I’ve written in the past about my friend Cedo’s finca (farm) in Cuesta de Piedra. She mainly manages the dairy cattle, but there are also pigs on the farm. They belong to her son Harry who lives in Panama City.
The pigs are being raised for meat. I heard that some were going to be sold so I put in my order for one. Another family member was put in charge of coordinating the job, and soon after the appointed time he showed up at my house with the pig, in three huge pieces!
I learned later that when a Panamanian buys a pig this is how it is delivered. The person is then expected to chop it up with a meat cleaver or machete. But, I know nothing about chopping up pork. It arrived late in the day and I wasn’t going to spend the night learning so in the freezer it went, with promises that a guy with the proper equipment would solve the problem the next day.
As with many things Panamanian and a busy guy with a lot on his plate, it was a few days before the problem was solved. I was directed to a store here in town where Alexander, the owner, had the necessary equipment.
As with most things, there are silver linings. This looks like a very good store to buy meat. It was spotlessly clean with no smells. The people were very nice and even gave us coffee while we waited.
If you want to find this place, it’s on Ave 8a Oeste and Calle B Sur, on the corner across from the Hotel Imperial.
Here are the boards with the prices and cuts of meat.
This guy is definitely used to dealing with meat. Each of our pieces was more than 35 pounds, and he picked up two of them like they were nothing and carried them into the back room. The meat was frozen which we were told is easier for cutting, but also limits the amount of finesse that can be used to get various cuts of meat.
In a very short time, we all the pork neatly sliced, bagged, and returned to the back of our car!
We had no idea what we were going to get. We are used to the various cuts of meat from the USA but here things are often cut differently. Little did we know that eventually we’d come home with everything in neat, one inch slices. There are pork chops like the ones in the first and last pictures, ribs are in the second picture, and there are also other slices that look like the other pictures below. We tried one of the bigger slices and though it wasn’t as tender as the chops, it certainly was delicious.
Of course, after thinking about this pork for days as soon as we got the sliced meat home we had to cook some for lunch. Oh my goodness!! It was absolutely delicious. Panamanians also cut the fat into little pieces and fry that. I’m sure it’s totally illegal for anyone who is trying to limit their fat intake but it sure is good.
I think this might be the best pork we’ve had. It’s a good thing since we have 108 pounds of it and are going to be eating it for a long time. (Oh, and by the way, we paid $2/lb for the pork and weren’t charged for cutting it up. Maybe the guy who delivered it worked it out with the shop since he felt bad about the misunderstanding.) We recently bought a freezer for the pork but I think it’s going to be very useful for other things as well. I have ideas about raising more chickens. There may be some beef coming from the farm. And, I’ve gotten very good at picking up fruit around town which can also be saved in the freezer.
Life is good in Panama, and we eat very well!