Yeehaw! My week in Texas has come to an end and I am happy to report a successful Pig Roast at Cipollina in Austin, Texas. The open-kitchen Italian Bistro is home to a passionate crew of culinary lovers and I am proud to have been apart of their kitchen for a couple of days. My bud from Philly, Steve Parke and I hatched this idea for the Pig Roast last month, secretly just wanting to hang out and cook awesome food. We did just that.
My week in Austin began after the 30 hour haul from Pennsylvania to Texas with my road dogs from Caravan. I got to Cipollina and immediately began to break down the beautiful 197 pound Countryside Farms Hog from Cedar Creek, Texas. With the help from Viktor, one of Cipollina's line cooks, we broke down the pig. Viktor's father Juan, who also works in the kitchen, inspected our butchering, correcting us occasionally as he finished his prep work for the day. Viktor's mother Maria, on the other side of the counter, picked herbes and kept a watchful eye on our progress. It was a lovely feeling to be surrounded by a family cooking together.
We butcher the pig, split the cavity, removed the remaining organs and separated the spine from ribs (Juan showed us his technique at this point) and finally halved the pig. We then took the front and hind quarters and separated them. We removed the skin, bones, and choice cuts, prepared meat for braising, stock and rubbed the belly with spices.
This is my third whole pig I've gotten to break down, my first in a commercial kitchen with a proper cleaver. We wrote out the menu, talked details and made empanadas and peach slab pie for street vending. I hustled sixth street with flyers in hand for a couple of nights and then Thursday the magic happened.