Coming Out in College, A Survival Guide

Coming Out in College, A Survival Guide

News: Ah, college! Whether you’re new to a local campus this semester or you’ve been before, there’s something about the teeming... By Richard Farias 9/3/2014
What Do You Get A 1-Year-Old NDO? Enforcement

What Do You Get A 1-Year-Old NDO? Enforcement

News: This week marks a year since the San Antonio City Council amended its 20-year-old non-discrimination ordinance to include gender identity, gender orientation... By Mark Reagan 9/3/2014
4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

City Guide 2014: In the last few years, San Antonio has made great strides when it comes to its mixology doings. Many good (and some great!) cocktail bars have been springing... By Tim Hennessey 2/24/2014
Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Guide: It’s almost summer, which means that your government-subsidized free daycare (aka public school) goes on hiatus thanks to an archaic allegiance to a rural agriculture economic system that hasn’t been in play for decades. What to do with the wee ones whining 5/21/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Food & Drink

Hunting the whole hog in San Antonio

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

A Large White hog, broken down at Restaurant Gwendolyn.

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

Restaurant Gwendolyn's Kyle DeStefano

Related stories

According to that unimpeachable source, Chopped, one of TV's cadre of chef-challenge shows, goat is the world's most widely consumed meat. If asked that question on any of the quiz shows that abound on other channels, I would have instinctively said pork. Razzz!

My instincts are conditioned by the pig's versatility (who does goat hams or stuffed goat's feet?), by local restaurant culture (everything from simple tamales to lacquered ribs and high-toned belly), and by the positive plethora of new cookbooks on the subject of utilizing the whole hog (and other creatures), a genre popularized by England's Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating. The most recent tome to appear on the topic is April Bloomfield's A Girl and Her Pig, the cover of which features the English-born chef with a pristine porker slung over her shoulder.

Henderson and Bloomfield (who now cooks out of New York, and has had a restaurant called The Spotted Pig) didn't invent the notion of whole-hog cookery, of course; it's age-old, across cultures, and only fell out of favor in overly prosperous societies that could afford to disdain tails and trotters. That's us, of course, but regardless of present proclivities (and they are changing), America has a long and proud pork history. That history is especially important in the South where ham-curing was first raised to a high art by the colonists of Smithfield, Virginia, who brought hogs from England and fattened them on peanuts out of Africa. The good name of Smithfield was eventually corrupted by the development of "environmentally ruinous hog factories," according to Peter Kaminsky in Pig Perfect. But fortunately the dry-curing tradition had long since spread beyond Smithfield and is still upheld today by small-scale, responsible practitioners such as Newsom's Country Hams in Kentucky, S. Wallace Edwards & Sons in Virginia, and Allan Benton in Tennessee.

The Monterey may not have been the first in town to trumpet the use of Benton's signature Smoky Mountain ham and bacon on its menu, but it was the bacon's optional use in their iconic grilled cheese sandwich that first caught my attention. (The Monty also pushes the pig parts envelope with pig head, pig's ears, and the like.) Bespoke bacon shouldn't come as a surprise in an era when the stuff is being slapped onto (and into) everything, including brownies and bourbon — and when some entrepreneurial sorts known as The Bacon Boys (they've even promoted an ironic, bacon-emblazoned coffin) are said to be developing a bacon-based reality show. But it wasn't until I happened to notice bacon for sale at chef Michael Sohocki's Restaurant Gwendolyn stand at the Pearl Farmers Market, that the proverbial light bulb went off. "Are you curing this yourself?" I asked Gwendolyn's Kyle DeStefano. "We are," he replied. Further questioning revealed that he also "broke down" a pig every week at Gwendolyn. And before you know it, I was in the basement of the restaurant with DeStefano and a 170-pound porker. (Vegans may stop here if they haven't already.)

Recently in Food & Drink
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus