ring cycle pork

I have a theory. I think that man still has a basic need to hunt, but a 21st Century urban lifestyle doesn’t offer much by way of opportunity to smear oneself in pig’s blood and stalk beasts armed only with a bow and arrow and a copy of Whittingstall’s Meat bible.

So 21st Century urban man has developed an alternative. He heads down to Borough Market on a Saturday morning, his wallet flush with freshly-minted notes, and hands over £35 for a five-kilo chunk of organically-reared pork shoulder. There’s something truly liberating about handling a lump of meat this size, something to do with the fresh scent of blood in one’s nostrils, I expect. And while this transaction may not carry the full thrill of an all-night wild boar hunt through unfamiliar terrain, it does seem to satisfy some kind of primal longing.

And so I made Ring Cycle Pork. It’s not actually called that, of course – Whittingstall calls it the Pork Donnie Brasco – but it’s traditional for cooks to rename dishes if they’ve applied their own twist to the recipe. Mine was to burn it severely, but I figure that’s enough. And why Ring Cycle? Because the recipe calls for a twenty hour cooking period, the same time it takes to listen to Wagner’s authoritarian masterpiece of the same name. I could have called it the ‘Complete Works Of Bruce Springsteen Pork’, but that doesn’t roll off the toungue so smoothly.

So anyway. Here are before and after pictures of the meat, with a list of World events that actually did occur during oven-time.

  • The Eurovision Song Contest took place. Greece won
  • Thousands of Nepalese opposition activists demonstrated against King Gyanendra’s royal takeover
  • Pakistan won a one-day cricket match against the West Indies
  • Mongolia held Presidential elections
  • China announced emergency measures to deal with bird-flu
  • Kimi Raikkonen won the Monaco Grand Prix
  • The BBC announced that Ross Kemp is returning to Eastenders
  • Seven teenage girls drowned in South Africa
  • Former Los Angeles Rams running back David Lang was killed in a shooting
  • Three Romanian journalist hostages and their Iraqi-American guide were freed in Iraq
  • First lady Laura Bush visted Jerusalem
  • The U.N. condemned reported U.S. abuse in Afghanistan

It was delicious.

In other meat-related news this week, I visited a burger bar in London’s West End, and was a little nonplussed by the entire experience. So I wrote to the owners:

I walked past your premises yesterday lunch time and was drawn in by the delicious scent of freshly slaughtered beef. Salivating, I decided to order a burger, but the absence of any staff prevented me from doing so.

After a four or five minute wait, a flustered-looking grill-chef arrived, a bag of shopping in each hand. At any point during this period I could have leapt over the counter and taken a hammer to the till, or sneaked a bite out of one of the fine-looking hot dogs on display.

But I didn’t.

When the food finally arrived it was excellent, but I do worry about the security of your store. Any passing PETA representative could have created havoc yesterday given the opportunity that fell my way. You’re just lucky that I’m a law-abiding, meat-loving citizen, not some crazed, bean-munching nutcase.



Within seconds, a reply arrived. Here’s an excerpt:

We have been aware that some members of staff have not adopted the company character and are not always the ‘jolliest’ of fellows. We have had complaints from other customers regarding service but this is beyond belief. We are in the process of re-stucturing the management and staff at the burger bar, so rest assured that as soon as we can find a suitable replacement, we will sack the miserable incompetent little fucker.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to do customer care. No messing about. Brilliant.


  1. Or, have the burger people send him round your house. I’m sure you can find some interesting and amusing way to cook him – AND get it in b3ta newsletter!

  2. Once again, very impressive work, both complaing and cooking. How many folk did it take to demolish the five kilo carcass? Or will you be eating pork sarnies for the next month?

  3. Eight people in total. Six adults, two children. No meat left. Everyone happy.

  4. Glad to hear it. One last thing, how was the pork crackling yield? I haven’t had any of that for years and I’ll wager you got a healthy proportion from this specimen. Most jealous.

  5. The pork crackling was excellent, if a little on the charred side. It had been coated in a blend of secret ingredients including fennel seeds, star anais, ginger, soy sauce and several other things I can’t recall right now.

  6. Fantastic. What more could you ask for, really, than a swearily-excellent customer services reply and a huge hunk of pork?

  7. Meat+Wagner=James Herriot

  8. …Phew! I have spent 250% of my lunch hour reading your blog starting with this one and subsequently every posting back to September last year.

    THIS is the reason the interweb was invented and I’m very glad to have stumbled upon it. So cheers.

    P.S. I have one possible submission from my now defunct website of old if you want it and if I can find it which is a mashup of Blur’s Song 2 and Homer Simpson – your call. Email me if you want it on a slow news day.

  9. Nice bit or pork that, I think I’ll be buying the Fearnly Meat Bible myself, seems like a worthy tome.
    NIce knife by the way, you’ve got to love Global.

  10. Wow. If that is a true customer service response, I am in love with the person. So perfect.

  11. Thanks, the_howler. Going back to September is a bit extreme, but appreciated all the same. This place has only been any good for the last few weeks.

  12. Frase, does this mean that you were drunk in my garden while this mighty joint was a-cooking? Nice work. I hope you carved the mighty joint with a spoon.
    The wild boar sausages were excellent by the way. Cheers.

  13. You bastard Fraser. I had taped the Monaco Grand Prix and have only watched half of it. I now know the result. If I wanted world news I would have gone to the BBC.

  14. Great race, though.

  15. ross kemp is returning to eastenders? oh. my. god!

    nice meat, btw fraser :)

  16. Ring Cycle Pork is a good name, but you might attract perverts with a title like that. Me, for instance.

  17. I wish I had a big oven…that was gas then I could cook my own, without needing to buy more electricity. Would’nt pork sarnies that are a month old do the same to you as the ‘toad’ the mother fed her kids.

    And are those cloves?

    The perverts emigrated from Balham. Just takes one cafe nero….

  18. love that pork, your ring cycle is going to be my lunch on sunday, thank you so very much for such an awsome idea for a sunday lunch.

    sunday 29th may 1400 hrs = Binge o’ clock.



  19. why don’t you cook for one of us, your dear readers? that’ll be great! and I love meat, too.
    can’t wait to see your next delicious meal.

  20. Hmm, now you’ve got me wondering which burger par you refer to… any clues?

  21. No, that would be unfair. All I’ll say is that it’s not part of a chain, and it’s in W1.

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