Ground coffee in a braised pork dish? I was skeptical. But no, you can't taste it and no, you don't get a gritty texture. It adds a depth of flavor, along the lines of what chocolate does for molé. I'll make this again.
This was prepared by Richard Blais in Top Chef, Season 4. The judges raved about it and now, I do, too.
And by the way, my friend Butch swears by a coffee-brined grilled chicken recipe (by the BBQ god, Steve Raichlen) I haven't yet tried.
Braised Coffee-BBQ Pork Shoulder
4 pork shoulders, cut into 12 oz pieces
4 T ground coffee
6 T barbeque spice (the recipe called for 12)
1 carrot, chopped small
1 large onion, chopped small
2 T Five-spice powder, or equal parts star anise, cinnamon, cloves
1/2-1 cup cider vinegar
3 c. veal or duck or dark chicken stock
1 c. red wine
Brine the pork overnight in 1/2 c kosher salt per quart of water.
Rinse and dry the pork. Season with the coffee and barbeque spice.
Use a heavyweight 5-quart pot that has a lid. Sear the pork golden brown in cooking oil. Remove to a paper towel and add the carrots and onion to the pan; toast the spices in the pan as well. Deglaze with the cider vinegar and add the pork back to the pan, then the stock, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer with lid on for 2-3 hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Check every 45 minutes or so and add water if the sauce is going dry.