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Issue 119 - On the pig's back

Whisky Magazine Issue 119
April 2014


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On the pig's back

L. Mulligan Grocer's culinary director pairs heritage rare breed pork and whiskey

It is the middle of a quiet Tuesday's service prep. The air in the kitchen is full of the familiar rhythm of chopping, blanching and cooling and the extractor fan is sucking the heady fumes out into a damp Dublin afternoon. There is nothing good on the radio and no one knows any jokes. The question is posed: if you could only ever eat the meat of one animal ever again, which would it be? Silence for a moment: 'Chicken' pronounces the junior commis and we all scoff. ‘Make tea' says the head chef shaking his head. 'For me it would be beef- a juicy rib eye', the head and sous chef quickly agree on this point. I don't hesitate: ‘Pork'. Heads slowly nod as fingers continue to peel ribbons of carrot and de-stem mushrooms. There is a moment where you can almost see the cogs whirring, the implication of giving up pork revealed. Opinions are quickly revised. We all consider the versatility of the swine: silky wedges of black pudding, smoky rashers, thick cut ham, crubeens bobbing in a flavourful broth, belly cooked long and slow so that the fat renders and the skin crisps. The commis returns laden down with cups, ‘battered sausages!' he emphatically adds. We are all in agreement now, we couldn't go without pork.

It is this versatility that positions pork as the perfect pairing for a variety of whiskeys. Other flavours can be incorporated into the meat through glazing, curing, smoking or fermenting. At Whisky Live London, I paired Four Roses Yellow Label with smoked bacon panfr...

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