The Making of LARDO from a Pig Hunt (part 1)

WARNING?  (Graphic pictures) You don’t need a warning. You already know what this blog is about. 

Two cups of coffee, Nine shots of espresso, a six-pack of celebratory beer at 2pm, and now my 4th glass of (box) wine at 3am, I’m finally ready to write, so here goes…

The duck legs that were rubbed in a special herb salt on Monday afternoon came out of the fridge at 4pm Tuesday, and didn’t finish its 11 hour confit until an hour before we were leaving Wednesday to kill a pig.  When it comes to hunting I don’t mess with junk food, unless you’re talking about red vines.  Duck confit > granola bars. It was silly of me to even set my alarm for anytime before 10am 3:55am before a game hunt –

I often stay up anyway as a hundred thoughts gyrate through my brain like a never ending pinball machine.  Excitement creeps in my blood while visions of homemade salami dance in my head.  If there’s one thing I’ll stay up for, it’s to be one with Earth in its purest form.  What does that mean, Yoda!? I answer questions with questions – Have you ever been to the World’s biggest and most natural supermarket?

You should.  No longer will you question the freshness of the salmon, the way it was handled on the deck or whether it was fed …other salmon.

The hunt du jour was a collaboration among a Chinese hunter, an Israeli-Italian chef who wielded guns inside his mother’s womb, and an eager New York city boy whose Facebook profile picture features himself and two suckling pig heads.  I figured we outta get him a new one.  The goal was to work (we hunters call active hunting “working an area”) a property with numerous different species of pigs: Razorback pigs, Wild Russian Boars, and crossbreeds of Feral hogs.  Diversity of hunter and hunted that reminded me of segregation ending in the 60’s: 

I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking, and for ease of reading will break down the project into three elemental parts.

  1. HUNT
  2. FOOD 
  3. COMMUNITY and EDITS (like movie edits, though I’m not a movie buff)

When three chefs cross paths with a pig, there’s no way Porky’s getting away.  No way no how.  Imagine telling Meehan to your left who starred at an LA Times 4-star rated restaurant, Excusez-moi, No pâté pour vous! , or turn to the pizza-dough-slammin’, octopus braisin’, hummus eatin’ awesome chef who led the kitchen at Angelini Osteria to your right and tell him he can’t have a PIG’s head for Testa Rossa and he might just use YOUR head instead.  I know they’re already pondering the 1 year, 4 months time frame for some incredible Prosciutto, while I’m just in the corner thinking I’m a friggen genius cause I’m ’bout to make seven hundred McRibs… from REAL PORK!

Prehunt preparations usually consist of a meal on my awesome stove: espresso in my New Bialetti.  Salami, homemade grilled bread, olives, wet scrambled eggs, bacon, with Organic food from Whole Foods & TJs (and a trailer in the back) #dichotomy

I was an espresso-cup maker in my other life. #makeshift.

Nothing makes me happier than sharing the Pursuit of Food with good friends and people who respect food. Along the way we saw Nature take its toll on more than one animal:

Lots of hiking and avoiding rattlesnakes, falling down hills (he’ll buy boots for next time), steep inclines, freezing weather, and six hours later, we said eff it and went to Costco to buy some pork. PSYCH.  We spotted this Feral hog from 900 yards away and slowly closed the distance. The wind was in our favor we were able to get so close that we could hear the inhale-exhale breaths of the pig.  Here are the screenshots of capture.

Meehan gets a great head-shot with my Browning BAR II 30-06 rifle, downing the pig.

Then it GETS UP so he gets in position for another shot to not damage any meat (pic 1) is relieved at his first hunt successfully capturing a 275 pound feral hog (pic 2) hunting dog chases a Russian Boar and charges my direction (pic 3) I’d been wanting to do mano e mano with a Tusky Russian Boar…next time.

Yo dawg, you like Dinuguan.

Proud hunter with his kill

Hunting Crew

SECOND WARNING: Awesome butchering & food next…

 -E