Pitt Cue; Pork Heaven

We’d been wanting to get to eat at Pitt Cue for ages but for various reasons, until this weekend, we hadn’t managed to get through the door (at least whilst they were open — MEMO TO SELF: arriving during the staff break time really doesn’t help & only serves to frustrate the hungry potential pork-eater).

Finally, Saturday a couple of weeks ago, we managed it…

After a morning of kulcher & learning, spent wandering through, amongst other things, the “Vikings” exhibition at the British Museum (some spectacular stuff on view including a model of their 100-man invasion ship & some hugely interesting detail about this Nordic group of ruffians — did you know for example that the words “egg” and “sister” both came to the English language from this part of the world?), we strolled over to Soho, to Newburgh St. and grabbed a pair of seats at the bar.

The vibe was the same as that in The Butcher, in Amsterdam. Different country; same attention to detail and an obvious love of great meat.

This isn’t a place for those of you of the vegetarian persuasion (I wanted to spell that as perversion, can’t imagine why) to go to, but then if you’re reading this site, you’re probably not overly worried about meat (& the many gorgeous, tasty juices that seep out) and other carnivorous comestibles anyway. And if you are worried, you should probably stop reading now & go elsewhere.

Above where we sat was this great print:

Pitt Cue

Pitt Cue

The wallpaper in the toilet was also by the same designer and could well make you miss if you failed to pay attention to the business in hand…

The menus change seasonally, maybe not daily but regularly, so there’s no guarantee that what we ate will even be available anymore but even if you don’t get exactly what we had, I do guarantee, 100%, that you’ll not want for amazing mouth-watering taste experiences & smells.

And so, to the chase:

My choice, on the right, is delicious roundels of pig’s head sausage, succulent, firm, rich, accompanied by a sharp, crunchy, bread & butter pickle and a side of peppered mash, in the centre of which sat a heart-warming mound of bone-marrow. Next to it is the first (or maybe second) of the picklebacks (a shot of rough whiskey chased with a shot of pickle-juice) and a great London brewery pale ale. Finally, on the left hand side Val managed to nearly finish her pulled pork “inna bun” with a fantastic green chilli slaw.

I though that’d be enough but having attained pork nirvana, the guy behind the counter easily managed to convince me (nothing to do with an excess of picklebacks, no Sir, not me) that an additional side of duck sausage with pickled cherries on top should also be tried. He was right. It was great. I forget to take a shot of this — I was too busy eating — so shoot me.

Their bourbon choices are rightly legendary:

© Nina Fitton 2014

Bourbon baby, bourbon.

I could have carried on eating & drinking all afternoon and into the next day, to be honest but, deciding to make this a regular stop, managed (unusually for me) to exercise some small measure of restraint, saving the rest of that goodness for the next visit.

I bought their cook-book some time back (although I’ve only managed to get around to cooking their baked beans so far). You should too. As it says on the back “…we both left the place feeling like the little baby Jesus had hand fed us personally”. The (otherwise anonymous) Bert wasn’t wrong…

Pitt Cue Cookbook

Pitt Cue Cookbook

Friendly fabulousness from Franklins Farm

Having just discovered a great new butcher, Adrian at Franklins Farm, near Sandy, this was the result. A superbly juicy rendering of their Gloucester Old Spot pork:

Pork Braised in Sherry with Tomatoes and Chorizo

Pork Braised in Sherry with Tomatoes and Chorizo

Pork Braised in Sherry with Tomatoes and Chorizo

Chop the pork into largish cubes, remove the skin (if you wish, I didn’t) from the chorizo and slice it into thinnish rounds.

Then heat one tablespoon of the oil in a casserole over a high heat and, when really hot, add a few of the cubes of meat to brown well on all sides.

Remove them to a warm plate then continue to brown the rest of the meat in small batches, adding a little more oil as required.

Now add the rest of the oil and brown the onions (for about 6 minutes), before adding the garlic and cooking for another minute.

Return the meat to the casserole & stir in the flour to soak up the juices, then add the chorizo followed by the tomatoes, sherry and sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle in the thyme and bay leaves then give everything a good stir. Lastly bring the casserole up to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and transfer it to the centre of the oven to cook for 1½ hours.

When the time is up, add the sliced peppers and the olives (left whole), give it all one good stir, cover again then leave it to carry on cooking for another ½ hour or until the peppers are tender.

Serve with new potatoes and, at this time of year, young broad beans or fresh shelled peas.

 2 lb (900 g) piece trimmed shoulder of pork
 8 oz (225 g) Iberico chorizo sausage
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 medium onions, thickly sliced
 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
 1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
 1 lb (450 g) ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or 1 x 14oz (450 g) tin of chopped tomatoes
 10 fl oz (275 ml) dry sherry, preferably a manzanilla
 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
 A few sprigs of fresh thyme
 2 bay leaves
 2 red peppers, de-seeded and cut into thick chunks (approx. 2 x 1½ inches, 5 x 4 cm)
 3 oz (75 g) mixed green and black olives, pitted
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275F, 140C.

Napoleon was a Berkshire.


I’ve seen a report that in France it’s a crime to name your pig Napoleon. But if you happen to own a pig and your name is Napoleon and it manages to commit a crime (how is that supposed to occur?), then it’s apparently immune to arrest. That’s the French for you.

Mind you, I’ve not been able to find a reference to this in either the Code Pénal or the Code Napoléon but it’s too good a story not to put here…

Napoleon from Animal Farm was a Berkshire. I mean you all guessed that the actual short (“not tonight, Josephine”), French Emperor wasn’t a pig didn’t you? Didn’t you?

I’ve put some details about their history here.

The MAD-ness of “Carne e Spirito” and Dario Cecchini

“The poetry of butchery.”
“This is an ancient art.”
“Respect the animal.”

This man loves meat. He loves the craft (for craft it definitely is) of butchery. He loves the animals that he butchers and then serves in his restaurants in Panzano. And to hear him speak, albeit filtered through the translation into English from the more melodic sounding Italian, is to understand a little about the poetry of what he does [in case you hadn’t guessed, I too love pigs & butchers, so have no qualms about referring to them & poetry in the same breath].

© Homme magazine, Greece 2014

© Homme magazine, Greece 2014

Obliged, by the death of his father in 1976, to take over the family business and become the 9th generation of the Cecchini’s to work this trade in the village, he became a reluctant butcher; until this sudden change of direction, he’d been studying to become a vet at the University of Pisa.

You wouldn’t know that today; now he has a stripped down, movie-star quality to him — now this man dominates the stage at the MAD food conference in Copenhagen in front of 500 fellow chefs from around the world, quoting Dante whilst cutting into the pig & cleaning his hands of the blood, shit and innards from what looks like an Oxford & Sandy sow.

Dario and the guts © MADfoods 2014

Dario and the guts © MADfoods 2014

This is a 26 minute long rhapsody on meat, butchery & life. It’s well worth 26 minutes of your time. Watch it. Now.

“My bloody Valentine”*

No apologies this once for straying from the True Pig Path™ for this piece of eating porn from the delightfully named Porn Burger site as, whilst it’s not actually pork based, it so very, very easily could be…

[UPDATE: There’s a new site, called Cow ‘n Carbs which you may care to take a look at…]

And it’s just sooooo mouth wateringly, gorgeously, deliciously lovely looking. The author’s managed to restrain himself from diving in and eating this but probably only just for long enough to shoot this and a number of other fantastic photos also & says they intend producing (and eating) a weekly update. I’m already hooked.

And I’m still working on my brining knowledge. There’s currently some inexpensive brisket in the fridge, bathing in brine & herbs & spices, at Day Seven in the process of becoming salt beef.

[* Also the name of a great band whose work you should sling onto your turntable¹ whilst looking at this post.]

¹ For those of you below a certain age, this references 12″ diameter, black circles of a vinyl material, containing popular music laid down in “grooves” in the vinyl and played on an analogue device, through a needle that bounced up & down on its surface, known as a “gramophone” or (in my case) a Dansette.


Dansette Mono player © Dansette