Practically every other chef we’ve queried on their favorite meat inevitably points to pork, the versatile “other white meat” that tastes incredible from snout to foot to tail, and also looks kind of cool inked on a cook’s arm. Recent reports sounded an alarm over a coming shortage of bacon and other pork cuts, which some outlets say could be overblown paranoia. Nonetheless, we plan to get our fill just in case rashers are ever run off our plate anytime in the near future. There’s currently no shortage of creative ways swine is served to L.A., found in straight-forward cuts and in so many insane forms that it’s hard to keep count, from entire KTown restaurants specializing in specific pig parts to odd desserts bearing bacon and Iberico. Here now, a look at eight such places to get your pig on.
Pigg: Chris Cosentino’s quarters at Umamicatessen may be the porkiest place in L.A., featuring a menu with pig parts as the thrust of every dish, be it lardo-in-a-can, pig ears with pig brain aioli, raw Iberico be Bellota, hoof and mouth sandwiches, pork shoulder for four, or the rotating display case of cured luxury pork served piece by piece or in a chef’s choice platter called “Around the World in 8 Hams.” 852 S. Broadway Downtown; 213-413-8626.
Animal: The famous Fairfax restaurant’s menu changes daily, but you’re always guaranteed a potent dose of what Food GPS refers to as “Vitamin P,” served in classics like Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s barbecue pork belly sliders with crunchy slaw or chili-dusted pig ears spritzed in lime and coated in fried egg. Other uses of the oinker include a crispy pig head croquette served with chow chow, balsamic pork ribs with panzanella, and buffalo-style pig tails. Whatever you get, don’t miss the bacon chocolate crunch bar with salt and pepper ice cream for dessert. 435 N. Fairfax Ave. Mid-City; 323-782-9225.
Palsaik Samgyupsal: Groups hit this Koreatown barbecue legend for its pork belly served eight ways, enjoying the cut in a variety of distinct marinades, including red wine, curry, ginseng, and miso paste. Even better, the owners are content to convince you this is health food. A la carte dishes also include presentations of pork jowl, pig skin, and knee cartilage soup. Just look for the adorable cartoon pig on the sign. 863 S. Western Ave. Koreatown; 213-365-1750.
Salt’s Cure: There’s shortage of pork in this small corner of West Hollywood, which carefully sources its Cali-raised meats and does its own butchering. Bacon burgers, potted pork, beer-braised pork chili, and pork hash are menu mainstays, but the bone-in Berkshire pork chop is consistently cited as one of L.A.’s favorite takes on the home-style classic. 7494 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood; 323-850-7258.
Fig: Last we glimpsed Fig chef Ray Garcia, he was presiding over a bowl of pig parts for an afternoon of nose-to-tail tacos. But his market-adhered hotel restaurant is most notorious for the chef’s invention of bacon-wrapped bacon, a mouth-melty slab of smoked pork belly seamlessly stitched in a border of crispy bacon. 101 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica; 310-319-3111.
Ramen Yamadaya: This chain’s big bowls of tonkotsu ramen brim with a heady brew of pure pork flavor coaxed from a 20-hoiur boil of 120 pounds of pork bones. Each customer is promised about 24 ounces of pork essence in every serving of the flavorful bowl packed with silky handmade noodles. Locations in Westwood, Torrance, and Culver City.
Slater’s 50/50: If the day really dawns for a bacon shortage, blame this San Diego import to Orange County, which travels the road of excess when it comes to bacon-fixations. Just take one look at The ‘Merica burger it unleashed on July, featuring a 100% bacon patty topped with bacon, bacon dressing, and bacon cheese. Menu regulars include a peanut butter and jelly-topped bacon burger and turkey-bacon chili. Locations in Anaheim and Huntingon Beach.
Nickel Diner: You’re going to need dessert and if Umamicatessen has run out of Adam Fleischman’s Iberico-enhanced Porc Phat ice cream from L.A. Creamery, you might need to run to Nickel for their legendary bacon-studded, maple-glazed donut. But the bacon obsession doesn’t end there, as breakfast and lunch include an open-faced BLTA with thick-cut bacon and avocado, and dinner plates feature catfish served with bacon-fried brussel sprouts. 524 S Main St. Downtown; 213-623-8301.
Earlier: Fifteen Things to Blame for the Impending Bacon Shortage [GS]