Guavate

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I've nosed around for a village in PuertoRico that specializes in cooking one thing and one thing only.

You join me for lunch? I'll foot the bill.

And later, why are people lining up for ateeny, tiny, transparent fish? This is insane.

Tourism may be the number one industry inPuerto Rico, but thanks to my friend and guide Chef MairaMorales, I'm just 45 minutes from San Juan, enteringa 100% no-gringo zone.

We're in the mountains of south central PuertoRico, driving on PR-184, better known as the "Pork Highway".

We're going to the Guavate region in the hillsof Cayey, which specializes in just one thing pork, with over a dozen restaurants to choosefrom.

We like pork.

This is without a doubt, one of the best places,and I can say in the world, not just in Puerto Rico Oh my God This happens to be one of my favorite placesworldwide.

This is pig heaven.

It is.

An entire town devoted to cooking roastedpig.

Isn't that beautiful, isn't God perfect? Spanish settlers first brought the pig tothis island and Guavate got it's start as pig paradise when one roadside shack endeavouring to feedpassing truckers was so successful that more lechoneras sprang up making the weekend gathering place for localfamilies to eat and dance the day away.

The first Lechonera on the street, and I'mtold still the best "El Rancho Original".

The ears and tail for him.

You're going to have the tail and the ears.

That's great.

These Lechoneras roast whole suckling pigsover an open flame for hours.

When it's done, they cut it up with a machete,or huge knife so it's a great way to try all the parts of a pig.

Look at that! Slow-roasted so it just falls apart like butter.

You actually don't even need a fork, you can just stick your face into it.

All of this little breast meat and fatty fabulousness,that's gotta' be my first bite.

There we go.

When you told me this was the best place toget pig, you said it was the best place in Puerto Rico.

It's one of my favorites, no doubt.

I've eaten this stuff all over the world,I'm telling you right now that little bite of pork that I had thereis the best pork that I've eaten in my life.

Ha! ha! Yes! That is insane.

Now, obviously when the guy takes that cleaver,that machete and he's hacking up all the different parts, you get all kinds of different pieces of thebreast, the thigh, the leg, And here's that wonderful piece of the belly,with the skin and just the barest amount of meat and a lot of fat.

That is absolutely beautiful, and tasty.

This is pig heaven.

Then there are the often overlooked morcelsthat are simply the best parts of the animal.

That's your department, I'll let you haveall of it.

Look at that, what freaks me out a littlebit yeah? It's that I buy these at the local pet storealso For your dog and my dog loves them.

The skin here is so thick.

Oh wow.

That was.

Mmm, wow that guy could've used a q-tip ortwo.

I'm not eating any of it.

Wow that's fantastic.

Good.

You enjoy that.

That's a nice pig's ear.

Most of the time the ear's burnt, but you can see the nose the tail are stilljust the same color as the rest of the it.

It's gorgeous, they really know what they'redoing here.

Equally tasty and rightly appreciated herein Puerto Rico, the pig's tail.

You just kind of gnaw on the end of it.

Yes.

Wow.

That's big prize, because you only have onetail.

Right! So that's *the* one piece that everyone wants.

But each part of the animal has it's own uniqueflavor.

It's a front leg.

That is a beautiful specimenright there.

Oh, the meat on this part of the animal isso rich, and so melting, and so much more go ahead you take it.

intensely porky than any other place on thepig, I mean people who don't eat the shanks arereally missing out on incredible, incredible pork goodness.

Oh my God.

Do you like the toenails? No, you go ahead and have those.

It's gross, nobody eats those, I was justkidding.

I was just trying to get you to try one.

No! I'm enjoying every part of this pig, toe tosnout.

You go ahead and have that part.

A pig roots around with it's nose, so it hasthis meat, these muscles that are in it that are just.

I don't know, it's yummy food.

Just because of you.

Grab that one.

That is.

Careful, it's a tooth.

Here, it's just these little strips.

That's actually very good.

I'm telling you! This is the first time I have it.

All the meat from the face has different flavorsand textures, It does.

Depending on how much skin is covering it,how much the muscle works.

That is very earthy stuff.

It has to have the hair on it.

If it doesn't have the hair on it, something'swrong.

This is the quintessential pig meal.

That's why we're known for it.

Why you think we have an whole town devotedto pig? That's a really good point.

In typical Puertorican fashion, food is followedby festivity, and it's time to work off a little bit ofour meal.

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