Buffalo Rising Online
Spars' Succulent Pulled Pork
Oct 4th 2007, 10:11am By Christa Glennie Seychew
By now most of you know that, when it comes to Spar's European Sausage & Meats, I'm a diehard. Click here for a feature on the business which ran in last February's issue of BRM.
The other day when I stopped in for some sausage I found that the store has grown exponentially since my first visit last fall. The cash register has moved from behind the bustling counter to a home of its own in a corner of the shop. The shelves are laden with an even broader selection of imported grocery items and an additional refrigerated display case has been added. The number of customers waiting has increased tremendously (though they aren't made to wait long), as has the number of smiling faces behind the counter. I'm impressed, to say the least.
Spar's is a perfect business model for anyone hoping to make their mark in the artisanal food market with a good product, produced using old fashioned, time-tested techniques and offered with a smile in a clean and welcoming environment. It's too bad that you can't package this kind of business sense. To be cliché, Spar's has proven that if they build it, you will come--even past Wegmans, down Amherst Street and into the West Side.
I had stopped in for sausage, and while ordering I spotted a tray of pulled pork nestled in amongst the burgeoning case of deli delights. In my experience as a Yankee, pulled pork is often bathed in a ridiculous amount of mediocre barbecue sauce just before it arrives at the table, probably to cover its lack of flavor and moisture. That behavior is completely uncalled for, and entirely unnecessary in this case, where the pulled pork is subtly sauced, providing the appropriate level of flavor, and a texture that is tender but still has a little tooth. That's no small feat when you consider that this pork survives being re-heated by the consumer.
Obviously pre-prepared, it only required warming, a roll, and if one prefers, a good dollop of coleslaw. The one pound package that I purchased made four large sandwiches and only cost me around $5. Could dinner really be any easier? My husband and I used the microwave (certainly the most unkind of heating methods) and some leftover sub rolls. What can I say; it was late, and the cupboards were bare (it happens to everyone, even food editors). We were doubtful, but very hungry, so we dove in. This was no drippy, soggy lukewarm pork sandwich, it was, instead, a handful of heaven. Spars' pulled pork has a deep flavor that stems from Joe Kennedy's secret rub and tender handling.
Although I would certainly enjoy pulled pork sandwiches in any season, Joe informs me that his luscious version of the stuff will soon be replaced with offerings of roasts and hardier wintertime fare. Currently available only every other week or so, it's likely that the pulled pork disappears from its space in the case quickly. He's assured me that he'll have some out today, so get some while you can, before that fantastic rub is retired for the winter. If you arrive and find, much to your dismay, that the case is sans pulled pork, grab a pound or two of spicy Italian sausage links. Granted, by October you have probably eaten a ton of Italian sausage, but not like this. Chunks of sweet pepper, onion and cheese lend flavor to this mildly spicy sausage without marring its consistency.
Everything at Spar's is priced very reasonably and well worth the extra stop, which is made even easier by their adjacent parking lot and meter-free street parking.