Friday, February 4, 2011

How the Herbfarm Cures their Necks

We cut our pigs so that we get a Schopf (aka collar, neck or coppa). Jokingly, I sometimes refer to this cut as the "Heath Putnam Farms Austrian Pig Neck cut". To my knowledge, we are the only company selling this cut wholesale to American chefs.

Discriminating customers know that a neck is some of the best meat on a Mangalitsa.

The Herbfarm has been using Mangalitsa pigs longer than almost everyone else in America; they love their Mangalitsa neck. Here's their sous vide recipe (165F for 14 hours).

Besides the Herbfarm, John Besh and his restaurants buy hundreds of pounds a month. Tom Douglas's Serious Pie buys necks and cures them. Macelleria in New York likes them. Bloggers like Anamaris Cousins is are big fans, as are the Eadeses (who know more about Mangalitsa pigs than most people).

Some people like to cure the neck. Here's some cured Mangalitsa neck, done by the Sausage Debauchery guy:

A lot of people get our frozen necks (including the Herbfarm). When curing frozen meat, it is crucial to watch the salt, because it penetrates quicker than with never frozen meat.

I had some customers asking for help on curing previously frozen necks.

I emailed the Herbfarm and asked for info on how they cure the necks without them turning out too salty. Here's what Ben Smart (#2 in the Herbfarm's kitchen wrote):

The very basic cure we use on the necks is:

2.25 Kg pork neck
125 g salt
25 g dextrose
6 g prague #2 or DQ curing salt #2

Rub half of mixture on neck and refrigerate for 9 days. Rub remaining cure and let sit additional 9 days. Rinse, truss and hang in cool, dark place with roughly 70% humidity. When neck is about 70% of its original weight it is cured.

If your customer follows this recipe he should have success. However, half the fun of curing is coming up with additional spices to play with in the rub. He should keep this template and experiment if he chooses...
It is incredibly nice of them to share information, as they already did their ham recipe.

So there you have it; if you want to cure one of our previously frozen necks, that ought to get you started on the right foot.

If you want to order a neck, there's info in the right margin on how to order.

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