Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pig Pickin'

The Pig:

Mogul of appetite,
lord of misrule,
the king who must die.
- John Thorne, Serious Pig

So... I roasted my first pig. This is pretty much how I did it:
Eat a lot of pig, then consider to yourself, "Hey, could I do this?"
I, personally, like to know what I'm getting into when these things occur, so I did some research.
You may want to wing it.

I consulted a couple of reliable sources in the matter:

Then I ordered a 20 lb piglet from a local butcher, Henry's Market.
It's the new Waterford location of the Bennington VT mainstay.

I had a couple of days to kill, so I cooked up a couple-a-three tasty vinegar-based mopping sauces:
  • Sweet
  • Hot
  • Mustard
(One for each of the Carolinas)
Pig day arrived and here's what I brought home:
So it wouldn't be lonely, I found a friend.

They took a nice 15 hour bath together:
  • A couple of gallons of brine at 20-1, H20 to NaCl
  • A dozen cloves of garlic, smashed
  • A lemon
  • Handful of ground black pepper
  • Handful of ground chipotle peppers
  • Handful of brown sugar

After rinsing a couple of times, the chicken was stuffed with the scavenged remains of the brine and some sausage. Then all that was stuffed into the pig.

A little surgery to keep everything in place.

A nod to tradition.

(That's some pig!)

And into the oven...
I estimated about 4 hours based on weight, but ended up leaving it in 4.5 to allow for the stuffing.

This was the turn, at about 2 hours. Browning starting to kick in, and the skin is really tightening up!

And then it set for about an hour. (There was some considerable pressure from the assembled masses to dig in right away, but I held firm.)

We passed the time filming commercials.

Finally, the pig makes it to the table.

Various sides: slaw, potatoes (salt and salad), pickles, olives, peppers, sauces, buns, tortillas, and guacamole.

Carving commenced and prime cuts were given a place of honor on the table.

Some more meatball surgery to get to the good stuffed parts.

So... that was my first pig, and I'm sticking to it.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A pig's a pig for all that

S.M.E.G. is back in the States and we're not quite thinking linearly just yet.

From the Mouth of the Clyde to the Butt of Lewis, through the Towns of Tongue and Twatt, we just threw open the doors of perception and let everything flow through. To get some momentum going, we're just pulling together some of the singular experiences we had and let's worry about a cohesive narrative later.

With that, here's a glimpse into a spectacularly low key and delicious Sunday lunch we shared at St. JOHN Bar and Restaurant, Fergus Henderson's and Trevor Gulliver's home of "Nose to Tail Eating".

A Kind of British Cooking

We arrive... a little late, but not to anyone's discomfort.

The Bar

The Bakery

The Dining Room and a peek into the Kitchen

The first of "a few"...

A green salad, in consecion to 5 a Day , which we admit is a good idea.

The Starters

Rabbit Offal on Toast

Duck Hearts on Celeriac

Brown Crab on Toast

Brawn, or Head Cheese

The Mains

Lamb Sweetbreads with Carrots

Greens and Runner Beans (3 of 5!)

Faggots and Peas
Roast Beef

The Desserts

Eccles Cake and Lancashire Cheese, with Port

The currant filling

Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and ice cream

Anthony Bourdain's famous "last supper" of Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad, was on the 86 board for the day, but to tell the truth, initially armed with Chef Fergus' recipe and access to the Delaware Ave Price Chopper, I've made it some many times on my own now that I’m not sure what could be done to it in St John's kitchen that would elevate the joy I get from throwing it together in my own kitchen.

And I don't think this displeases anyone at St. John.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Most Important Meal... Ever!

S.M.E.G.ers know that a full day of sight-seeing and pub-crawling is best begun with that bravest of breakfasts, The Full Scottish!

Delivered right to the door.

Coffee, fresh squeezed grapefruit Juice, toast with jam and marmalade assortment, Scottish mueslix mix.

For Chris: Scrambled, sausage, Scottish bacon, haggis on tattie scone, tomato, and mushrooms.

For Sandor: Poached, sausage, Scottish bacon, haggis on tattie scone, black pudding, tomato, and mushrooms.

And all topped with a thistle!

And now we're off and ready for a full day of Auld Reekie.