Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monsoon - Speck

I went by Monsoon today and delivered Eric Banh some speck, sirloin and a few Heath Putnam Farms Austrian Pig Necks.

I showed Eric how to use the speck - basically:

1) Remove the rind.
2) Slice as thin as possible.
3) Put on top of warm food.

He made a few dishes for me. They all looked a bit like Kavin Du's dish, pictured above. I'm guessing that in Asia, they'd probably make it like Kavin, with soy sauce and wine vinegar - like Lop Yuk. Our stuff isn't like Lop Yuk - it is like Austrian speck.

In general, I don't think the details on the bacon really matter - so long as it has very high quality fat, it will taste good. The exact herbs don't matter. Whether or not it is smoked doesn't matter. Whether or not it is cured dry, wet or mixed doesn't matter.

The basic problem is that there's a lot of awful bacon - "artisanal" or otherwise - in the USA. Lousy bacon is lousy bacon, whether it is smoked, unsmoked, smoked over applewood, smoked over hickory, etc.

If you ever eat a really great piece of cured pork belly, you aren't going to mind if it is spiced with juniper vs. something else. You won't mind if it is smoked or unsmoked. Mainly you'll notice that it has great flavor and mouthfeel. Maybe one day, when there's a lot of really fantastic bacon available, it will make sense to argue about smoked versus unsmoked, or hickory smoke versus applewood.

I don't know if Eric will keep buying our speck - but at least today, he agreed it added a very nice touch to his dishes, at very little expense. Although the stuff is very expensive (per pound), a little bit goes a long way.

Finally, it was very nice for me to be able to go to a restaurant that I like being in, bring them my product and have them make me some food with it. Yes, it is a bit like a wine snob bringing his own wine to a restaurant - but what else is someone to do? I'd rather bring my speck in and have him make something with that than do without.

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