Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thanks to Our Customers

Wooly Pigs's Heath and Zuzi would like to thank everyone who helped to make Saturday a big success. We actually managed to bring the first batch of Mangalitsa to the American public.

It has taken us more than a year, a lot of money, sweat, tears, study and work-related injuries to make this happen. We know more about animal importation, hog fattening, fatty acids, cold storage, butchery, LTL freight, pig herding, electric fences, pig reproduction, jowls, pig noises, castration, ear notching, forage crops, pig scalding, boss sows and pig estrus than we ever thought we'd know.

Many, many peopled helped us to get that first meat to market. We can't list them all here, because we're sure we'll forget to list someone important.

Right now I'd like to thank the customers who showed up on Saturday to buy the very first Mangalitsa ever sold retail in the USA. We really didn't know if you were coming or not.

All along, we've figured that if Europe has the top 1% of its pork products made from Mangalitsa or similar pigs, America, a market of 300 million people - without anything like Mangalitsa - would embrace us. It isn't clear if we'll succeed or not, but the fact that so many of you showed up and paid us for our novel meat (raised sustainably and humanely) gives us faith.

Thank you very much!

PS - If you bought Mangalitsa and are wondering how to prepare it, please check this out, and read the comments too.


Snakeman said...

We purchased some cuts of mangalista meat at the University farmers market last Saturday morning. The cuts were frozen and vacuum packed. Our purchases included the largest shoulder roast available, a couple packages of chops and a belly strip.

The roast was placed in the refrigerator to thaw slowly and the other cuts were placed in the freezer. By yesterday morning the roast was thawed and ready to be prepared.

The shoulder cut weighed just a little less than 2 pounds. Chef Arctic Tundra prepared the roast in a covered roasting pan laying it on a bed of baby fingering potatoes and parsnip slices; it was surrounded by fresh sprigs of herbs and was topped with slices of black truffles and diced shallots.

The roast was cooked very slowly at 200° until its internal temperature reached about 169°.

It took almost 4 hours to cook and the aroma was driving us all mad with anticipation.

A picture of the roast being sliced can be viewed here:

My impressions of the meat are that it did it come out very tender and had a superb flavor. It was slightly on the dry side but I believe this was due to the method of preparation. None of the fat had melted out of the cut and dry roasting for such a long time most likely contributed to this. Some wine or other liquid in the roasting pan would have allowed the vegetables to expand and would probably have addressed this slight imperfection.

Nonetheless it was a very enjoyable experience and we were all excited to be among the first to try this unique dining experience. More experimentation is definitely in order. By the way, the little bit of marrow that we were able to tease out of the bone was indescribably delicious!

Heath said...


Thanks very much for your full description and the photo. That really looks good.

Nancy White said...

We loved our two ham steaks we bought a couple of weeks ago at the U District market. The first time we just had the ham grilled up. Then I diced up leftovers, the bones and it enhanced a leek and potato soup. Yum.

boberica said...

Hi Heath.
I've been a bit tied up for the last couple of days and haven't responded regarding the belly strip dinner, or spare rib bacon strips, or whatever they are called..... we just call them yum!
First off, I should say that this is easily the most decadent cut of pork that I have ever worked with.
I've done plenty with belly, and probably cooked a ton of ribs, but never together, so thank you and your meat cutter for introducing me to this cut.
1) I cut the strips into roughly 2 inch segments, and cut into the fat to fascilitate the rendering and crisping process.
2) I seasoned the pieces aggressively with kosher salt, and frsh cracked black pepper, then marinated them all in white wine and hard spices for about 20 hours.
( the wine was a 2006 estremadura branco, the spices were juniper, allspice, coriander, and fennel)
3)Placed the pieces over some chopped leek tops, and carrot ends in a large shallow roasting pan. Covered them just barely with the rest of the bottle of white wine, and enough chicken stock to just cover the fat side( which was on top!)
4)On the stove top, I brought the whole mess to a boil, dropped some tin foil on top and put in a 300 degree oven covered for 1.5 hours.
5)I pulled it to check on it and the pieces were starting to get tender, figuring I had a bout an hour till doneness, I added one inch cuts of the leek whites, and halved new yellow potatoes, which had both been seasoned before taking a dive in the warm drink. At this point the tin foil is off and I'm looking to reduce the broth a little, cook the veggies, and most imporantly crisp up and carmelize that top ply of the belly.
17) Roughly an hour later, when the potatoes were melty, potatoes tender, and the belly was to friggin golden to talk about, I pulled it.
To the plate, or bowl on this case....

baby spinach, and chopped parsley in the bowl, taters and leeks on top, then a total of about 4 ounces of the crispied rib/belly thing on top. A healthy ladel of wine/mangalitsa broth over top. garnished with a tiny bit of chile flake.....
Every thing is different now...
bob mcgee

Anonymous said...

thats pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

I love it!
I cant wait to show my husband, he's a butcher and there is nothing he loves more than meat

dkodigital said...

Hi there, nice blog. Not sure how it would fit in with my diet, but interesting all the same.

Holy Cuteness said...

That are beautiful piggies!

Executive Sous Chef R. Alan said...


Abe said...

I also purchased a 1.75 lb shoulder roast on that first morning and defrosted in the fridge for a couple days. I kept it pretty simple, salt/pepper/a few spices, searing and then cooking at about 250, removing at an internal temp of about 140, and let it rest for over 15 minutes (where it peaked at about 150) before slicing and serving. Pink, tender, and very juicy. The crusty edges of the fat were so delicious that I find myself wanting to experiment with that specifically.

Also: it was a lot of fun to meet Heath and experience his enthusiasm.

Heath said...


I'm very happy that the roast worked out for you.

Thanks for trusting us on the fat too!

I haven't emphasized how tasty the fat is, but in Austria, they say the fat is the best part of the Mangalitsa.

RattleSnake said...

do you sell any for pets!

Michael said...

I don't dig on swine. (:

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