November 28, 2022

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Find the World’s Greatest Ham at Caseiro e Bom in New Jersey

Foodies go to wonderful lengths to get their lips on the world’s best ham. But if you wouldn’t transportation prize boar sperm from Portugal, invest $200,000 to import your very own pigs, raise litters absolutely free vary on organic and natural grains and imported acorns, and dry age their hind legs by hand for years—well, then you are not as obsessed as Rodrigo Duarte, operator and butcher at Caseiro e Bom.

The son of pig farmers in Portugal, Duarte grew up raising and butchering hogs, but didn’t have the possibility to open his very own position till he emigrated to Newark, New Jersey’s Portuguese enclave, the Ironbound district, the place he labored at a supermarket meat counter although conserving for his very own butcher store. “I didn’t actually slumber again then,” Duarte claims. “I labored extended shifts, then stayed up all evening producing my very own sausages.”

In 2010, he bought a bodega and transformed the again into a smokehouse and each inch of ceiling place into a pork lover’s paradise, dangling dozens of ham legs you have to duck beneath to solution the counter. Then he bought a farm the place he raised absolutely free-vary domestic pigs, just before getting to be the only human being in the United States at any time allowed to import and breed true black Portuguese Alentejano hogs.

Deli counter with pork aging above it

The pork-tastic counter at Caseiro e Bom, Duarte’s keep in Newark’s Ironbound.
Miriam Stein Battles

Why all the fuss? Shut your eyes although a paper-thin slice of Duarte’s aged presunto (Portuguese for ham) dissolves more than your tongue. As its marbleized fats melts, your flavor buds are bombarded with a vary of sweet, buttery, nutty and savory flavors as complicated as the world’s best wines or whiskeys. The extreme taste will come from the pigs on their own, an ancient line of black hogs identified as pata negra praised in creating two thousand yrs in the past.

The most straightforward comparison is to Spain’s well-known jamón Ibérico de bellota, which can promote for $four,500 a leg. But some think Duarte’s New Jersey–crafted delicacy is even better—he’s claimed top rated honors at the Charcuterie Masters global opposition each yr due to the fact 2016. Now it is on the menu of some of New York and New Jersey’s best dining establishments, with Duarte charging $499 a pound for a leg aged for four yrs. Gross sales greater even during the pandemic.

“I’m not terrified of discovering consumers,” he claims. “I’m terrified of making an attempt to keep up with demand from customers. I really don’t want to hurry the approach.”

Many thanks to Duarte’s new online store (usapatanegra.com), you can try some with out schlepping to Newark. Slice it as thin as achievable, provide at area temperature and, if you must, pair with aged Manchego, crusty bread and a superior bottle of wine or sherry-concluded whiskey.


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