Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I have a thing for unattractive pigs

When surveying the meat section at supermarkets these days, there is an awful lot of lean meat on display. Even ignoring the “heart smart” branded nonsense, traditionally fatty cuts appear to be trimmed of external fat in what I can only assume to be an attempt at making it more attractive to prospective consumers.

Which is why it was a pleasant surprise when something like this is so unattractive to the average punter, that it is put in the discount section:
gorgeous pig
Don’t ask me why they cut the skin off – perhaps to sell it separately and make more money. Nonetheless, the fat crisped up nicely under a hot grill and the thick vein of lard running through the chops allowed the meat to cook without drying out. Pig fat is magic stuff.
crispy delicious pig
We added some sauerkraut because the Germans are undoubtedly switched on when it comes to matching side dishes with pig.
not pig, but delicious all the same
And that was dinner. A few beans, basmati rice for the kids and no complaints.

Speaking of pig skin, and therefore the conversion of it to crackling (scratchings/rind), I get quite a bit of practice cooking it and have found one particular strategy quite effective. I understand that anyone who likes pork will have their own tried and true method, but if that method doesn't involve coating the skin in a fairly thick layer of salt, and then letting it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature, making it appear like it is sweating profusely, then you may want to give it a go. Brush the salt off, pat the skin down with paper towel, and reapply a light coating of salt before cooking. 
sweaty pig


  1. "... coating the skin in a fairly thick layer of salt, and then letting it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature, making it appear like it is sweating profusely, then you may want to give it a go. Brush the salt off, pat the skin down with paper towel, and reapply a light coating of salt before cooking."

    We're on the same page again. That's how I do it. Then 25, maybe 30 mins in a hot oven. And then I can't stop eating until it's finished. Must be food reward.

    Btw, I see all these stories of people struggling with this $2.25-a-day-food-challenge thing, living below the poverty line - I'm not sure why, but they do - and buying bags of rice and stuff, and complaining about being hungry. Every time I think: no,no,no, pork skin ($1 lge piece), eggs ($3 doz), butter ($3 500gm). That would do me for 3 days. Would be a few cents over the budget though.

    1. Yeah, food reward is a bitch like that.

      Re cost - I think it's strange how critics will say paleo/LCHF/real food is too expensive to be sustainable. Considering almost all the fatty meat is the cheapest, it seems a rather lame excuse. I forget the price og those cholesterol lowering margarines, but I think they were as insane as their premise.

      Not sure how the AUD/NZD conversion works out and the relationship to wages, but $3 for a dozen eggs is roughly half of what we pay here. Cheap food and beautiful scenery - would love to visit one day.

    2. Pig skin is just so cheap. And so tasty.

      AUD/NZD is pretty close. I'm talking cage eggs here. If one is on a budget cage eggs should suffice. And I got my eggs for free today! Our local Australian supermarket only employs monkeys and they forget to scan stuff sometimes.

      They also had some amazingly fatty Australian lamb chops. I don't normally buy meat at the supermarket, but they looked just too good. (Buggered if I know why we get Australian lamb. I suppose you get ours.)

      ps That was quite an enjoyable comment you left over at Hyperlipid. Not much point in discussing anything serious there unfortunately.

    3. I'd say I get most of my eggs for free but I do buy a bag of feed ever month or so. I guess it evens out in the end - I pay for a bit of food and they repay me with eggs, shit for the garden and entertainment (watching them wander around easily beats most of the crap on TV).

      I agree that it's a shame the gut bug people have set up camp on Hyperlipid. They may have a point or two in there somewhere but they're a bit like the distant relatives that turn up uninvited on xmas morning and don't leave. And then try and sell you Amway during lunch.

      I don't quite have the 'front' to give people shit on the internet, so my passive-aggressive Ornish piss-takes are about as aggro as I'm willing to get on someone else's blog.


  2. I usually mix stewed cabbage with a sauerkraut at the end of cooking. The cabbage is cooked with pork or duck fat, depending on the main course. Yesterday I simply boiled a beef head meat until the connective tissue turned into a jello. Didn't look good at all, but was super delicious. The side was the cabbage made with remnants of a duck fat.

    I tried to stay against bug people. May be it was a mistake.

    1. I don't think it was a mistake, Galina. You at least discovered that they know you better than you do. That must be quite mind-blowing.

      Boiled beef head meat does sound good.

      Have a good one.

  3. Your picture of 'gorgeous pig' just looks gorgeous............

    All the best Jan

  4. My favourite crackling method usually needs the skin off unless you can cook the pork in such a way that the skin becomes gelatinous and then hit it with fat and high temperature, but you can do it more easily with the skin off. Boil skin below 80'C until almost turned into glue and then drain and deep fry it. Pork skin was about $2/kilo here just before xmas and suet is free for the asking at my local butcher. That would go a long way towards lowering the food budget. .

    You can deep fry gelatinous seitan too if you have a hankering for gluten, it makes great wheat based crackling. You may find that gluten does you much less harm than all the stuff you wash away down the sink when you make seitan. Don't let the vegans know, shhhhh.