Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mangalitsa Ham - Foreign Videos

I found some videos on YouTube about Mangalitsa ham. It is amazing how much wealth they've got tied up in their pigs, ham inventory, facilities, etc.

Watching that first video, you can hear that they decided to import the Hungarian spelling "Mangalica" to Spain - but to pronounce it differently. I cringe every time I hear them say "manga-lee-ka". Wooly Pigs took a different approach - use a phonetic spelling.

The second video shows how the Hungarians raise their pigs, which is similar to how the Spanish raise their Iberico in Spain.

Its fun to see the very fat pigs running around, shaking like blobs of jello. As in this next video, that I made in Austria, you can see that the fat pigs hate running, and are looking for an excuse to slow down:

Here's a third video. It shares footage with the other two:


chris windus said...

That's pretty awesome Heath! Do you know what they rub on the ham after curing on the exposed meat? We have had plenty of Iberico come through here and we have been trying to figure out what they use. Most of the recipes that we use call for the exposed meat to be rubbed in a mixture of cracked pepper and lard to protect the meat or smoking the ham after curing. Theirs seems more like a mixture of semolina and lard spread over the meat. Any idea of what they use? We love our country hams down here but I would like to have something old world in the works.

Heath said...

I don't know. I have some books from Spain on Iberico production, but I don't know Spanish, so answering your question will take a while.

I'll get to it - but I've got some fires to put out today.

I've heard that in Italy, they use wheat paste and lard. One thing that's good about wheat is that (unlike corn), it doesn't go rancid.

chris windus said...

Brian Baxter sent me video on La Quercia in Iowa http://www.vimeo.com/4763466
He mentions a mixture of lard, corn flour, salt and spices that is rubbed on their hams at a certain stage of the process.

Heath said...

Chris - Here's an article that mentions Herb Eckhouse rubbing his hams with corn. It also mentions that they don't do that in Italy: http://www.laquercia.us/files/07.07.04.amyla-fo-laquercia-2.pdf

They also don't finish their pigs used for prosciutto on corn in Italy, unlike in the USA. You can read about that here:

As I already explained, they don't use corn paste in Europe because it goes rancid. Regardless of what they feed their pigs, they've got standards on fat composition that ensure they don't make cured products from unsuitable raw material.

In America, people are a lot more tolerant of rancid fat. I wrote about that previously here: http://woolypigs.blogspot.com/2009/02/soft-pork-mangalitsa-fat-quality-and.html

In general, one of the reasons that Wooly Pigs has been able to make such headway in so little time is that American farmers and American meat processors know very little about what it takes to produce high quality pork and products, or if they do know, they don't care.

It has been ridiculously easy for Wooly Pigs to come in and position itself as America's super-premium producer of pork.

If I were in your shoes and wanted to make the best products, I would do what I myself did: go to Europe, find the people who make the best and do what they tell you to do.

When you talk with them, you will find out that a lot of what Americans do on a routine basis is wrong. You will also find out that a lot of things that Americans think are bad aren't bad.