Thursday, January 10, 2008
I have some rough photos of the Mangalitsa cuts we'll be selling starting on January 19th, at the national debut of Mangalitsa at Seattle's U-District Farmers Market. Please excuse the photos looking washed out - I took them under the processor's fluorescent lights.
The pigs were around 5.5 months, so by Mangalitsa standards, they are young and small. Although some modern pigs would be "market weight" at 5.5 months, lard-type pigs grow very slowly. So there isn't much meat on them at that age.
Normally you'd roast such pigs (as we expect Lark, Le Gourmand, Sitka & Spruce, Stumbling Goat and The Herbfarm will), but seeing as we want to introduce American consumers to Mangalitsa, we need to give them things like chops and steaks so they can try it out easily.
A lot of people will probably find the fat on the cuts to be "excessive" - but if you go to Japan and see how they cut Iberico (an unimproved lard-type breed very similar to Mangalitsa), you'll see that it also has a lot of fat:
A lot of Americans have trouble understanding why you'd eat that fat - but once you've eaten it, you'll understand. Mangalitsa fat is particularly special!
Also, you can't see how the meat tastes from the photos - but if you could eat it, you'd agree that it has a very pleasant, meaty flavor. I just ate some cheek (I took the heads from my pigs), so it is fresh in my mind.
At the very top of the post, there's a photo of a chop. Here are some other chops:
Here's a fresh ham (behind it a chop):
And here's a shoulder roast:
And two pieces, each with a few tiny spareribs and a strip of belly (behind them some leaf lard and other cuts):
I'd never seen that last cut, which is basically some rib segments with some belly attached. The butcher, Larry Ellestad, says it is his favorite cut on a hog. You shouldn't use young hog bellies for bacon, so this seemed like a reasonable way to go.
Anyway, I hope I don't get attacked for not having them trim the fat. In countries that have pork like Mangalitsa, that's how it gets served.
Posted by Heath Putnam at 8:55 PM