Making Pork Rillettes?

The holidays are coming up, and we’ve been invited to a few places. I’ve been asked to bring an appetizer/hors d’oeuvres for a couple of them. I’ve been wanting to try making pork rillettes, so I thought that might a nice change from the usual appetizer standbys. I was thinking I’ll serve the rillettes along with some sliced baguette, cornichons, and maybe some pickled onion.

Has anyone here made their own rillettes? Any tried and true recipes, or tips for me? I’ve found a few recipes online, and I’m leaning towards Mark Bittman’s version:

(No, Hungry Onion, my topic is not similar to “Questions on making a verde sauce”… :roll_eyes: )


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I’ve only made duck rillettes. It isn’t that hard to make and delicious! I’ve trusted Bittman in the past and he hasn’t done me wrong, so following his recipes should work. Great idea!

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I’ve made rillettes a couple of times, using Elizabeth David’s recipe from French Provincial Cooking. The book was first published in 1960, in the days before we used metric so apologies for the old fashioned weights and temperatures (although neither will be old fashioned to Americans).

She uses 2lb of belly pork and a 1lb pork fat (although if you get very fatty belly pork just use 3lb of that - it works fine). Rub it with salt and leave overnight. Cut the into small strips - she describes it as “shorter than a match and about twice as thick” - and the fat, if using, into small chunks. Put in to an ovenproof dish with a crushed clove of garlic, bouquet garni, pepper and a “soup ladle of water”. Put the lid on and cook at 290F for about 4 hours. When cook, drain through a sieve (retaining the fat) and then shred the meat, packing into pots. Pour a layer of fat over.


I make them often, and would just make a few observations.

Firstly a slow cooker works really well for rillettes. I have a small (3qt/3.5l) model which is fine for my quantities. About 6 hours usually does it. Secondly skinless pork belly strips are universally available in supermarkets here in the UK, and they make excellent rillettes. If you are just shopping in a supermarket which is unlikely to sell pork fat just use lard. Third point is that you only need to follow the guidance common to all the recipes available online. All the variations such as adding ground juniper berries/allspice/nutmeg/etc. etc. are less vital, as is seasoning overnight prior to cooking. Make a trial batch and decide for yourself what extra flavours would help. Lastly use a bit of neutral oil to loosen when mashing (use a fork or potato masher, machinery not needed). Otherwise the product is unspreadably firm when it comes out of the fridge. The stuff you buy in the shops is more paste than solid.


I’ve actually never bought rillettes – I’ve only had them in restaurants, and only those that do their own charcuterie. Of course, they may have cheated and used a store bought rillette, who knows! The rillettes I’ve had have always been a looser, spreadable consistency, as opposed to a dryer, crumbly type.

I just suggested the oil as my earlier efforts all came out of the fridge about as spreadable as cold butter. Good luck!

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I think when the rillettes is left half an hour or an hour outside the fridge before serving, shouldn’t have hard fat problem. What gives the taste is the fat.

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I’m with naf. Nothing tastes good straight from the fridge.

I’m glad you both mentioned this. I’ve only had rillettes at room temperature, maybe a touch cooler. I’ve never had them cold, so I was wondering if they were supposed to be cold and I just hadn’t been served them that way before!