As I approached the Ridgewood Pork Store I detected the heady smell of smoked pork from across the street. I floated across the intersection like a cartoon character drawn toward a mouthwatering aroma. Once inside I was like a kid in a candy store. Romanian charcuterie was packed into almost every square inch.
I had hoped to find the owner, Jonel Picioane, there since I’d read a while back that he’d teamed up with a Frenchman to give his products a Gallic twist. Picioane wasn’t around and none of the products I tasted were particularly French save for some French-style mortadella. But that doesn’t matter because everything that Bosco, a Serbian gentleman working the counter let me try was absolutely delectable. Join me for some Romanian meat porn. Don't be jealous, just think of my cholesterol level.
Next up was what Bosco called Canadian bacon. Not only does the eye cut of this pork loin look good, it tastes wonderful. The combination of the salt cure and smoke made it better than any Canadian bacon I had in Toronto. Perhaps one reason for this is that Ridgewood's "Canadian bacon" is actually a Romanian preparation called musc file. It’s so good that I haven’t been able to stop eating it. Seriously.
I also bought some Krakow salami (above left) and some hot capicola to take home. Picioane calls his take on the Polish sausage Double K, because it’s double smoked. It’s peppery, garlicky and has a wonderfully rich fatty flavor because it’s made with chunks of pork shoulder and fat instead of being fine ground like most salami. As you can gauge from the closeup (right), this isn’t Tony Soprano’s capicola. Like the Double K it’s also made from chunks of pork shoulder that have been smoked twice. It’s got a perfect level of black and red pepper also, which is a good thing since I just read a study indicating that red pepper helps lower arteriosclerosis in rabbits.
Ridgewood Pork Store
516 Seneca Avenue, Ridgewood NY 11385; (map) 718-381-0686
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.