Pig Heaven

I wrote about lard sometime last summer, and how people (Mexicans aside) tend to freak out about it. Since then I’ve noticed there’s something of a Pork Renaissance under way. People aren’t so scared anymore. Pork shoulder and baby back ribs are being served again. We’ve even got a bacon food truck here in L.A.

Mangalitsa lard

My pork muse, Brandi, sent me an article sometime ago about red velvet cupcakes made with Mangalitsa lard. I did a bit of research on this white porky gold. My interest piqued, I ordered a tub. Ironic that I would now be spending $50 on a byproduct food that I once wished out of everything I ate.

According to woolypigs.com: “Mangalitsa fat is more unsaturated than normal pig fat, so it tastes much “lighter”, “cleaner” and melts at a lower temperature. The fat is also healthier and keeps longer, due to higher levels of oleic acid.” So much for the vilification of lard. (Of course, they’ve got a vested interest…)

My tub arrived yesterday, just as I was in the process of making a batch of salted bacon caramels. Last night I cooked some french fries in the Mangalitsa. Not quite as good as duck fat. Besides the, ahem, obvious health benefits, using this “heritage” product helps keep alive a breed of pig that was almost lost. If you’d like to spend $50 on your own byproduct, knock yourself out: http://www.chefshop.com

Heritage pigs, in fact, are a big deal in the pork world these days. I often purchase Kurobata pork at the Japanese market, which comes from the Berkshire pig. The flavor is better, the means of raising the animal more ethical. And of course, there is the world’s best (and most expensive) ham, from the black-hooved Iberian pig.

My pork muse, Brandi, also sent me a link to something called “Cochon 555” — a traveling pork roadshow sponsored by the Bacon Hall of Fame where five chefs cook five different heritage breeds of pig served with wines from five wineries. I may go to the L.A. event in May, if I can swallow the $125 ticket price. ($175 if I want to go to the VIP pre-event with an oyster bar. And you can bet I do!) It may be Cochon 555 or Coachella to see Arcade Fire. In any case, I did purchase the tour t-shirt. A black shirt with a white pig and the words, “Mr. Delicious.” How could I resist?


I bought an ice cream maker a few months ago, but haven’t made anything yet. I’m thinking my inaugural flavor might have to be bacon maple syrup. Like I said before, in heaven, bacon will grow on trees.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. g
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 04:04:36

    Just the fact that you have a “pork muse” is remarkable!!


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