Message from the USA - Sliced pork according to a traditional American recipe

10 years ago, the culinary blog “Ratatouille” appeared in the Georgian virtual space. Unlike the culinary websites of that period, the authors of “Ratatouille” told us about real, home-cooked dishes, taking appetizing photos, which was a rarity at that time.

Our today’s guest is Nino Jananashvili, co-author of Ratatouille. Nino has been living with her family for 7 years in Silicon Valley, near San Francisco, USA, working on Facebook as a quality control analyst in the Brand Security team.

“Ratatouille” was one of the first Georgian-language food blogs. What distinguished us from other culinary websites or pages was that everything we wrote was made in our own kitchen.  About 10 years ago, this was news because almost every website or magazine published translated and untested recipes.

Working with a professional camera has really contributed to the success - although most of them were not professional quality food photos. When I look at it today, I think I would take many photos in a different way, composition, style, decor, camera, direction of light…

Despite everything, “Ratatouille” was really innovation in the culinary online space of that time. The blog has become very popular, lots of people have written to us both on Facebook and on other blog. We answered all questions, revealed all the secrets of cooking, tested a lot of methods and ideas, posted step-by-step photos with detailed instructions. Such direct, personal and two-way communication with the reader, sharing emotion with the author behind the monitor was not established and we changed that in our space.

While living in Tbilisi, I combined my work and hobbies, working on the media palette for the creation and development of the magazine “Delicious” and the website -

Eka and I, the author of “Ratatouille”, met each other on the online, where she was looking for a French teacher, and I responded to her. In parallel with teaching French, we discovered that we also loved cooking. In my free time I wrote in the culinary section of and met a lot of interesting people with whom I still communicate. Then we decided to make a blog. This gave me great pleasure at that time. I bought a good camera, lots of accessories, beautiful plates, décor, especially for that purpose. The blog has become very popular and we have seen it several times on TV and radio. Unfortunately, “Ratatouille” is currently switched off due to technical problems.

I live in Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area. This area is very different from the rest of America, surprisingly diverse and mixed. The reason for this is, first of all, that here is the so-called the world Tech Hub. Accordingly, it attracts a lot of immigrants around the world. There is nothing traditional-American here, such as in the Midwest or the Southern States, everyone brings their own traditions. There are plenty of Latinos living in California, so Mexican and Latin American cuisines are popular. Here you will also find all kinds of Asian dishes. We also have several Georgian restaurants, which, hopefully, will be further developed.

I often cook Georgian dishes at home. Due to the fast pace of life, I can not stand before the oven for hours, but eating outside, the so-called “Take out”, frozen semi-finished products and fast food are on the banned list and I “force” everyone to eat only home-cooked dinner. I try to use more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, less meat, less fat and sugar in the menu. The sweets here are over-sweetened, so I bake cakes, cookies at home, where I can control fat and sugar.

How did you start cooking? What was the inspiration?

My culinary adventure began at Dumas French Language Center when I first picked up French glossy culinary magazines, an illustrated encyclopedia of Larousse gastronomy, and books by French chefs. Since then, French cuisine has been my favorite top-three along with Georgian and Italian cuisine. From French blogs I learned confectionery, baking cakes, creams, biscuits, lots of tricks, details that seem to be nothing but change the result. I am amazed by patience and scientific approach that the French have towards food.

The dish I have chose is, Pulled pork - sliced pork, a traditional American dish that is prepared on the grill, in the oven or now in an Instant Pot (Slow cooker).   

Essentially, it is a piece of pork neck that is fried slightly, roasted at medium temperature for a long time until it is dissolved by a fork. But pork “threads” should remain moist, tender, soft, juicy and aromatic - which is relatively difficult to achieve and that is the main secret of the dish.

There is no one universal recipe for this dish, but the preparation technique is always the same.

First of all, you need to choose the right piece of meat. The neck and shoulder part is the best part and contain medium fat. It is better to have 1 large piece than 2-3 small ones, because in case of large size the meat remains more juicy and tender. The juice in which the meat is cooked depends on our taste and can be a mixture of beer, broth and barbecue sauce, wine, water and chopped vegetables. The meat is cooked for 4-5 hours at a low temperature, eaten with salad coleslaw (the recipe can be found on the site of the gastronomic guide), with puree. The remaining meat is used to make burgers, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, etc.

Below I offer two options. Choose which is more acceptable or ingredients are readily available at the time of preparation.

  • Pork neck or shoulder piece - 2.7-3 kg
  • Liquid smoke 1 tablespoon (optional, added when cooking without a grill, for example in the oven)
  • Mix of spices to be applied on meat:
  • Smoked or ordinary paprika - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic powder 2 tbsp (or 3-4 cloves of garlic)
  • Salt - 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp or to taste
  • Brown sugar - 2 tbsp


For the sauce:

  • 500-700 ml beer
  • 1 large onion

Or the second version:

  • 1-1.5 cups of broth (250 ml cup is used for measuring)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 large onion

Preheat oven to 150 ° C | 300F

Mix together the smoked paprika, garlic powder or crushed garlic, salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper.

Remove excess fat and skin from meat.

Cut the top layer of meat with a sharp knife. Stir in the prepared spice mixture.

Place the chopped onion in a deep bowl, place the pork over, the fatty side on top. Pour beer and liquid smoke (if using) around the meat.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil (foil) and bake in the oven for 4-4.5 hours, periodically soak the meat with its own sauce; Add more beer if necessary (if the sauce is dried or reduces).

After 4 - 4.5 hours, remove the foil and continue cooking for another 30-40 minutes until the pork center reaches 82 ° C | 180F on a meat thermometer. (Time is conditional, it may take a little more or less, depending on the meat, the oven… The main thing is that the meat does not dries, but is cooked perfectly from above.)

Remove the pork from the oven, cover again with its own foil and leave for at least 30 minutes.

Then take out the meat, remove unwanted fat and cut it with a fork. Squeeze the remaining sauce and pour over meat as much as you want.

 If you choose a second sauce, mix together the broth, barbecue sauce, liquid smoke (if using). Pour over the meat and cook in the same manner as described above. Pour the minced sauce over the sliced meat.

Personally, the aroma of liquid smoke seems to me a bit spicy and can not be compared to the natural aroma of the grill, so I often leave it.  The barbecue sauce already has a smoky aroma that goes very well with meat.