A couple of months ago I was approached by Howard Greenblatt of the Pork Board and asked if I would like to participate in this year's Taste of Elegance in Baltimore, MD. The Taste of Elegance gathers 10 chefs from the Mid-Atlantic states and asks them to present their most innovative pork dishes for judging and then opens the room up for a gala tasting. I said, 'Sure, I'd love to do it, but.....'. There's always a 'but'. In true Sheppard Mansion style, I asked if it would be possible for me to bring my own pig instead of using the pork products provided. I'm sure Howard was on the other end of the phone thinking 'Who is this guy? He's wants to bring his own pig? This isn't a 4H show....' Anyhow, regardless of what he was thinking, he agreed. Next stop: Call Beau Ramsburg and get that little piggy to market. Actually since it was a couple of months ago, it was more like 'Hey, do you think you'll have a hog in line for the first week of November and can we do some of those super cool finishing techniques on it?' Answers: yes and yes. So, on monday, the whole team will be packing up everything we need and traveling to Baltimore to show off our pig prowess. I thought it would be fun to document our every step leading up to the competition for everyone to check out. Please check back often. I'm going to post every day leading up to the competition. Here we go.....
So, obviously, that was Beau and that was our competition hog. We won't be using all the parts shown on the video for our dish, put PROMISE to use the 'fun stuff' like tongue, head, stomach and tail. Yes, tail. Oh yeah, if you're a frequent watcher of my videos, you notice that both Beau and I like to keep our phones on during filming. For historical reference click here.
Next stop: The stock pot.
That stock will come off today, get cleaned and clarified and be a base for braising the shoulders and head.
Fat. Mmmm, fat.
We'll grind the fatback today and then store it for use in the rillette.
I just can't stomach this....
When the hog got dropped off yesterday, I noticed a small bag stuffed in the corner of the cooler. I instantly broke into a smile and said 'stomach'. Beau smiled and said, 'yeah, I thought it would be cool to see what you would do with that and you said you wanted the 'whole animal'.' Well, here's your answer. Stomach chips. Just sort of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Stomach chips.
There you have it. Day one. Please check back over the next couple of days and see our progress.