A pig’s tail…from head to hoof

This story begins with the few clicks of a mouse in a land called twitter, a far off cyber-realm where people share ideas, connect, promote, and exchange information.  Had I not been sitting in a nail salon, obsessing over Facebook, instagram and twitter simultaneously (yes I’ll admit it) while waiting for my pearly polish to dry, I might not have ever seen this tweet “@themightyrib: Boston foodies…if you’re interested in details about attending a Pig Roast @CitizensPub in the near future, pls DM me. Organizing a group”.  Without regard to my polish, I instantly replied and was greeted moments later by a friendly message from Kevin (@themightyrib) that I was in.  Awesome. Finally a dinner crew that will get down and dirty with some odd bits, and maybe a few people I can learn from. A couple of days later he got back to me with the date of Sunday Feb 26@2pm.  Juuuusst Great, iPhone calendar says I have a ski weekend planned, but what the heck, its been a bare bones winter so far.  The Pig wins.

6 weeks of anticipation led to this…

13 foodies

From all backgrounds

and  all walks of life

strangers to each other

came together with one common goal

…to eat. drink. and eat some more.  Did I just write a haiku or something?  anyway…

I am a carnivore and I have no qualms about it.  I like meat, I believe in meat, and our bodies were designed to digest it. I dig the veggies/vegans/pesca’s too and I am not trying to piss you off. However there is something special about nose to tail eating.  I know it’s becoming a little gimmicky but in concept and to actually be a part of it, is something sort of special.

I mean, we had a moment to bond with the little bugger. The chef brought him out in all his baked, crispy golden skin, ready to be hacked apart, glory.

We got to see the before, so that we could appreciate the after.

Whole Hog, 26lbs of goodness

After everyone arrived and beers had been served, we started with a nice 1st round of raw bar appetizers; clams, shrimp, and oysters.  Couldn’t think of a better way to start off a pig roast, if I do say so myself.

Oysters and Clams

For sides we were surprised with tarragon roasted beets, fried green tomatoes, and truffle oil sweet potatoes.

Gorgeous Beets

Killer Green Tomatoes

And it begins…

Pig Pickin'

Shoulders and Butt

My first plate

Crispy Pig Skin.. doesn't get much better! Pork Candy

Since this was brunch after all, the chef informed us that he had stuffed the pigs belly with chorizo, eggs, spinach, apples, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes and various aromatic herbs and spices.  It was fantastic and the flavors ran throughout the tender meat.

More Pig!

Stuffed.

After fully pigging out, the drinks started flowin’, and the bourbon punch started giving us a warm feeling in our tummys… liquid courage was building and the main event was upon us.

Bourbon Lemon Tea Punch; deadly yet delicious

Offal; the nasty bits and odd parts. The grande silver platter arrived and I was excited, curious and a little grossed out all at the same time, but hey!  This is what I came for.  When else does one experience something like this?  I don’t think I’ll ever be on fear factor getting yelled at by Joe Rogan,  I sure as sh*t am not eating or preparing this stuff at school, and my usual dinners out with friends don’t get this interesting, so I’m going for it.

Brains, Eyes, Cheek, Tongue

Eyeball is interesting.  If it wasn’t for the bourbon tea plus some random foodie peer pressure I might not have done it, so it was a perfect combo.  With a few meaty parts of the head fat still attached I popped the sucker and chewed only slightly.  Tasted like pork, a little oily, and then an odd viscous feel on my tongue. I immediately grabbed for my beer and swallowed.  It wasn’t terrible, but I am glad to have just had the one.  First and last eyeball consumption I hope.

Pig Eye... not sure if it's the right or left

With that, followed brain on toast with a little kosher salt.  Comparative to an oily pate with a liver aftertaste. Not delicious.

Brain shmere. Brown strings are blood lines or brain veins. yuck

And finally, pig tongue- actually incredible!  Tasted similar to roast beef. If you ever have a chance, try it! Any normal meat eater would like it.

Tongue is just to the lower right of the snout

Look at Carol “I’ll try anything once” Glagola, eatin’ her brain toast like it ain’t no thang! She dug right in. You GO girl.

This was a perfect Sunday afternoon. I met a lot of cool people, heard some interesting stories, shared some laughs, ate some weird sh*t, and got cultured on nose to tail eating. If you want to do something out of the ordinary, sip on whisky, and have some good banter, head over to the Citizen Public House.

The…

End.

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The best oven baked Ribs

A totally delicious accident.  I had never made oven baked ribs before, but with a fairly good idea of what to do, I started  throwing spices and liquids together.  I don’t see many rib recipes that incorporate Orange Juice, Espresso powder, and Ginger, but I did. Wanna wow your friends during your Superbowl party?  Give this recipe a shot.   I guarantee these won’t last longer than the first Doritos commercial.

INGREDIENTS:
2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs, silver skin removed

Dry Rub:

  • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

Orange Juice Syrup:

  • 2 cups Orange Juice, reduced by half
  • 2 tablespoons, ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Pack each side of the ribs generously with the dry rub, then wrap the ribs tightly in the foil and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight and up to 48 hours.

When ready to bake the ribs, preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Place the ribs (still in the foil packets) on a foil lined baking sheet and bake the ribs in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove ribs from foil and  brush with your favorite BBQ sauce or lightly glaze with the reduced orange juice syrup mixture. Place ribs on a shallow baking rack with drip pan. Line the bottom of the drip-pan with 1 cup of orange juice.  Cover tightly with foil and return to the oven for another 2 hours. After 2 hours, check the moisture level and add more orange juice or a OJ/Water combo if needed. Continue to cook until level of personal done-ness is achieved.  During the last 15 minutes of cooking crank up the oven to 425*F and baste again with OJ Syrup or BBQ sauce to give the ribs a crispy crust.  I like them falling off the bone, so I cooked mine for 6.5 hours.  Oven levels will vary.

Slow and low is the name of the game.

Toasted Almond and Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Crispy Prosciutto.

Easy party food. I’ll keep this short and to the point.  10 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to bake and voila!

  • 20 pitted, dry, dates
  • 3 oz of good, pungent Gorgonzola cheese
  • 20 or so raw almonds, rough chopped
  • 1pkg sliced prosciutto
  • tooth picks

1. Rough chop almonds and toast them over low-med heat in a saute pan. Once they begin to brown evenly remove from heat.

2. Slice dates on one side and pull open, add a small sliver of cheese, just enough to stuff it.

3. Sprinkle a few almond pieces on top of the gorgonzola and close the date back up.

4. Roll the stuffed date in a 1″x4″ piece of prosciutto and secure with a toothpick.

5. Repeat until all dates are stuffed.

5. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 15-20 minutes or until prosciutto looks crisp.

This small bite hits every taste bud in your mouth; salty, sweet, crispy, nutty, soft, chewy and layered with flavor.  A  really quick and tasty app for your next party!

“One of the best hors d’oeuvre I’ve ever had!”- anonymous friend