Lucky buggers being we, Houman & I managed to bag a visit to Brooklyn Kitchen when Tom Mylan was demonstrating how to butcher a pig. (This is all part of our education in advance of the boar hunt. We will need to know how to deal with Tusker once we've taken the crazy bastard down.)
Passionate about pork as he is, Mylan first starts off by lecturing us on the beauty of properly raised pork, and warns us to stay away from pappy pink putrid stinking supermarket 'pork'. This stuff is 'grown' in giant pork cities. Apparently, 90% of the pork in the US comes from just 6 pork mega-cities. Just think about it. Millions of animals penned in tightly, each highly susceptible to disease and each chewing his neighbours ears and tail off because they're all losing it in a big way. I'd fucking lose it if I was sewn into a shit-caked concrete paddock with no sunshine and fed a diet of pish studded with questionable pharmaceuticals and hormones to make me meaty real quick.
But the pig we're looking at has had a happy life. Free to roam the fields on the farm, eating declicious apples and vegetables and other good stuff, free to shag the female pigs, free to fight with his neighbours. His immune system is strong. He has a fabulous layer of fat. He is covered in thick brown hair. His meat looks dry and well aged. It has a colour not unlike beef. It is not 'wet' and hued in electric pink like the flesh of his unfortunate cousins.
Mylan strips this beast into primal cuts, shows us the loin, (probably the least tasty cut of all, and confusingly the cut favoured by most Americans) the shoulders, the picnics, the hams, he breaks down the primals into the retail cuts. We all get to select some good stuff. Houman and I scheme to get the leaf lard, the head, the trotters, a couple of wicked chops, some belly, and we are wholly successful. We have about 15 pounds of pork between us. We go straight to the boozer to celebrate.I am anxious to eat my piggy. I set about the chops, scoring the skin, rendering some of the fat, getting a nice colour on the meat, in the oven, out the oven, rest, rest, rest. I slice open the double chop I have. It's fucking glorious. What meat, what flavour, the skin is divine, lubricated with some of the tastiest pig fat ever. I roast some apples and braise some cabbage with mustard and bacon (of course) and open a bottle of plonk. I am in heaven.