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Porkopolis

Porkopolis



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Ingredients

  • 2 Ounces pork loin
  • 2 Ounces Black Forest ham
  • 1 Polish sausage
  • 2 Ounces farmer's longhorn cheese
  • 1/4 Cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1 hoagie bun
  • 4 pickles, sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Slice the pork into 1-ounce medallions. Season with salt, pepper, and the garlic and set aside. Slice the ham into 1-ounce portions and set aside. Cut the polish sausage in half length wise and set aside. Cut the hoagie bun in half length wise.

Spread the spicy mustard on both sides of the hoagie. Melt the butter in a sauté pan or griddle. In a sauté pan or griddle, cook the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

In the same pan, sear off the sausage and ham to internal temperature of 140 degrees. Place the pork, then the ham, and then the sausage onto the hoagie. Top the meat with the cheese and pickles. Place the made sandwich back into the sauté pan and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cut in half and serve.


Ten Tasty Cottage Ham Recipes

If you&rsquore from Cincinnati you&rsquove probably heard of it, but you might not know this amazing product as well as you think you do.

One of the things that you do when you write about food is research your ingredients.

It&rsquos fun to learn about the food you eat, and sometimes, you find out something that rocks your world.

That&rsquos what happened when I researched cottage ham.

I found out that outside of the Cincinnati area even butchers don&rsquot know the term.

Apparently it&rsquos a local term that no one really knows the origin of.

This explains why my uncle, who lived all over the country, asked my mom to bring him cottage hams when she visited because he could never find, no matter where they lived.


When is goetta time in Porkopolis? Right now!

See what it looks here in my loaf pan before putting in the frig to set up.

A couple of weeks ago Linda Vaccariello of Cincinnati Magazine called and asked if I would share some tips on making goetta for an article she was writing. I told her I had just made a batch since I wanted to share my latest recipe with you. Goetta, as many of you know, is a Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky specialty. Goetta has Germanic origins, but most people who live in Germany have never heard of it. Inge, my German daughter-in-law who grew up in Germany, said she didn’t have a clue until she moved to Cincinnati. Yes, it’s definitely a Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky “thing”. A possibility about the name is that it comes from the German word "gote" or “gotte” which means peeled grain. The word became Americanized to mean “goetta”, since the ingredient you cannot do without for authentic goetta is pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats). Dorsel’s and Bob’s Red Mill are common brands.

Goetta is a “hand-me-down” recipe, and each family’s is a bit different. It’s a ritual in my family and I even use my mother-in-law, Clara’s, special long handled spoon that she inherited from her mother.

Jon Peters, a Western Hills reader, makes his father-in-law Bill Sanders’ recipe. “I even use his pan and really enjoyed making it this year. There’s something special about using a family recipe and making a big batch that you’re going to share with family and friends”, he told me. Jon and Ellen’s kids get to help, as well. Jon calls his loaves of goetta “bricks”, and his family’s recipe is on my blog.

I’ve been making my mother-in-law, Clara’s goetta for years with pork shoulder, just as she made it when they slaughtered hogs in autumn. I used to cook goetta from start to finish on top of the stove, but my sister-in-law, Claire Yannetti, gave me this tip: cook meat and veggies on top of the stove and cook oats in the slow cooker. Much easier! Stovetop cooking requires frequent stirring and careful watching so oats don’t stick. Here’s my latest, and I think, best, version.

3# fresh pork shoulder with bone in if possible, cut in half to fit pan

3 cups each: chopped onions and celery (include celery leaves)

2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper or more to taste

8-10 cups water or more if needed

Put meat, onions, celery, bay, salt and pepper in large stockpot. Cover meat with water by about an inch or so. Bring to a boil, cover, lower to a simmer and cook until meat falls from bone, 3 hours or so. Add water if necessary to keep meat just under liquid. Remove meat and let cool before chopping finely. Save liquid. (You could also cook meat and veggies in slow cooker and you probably won’t need to add more water).

Spray a 6-7 quart slow cooker and turn on high. Put liquid in and add oats, stirring to blend. Put lid on and cook 2 hours or so, stirring occasionally, until oats are thoroughly cooked, tender, and mixture is very thick. If necessary, add more water as oats cook, but be careful. The mixture, when cooked, should be thick enough for a spoon to stand up in without falling over and be difficult to stir. Add meat and continue to cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper if you want - don’t be shy about adding them. Remove bay leaves.

Line bread pans with wrap or foil. Put goetta in pans, smoothing tops. Let cool, cover and store in refrigerator for 12 hours or so to set up. Store in frig. a week or several months in freezer.

To serve: Fry with bacon until both goetta and bacon are crisp on both sides. Or in bacon grease.


Goetta, Cincinnati’s second most-famous food, is a sausage for the working man

Goetta is not Cincinnati’s most well-known culinary export. That would be Skyline Chili , which I refuse to call “Cincinnati style,” because that would be acknowledging the existence of rival chain Gold Star Chili , and that is unacceptable in my household. Nor is it the city’s most gourmet offering Graeter’s ice cream , particularly its black raspberry chocolate chip flavor, takes that title. No, goetta is a humble food, developed by working people with hungry mouths to feed and not quite enough sausage to feed all of them. It’s also, probably not coincidentally, the only food I’ve mentioned to never make it out of the Greater Cincinnati area—not even to Chicago where I now live, and where Ohio expats are about as common as scarves in January.

Goetta (rhymes with feta) has its roots in European peasant food—the gruetzwurst family of sausages—but was developed in America. Although its recipe is similar to Scotch-Irish white pudding, it’s distinctly Germanic in origin, with variations popping up wherever large numbers of German immigrants settled. As with most traditional working-class dishes, goetta takes something expensive and stretches it out with common commodities. Like Pennsylvanian scrapple or North Carolinian livermush, goetta takes scraps of meat that would otherwise get thrown away—pork, sometimes beef, or offal—and combines them with grains. The resulting mixture is then spiced, smushed into a loaf, sliced, and pan fried to crispiness.

Where goetta differs from its cousins is that the meat is stretched out with steel-cut oats, like haggis. The coarse oats lend the sausage additional backbone, resulting in an appealing texture that’s crispy on the outside and mushy in the middle. Think of it as breakfast sausage and hash browns combined into one delicious foodstuff, or even a meaty latke. Goetta, like the best proletariat food, is incredibly versatile: You can put a slice between bread, on top of a burger, or substitute it for toast to sop up the yolk of a fried egg. You can also just have it on the side, like any other breakfast meat. And thanks to its crisp potato-like texture, goetta is the rare sausage that pairs well with a dollop of applesauce.

The best goetta is made at home or in a German butcher shop, but there are also several store-bought brands on the market. The most popular is Glier’s , whose label earnestly proclaims, “Goetta: The ‘o’ is silent, until you try it.” The Glier’s factory is located next door to the Anchor Grill in Covington, Kentucky, a popular 24-hour diner whose wood-paneled walls and nautical-themed tchotchkes have remained unchanged for decades. (So has the jukebox, for that matter.) The Anchor is known for its G.L.T. alongside its goetta-centric breakfast offerings. It’s located across the Licking River from the Thompson House (formerly known as the Southgate House), a historic mansion-turned-music venue where I spent many sweaty, soggy nights in my teens—with a plate of eggs and goetta afterwards, naturally.

Glier’s has the distinction of containing offal—pork hearts and pork skin, specifically—which appear as headcheese-like dark pink chunks in the otherwise pale gray raw patties and give Glier’s a noticeable funky smell before it’s fried. That funk, as pork enthusiasts are well aware, translates into wonderful depth of flavor. Glier’s also comes in a “hot” variety, although the spice level is, let’s say, Caucasian. (Cooking up a batch of goetta at the A.V. Club offices, food editor Kevin Pang asked me: “Do you put hot sauce on this?” I replied: “You could.”) Glier’s biggest competitor is Queen City Sausage , whose goetta is made with “super trim” (although it’s greasier than Glier’s) pork and beef and tastes just like a regular old sage breakfast sausage.

Perhaps even more nostalgic than the taste or texure of goetta is its sound. Fried in a skillet, goetta has a tendency to pop as it sizzles, bits of pork and oats flying off the patty like popcorn. My grandmother never flinched when goetta would pop, sending oats soaring across the kitchen and misting the stovetop with pork fat. Neither does my mother. When I was a child, I’d get startled by the noise, but now I don’t flinch, either. In fact, I’ll reach right into the pan, grabbing a piece by its corner and gently lifting it up to see if it’s brown yet on the underside. My hands have become calloused from years of standing in front of sizzling skillets, brushing off the occasional errant speck of hot grease like a pesky fly. Because we are practical people with much to do, we like our food as humble as we are. And goetta is a food with heartiness and strength to match.


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Porkopolis An Evolution of BBQ

Porkopolis An Evolution of BBQ started with the basics of BBQ and evolved it into the greatest BBQ in Indianapolis. No really, we've checked. It's a bold statement, to be sure, but Porkopolis had humble beginnings as a restaurant, which soon boomed in popularity. Thus, the food truck became a necessity to spread their famous 'q far and wide, available to cater events and help local fundraisers.

If you've eaten at Porkopolis, you know just how good their BBQ really is. That's because they're sticking to traditional 'q methods, smokin' all meats low and slow over a pit to tender, juicy perfection. Get the likes of tender brisket, pulled pork, roast turkey and baby back ribs on a meaty platter with your choice of homemade sides Porkopolis' got spicy jalapeño coleslaw along with creamed corn and garlic mashed potatoes to fill ɾr up. Not to mention their BBQ nachos featuring crispy tortilla chips smothered in smoked chicken and cheddar jack cheese. If all this sounds good to you, why wait? Find Porkopolis An Evolution of BBQ in Indianapolis, or have the truck out to cater your next event. Either way, this is one BBQ experience you don't want to miss.

Porkopolis Quesadilla &mdash this cheesy wonder is chock full of beef brisket and melted cheddar jack cheese, drizzled in BBQ aioli with a side of sour cream and homemade salsa. Can you say yum?


It is often said that nothing on the hog is wasted except the squeal. The bristly hairs are used for paintbrushes the ears are used for dog treats (and people treats in some restaurants) the fat, called lard, is coveted by bakers for flaky pie crusts pickled pigs feet are found in jars in bars and smoked trotters are used for flavoring soups cheeks are chic in hip restaurants intestines, called chitterlings (a.k.a. chitlins), are an acquired taste in the South, but soul food for descendants of slaves the fatty layer streaked with muscle beneath the skin of the belly is everybody’s fave, bacon and the skins are used to make cracklins and rinds.

Cracklins are not the same as pork rinds or pork skins which are made from just the skin of the hog (see sidebar at right). Cracklins are the skin with the layer of fat beneath.

Cracklins are deeply woven in Southern culture, especially among African American and Mexican immigrants. In Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippines, they’re chicharrons con gasa. In New Orleans, they’re called grattons. I call my radically different crispy, salty, and crunchy chunks “Gold Nuggets”. No matter what you call these cousins of bacon, only chocolate is more decadent and only crack is more addictive than homemade cracklins, and there is a big difference between store-bought and this recipe.

My recipe is a vast improvement over storebought or any home made cracklins recipe you’ll find. It is not traditional. Just better. And here’s why. They are not deep fried and they won’t break your teeth. They take longer, but they are worth the wait.

My Gold Nuggets are addictive when served warm and fresh as a snack with beer, perfect for watching the game. They can also be added to beans, greens, soups, stews, eggs, or as a salad topping, mixed into cornbread batter adding a tasty crunch. Here’s a picture of a loaf of bread into which we baked them. Use them wherever you might add bacon. I once floated them in a cream and pumpkin soup. They. Were. Incredible.

Commercial cracklins

Mark Singleton is VP of Sales & Marketing for Rudolph Foods Co., founded in 1955 and based in Lima, OH, the largest producer of cracklings and rinds in the world. His company bought 120 million pounds of skin last year. When making them, they begin with hairless skin with the subcutaneous fat attached from the shoulders and hams (rump), slice them into strips, smoke them and cook them to break down the collagens and connective tissues and begin rendering the fat. They then simmer them in lard to render most of the remaining fat. They are then drained, and dried to form “pellets” ready for frying. Their ingredient labels couldn’t be simpler: Pork skins and salt. No preservatives.

The results are hard and crunch loudly. Frankly, for snackin I prefer cracklins to commercially made rinds. But commercial cracklins are great for cooking. My wife smashed some and baked them into a bread. They ranged from pea sized to powder. The moisture of the dough softened the big chunks slightly and the powder made a smashing flavor throughout the loaf. I pounded them to bread crumb size and coated some fish filets with them and pan fried them. OMG.

Singleton speaks wistfully about his version of Mofongo: Cracklins and boiled plantains mashed together, formed into balls and fried. Rudolph’s website has some tasty looking recipes using cracklins and they invite more.

Meathead’s method

I started with the traditional recipe: Deep fry the skins and subcutaneous fat layer in oil for about 6 to 8 minutes until they are GBD (golden brown and delicious). And doubly greasy. And the skin can get really really hard. Like shard hard. And frying them also makes a horrible mess. They can pop and spatter all over the stove and floor. I wanted to avoid the mess, tame the hardness of the skin, and add some flavor. So, of course, I took them outside.

Wehn figuring out how to make cracklins, I decided to try to tame the hardness by pouring about an inch of water and an inch of oil in a Dutch oven and placing it on the side burner of my grill. My theory was that the water would boil first and much of the fat would render out of the rind leaving softened skin and fiber until all the water boiled off and then they would fry the traditional way with the remaining oil.

Well, it almost worked. After the water boiled off after about 60 minutes at 212°F, the surface of the liquid got still as the temp rose to about 300°F and then the cubes of skin and rind started exploding. We’re talking serious percussive bangs here. Pork skins flying four feet in the air followed by plumes of hot oil that burst into flame when they hit the burner. The skins bounced on my deck and drenched my grill in oil. I had to don safety glasses and my grill gloves, and when I was done, I had to powerwash the deck and fend off the dog at the same time. But the cracklins were good.

So I next took a batch and boiled them in water sans the oil, and then moved them to my gas grill at 225°F. I put wood chips on the burners to make smoke. Within an hour the skins turned a nice dark golden brown, but the fat remained gelatinous. So I cranked it to about 400°F to render more fat. Bingo. Killer cracklins. Crispy, chewy skin that was not painfully hard. Rich unctuous, juicy, crunchy, bacony fat, and slightly smoky meat.

The final step was to buy a whole sparerib section, skin on. This is the section from which a lot of bacon is made. I used my filet knife to remove the skin, fat, and left a thin layer of meat on. I set the ribs aside for another meal.

Pork skins and rinds

Pork skins and pork rinds are two names for the same thing, made from skin of the hog. Called baconettes in Cajun Country, chicharrons in Spanish, and scratchings in England, rinds are made by frying just the dried skin of the back or belly of the hog, no fat attached, until they get light, puffy, and crunchy, like giant rice crispies. Above is a picture of the best I have ever tasted, at the restaurant Publican in Chicago, where they are made from scratch and served warm with a light dusting of dehydrated cheese and vinegar. Not the least bit greasy.

The pigskin connection

Why are pigskins and barbecue so popular at football watching parties? As any fan will tell you, the greensward the game is played on, marked with parallel white stripes, is called a gridiron. What he or she may not know is that a gridiron is an early name for the iron grate with parallel bars upon which meat is cooked over coals, hence the origin of the name.

And what is the central object of the game? A pigskin, of course. On the fun website, Porkopolis, Jeff White wrote: “There’s one thing you can be sure of though, a Southerner didn’t create the football. Ya see, a football was originally made from a pig’s bladder. If you’re a Southerner, a pig’s bladder ain’t nothing but one step away from a chitlin’. Now technically a chitlin’ is made from the stomach and intestines of a pig. I think we could’ve found something to do with a pig’s bladder other than toss it around at family reunions.”

Rudolph Foods Co. produces numerous brands including Rudolph, Grandpa John’s, Pepe’s, Lee’s, Rudy’s, Smithfield Farms, and Southern Recipe among others. In 1989, Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste declared Lima the “Pork Rind Capital of The World.” Rudolph’s also sells dried pork rind and cracklin “pellets” ready for deep frying at home or in your restaurant.

Clearly rinds are not health food, but Men’s Health magazine recommends them as a smart snack. Rudolph’s tries to tout the health benefits of rinds by claiming that there are 0 carbs and 0 trans fats and 80 calories, 9 grams of protein, 10 mg cholesterol, 220 mg of sodium, and 5 mg of fat in a serving of their product.

They also claim that 1 ounce of peanuts contains 14 grams of fat while pork rinds contain only 8, and 57% of the fat in pork rinds is monounsaturated oleic acid, the kind of “good fat” associated with olive oil. Another 13% of the fat content is stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that’s considered harmless, because it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels.

An ounce of rinds contain 17 grams of protein, while almonds contain 6, chicken contains 7, and a scrambled egg has about 7 grams. That’s 9 times the protein and less fat than you’ll find in a serving of carb-packed potato chips.


Big Green Eggs: A cult or a cooking method?

If you have a friend who owns a Big Green Egg you probably don't need to read anything else about the ceramic kamado-style grill/smoker. Your friend no doubt has told you plenty.

"When people buy a Big Green Egg, it's all they talk about for awhile," said Chris Watters, who sells the ceramic grills at Bromwell's, Downtown. "And for good or bad, they force everybody to eat what they've made on it."

Owning a Big Green Egg has been compared to joining a cult. Based on a Japanese cooking method, it was first introduced in the '70s and has become steadily more popular. Named for its shape, it is made of heavy ceramic and uses natural lump charcoal.

People like the cooker's versatility. It can cook low and slow like a smoker, or extremely hot like a pizza oven. It can grill, it can bake. It comes with accessories that make it even more versatile. Vents control air flow so that it's easy to set it at a temperature and keep it there. Users say it keeps food moist.

Some people, once they're hooked on the Egg as a piece of cookware, then get hooked on the community of other enthusiasts.

That community will be in action on July 14 at the Porkopolis Eggfest, held at Germania Park, organized by Green Egg dealer Wardway Fuels. At this event, cooking teams get together and use Big Green Eggs to demonstrate all they can do.

So if you already own an Egg and want to get ideas, or if you're thinking of buying one but aren't sure, (not surprisingly, since they cost a thousand dollars or so depending on size) this is the event for you.

Bill Watson cooks up some wings in his smoker out front of Kitty's in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Photo: Sam Greene/The Enquirer)

Greg Schweier of Delhi will be there. He's one of the team called Ship of Fools BBQ, which also includes his wife Teena and other friends. He bought his first egg six years ago, and admits to a cultish attitude.

"It's kind of a disease," he said.Now he has five eggs in different sizes. The first thing he ever used it for was a pork butt.

"It cooked for .. hours and I didn't have to add any charcoal," he said. At the Eggfest, though, his team will be making pizzas, which cook at 600 degrees for five minutes. They've devised Cincinnati-style toppings, including a goetta pizza, a Big Boy pizza, one with Grippo's chips and one is inspired by Skyline dip.

"For us, it's about the community," said Schweier. "There are a lot of people on social media, either on the forum on the Big Green Egg website, or several Facebook pages. People are nice and sharing, and things have evolved to where we've made really good friends. We travel to Florida, Atlanta, to do other eggfests."

"That's what's amazing, said Kevin Ward of Wardway Fuels. "They're all doing this on their own time." There will be 14 teams, some local and some from as far as Georgia and Canada. "They'll be doing quite a wide variety of things, from barbecue to bread, desserts, pizza, different kinds of meats."

Most days, you can find Billy Watson Downtown with his big green egg, whether it's a cold winter day or a hot one. He's the owner of Kitty's Sports Bar on Third Street, and he sets his up on the street, where he does wings, prime rib and pork to serve at the restaurant.

He's made 1,200 wings in a day on his two eggs. "People come by and like to talk about what they cook on their egg at home," he said. "I wouldn't have spent the money for one of these at home before. But now I would."

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with maple and thyme

This recipe is from a kamado grill cookbook, but could be done on a regular grill with a lid.

5 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

6 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds in total, cut into thick wedges (peeling optional)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat grill to 400 degrees, using direct heat with a cast iron grate installed. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, salt, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Add the the potatoes and toss to coat.

Place wedges on the grate, being sure to shake off excess liquid, close the lid, and grill until lightly golden brown and just cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning often. Transfer to a serving bowl and immediately toss with parsley and more minced garlic, if you like. Season with salt to taste.

- From "Go Kamado" by J.J. Boston

J.J. Boston, owner of two restaurants in Indianapolis, will be doing cooking demos at the Porkopolis Eggfest

What: Porkopolis Eggfest

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 14

Where: Germania Park, 3529 W. Kemper Road

Cost: $20 Benefits Panther Backpack, which provides weekend meals for children who need them


Goetta: The Cincinnati German-American Breakfast Staple

When I moved to Cincinnati for a yearlong contract of completely unrelated work, I set myself up with a goal to get as much food, booze, and local culture in as possible before heading back to New York. And I think I did a pretty good job—I dragged friends to an underground jazz club, took tours and watched special screenings at the Museum Center, went to the opera and ballet, drank my weight in Kentucky bourbon, pestered everyone I met for their opinion on the public transportation debate, and ate at every restaurant recommended by local friends. All good.

But the discovery that's remained closest to my heart was goetta. Pronounced "get-uh", the sausage-type patty is pretty synonymous with Cincinnati, though its roots are steeped in the "Queen City's" German heritage.

A bit of nerdy background for you: For a Midwestern city (of sorts), Cincinnati has a culturally diverse history. While founded primarily by those with English and Scottish ancestry in the late eighteenth century, 60% of the population were German-born immigrants by 1850. They established Catholic churches amidst the Protestant "natives," as well as schools and social centers, since they were not given allowance to clubs and many publicly-funded work projects already established.

But despite strife, German culture infused the city and remains ripe today. The area of downtown just north of what is now Central Parkway was once a concentration of German markets, specialty trades, and social gathering halls dubbed "Over-the-Rhine." Originally meant as an insult by those who lived in affluence below the canal, much of Cincinnati's culture is rooted in OTR, which at one point had the highest number of breweries and beer halls in the country (according to every Cincinnatian I've ever met). Until World War I—when the loyalties of German-Americans were questioned—many of the streets in that area had German names. Today, OTR is revitalized with artists, small businesses and some of the city's best new restaurants, and its history is steeply preserved by those rebuilding (American Legacy Tours does stellar walking tours in OTR that include a lot of this history.)

And now, back to what this means for goetta.

On top of its rich German heritage, Cincinnati also has incredible access to pork, to such a degree that its other nickname is "Porkopolis." By 1835, it had the largest pork-manufacturing industry in the country by the 1840s, that industry was the largest in the world, contributing significantly to the city's economic growth.

German heritage + lots of pigs = tasty breakfast patties.

Like scrapple in the Pennsylvania and Virginia regions, which combines pork scraps with corn, wheat, and spices, and the white and black puddings of Ireland and the UK, which do the same with bread trimmings and oats, goetta employs steel-cut or pinhead oats to extend the amount of pork and beef scraps that are then blended with spices, formed into a log, sliced, and fried. Unlike scrapple or those puddings, it has a sort of funk to it, one that may take you by surprise upon first bite and then, as you continue to dig in, can easily become addictive. The oats give it a meatier, starchier texture, and provide pockets perfect for absorbing running egg yolk, apple sauce, or maple syrup (and the area makes some killer maple syrup).

Goetta was primarily made at home until, in 1946, a young Robert Glier, fresh from the war, returned to elevate his family butcher shop with the product he'd so missed. In what was once part of a large brewery in nearby Covington, KY, the Glier family opened a factory, and two generations later is still considered by many locals to make the best goetta in the city, producing about a million pounds of goetta a year.

When I first got my hands on a tube of Glier's (you can get it at any Kroger in the area), I far overestimated my skill at cooking it on the first try. Cooked poorly, goetta is gooey and limp, a crusty exterior opening up to a mess of blah. If you crowd slices in a pan, they'll stick together. Add oil (as I did on my first try), and the sizzling fat will launch flaming bits of oat and pork directly at the most sensitive parts of your skin.

But, cooked well, it's a marvel. Cut thin, it gets golden and crisp upon frying, perfect on its own or as a savory layer on a grilled cheese or, yes, even a hamburger. Some prefer it cooked over a lower heat, so that it cooks through into more of a soft hash. Smashed to the furthest point of thinness and fried, it almost get the texture of a potato chip. At Goettafest every August, local food businesses manage to get it onto pizzas, into baked goods, and crumbled all over every type of food that get things crumbled on them.

You can find Glier's (and Queen City Sausage, the manufacturing runner-up) in pretty much every Kroger grocer and most butchers in the Cincinnati area, as well as all over the state and far into Indiana and Kentucky. If you're even farther out, Cincinnati Favorites ships it (along with some other local eats). And if you're not yet temped to bring it into your kitchen, check out some local places below that "fry it real good", and drop your favorites with us, too.


ART REVIEWS : ‘Porkopolis’: The Nightmare Vision of Sue Coe

It’s impossible to look at Sue Coe’s graphic black-and-white images in the “Porkopolis” series and not feel her passion. Feelings about the slaughter of animals for food aside, the images are powerful. The composition, lighting and drawing are all stirring and recall the bold, emotional force of Kathe Kollwitz, the kaleidoscopic disillusionment of George Grosz and the nightmare visions of Francisco Goya.

“Porkopolis” is a graphic illustration of Coe’s research into the multibillion-dollar farm food production industry. This is the gross side of a fast-food hamburger and the all-you-can-eat rib dinner, a womb-to-slaughterhouse look at animals (mostly pigs), raised to feed a nation. It’s damning. Shivering animals standing in blood watch as those before them are shot and strung up on hooks to bleed and be dismembered. It’s all there--the gore, the detail-rich bits of visual information that let you know this is reality, observed on one of Coe’s trips to 15 slaughterhouses, not simply events invented to make a non-issue volatile.

Yet Coe’s skillful manipulation of painting’s emotional tools makes her images alluring, even while her subjects are repellent. Coe uses darkness like a liquid, living web--ensnaring, isolating and menacing the denizens of her cavernous drawings. Usually inky, it occasionally congeals into thick, clotting rivers or tangible poisonous atmospheres. Light is always theatrical, harsh and aimed like a gun. Her drawing is sharp, unforgiving and so carefully exaggerated for effect that it stages animal and human bodies into dramatically choreographed dances that reel with pathos, vileness or debasement.

In “Porkopolis,” Coe does more than wail about cruelty to animals she dwells on the human toll in maintaining the unending slaughter. It’s recorded in the slack, numbed faces and bodies of the men and women whose jobs entail searing off the beaks of baby chicks so they won’t peck each other to death when overcrowded, or who must mallet or electrocute 1,500 beasts to death every hour. (We know the exact numbers because Coe occasionally uses marginal notes that make the images even more unrelenting.) The workers, as much as the animals they prod, butcher or genetically engineer into grotesque monsters for easy processing, are all the victims of production-line thinking applied to living flesh.

Some see this topic as an unfortunate detour for Coe, branding her a potent political activist turned bleeding heart for giving such attention to farm animals. Slaughterhouses notwithstanding, many find eating meat a non-moral issue and Coe’s politics opposing our species’ manifest destiny as way too far to the left.

Yet this work comes from the same enlightened social disgust that fired her incisive images about South Africa’s “suicide” detainees, the Massachusetts pool-room gang rape, and the Ku Klux Klan. Fueled by personal observation, versus the newspaper accounts that inspired her prior work, the “Porkopolis” series frequently has a more raw, visceral kind of drawing than some of her other series. Unlike her other subjects, however, this topic has personal implications of moral collusion as uncomfortably close as our next meal.

“Porkopolis” is a fascinating and appalling series of paintings. Fascinating not only for the emotional, expressive way Coe has painted them, but for the way the artist leads us to finally confront and consider our willingness to maintain the mental blinders of oppression when it suits us. In dealing with the ethics of eating meat presented in this farming-as-slavery metaphor, we run up against human history and the marvelous capacity of otherwise good individuals and societies to never question their right to own, manipulate, torture or debase others. It’s the subject Coe has dealt with so powerfully in other images. Given humanity’s history, it becomes unsettling--but only honest--to consider for a moment that human ethical development may now demand that any carnivore with a soul might have to reevaluate his “right” to brutalize and consume other animals.

After the disturbing, blood and guts emotionalism of Sue Coe, the stark, minimalistic metaphor of Lilla LoCurto’s installation in the back half of the museum takes some adjustment. LoCurto’s “Crossings” is a white grid of plaster cast Army stretchers laid out across the floor like empty beds in an emergency shelter. Another line of empty pallets stands along the back wall while sandbags and stretchers stacked to the ceiling rafters create a bunker type tower in the right corner. All in human scale, the piece speaks silently of generic, human occupation, incapacitation, and unending waiting.

LoCurto has a penchant for making industrial materials ooze the somewhat acrid aroma of militaristic disenchantment. This piece in particular, with its strong, hospital-white formality and military-stretcher precision, seems to hover like a primed and ready ambulance chaser awaiting the next war. Yet, as stretchers, the forms are also curiously detached from any emotion. Only the knowledge that human bodies normally fill the blanks in such a room gives the space an edge.

* “Porkopolis” and “Crossings,” Santa Monica Museum, 2437 Main St. To Sept. 1.

They Connect: The Angles Gallery group exhibition, “Dots,” is a collection of images laced with precisely what the show’s title suggests. Some are expected encounters with circles, like John Baldessari’s Xerox and pencil collage, “Tridents/Seashells/Frames.” Or Mel Bochner’s pennies and burnt matchstick games with numerical progressions that are as approachable as a scientific theory worked out on a bar napkin.

But there are some nice surprises too.

Notably, Robert Tiemann’s color copy laminate images that turn the theoretical art “gaze” into an clever game. Also noteworthy are Gloria Graham’s lovely, minimalist watercolor and kaolin clay on canvas paintings, and Jacqueline Humphries sensuous but bold black-and-white oil-on-linen paintings. Graham burnishes the clay surface of her small paintings to a silky glow, then daubs on a grid of thin watery black dots that run into thin streams of pure happenstance. Humphries is more muscular, dividing the surface into three bands of thick oil paint. The center panel is slick white energized by wide circles of sooty blackness that coil up the painting like oversized smoke rings.

Also showing are Barry Le Va’s charcoal-and-collage templates for sculptural space, a Greg Colson found-object collage, brother Jeff Colson’s intriguing Bondo-and-plywood constructed paintings, a Robert Therrien found-object sculptural collage and Curtis Mitchell’s dumb object “paintings” that turn smashed chewing gum on cement and paint-clogged plywood discs into satirical art marks.

Half-way down the block in Angles’ annex gallery, Gregory Mahoney shows his process and environmentally aware salt-etched “Oxidation Sketches.” Turning the chemical destruction of a surface into a metaphor for the surface of the planet is a nice insight. The map-based images and raw word texts are simple but well done.

* Angles Gallery, 2230 Main St., Santa Monica, to Aug. 17. Closed Sundays and Mondays.