Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Golden Gate Pork

To kick-start this endeavour, I felt it important to establish from the outset the kind of thing the casual reader can expect: namely, lame puns and an unseemly emphasis on food.  So with that in mind, let's talk about pulled pork!

Oh, he knows...
(Image: BArchBot, WikiMedia Commons)
But pulled's a different world! If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was a different bloody animal! These oozy, butter-tender strands and lumps of slow-cooked pork, raked off the beast and stuffed into a sandwich that is destined to drip oil all over your front - humble pig, is that really you? Oink three times for yes!
  • Carne Rosso's slow-cooked Marin Sun Farms pork sandwich. Not only is the pork incredibly tender, it's served with chile-lime salsa, shaved fennel and cilantro (ie. coriander) salad which makes for something of a taste explosion.
  • Boccalone's 'Mess Piggy' sandwich. This place's banner proclaims "Tasty Salted Pig Parts", and they aren't lying. Bib is mandatory.
  • Palomino's Pulled Pork Sliders. Sliders, for the non-Americans among us, are basically miniature burgers (the only miniature thing around here, as far as I can see), and these are incredible.

You could argue that there might be more pressing items on the 'displaced Brit' agenda right now, but still, pulled pork... I can't quite believe that until I moved here in April, those words held no place in my life. For twenty-five long years, 'pork' to me meant a roast joint; a carved slab of chewy, slightly dry pig. If you were lucky, the pig brought its own apple sauce and crackling to enliven the proceedings. To be brutally honest, I wasn't a fan. 

Image: Michael Bennett, WikiMedia Commons

I'm in danger of alienating readers of both nationalities here, since Americans will say "So? We've eaten it for years" and Brits will just think this all sounds a bit keen. The best analogy I can muster is that it's like moving to another country and discovering that instead of the version of Catwoman you saw in the UK, this country has an entirely different, critically-lauded version: one that's about the French Resistance and has Daniel Day-Lewis in it. Once you'd got over your initial confusion, imagine how much you'd want to eat that movie!

From what I've seen (alright, what I've eaten), pulled pork is pretty big in San Francisco, although I'm ill-qualified to comment on its popularity across the rest of the States. (That said, this description of the Tennessee method of cooking this dish is making that much-longed-for trip to Dollywood seem more a legitimate research trip than a holiday...) The
three best examples I've eaten so far, all around the Embarcadero, are:

To the very best of my knowledge, the concept of serving pork in this way is basically non-existent in the UK, save for fancy-pants incarnations like porchetta. At least I really hope it's non-existent, otherwise I've just wasted an entire post talking up an issue that doesn't actually exist. By way of closing, I'll give the last word to Homer (not that one):


  1. Omnomnom.

    Worth an honorable mention might be Bounty Hunter in Napa, where at the end of a hot drive awaits a delicious Pulled Pork "sandwich" that even has its own specially-nominated wine pairing!

  2. Looks stupendous! Any eatery that proudly displays a picture of a roast chicken perched on top of a beer can - a dish they actually sell - has got to be worth a try.

  3. I would eat that movie. xx

  4. Not to add further controversy to the pork-transatlanticism furore, I tried telling an American friend of mine about gammon and she wasn't having any of it!

    With the way remakes are going you could seriously market that Catwoman as a valid reboot.

  5. Too right - I can't imagine Daniel Day-Lewis is that busy...