Red Wattles are an old breed of pig that was raised for flavor, not fashion. A century or two ago you’d have found Red Wattle pork on tables in New Orleans where they were a popular pig, sporting meat that could pair well with the region’s full-flavored cooking. Today you might find Red Wattle in a few restaurants in New York and a couple other lucky cities. There was almost no supply for us home cooks. Until now.
We’re working with Heritage Foods to get a limited supply of big, fat, Red Wattle five rib racks that are Frenched so the bones show. The whole rack is swaddled in the famous, luscious Red Wattle fat and you can cook the whole rack or separate and grill each piece. Either way the result is astounding.
The flavor is rich, herbaceous, even a little sweet. It packs more flavor than I’ve ever had in a pork rib. The crowning glory of Red Wattle pork, however, is its fat. It marbles the meat and wraps the chop in a soft, opaque band. When cooked it melts within the meat and softens its edge to a luscious, lip-smacking bite. This is melt-in-your mouth fat, the kind of succulent experience you expect in great steaks and some cured meats. It’s never a sensation I’d experienced in a pork rib until I met this one.
The pork comes from hogs that are raised impeccably. The pigs are not confined, have access to the outdoors, and never receive antibiotics or hormones. Rack ships frozen, though it may thaw and be cold, not hard, when it arrives.