Made from intensely flavorful, hand selected cuts of mangalitsa pork,
these dry cured pork shoulders (essentially a smaller country ham)
combine the best traditions of Austria, Hungary and the American South.
The resulting final product is among the very finest produced in the US.
These cured mangalitsa pork shoulders have the leg bone and foot
included for an impressive presentation that allows them to be displayed
and sliced on European-style prosciutto ham racks.
Note: because of the expert curing process, this mangalitsa
pork is completely shelf stable at room temperature until its packaging
is opened. As such, it is shipped via ground without ice packs.
Read below for more information about the traditional curing process and Mangalitsa pork.
Mangalitsa Pork: Buttery, Rich, Moist
Mangalitsa pigs (aka
mangalica pigs) are a “lard-type” heritage breed. Because of their
unique wooly appearance, they are sometimes also referred to as “wooly
While almost all other pig breeds raised in America are “meat-type”
breeds that have been bred since World War 2 to be leaner and leaner
with each generation (their meat progressively getting dryer and less
flavorful), Mangalitsas have remained essentially the same since the
breed with first developed in Hungary in 1833.
Mangalitsa pork is extremely well marbled (often with more than
double the marbling of conventional pork), with buttery, yet cleaner
tasting, smooth fat. Mangalitsa meat’s flavor is far superior to
mainstream pork and it is also much less likely to dry out.
The Mangalitsa breed, when raised using Austrian husbandry techniques
and with ultra high-quality feed as these pigs have been, produces fat
that is primarily monounsaturated and higher in oleic acid. This means
it melts at lower temperatures for a rich, moist result in cooking, and
also cures far better than conventional pork, producing exceptional hams
and cured shoulders.
Consumption of monounsaturated fats may also be associated with a decrease in certain types of cholesterol.
Country Ham: A Slow-Cured American Delicacy
production is a longstanding tradition in the American south. Over a
period lasting from several months to over a year, hams are air/dry
cured, then often smoked, until they reach the pinnacle of salty, sweet,
rich, and smoky flavor.
Though the methods have evolved somewhat due to modern innovations in
safety and temperature/humidity control, they are essentially the same.
The level of knowledge, artistry, and skill required to properly cure
country hams is not unlike that employed by top brew masters, vintners,
and cheese makers.
These cured mangalitsa shoulders are prepared using traditional
country ham methods, but not smoked, ensuring that the full, rich taste
of mangalitsa pork shines uninhibited. These shoulders lose as much as
35% of their initial raw weight in moisture during the curing process,
concentrating their flavor.
How Mangalitsa Shoulders are Cured
The cure master first
rubs each raw shoulder with a dry cure mixture of salt, sugar, and
curing agents. Next each is moved to a walk-in freezer at a
near-freezing temperature for forty days. This stage simulates the high
humid, super cold climate of winter in the South, when settlers
originally would start to lay in their hams for the next year. As the
shoulder endures “winter,” moisture is drawn out and the cure drawn in.
Next they move to “Spring” where they are hung an a
temperature/humidity controlled room that slowly reduces the ambient
humidity while increasing the temperature. Air circulation further
removes moisture while the salt previously drawn into the meat
redistributes itself, equalizing for a consistent flavor.
“Summer” is the last step, where aging lasts for several months, with
the total amount of time varying from shoulder to shoulder. In this
warm environment the meat continues to shrink and develop its complex
and mature flavor. The shoulders are regularly tested by the curemaster,
who inserts a long stainless steel needle into each periodically,
allowing air to rush into and out of the heart of the meat. Based on the
feel and aroma of each, he is able to judge quality and maturity.
These mangalitsa shoulders are sold at only the very highest level of
quality, providing a unique balance of salt blending with the flavors
of the pork and buttery fat. They have been cured for a total of 8-10
months, with each shoulder being pulled by the curemaster exactly when