At long last the USDA has allowed the importation of meat from the famous black footed Iberian pig (Iberico or Pata Negra) into the US. Long awaited, the first products are two traditional sausages, Chorizo and Salchichon and the delicious delicacy the cured loin or Lomo. The front shoulder ham, Paleta, is also here. Sometime in 2007, the cured ham, Jamon Iberico will arrive. But right now we can enjoy the other meats.
The black-footed Iberian pig is a very special breed. Raised mainly in the south and south west of Spain, the Ibérico pig is an animal considered authocthonous to Spain, the result of natural crossings of the northern European wild boar, Sus scrofus, with the native Sus mediterraneus, the Mediterranean wild boar. Other breeds, like Duroc, Berkshire, Large White, having oriental blood lines have influenced the Ibérico more recently, especially the Duroc. From what was a single, black haired breed, there are now four color categories with six color types.
The breed has changed slightly over the last 100 years, but essentially remains the same due to its raising and feeding. A rustic breed, adapted to harsh living in oak forests. Living off the land, the breed is forced to move about and grows slowly. This slow growth means that there is the development of intermuscular fat which is one of the informing traits of the Ibérico pig. But crosses with Ibérico never result in such excellent meat or products as the purebred alone.
The growing areas are mainly in southwestern Spain. Meat production is in the same area. The fact that the Ibérico pig is raised out doors, generally in forests or “dehesas” where trees of the genus Quercus (oaks to us) grow, they feed naturally on ripe acorns and other wild nuts and whatever else they can find producing a meat which is unique.
Corti Brothers is pleased to offer the initial production of Ibérico pig coming into the country. There are two ranges of products, the “De Bellota” and the Iberico, both delicious. Obviously they will be priced differently. Both are worth trying. As to production technology, the seasoning is the same, the meat is different.
We have offered chorizo from Spain before, but not from Spanish pigs. With the Palacios brand, very good indeed, the pigs speak with a Danish accent. Now we have real Spanish speaking pork products from the best and most important breed.
Chorizo and Salchichon are the names of sausages, made with more or less coarsely chopped meat, mixed with an “adobo” of spices including “ pimentón,” Spanish paprika, and then dry cured. Lomo is the name of the loin cut, salted, then rubbed with the adobo and dry cured in a casing. This is probably the most delicate and exquisite of the Ibérico meats. All these meats should be sliced 1/4 to 1/8 inch in thickness.
The following products are sold out:
Chorizo Iberico Bellota natural casing, kilo piece $31.49 per lb (can be cryovaced to order) (#1612)
Salchichon Iberico natural casing, kilo piece $28.39 per lb (can be cryovaced to order) (#1614)
Salchichon Iberico Bellota natural casing, kilo piece $31.49 lb (cryovaced to order) (#1615)
Lomo Iberico ½ loin, vacuum packed, average size 1 lb $78.79 lb (#1616)
Lomo Iberico Bellota ½ loin, vacuum packed, average size 1 lb $96.99 lb (#1617)