Sunday, April 26, 2009

The crazy things men do…

Yeah, crazy about sums up the day.  Unusually hot April weather set the stage for a day full of mantivites.  What does friendship, homebrew, and a hog’s stomach have in common?  They were all bullet points on our mangenda. 

The day started early when I put a Boston Butt on the 26 inch Weber even before I had breakfast.  To give you an idea of the kind of dedication this takes, I never miss eating an early breakfast (or a late one for that matter). 

Getting ready

Around noon, our merry bunch of home brewers started to show up.  Eric recently started dabbling in homebrew in the last couple of months.  Today was the first day he was going to use his new kettle, burner, and fermentor.   I was going for my third all-grain batch.  I hope it turns out better than the last two.  I am going with the proper recipe a friend of mine passed on to me.  I figure once I really nail it consistently, I will start to dabble with it.  Also, I say proper because last time I had to alter the grain bill significantly because of my short prep window.

Dave works the mash

With the brewing under way, I promised the guy’s something different for lunch: hog’s stomach.  Now this is something I literally stumbled on.  I went looking for a pork belly at the store and when I went to pick “it” up, I got a stomach.  Since I am pretty good at making lemonade out of lemons…or should I say beer out of malt and hops, I said what the hell. 

Ever want to see a hog's stomach?How about a stomach stuffed with good fixins?It doesn't look pretty...

Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that a hog’s stomach, or maw, is used in several different ethnic dishes.  Closest to home, the Pennsylvania Dutch make maws by stuffing them full of potatoes, sausage, and cabbage.  Fortunately, potatoes, sausage, and cabbage satisfy three of my seventeen food groups.  I figured I was set. 

From one stomach to another

Some further digging through the interwebs turned up several similar maw recipes.  This one in particular was my favorite because it had pictures.   The stomach is essentially a vessel for the stuffing.  Now I am usually pretty good with anatomy, but after looking at the previous hog maw pictures, I was little perplexed as to why I couldn’t find the opening to the stomach.  Dave smartly noted that stomach was butchered open.  My grandfather, who worked at a meat packing plant, probably rolled over in his grave. 

Hops in!

My second error was that I did not have any good kitchen stitching equipment.  I’m just not always stitching animals closed apparently.  In the linked to article above, the woman sewed her stomach up (the hog’s stomach…not really hers) with the precision of a surgeon. I, on the other hand, went at it like Dr. Nick from the Simpsons.

Progress

After stuffing and binding the stomach, I threw it in a pan and grilled it indirect for almost an hour.  The results?  Actually, really good.  No one keeled over and everyone went back for seconds.  We were all in agreement that the smooth inner lining was quite tasty.  Next time I will try and be more prepared so I can sew the stomach up properly.

EricKeithNate

Both batches of our beer are fermenting strong tonight, so only time holds the true answer to our success.  The day was great.  It is hard to believe we slugged it out for nine hours.  Hot weather, great beer, two meals and good friends.  Thanks Eric, Keith, Nate, Dave and Gregg (Hopefully next time The Drew makes it)!  Mantabulous!

Mantabulous...

3 comments:

Chris said...

Awesome! I think I could really use a mancation sometimes. Especially one that deals in beer and some sort of swine.

Cheers!

Andrew said...

Pork tummy and beer, looks like a hell of a good time. I've seen pork stomach at the Asian Market, but never knew what to do with it..until now!

Mike said...

@Chris - As my wife will attest, I maximize these mancations to the tenth degree! Cheers back at you!

@Andrew - It was a blast...I can't wait to the next one.

This was a good learning experience. Next time I hope to stitch it up properly and then maybe play with the stuffing. I immediately thought of you and the snout to tail mission when I picked it up.