Monday, January 28, 2008
When we got our Mangalitsa pigs cut and wrapped recently. Tom and Larry Ellestad of Vern's Moses Lake Meats gave me a lot of tips on how to cut the pigs. Larry Ellestad pointed out that due to the pigs being so young, we'd better leave a strip of belly on the ribs.
That's a known problem with Mangalitsa pigs: they mature slowly, so the bellies of young pigs are small and quite fatty - there's almost nothing there.
I didn't really understand Larry's suggestion - because I imagined he meant to cut along the ribs somehow, which, as the picture shows, he didn't:
They labeled this cut "spareribs." It might as well be named "belly" - as there's more belly on there than ribs.
Larry's cut is very smart. The ribs contribute a lot of flavor, and the rib meat is wonderful. Serious foodies who've bought this cut are already very happy - like this one.
One thing I like about this is that this is the first American interpretation of Mangalitsa. In Austria, they like to do fancy butchery, with minimum use of the bandsaw. Larry's cut (through the ribs) is made possible by liberal use of the bandsaw.
I just saw today that Rebekah Denn (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) cooked up her spareribs - and she's got a glowing report, along with a very nice photograph of the dish, which looks really "cave man" with the ribs poking out. Here's her photo:
I'm wondering what to call this cut, and am soliciting suggestions. "Spareribs" doesn't do it justice. Its got belly, fat and ribs. This cut "goes to 11." Around the home, we call this the "Notorious C.U.T." - but we are looking for a more apt term. If you have a suggestion, please leave it in a comment.
Posted by Heath Putnam at 12:37 PM