into mason jars, let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a richer and more cohesive taste.

Gluten Free Bread

If you’re looking for a great bread, I’ve recently found Greenlite Foods. They have wonderful artisanal breads that can be found at Whole Foods, the Fresh Market, and I’m sure many other stores… Type in Greenlite Bread into Google and you should find a list of availability in local stores.

Following these tips will help you create a delicious and authentic French pork rillette that’s sure to impress!

If You Like This, I Would Recommend Checking Out These Recipes



Side view of French Pork Rillette with Pickled Red Onions and micro greens

Easy Succulent French Pork Rillette

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Servings 12 8 oz Mason Jars
Calories 536 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • French Pork Rillette
  • Cup Duck or Pork Fat If you can’t find it, use 50% Olive Oil-50% Butter, but it's not as good as the original.
  • 1 lb Salt Pork or Pork Belly- 2 inch cubes Rinsed and soaked in water for 15 minutes if using Salt Pork
  • 3 lbs Pork Shoulder- Boneless and Cubed to 2 inch cubes
  • 7 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Star Anise
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander Seed
  • 4 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 3 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt Use approximately half the salt if you’re using sea, kosher, or table salt
  • 1 tsp Cloves Optional
  • 1 tsp Allspice Optional

Super Quick Pickled Red Onions

  • 3 Cups Red Onions- Sliced Thin
  • ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Whole Coriander Seed
  • 1 tsp Whole Mustard Seed
  • 2 Large Lemon Peel Pieces
  • ½ tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

Instructions
 

French Pork Rillette

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch Oven. Bring it to a boil on your stove. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to the oven.
  • Let it cook covered for minimally 4.5 hours and up to 6 hours. The longer it cooks the softer it becomes, I prefer a more rustic chunkier rillette.
  • Remove rillette from the oven and let it sit with the Dutch Oven cover off for 15-20 minutes. Using tongs or a fork, remove the pork into a large mixing bowl. Remove as many of the large sprigs of herbs, cloves, and allspice as possible. Using the tongs or a fork shred the meat to a fine shredding (more than your BBQ pull pork).
  • Pack the pork into sterile short mason jars pressing down the meat to remove air pockets.
  • Strain the remaining juices and oils in the bowl and your Dutch Oven into a large measuring cup. Then pour the strained oil mixture over the packed pork so that it covers the top of the pork. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate until the oil has solidified.
  • Sealed, the pork can remain in the fridge for up to a month.

Pickled Red Onions

  • Combine the Vinegars, Water, Sugar, Coriander, and Mustard Seeds into a medium sized saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the onions and Lemon Peel, then continue to boil for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and carefully transfer to an oven safe glass dish with a cover. I used a Pyrex storage container. Once the Pickled Onions have cooled for 15-20 minutes, place them in the fridge for 4 hours before eating. Feel free to let the onions continue to pickle. The pickled onions will continue to intensify in flavor for the next 24 hours.
  • Keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition

Serving: 8ozCalories: 536kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 30gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 758mgPotassium: 606mgFiber: 2gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 24IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 2mg
Keyword French, Gluten Free, Pork, Rillette
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

One Comment

  1. Stevens Haen

    5 stars
    Yum!

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