HIP Tasting-Pig Picking

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HIP members were treated to a front row view of a pig butchering by Executive Chef Amar Santana of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s . The pork cutting and trimming took place at the DoubleTree Guest Suites in Anaheim The pale creature lay on its side generally ignored until Chef Santana approached with his knife.

Amar Santana
Chef Amar Santana

He explained his technique as he sliced the pig, about 95 pounds, into various sections. Santana is known to be fond of pork. So fond in fact, friends gave him $300 and a pork design suitable for a tattoo. He didn’t reveal the tattoo but our Editor in Chief, Teri Williams has seen it.

While most chefs buy the pork already cut to their needs, Santana suggested that buying a whole pig could save money, as every part was usable. He held up a fat leg and commented he would cure it to make proscuitto.

“My favorite parts are the pork belly, ears and pork butt. I like them because they have the most flavor and texture,” Santana said.

Santana also makes sausage. “I use all the parts. I make my own sausages in the restaurant; fresh and also dried cured sausages such as salami and chorizo.”

“I like to make cracklings with the skin. But I also boil it, chop it and add to fresh sausages for texture,” Santana continued.

He takes part in Charlie Palmer’s Pigs and Pinot held every year in Healdsburg. “It’s a great event. I’m doing a Peking style whole pork with house-made hoisin sauce, scallions and flour tortillas.

Dining on DoubleTree Chef James Chavez’s pork and other creations brought for the “Pig Pot Luck” was the best part of the tasting accompanied by wines from The Organic Cellar.

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