Foodies go to great lengths to get their lips on the world’s very best ham. But if you would not transportation prize boar sperm from Portugal, invest $two hundred,000 to import your possess pigs, raise litters no cost selection on organic and natural grains and imported acorns, and dry age their hind legs by hand for years—well, then you are not as obsessed as Rodrigo Duarte, proprietor and butcher at Caseiro e Bom.
The son of pig farmers in Portugal, Duarte grew up raising and butchering hogs, but didn’t have the prospect to open his possess place right until he emigrated to Newark, New Jersey’s Portuguese enclave, the Ironbound district, in which he labored at a grocery store meat counter even though saving for his possess butcher shop. “I didn’t actually slumber back then,” Duarte claims. “I labored very long shifts, then stayed up all night time earning my possess sausages.”
In 2010, he purchased a bodega and transformed the back into a smokehouse and just about every inch of ceiling room into a pork lover’s paradise, dangling dozens of ham legs you have to duck beneath to solution the counter. Then he purchased a farm in which he raised no cost-selection domestic pigs, just before becoming the only individual in the United States ever allowed to import and breed legitimate black Portuguese Alentejano hogs.
Why all the fuss? Shut your eyes even though a paper-slim slice of Duarte’s aged presunto (Portuguese for ham) dissolves more than your tongue. As its marbleized body fat melts, your flavor buds are bombarded with a selection of sweet, buttery, nutty and savory flavors as intricate as the world’s very best wines or whiskeys. The extreme taste arrives from the pigs them selves, an ancient line of black hogs termed pata negra praised in crafting two thousand yrs ago.
The easiest comparison is to Spain’s famous jamón Ibérico de bellota, which can sell for $4,500 a leg. But some imagine Duarte’s New Jersey–crafted delicacy is even better—he’s claimed top rated honors at the Charcuterie Masters global competitiveness just about every year considering the fact that 2016. Now it is on the menu of some of New York and New Jersey’s very best restaurants, with Duarte charging $499 a pound for a leg aged for four yrs. Revenue greater even during the pandemic.
“I’m not afraid of acquiring clients,” he claims. “I’m afraid of seeking to retain up with desire. I really do not want to rush the method.”
Thanks to Duarte’s new on the net shop (usapatanegra.com), you can try some without schlepping to Newark. Slice it as slim as achievable, serve at area temperature and, if you have to, pair with aged Manchego, crusty bread and a superior bottle of wine or sherry-finished whiskey.
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