Heritage Breed: MangalitsaPosted: November 6, 2012
I was going to unravel a quip about Urchins or Maine Oysters but Tim’s recent posts on heritage breed ,the Red Wattle Hog and the Randall Lineback Cow, inspired me to recall one of my own and put my tales of inferior sea bugs on hold. Also seeing how Tim’s effort at filleting a fish was ‘seamless’, I’m going to take a go at the Butcher side:
Originating in Hungary, the Mangalitsa hog was one of those forgotten breeds up until 1996 when an American traveler by the name of Heath Putnam decided to introduce the Mangalitsa to America by bringing back 25 hogs before imports were restricted. Heath started his brand, Wooly Pigs, in Auburn, WA where he bred and sold neutered pigs to farmers and chefs alike for twice the price of most other heritage breeds like the Berkshire. The reason for this price is that it usually takes the pigs to mature to full size in twice the amount of time of a normal pig and the average litter of a sow is 5-8, where other breeds is 12-14. Also the meat was incredibly marbled and buttery like that of Iberico or Waygu.
The Mangalitsa Hog has taken alot of hype over the last 5 years as a sort of ‘designer pig’ for chefs. Besides the pig’s natural curly locks, the Mangalitsa has a much higher fat to meat ratio and therefore lends itself mostly to sausage, bacon, lardo, and other cured byproducts. The simple act of curing and turning fat into a luxurious product is what is getting all these young and hip tattooed butchers in a frenzy (cough, cough). It is really worth the hype as the incredibly full flavored meat shines through the silky fat.
Events such as ‘Pigstock‘ takes place each year where a weekend is devoted to the slaughtering, butchering, and cooking the Mangalitsa from snout to tail. President of the breed in Hungary, Christoph Wiesner and his wife lead the class where Christoph teaches a method of seam butchery rather than traditional joint butchery where each muscle group stands alone. I attended the first pigstock in 2009 and was mesmorized by the experience and things I learned. Click –here– to watch detailed videos on seam butchery and the Mangalitsa hog.