The Great Porchetta Quest: The Beginning of the End

The arrangements have been made. Money has changed hands. Bags will (soon) be packed. My half-a-hog wait is over. After sharing various porchetta descriptions and not a few pictures online, I’ve finally found someone who knows what I’m asking for: a “boned-out middle with loin and belly still connected” is what they called it. They didn’t even have a good way to ring it up. Anyway, Heritage Foods USA will have Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, MO (by KC) do this for me. While I’m at it I’m having them prepare up a 9-lb pork belly so I can try my hand at making bacon, too.

In the end, the 17-lb side of pig and 9-lb pork belly are “only” going to run me $104 ($4 per pound) because I’m picking it up. Not bad considering all the people this could feed.

The breed of pig, Berkshire, is evidently a hot one among chefs and food lovers more knowledgeable than I. As the pork industry ramped up to mass production, Berkshires and other tasty breeds fell by the wayside in favor of quick-growing, low fat animals. The pork we find in Hy-Vee is (apparently, we’ll see) a pale imitation of what pork should be: meaty, juicy and flavorful. The pressure for ever-leaner pork has been tremendous for three decades or so (in spite of the evidence that eating real fat doesn’t actually, you know, make you fat. Hint, it’s the processed foods). It’s gotten to the point where when I cook a good pork meal for a friend of mine from Carrolton, Mo., the highest compliment he knows is about how amazingly “lean” the pork was. Always struck me as a strange thing to say. We’ll find out soon how much difference it makes.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

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