However you decide to dress it up, the pig is one tasty animal. You can serve it fried, roasted or stewed, but the end result is almost always the same - a great plate, guaranteed to get a crowd oinking with delight.
When you’re starting with something so inherently tasty, it can be easy to keep things simple. However, despite the temptations of pork chops and bacon sandwiches, there are some piggy traditions that take things to new and awesome extremes. They may take slightly more work, but these seven techniques are as jaw-dropping as they are delicious. Here are the world’s most insane pork dishes.
Hearty, herby and wholesome, traditional Italian porchetta is a ticket to porky heaven. A typical recipe calls for garlic, rosemary and fennel, along with a whole heap of salt and pepper, to be stuffed inside a boneless joint of fat crusted pork. The meat is then roasted for eight hours plus and served as a filling for panino, usually as a popular street food.
For most of us, raw pork is best left well alone. Mett might well be the exception to that rule. Highly seasoned raw minced pork is mixed with garlic and caraway and spread on a piece of bread, making a German and Polish tradition that’s as delicious as it is initially daunting.
3. Lion’s Head
Every country around the world seems to have figured out that putting ground meat in a ball makes it absolutely irresistible, and China is no exception. Lion’s Head is the daddy of Chinese meatballs, usually measuring about 10cm in diameter and served in a richly savoury broth. Coming in two varieties - white and red - this traditional dish proves that mincing can be the best way to get maximum taste.
One of the best uses for pork is as a blanket for other, less illustrious meats. A prime example is the Italian staple of saltimbocca. A relatively simple dish, saltimbocca features a veal cutlet, wrapped in sage and prosciutto and fried in butter. Salty, sweet and fabulously straightforward, this one way to make the most out of ham.
Few foods cook slowly quite like pork. If there’s one recipe that shows of the ingredients slow cooking pedigree, it’s kalua pork. Using the traditional Hawaiian method of wrapping the meat in taro leaves before placing it underground in an imu oven ensures that the resulting dish has an unbelievable succulent texture, as well as a unique flavour.
Christmas traditions are always awesome wherever you are. However, Puerto Rico may just take the piggy biscuit when it comes to Yuletide perfection. Lechon features a whole roast suckling pig, liberally seasoned and spiced and served as a sharing barbecue for entire communities. Definitely beats a dry, dessicated turkey.
If fat equals flavour, then lardo might just be one of the tastiest things you can find anywhere. This Italian delicacy is made from cured strips of pig fat, seasoned with salt and rosemary and traditionally spread on toast or used as a salty topping to other dishes. If it’s pure depth of flavour you’re after, look no further than this ancient classic.
For non-veggies, the world is full of amazing recipes with meat right at the centre. What sets pork apart is its unparalleled diversity. Whether you have a hankering for ham or a hearty roast, there’s only one animal to turn to. It may be off limits to some, but there can be no doubt that pigs are and always will be absolutely delicious.