We slaughtered the first of our two mangalitsa hogs a couple weeks back. Very interesting to see how these "Wooly Pigs" differ from the regular swine we have raised in past years. The obvious difference is how much fat they have. The fatback on this guy was about two and a half inches thick! Wooly pigs are famous for their high quality fat and I was perhaps a bit sceptical in the beginning but after working with and tasting the meat I a convert.
Yesterday was spent smoking ham hocks and bones and making copious quantities of stock. I also proccessed the scrap into ground pork. This was the first real taste of the meat I have had. Highly impressive. Without question the best pork I've ever tasted. The flesh is such a beautiful red color and the texture reminded me of a sushi grade tuna. Just fabulous.
Geddes Martin from The Inn At Ship Bay dry cured the bellies and jowls for bacon. The flavor is exceptional. The bacon is mostly fat but it's different than any bacon you'll see at the market. It goes translucent as soon as it heats the pan. The flavor is clean and the taste again, is out of this world.
I also rendered a pan sized piece of fat and wound up with four pints of high quality lard. We had around six pounds of leaf lard. I have not rendered that yet but I can't wait to do so and of course we're going to try some whipped fat! I'm especially looking forward to bisquits made with the lardo and a big pot of split pea soup made with the stock from the smoked bones. The smell in our house right now is delightfully one of pork fat.
My chore for today is to de-bone a large fresh ham and get it into a brine solution to cure so we'll have a nice ham for thanksgiving. We always have a big crowd at thanksgiving. We always eat fresh and seasonal and this year will be extra special using the mangalitsa as a critical componet to many of our dishes.
Time to roll. Take care all.