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May 19, 2011

All Summer in a Day, featuring an all-pig cast

This is JUST like that Ray Bradbury story where they lock that girl in a closet on Venus and she misses the two hours of sun that the planet gets every seven years.

Except with pork!

A friend who keeps pork from passing her lips all year allows herself one day each year for a Day of Treif, one day to eat patently not-kosher food. 

Her pork day is this Sunday and she's asked me for some help. One early suggestion was rebuffed: "That place doesn't sound very clean."

So, we're looking here for very very (make that exceptionally) good pork, barbecue preferably, in a very clean setting.

If you could only eat pork one day a year, where it would be?


Posted by Richard Gorelick at 7:55 AM | | Comments (27)


Interesting --- I would have thought non-pork eaters would be all about the bacon, not the BBQ.

You could probably get all of your pork needs answered in Hamilton. Get pork ribs at Big Bad Wolf on Harford Road and then make a dinner of Clementine's charcuterie, which would fit the celebratory occasion, IMO --- as well as the cleanliness factor.

They also have shellfish, which would be high on my personal list for a Day to Eat Forbidden Foods.

Big Bad Wolf, definitely.

I've shielded my identity in case my rabbi is looking in (sorry, rabbi, this didn't work: ), but in addition to BBQ, I'm also craving something Asian with grilled pork or grilled shrimp, preferably at a clean whole in the wall. Thanks in advance!

I still haven't been, but isn't Andy Nelson's usually considered the end all be all of BBQ in Baltimore?

The Knusperige Schweinshaxe, Bavarian pork shank, at Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown. You need to order it at least 24 hrs in advance. To top off the day of treif, you can get their bacon wrapped green beans and their wurst sampler.

I too would recommend Andy Nelson's BBQ, but the only place to sit are the picnic tables outside. I do believe that the pulled pork is worth the slight inconvenience. In fact, I have some of it for lunch today - a remnant of my last pilgrimage from Hampstead to Wegmans followed by a short hop down York Road to Nelson's. I got a pound of the bulk pork and have been rationing it (small freezer containers) for the last 2 weeks. Today's lunch represents the last aliquot. Bummer!

Tour du Treif,

While neither BBQ nor asian, this seems like the perfect opportunity to reprise Yum Porchetta's recipe for "that FINE, FINE dish that makes grown men weep with pleasure and women lick their plates clean." Perhaps you can find a friend to prepare it for you in a non-kosher kitchen:

* * * *

By popular demand (thank you Lissa and LEC), here is the basic recipe for my version of porchetta (feel free to improvise, as I did, according to your taste):


10 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup fennel seeds
2 Tbsps. coarse sea salt (I use less-- about 1 Tbsp b/c I prefer less salt in the meat and pan drippings)
1/2 to 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 to 6 small dried red chiles, crumbled with seeds OR 3 tsp+ crushed red pepper
1 boneless pork shoulder butt (about 6 to 7 lbs works nicely -- you can use a smaller one and reduce the herbs/spices accordingly. But believe me, you'll WISH you had made the larger one)
4 Tbsps olive oil, divided (approx.-- I eyeball as necessary)
1/2 cup hot water (approx.-- I eyeball as necessary and always add more)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chicken broth (approx.-- I eyeball as necessary and always add more)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Using a mortar and pestle (this makes me feel very Italian), crush the garlic and fennel seeds and mix them together. If I'm feeling lazy or time is tight, I throw the fennel seeds in a mini-chopper or spice grinder and try to grind them part-way, but then I always use the mortar and pestle to scrunch in the garlic. Add the salt, black pepper and chiles or red pepper and combine.

Trim excess fat from the pork sholder to your preference. Cut 1 inch slits all over the surface of the meat, including top and bottom. (This is the time to indulge your inner serial killer and go nuts with your weapon, if desired.) Rub the garlic-seed mixture into the slits (if you have deboned the pork shoulder yourself, feel free to make lots of the rub and smear it inside the pork before rolling it back up and tying it into a nice porky package) Massage the rub into the meat, tenderly or fiercely, lovingly or with reckless abandon.

Heat at least 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy Dutch oven or roasting pan. Sear the pork on all sides over medium-low heat for about 10 to 12 minutes but do not allow garlic to burn.

Remove the meat from the pot and add hot water, stirring and scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan and incorporate all those wonderful flavorful brown bits of porky goodness. Place a rack in the bottom of the pan. Add the meat, fatty side up, and roast in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes.

Pour the lemon juice and chicken broth over the meat. Brush with remaining olive oil.

Reduce the heat to 250 degrees (yes that's correct). Cover the pan, and roast that lovely thing for 8 to 10 hours, basting with pan juices (I baste every 45 minutes or so; if the juices look low, I add more water, chicken broth and lemon juice, depending on my mood). How will you know it is done? When the meat falls apart when barely touched with a fork. However, it will call out to you long before then, and your willpower and the willpower of all of those within sniffing radius will be severely tested as you restrain yourself and them from ripping open the oven, pulling off the cover, and diving face-first into the porchetta).

Remove the porchetta from the pot and place it on a serving platter, beating everyone off with heavy clubs while you skim the fat from the pan drippings. Serve the pan drippings on the side or drizzled over the meat, or in tall tumblers to guzzle alongside this FINE, FINE dish. Smile modestly as your guests heap praise upon you while gorging themselves.

Buon Appetito!

Posted by: YumPorchetta | March 23, 2009 5:33 PM

This post reflects a habit in the non-Orthodox Jewish community that I continue to not understand: if you don't eat a certain kind of food for religious reasons, why would you allow yourself one day a year to eat that food? If you are going to adopt dietary restrictions for religious purposes, it's not a "diet." You don't get a "cheat" day. Does this person stop believing in God or stop believing in Jewish law during her "treif" day? How does that make any sense whatsoever??

I'll be watching the response to this. I suggest it be treated as a real question and not a rhetorical one. Please try to answer from your personal experience. And please don't engage individual posters in direct conversation.

Wow, that recipe looks splendid. I received a new dutch as a bridal shower gift. Perfect recipe to break it in. Thank you! My now husband will love this!

Laura Lee

That was my exact thought when I read the post. It's a great recipe and any leftovers serve as a wonderful base for a most tasty Cuban sandwich.

If you really want Pork the only place to get everything is at taqueria el sabor del parque on eastern Ave. They have what I think to be the best tacos around and the fillings you can get range pretty much the whole hog. Head, lips, cheek, ears, ribs, loin, shoulder and of course, tongue are all options to choose from. If I only ate this little piggy once a year I would make it a point to try as broad of a cross section of textures as I could. They also have hot dogs, which have pork in them as well.

Other wise, I would say go to Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC. Their ramen is out of sight with pig parts, the pork belly buns are worth the trip alone and if you're lucky they will have pig tails on the menu as a special. They were so good I immediately came home and bought a bunch of tails to try to recreate the dish. It’s worth the trip.

Big Bad Wolf gets my vote for BBQ btw...

Laura Lee, I'm trying to imagine getting that jiggy with a kosher chicken!

Keeping kosher and believing in G-d don't neccesarily have anything to do with each other.

You could start at Andy Nelson's in the late morning, head to Belvedere Square for Asian at Cafe Zen and with charchuterie at Clementine appetizers and dinner at Big Bad Wolf. Unfortunately there's only counter seating at BBW, so you might have to take away ... but if you keep kosher at home you might have to ask Gorelick to host the Treif finale.

Hmmm, ODing on that much pork might stave off the craving clear into next year :)

But Judaism is SUPPOSED to be about expressing a belief in God, and all the laws are supposed to be reflections of God and are God's laws. If you follow the law but don't believe in God, again, I say, what is the point of practicing? What is the point of being a Jew or being religious or practicing any Judaio-Christian religion if not as an expression of worship for God? If you're an Atheist, how can you call yourself a Jew? I've known many Jews who consider themselves Athiests, but that fundamentally doesn't make any sense.

IMHO, Big Bad Wolf wins the BBQ vote by far, and I live 3 miles from Andy Nelson's! But, I will drive to Harford Road for my porkly needs.

Andy Nelson's is closed on Sunday so you would have to buy on Saturday (Shabbos) and consume on Sunday if your heart was set on Andy's. Two days of Treif?

Since when does Andy Nelson's have no tables indoors?

Laura Lee, if you are in touch with Yum Po, please tell her she is sorely missed.

Big Bad Wolf is also closed on Sunday.

MC, what would be good to accompany this fantastic sounding dish. I will try to make this this weekend. Many thanks for sharing the recipe.

Karma would surely get me if I took credit for Laura Lee's re-post of Yum Po's fantastic sounding dish, but if it were me, I would make some nice sauteed Napa Cabbage and onions, finished with a splash of Balsamic that might have the acid to cut through all that lush porky richness.

Big Bad Wolf is NOT closed on Sundays!

And Andy Nelson's DOES have seating inside, not just the picnic tables!

That's all I have to with CORRECTING stuff with random capitalization.

Well, to respond to Ex-Jew, I would say everyone practices in their own personal way to their own standards. Even within the Orthodox community, there are disagreements about practice. Some Orthodox won't even drink Pareve soy milk with meat because of the appearance of mixing milk with meat, even though it is perfectly Kosher to do so.

Personally, while I consider myself far from observant, I adopted a kosher-style (i.e. no shellfish, pork, cheeseburgers, etc.) lifestyle about 15 years ago, but will still eat a burger (no cheese) at 5 Guys.

The way I see it, it's better to observe Kashrut 364 days a year, than not at all. Perhaps one year, Tour du Treif will decide for forego the pork altogether. That is his/her choice.

But that is what I like about Judaism...everything is open to discussion and ultimately free will.

My mistake. I haven't lived in Hamilton for a few years, but when I did BBW was closed on Sunday. Although I do remember them being open on Sunday when the Ravens were in the playoffs.

It's simple..I don't eat pork, but I do eat spare long as they don't say pork ribs, I figure I'm o.k. delusional, but o.k.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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