First Thursdays @ Fatted Calf Charcuterie, Oxbow Market

The Pulled Pork Sandwich @ The Fatted Calf, Oxbow Market, Napa.

I still toy with the idea of re-branding this blog as It may just happen one day — I may just fully commit to the almighty hog, and turn my back on all other forms of sustenance. I carefully weigh the pros and cons from time to time. So many proper porcine foods in my favor: Bacon, pork chops, sausage, prosciutto, chicharrones, bacon, carnitas, baby back ribs, Iberico ham. The list quickly becomes impressive. But then I always reconsider. I think about the taste of Louisiana crawfish, or a delicious slab of medium-rare prime rib, or a fresh piece of seared halibut, or a freshly-shucked oyster. No, although I do love the swine, I just can’t fully commit. But on days like today, when pork is foremost in my mind, I do entertain the idea.

There’s a decent chance that I’ll dream about pork tonight, especially after having attended the Butcher’s Happy Hour at Fatted Calf Charcuterie this afternoon. The folks at Fatted Calf Oxbow host this event on the first Thursday of each month (although their San Francisco location hosts a similar event every Wednesday), and if you worship the pig as much as I do, this is pretty close to church. For me, there’s something captivating about seeing an entire hog being carefully butchered into familiar cuts, and the practitioners at Fatted Calf will answer questions as they work and share their expertise.

But before I get to the photo set below, I need to mention the Fatted Calf’s pulled pork sandwich, pictured above. One might assume that, with so much pork and charcuterie at their immediate disposal, the Fatted Calf would attain scandalous heights with their sandwiches, like substituting pork rinds for bread, or something totally unheard of. But in fact, the Fatted Calf tends to stick close to the script, which is fine by me. Heritage pork shoulder, slow-cooked and succulent, smothered with a dose of bourbon barbecue sauce, and dressed with a little coleslaw? I can’t get mad at that. Ever.

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Prepping the side of pork by removing the rib bones. The hog in question is a Red Wattle, a heritage breed listed on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste.

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The interior of the side of pork gives the appearance of ribs bones, but in fact, the bones have actually been neatly removed, leaving only the intercostal meat..

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Trussing and cinching the roulade.

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