I don't have cable, but I found a synopsis of the show here.
First, I should say, I'm happy Heath Putnam Farms has finally reached the "Iron Chef" milestone. I'm happy to see our product getting positioned next to Wagyu beef.
When I read the synopsis, I saw this:
That surprised me. Mangalitsa lardo is the best! How could he lose?
Tsai: Mangalitsa Pork
Hopes were high for Chef Ming Tsai, as they have been all season, but was his style too 80’s-ish? His mangalitsa pork and pork shumai in hot and sour soup was sensational. But his slow poached lardo with grilled cepes brought out mixed reviews. Donatella even called it off-putting. His last, grilled mangalitsa pork loin with bordelaise sauce, was satisfying. Symon called his dishes the most focused they’ve been all season.
A few seconds of reflection led me to: you can't make lardo in an afternoon. It takes a few weeks just to make "salo" (Ukrainian plain lardo). Lardo has a lower water activity than fatback, and it melts better on the tongue than fatback.
Based on what I know now, Tsai's dish would be better described as a fatback crepe. It wouldn't be terrible, but a lot of people wouldn't love it, the way they might the pictured fish dish from Houston's Kata Robata (which has Mangalitsa lardo), because the fat could be a little unyielding.
A customer wrote me to say that Tsai deserved credit for using the fat so boldly. I can see that; he recognized that Mangalitsa fat is wonderful and tried to use it. Too bad he didn't have enough time to make real lardo.
Enough of that - time to celebrate our achievements. It is great that lots of people now know that Mangalitsa pork is fantastic - because they saw it on TV.
Anyway, I remember selling these guys the meat they used in the show, at the end of June. I got a call from a chef in Las Vegas. They needed a bunch of loins for a Food Network show featuring the most expensive meat. We sent them direct from Swiss Meat and Sausage Company, our processor. It was a big rush to get the stuff out, because we had little time to make the Fedex deadlines, and we had a bunch of other stuff going on. The chef said it was for a TV show, but wouldn't say anything more, except that they needed our meat for a show featuring the best ingredients.
Now we know what it was.