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Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice

Friend is trying pig for the first time...

awesomaldehyde Mar 10, 2011 07:52 PM

and I'm in charge of preparing his introduction to it. If you were trying it for the first time, what would you want? Iberico? Pulled pork? Pork belly? I want to provide as much breadth as possible and I'm more willing to opt for ideas that require minimal preparation.

If you're up for an even greater challenge: the other part of the deal was that I need to pair it with sake. Any ideas there?

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  1. p
    PollyG Mar 10, 2011 08:11 PM

    Ramen soup with a few slices of the best Chinese roast pork you can find in your area--should work okay with sake, and it is an easy to love preparation for pork.

    1. m
      mshenna Mar 10, 2011 08:23 PM

      Bacon, pork chops, ham -- I stopped eating meat at age 13, back in the Dark Ages, & I still find them tempting. Especially bacon. Please, scientists, grow me some pork in a test tube ... .

      There's also the forbidden fruit aspect, if your friend has not tried pig before b/c it was taboo for religious or cultural regions. A Muslim friend who grew up in Pakistan said that a Christian classmate in high school (this was some decades ago, when the minority communities were larger) went hunting & shot a wild boar; his mother cooked it & quite a number of classmates, mostly Muslim, including my friend, snuck over to see what it was all about. He said it was the most delicious thing he ever ate in his life, mostly b/c he felt so wicked doing it. When he came to the US & pork was available everywhere, he never bothered to eat it again.

      Now I wonder what would have happened if he'd had alcohol too!

      Seriously, though, bacon, or better yet Canadian bacon, since the fattiness of pork turns some people off (hey, I may not eat it but I still cook it & I know what is never left over). Then 'cue. Then ham. Then plainer porky things (very garlicky roast pork, maybe?).

      As for the sake, does he drink alcohol at all, & if so, does he prefer sweeter or drier wines/cocktails?

      1 Reply
      1. re: mshenna
        awesomaldehyde Mar 10, 2011 08:29 PM

        He's a muslim that grew up not eating pork, stopped practicing his religion, and just hasn't done it because that's the way things happened to have worked out.
        As for the alcohol question, if I had to guess, I'd say err on the side of dryness.

      2. Quine Mar 10, 2011 08:34 PM

        Just bacon.

        If the tastes follows that, go for more expansive stuff. But for such a huge first timer...if bacon ain;t gonna do it no pork will.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Quine
          Vetter Mar 10, 2011 09:31 PM

          Isn't that the truth! Get some really good bacon and have a mimosa on standby.

          1. re: Vetter
            Quine Mar 10, 2011 09:35 PM

            I guess I have to say it but why go "whole hog" when you are not sure the person will tolerate the finest best pork there is: bacon?

            1. re: Quine
              Passadumkeg Mar 10, 2011 10:15 PM

              Give him a good "ribbing", but spare it.

              1. re: Passadumkeg
                Quine Mar 10, 2011 10:28 PM

                Yeah, but they ain;t gonna pass the bacon test....save the ribs for folks who know that you don;t use a knife and fork...but finger licking!

                1. re: Quine
                  Passadumkeg Mar 10, 2011 10:31 PM

                  A good hunk of fresh pork kolbasa w/ fresh horseradish; the sashimi of the Slavic world.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                    Quine Mar 11, 2011 07:25 AM

                    Oh Heck Yes!!

        2. deet13 Mar 10, 2011 11:10 PM

          If you're looking for good pork recipes to feed a first timer, I say go with a plate of pork jagerschnitzel wcabbage and spaetzle.

          Or if you're sticking with the saki, go with some Pork Tonkatsu.

          1. c
            chocomel Mar 11, 2011 02:25 PM

            Does he enjoy spicy food? Spicy pork or pork belly cooked korean style. There will not be any dryness issues and excellent with sake. Should be an easy delicious introduction but don't make it too spicy and mask all the porkiness.

            1. KaimukiMan Mar 11, 2011 03:02 PM

              A lot of good thoughts here. Most of his reservations about pork are going to be emotional and/or intelectual, not flavor issues. The question then becomes do you want to really celebrate pork, or just let it be a quiet background for other flavors. When it comes to beef, what does he really like? Burgers with lots of toppings? A steak or a roast? Or is he happier with stew, where beef is just part of the greater whole?

              Is pork something he has secretly harbored a longing for? Something he smelled once upon a time but felt guilty for wanting? Or is he just generally curious? Any lingering squeamishness? Feelings like "this stuff is really not good, but I really should try it anyhow."

              If you want to just subtly bring in pork but in one of its best forms (bacon), then a really good BLT or Clubhouse sandwich could be a good choice.

              Maybe you go out or make a nice brunch where he can choose from bacon, sausage, or ham - or even a little bit of each, unless you think him having to choose rather than eating what is put in front of him is going to be an issue.

              If you want to make the pork the star, then a nice tender roast pork, or some thick cut bone-in pork chops may be the way to go.

              For something less imposing, there are few things as good as a great ham and cheese sandwich. And the cured aspects of ham take it further away from in-your-face pork. Does he like salty foods? Pastrami (translates to beef-ham)? Maybe a manhattan club sandwich instead of clubhouse (ham in place of bacon)

              If you want to present it as 'just another meat', then something like pulled pork sandwiches or oso bucco would seem to be the way to go where the preparation is the star, and pork just happens to be the vehicle.

              Finally if you really want to go low key, make some spaghetti and meatballs, where the meatballs are mixed meat (pork and beef.)

              Whatever way you go, Good luck!

              1. Bada Bing Mar 11, 2011 03:20 PM

                I suggest a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bada Bing
                  ellaf Mar 17, 2011 12:55 PM

                  I agree on the BLT with both Bada Bing and KaimukiMan.

                2. pdxgastro Mar 12, 2011 05:50 PM

                  Just slices of prosciutto.

                  1. h
                    Harters Mar 13, 2011 07:38 AM

                    I'd do something piggy in the style of whatever friend likes other meats. Inherently that will be the least challenging introduction particularly as there have been past cultural limitations

                    1. k
                      Kater Mar 13, 2011 07:49 AM

                      I am not a fan of pork, apart from prosciutto and certain sausages but I do like pulled pork. I would start there!

                      1. mucho gordo Mar 13, 2011 01:07 PM

                        Pork is delicious in so many ways that it's impossible to say which is the best introduction. Choices range from a simple roast loin to the more complex adobo, carnitas, chile verde, deep fried belly, etc. Each one would be a superb beginning for him.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mucho gordo
                          KaimukiMan Mar 13, 2011 03:07 PM

                          Not sure I can support that MG. I would stay away from anything too fatty (deep fried belly, kau-yuk, etc.) A lot of people, myself included, just can't deal with the idea of eating that much visible fat... from any animal, and I'm pretty open minded when it comes to food. If it is going to be a fatty dish, make sure the fat has all melted into the rest of the meat or sauce. Otherwise he is going to spend all his time cutting it away and pushing it to the side of his plate. Not a good introduction to pork. Oddly enough the fat in bacon is an exception... go figure.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan
                            mucho gordo Mar 13, 2011 05:28 PM

                            Everything in moderation, KM. I'm not for "pigging out" on fat but some is good and, unfortunately, that's where most of the flavor is.

                            1. re: KaimukiMan
                              Ruth Lafler Mar 14, 2011 01:43 PM

                              I would agree. Aethetics aside, I think pork belly is just too rich for a lot of people, and especially someone who has never eaten pork before.

                              Bacon is okay because most of the fat is rendered and/or has become crisp.

                              Personally, I'd start with some good quality "regular" ham. Not something heavily cured like prosciutto or iberico, which are rich and salty for a beginner.

                          2. David11238 Mar 13, 2011 05:59 PM

                            A spicy Asian pork dish with Rihaku Nigori Sake Dreamy Clouds should fit the bill quite nicely.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: David11238
                              Tripeler Mar 13, 2011 08:20 PM

                              Any kind of pork with any of the Rihaku sakes would be great. Rihaku has a distinct flavor that can be found in all of their products, from top to bottom.

                              1. re: Tripeler
                                David11238 Mar 13, 2011 08:55 PM

                                For me, I appreciate the sweetness of the nigori. It makes a nice counter-balance for the spiciness of the pork dish. Or sashimi.

                                1. re: David11238
                                  Tripeler Mar 13, 2011 10:04 PM

                                  Sounds great to me, I am all for it. Thanks for mentioning Rihaku -- one of my favorite sakes.

                            2. kaleokahu Mar 13, 2011 10:11 PM


                              OK, so I've been watching this thread now for days, and am trying for a way to express my incredulity that someone old enough to imbibe of sake has never tried pork without sounding intolerant. But I know there are folks who have changes in life that allow them to try pork for the first time at whatever age, so here goes.

                              I suggest a slow-cooked, pulled pork barbecued sandwich, on a soft roll, with sauce or maybe even served Carolina-style with slaw. Tender, low on meat texture, with a mix of flavor, but still with the essence... You're on your own with pairing with sake.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                Tripeler Mar 13, 2011 10:33 PM

                                I would take that sandwich with a rich amber ale with minimal hopping, for starters.

                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  KaimukiMan Mar 14, 2011 12:24 AM

                                  Kaleo... If the person was raised muslim and was taught from infancy that pork is unclean, why would it be difficult to believe that he kept that attitude? Not disagreeing, just trying to understand your thoughts.

                                  My father will not eat salt water fish. Claims to hate it. Every time we went somewhere and someone near us was eating fish, he would make a face and a comment. I grew up knowing that fish tasted bad. Didn't have to try it. I smelled it, had been taught that was a bad smell, and it did smell bad to me, how could it not? It wasn't till long after I was out of college and was in a relationship with someone who loved fish that I even tried it. Found out it wasn't terrible - if cooked properly. Then discovered that sometimes it can even taste good. Finally came to the conclusion that I like fish.

                                  Of course the kicker is, being a child of the late fifties/early sixties, I grew up eating tuna casserole three or four times a month. Ha. But that wasn't fish, that was tuna. Go figure.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                    kaleokahu Mar 14, 2011 12:47 PM

                                    E Kaimukiman, Aloha:

                                    "[W]hy would it be difficult to believe that he kept that attitude?"

                                    It's not. It's the change of habit and the lack of prior exposure that surprises me more. If the OP's friend hasn't (hadn't?) tried any pork because of religious dietary restrictions, those restrictions aren't going away. No judgment; s/he would just be stepping away from them. Perhaps the sake is to be/was Exhibit B.

                                    But we do not know what the reason or change is. It may be a case of a strict vegetarian from birth who now has health or other reasons to start enjoying pua'a. Or maybe just raised by folks who disliked pig as much as your makua kāne did i'a o ke kai!

                                  2. re: kaleokahu
                                    Ruth Lafler Mar 14, 2011 01:46 PM

                                    You apparently haven't been watching it very carefully, because back on the 10th there was this explanation: "He's a muslim that grew up not eating pork, stopped practicing his religion, and just hasn't done it because that's the way things happened to have worked out."

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                      kaleokahu Mar 14, 2011 01:58 PM

                                      Hi, Ruth:

                                      My bad. And now I don't need to ask. Thanks.

                                  3. bbqboy Mar 14, 2011 12:38 AM

                                    you could always go all all american with a pork tenderloin sandwich..

                                    1. gmm Mar 14, 2011 01:06 PM

                                      My vote would be for bacon, or carnitas.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: gmm
                                        Candy Mar 14, 2011 01:18 PM

                                        I made bourbon and bacon ice cream a few weeks ago. I was delicious. I used Broadbent's smoked and lightly dusted with cinnamon bacon. The bourbon was Buffalo Trace. Next time I'll add a bit more bourbon and burn off some of the alcohol for better freezing and a more pronounced bourbon flavor. It would a really good way to introduce pig and booze at the same time. I also used Bourbon Barrel Foods vanilla that is cured in older bourbon barrels. The light dusting of cinnamon made a very subtle contribution to the flavor too.

                                        1. re: gmm
                                          mariacarmen Mar 17, 2011 10:00 PM

                                          I second Carnitas - a really good carnitas taco.

                                        2. a
                                          AdamD Mar 14, 2011 01:56 PM

                                          Start him easy with a thin slice of roasted loin and a simple sauce.
                                          As tasty as pork fat is, its not where you want to start if you have never had pork IMHO.
                                          Perhaps a sandwich with prosciutto, balsamic, fresh mozz and some nice arugula.
                                          BLT is also a great idea.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: AdamD
                                            Will Owen Mar 17, 2011 01:03 PM

                                            I would suggest tenderloin. Regular loin these days is pretty dry and boring, but a tenderloin (if not overcooked) is tender - duh! - and flavorful without being aggressively porky. Well-seasoned and roasted in a fairly hot oven (or grilled) to 145º internal and allowed to sit for a while. Just slice it, maybe do some sour cream with horseradish, or maybe better yet a Middle-eastern-style garlic sauce, some good bread and a salad.

                                          2. c
                                            chocolatetartguy Mar 17, 2011 04:02 PM

                                            I'd stick with a simple preparation of good quality fried pork shops done so they are just a bit pale pink. If you were in Berkeley, I'd suggest buying them at Cafe Rouge.

                                            1. kaleokahu Mar 17, 2011 09:00 PM

                                              Hi, awsomealdehyde:

                                              It's been a week... What did you decide? How'd it go?


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