Trending
MOST READ
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
What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

Food & Drink: It’s been a year since I’ve taken up this gig of eating and drinking across San Antonio. Since then, no fewer than seven juice shops have opened in the area... By Jessica Elizarraras 8/20/2014
SA’s Gritty PuroSlam is Feared, Respected in National Slam Poetry Scene

SA’s Gritty PuroSlam is Feared, Respected in National Slam Poetry Scene

Arts & Culture: See, there is this place where people participate in a ritual derived from the verbal tradition of telling and retelling stories to a room of bodies... By Melanie Robinson 8/20/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
15 Types of Commonly Encountered College Students

15 Types of Commonly Encountered College Students

College Issue 2014: Usually a freshman, this student tries to absorb everything the teacher says and immediately after class rushes to... By Alex Deleon 8/18/2014
Calendar

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


The dinner was cooked by Lüke's Steven McHugh and featured, among other porky pleasures, belly rillettes, bacon-wrapped terrines, house-made tasso, and a great, gutsy gumbo with andouille and smoked pork — all served as swallows darted and happy hogs snuffled nearby, oblivious to the fate that had befallen at least one of their brethren. At the farm, McHugh cooked the gumbo over an open fire and in a prodigious, cast-iron pot formerly used for rendering lard. In Lüke's kitchen, the equipment is a tad more upscale.

Suckling pig is not the kind of endeavor a home cook embarks on lightly, despite visions of golden-crisp skin and apple-stuck snout. I've done it only once, in a commercial-size oven and with the aid of an ex-chef friend. Backyard barbecuers with large smokers might want to give that method a try — and to fortify themselves beforehand with a class given by chef Garrett Stephens at one of his Pitmaster cooking classes at The County Line. (Stephens does one with a whole suckling pig in Cuban mojo, and a Puerto Rican approach to lechon asado — think lots of garlic — can be experienced at La Marginal, now on San Pedro.) McHugh, of course, is an old hand, suckling pig is a Tuesday special, and it's Tuesday in the Lüke kitchen.

Lüke may well have the city's most pork-centric menu. Here, McHugh, who came to San Antonio from John Besh's New Orleans restaurant empire, showcases much of his sausage-making expertise on a charcuterie board that features a bacon-wrapped country paté, a lovely and lightly smoky andouille, and a "quick salame" of beef and pork. A bratwurst that accompanies the Tuesday suckling special is sampled; it's delicately flavored, perfectly textured, and I'm shown the "Buffalo chopper" that allows McHugh to get just the right emulsion for stuffing into lamb casings. And as a whole suckling pig, about a 30-pounder, is in the oven, stuffed with jambalaya and awaiting presentation at an evening banquet, I'm shown that, too. "He's grinning," observes McHugh. I think the expression might be more of a grimace, but let's go with grins for now.

In the spirit of those Smithfield pioneers, McHugh is also curing a ham of his own. The process is "the original molecular gastronomy," says McHugh, and it begins with the partial deboning of a 30-pound leg from South Texas Heritage Pork. The leg is salted, inside and out, and pressed for 20 days, then it's sewn into a mesh wrapper. "It's been hanging for five months now, and I'm shooting for six," he says, after which it will be sliced like a prosciutto, maybe for a "reserve" charcuterie platter.

It's a sign of the times that locally raised pig parts such as the leg are easy to come by. It's even more telling that pork belly is more difficult to source and that pig heads have become a scarce commodity. "I just called STHP for a head and was told that Jason [Dady] had got the last one yesterday," commented McHugh. I didn't ask Dady what he was doing with his poached pig heads, but we did have a conversation about ribs.

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