Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Austrian Cuts

Pork skirt steak - wrap/roll and braise or sous vide.

As previously mentioned, the Wiesners visited America to teach hobbyists, chefs and meat processors about Mangalitsa pigs. At the second class there were three meat processors specializing in cured pork products: one from a huge company, one from a medium-sized company and one from a startup.

Shoulder cut for cured ham.

After Pigstock 2010 classes, the Wiesners visited our processor, Swiss Meats, to show them how to tailor their operation to our Mangalitsa pigs. I’m happy to report that they’ve trained the staff at Swiss to cut pigs with seam butchery techniques. As a result, we have a number of cuts that are novel to America, but beloved in Central Europe.

Neck with rib meat rolled up. Stuff and roast, cure or slice for coppa steaks.
How the pigs are cut is very important, because it has such an impact on the quality of the final products. For instance, country-hams are dry because of how they are cut. Our new shoulder and ham cuts will allow our customers to produce hams that will be moister. Likewise, the staff at our processor has been trained to harvest the high-quality hard fat for salami or lardo - an operation that wouldn't typically be done in an American slaughterhouse.

Neck with rib meat - back side.


Sirloin - ribs pulled, boned out.

To my knowledge, this is a first for the USA; I don’t know of any other USDA-inspected slaughterhouse able to turn out seam butchery cuts. Wooly Pigs is proud to make this happen. It is entirely in keeping with our spare-no-expenses approach to quality.

You can order these cuts from Foods in Season.

Rack loin, ribs pulled, spine removed.

rack loin, backside

Belly - ribs pulled, breastbone removed, beveled and ready to cure.

Shoulder, backside.

Ham - bones trimmed, beveled, minimal cuts in meat.


High quality fat (very hard) for lardo or salami.

Cheek meat - big muscle and little muscle. Membrane intact.
Tremendously flavorful - braise or sous vide.

The pocket - slice meat, stuff it and roast or sous vide.

Pocket backside - slice, stuff and roast or sous vide.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mosefund's Pigstock 2010

Mosefund's first class was a success. There's another 3-day class in a few days. You can see Bob del Grosso's reports here: report #1 and report #2. I'll have videos and other stuff later.

The three days were exhausting for most of the students. I don't think they knew what to expect.

It is hard to see how one could cover the material at a comfortable pace in just 3 days - partly because the first day, which involves killing multiple pigs, tires people out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pigstock 2010

I'm in NJ at Mosefund Farm's 2010 Pigstock. This is the first of two 3-day events involving Mangalitsa slaughter and processing, taught by Christoph Wiesner and his wife.

You can see photos of the event here.

Christoph, Isabelle and the students killed a total of 7 Mangalitsa pigs. We roasted one and ate it for dinner. It was great fun.

Philip Vogelzang, one of the students from Seattle, is a hoot. He's a surgeon, so when it is time to cut open pigs, he's using anatomical terms to describe the process. One of his biggest concerns was to figure out how to stick a pig, so that it would bleed out perfectly. From my own experience, I know it isn't easy to get right.

Philip is constructing a slaughterhouse for him and his neighbors to use. From the photos so far, it will be awesome. He'd like to have it be USDA-inspected.

Of course, I told Philip he needs to get some Mangalitsa pigs so that he and Bryce Lamb can kill and process them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Toadberry on Wooly Pigs Brand Mangalitsa Bacon

Here's Toadberry,a Hungarian, on our Mangalitsa bacon - which is available for purchase here.

I really like this remark: "... the four cornerstones of Hungarian cuisine are: bacon, onion, paprika, sour cream."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Revival Meats

Revival Meats of Yoakum, Texas has their website up.

A while back I put up a new map showing our feeder pig customers. Without explanation, there was a pig on top of Texas.

Morgan Weber, owner of Revival Meats (also part owner of Anvil, one of the hippest bars in Houston) is going to be the Mangalitsa guy in Texas.

Morgan and multiple Houston chefs are about to fly to New Jersey and learn how to slaughter pigs and process the meat, as described in their blog. Also, they'll soon start killing and serving their first Mangalitsa pigs.

I expect that Morgan will do a great job with his Mangalitsa in Texas. Texans love good hearty food, particularly meat, and have a taste for quality.

A Pig Breeder Will Be on Hand to Answer Questions

The New York Times reports:

Unusual Pork

A four-course dinner featuring Mangalitsa pork, from an Eastern European long-haired breed, will be held Jan. 21 from 6 p.m. to midnight at Klee Brasserie, 200 Ninth Avenue (22nd Street). A pig breeder will be on hand to answer questions, $85: (212) 633-8033.

Christoph Wiesner, President of the Austrian Mangalitsa Breeders' Association will be there. I'll be there too.

Roaster Pigs

Buy these pigs or else they'll become roaster pigs ...

We're killing a batch of roaster pigs in two weeks. Foods in Season will ship them directly from the slaughterhouse FRESH, never frozen, Jan 25th (or so).

They'll weigh approximately 50#. They are lard-type roaster pigs - the fattest, tastiest little pigs available.

They'll cost $399/pig delivered. Call 866-767-2464 to order.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Napkor Pig-Killing Contest

Today is the day of 2010's Napkor Pig-Killing Contest.

From what I've seen, the Hungarians don't tradtionally stun the pigs before sticking them; they just stick them. I've seen people from Central America kill pigs the same way; the slaughterer, knife in hand, mortally wounds the pig with a quick stab to the heart. The pig bleeds out.

Millions (billions?) of pigs have met their maker that way.

Many contestants appear to be using Mangalitsa (Hungarian mangalica) pigs.

The looks on their faces are funny.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mangalitsa Brain Tortelloni

Darrin sent me an email about a restaurant in Chicago serving Mangalitsa brains. Chris Pandel is:
... presenting the brains of Mangalitsa pigs ... in easy-to-eat tortelloni form. The brains are poached and pureed, blended with ricotta and lemon, and folded into the pasta, where it's served up in a meaty broth spiked with tomato, lemon, tarragon, and almonds.
Brains taste a lot like eggs. If that dish was made with eggs, people wouldn't discriminate against it. Somehow if it is made of brains, that changes everything.

Wooly Pigs and Mosefund in Trade Magazine

Urner Barry's Reporter, the magazine for food professionals, has an article about Mangalitsa pork, Wooly Pigs, Mosefund and seam butchery. You can download it here (see page 41).

Starting with, "Not all hogs are created equal ... Introducing the high-end hog", it explains that Wooly Pigs and Mosefund have played a key role in promoting Mangalitsa in the USA - and it mentions Mosefund's upcoming classes on slaughtering, seam butchery and processing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pig Photos

I got some new photos from one of the farms.

The pigs run around in the snow.
Little pigs huddle in a hut for warmth.
Although the boar looks dramatic, what makes these pigs special is their fat and meat.

There's been a lot of snow.

They'll go to slaughter in the next 4 months.

One danger with running pigs outdoors in lots like these is that snow banks can build up along the fences, and then the pigs can just walk wherever they want to go. There's always the challenge of getting water and food to the pigs. They also gain weight slower in cold weather. This farm has plumbing to get the pigs water. Farms without that resort to things like feeding pigs potatoes or just having them eat snow.

As bad as this looks, it is worse in North Dakota, Canada and Minnesota. Thus, it is clear why the colder the weather generally is, the more reasons there are to keep pigs indoors.

Isabella's Photo

Isabella Wiesner has some photos of their Mangalitsa and products. I thought this chop above looked impressive.

Photos like this make it clear that Mangalitsa is entirely different from other pork, whether it be Berkshire pork, Duroc pork, Mulefoot pork, organic pork, free-range pork, confinement-raised pork, biodynamic pork, acorn-finished pork, peanut-finished pork, agribusiness pork, co-op pork, small farmer pork, etc.

Mangalitsa sow

Mangalitsa pigs produce meat like this. Other pigs don't.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Food for Real and a Mangalitsa Side

Food for Real's Courtney has two posts about working with a Mangalitsa side (post 1 and post 2). She fabricated the side herself. For another way to do it, here's a video of Christoph Wiesner breaking down a side.

Her pictures (some shown above) are very nice. I'm happy Courtney agrees with me that:
...Mangalitsa is completely different animal than a pig bread to be lean. The mouth feel of the Mangalitsa is ephemeral and both meat and fat have a wonderful blend of umami and sweetness of flavor from the high fat content.
It all makes me want to eat some Mangalitsa bacon.

Edit: Courtney added a post about the ribs, with some photos.

Photo by Courtney

As she writes:
Taking one rib and looking at it closely, the difference between a Mangalitsa and a lean-bred pig is obvious. A lean-bred pig generally has little or no meat or fat on the inside of the ribs. The Mangalitsa, on the other hand, has a very generous fatty layer on both sides.

Photo by Courtney

One day, barbecue fans will discover Mangalitsa ribs.