John is special. Like really really special and in a really really good way. He has this rare mix of qualities that I have never encountered before. Case in point: he gives really great hugs but can then go and be super-itense moments later, where all you feel like you can do is say “oui chef,” and scurry away. He doesn’t mess around, he is an absolute perfectionist, he expects of others what he puts in (which is a lot), he has worked hard his entire life and he doesn’t take things for granted. All of these characteristics are beautifully expressed through his crafts. I say crafts because his primary one may be the art of charcuterie (ENDS MEAT) but, what he does goes way beyond that. You are talking about a man who speaks to his pig farmer on a regular basis and who will call him late at night if he is conceded about how the oinkies handled the 98 degree day…yeah, it is like that. He will be the first to say that he is always working on improving the actual charcuterie, always striving for perfection by taking steps to be constantly improving the product. Sourcing and importing special salt from portugal, working with labs to fully understand the cultures he is using in his processes and sourcing very specific twine to tie his culatellos and salumis and other deliciousness. Did I mention that the man makes pork nuggets. PORK NUGGETS. Bits of tendon meat and cartilage and everything that is happiness stuck together, lightly breaded and fried to melty oozy goodness. I know I am starting to get to that point where I am rambling, but last week I saw John for the first time in weeks and I was just overwhelmed with emotion, I actually teared up and he may have not realized this, but in the few months I have know him, well he has become one of my people. With the past few weeks just being a bit all over the place for me, and not seeing him or making the full effort to support his pig roast Sundays, getting that big hug from him last Wednesday and the genuinely conceded “how are you?” reminded me of what a special soul he is. Luckily, he is also less dorky than me so his answers below will give you a break from the above sappiness. I will write more about his products and what exactly he is doing at a later time, as he is in the process of really making ‘ish happen and when it does, you will read about it on my site first, but for now, for once the focus should just be on him.
How do you want to be described in introduction? I will be writing a little tidbit about you, but if have preferable title, etc. please let me know. Also please send along a preferred picture to be used if you would like one.
Not sure, Ill leave the description to you. Title can be John Ratliff Of Ends Meat
How do you know BigBellyBloch? Acquaintances, it’s a small world.
Do you have a nickname and if you are willing to, can you share its origin, please. Muddy and No! Not everyone is meant to know. Use your imagination.
What do you do in life? Eat, sleep, drink, love, be loved, cut meat, age meat, share meat.
What is your theme song? Cant say that ive ever had one. Although welcome to the jungle would be funny!
What food or drink most closely represents you and why? Yogurt- Not everyone likes it but the people that do love it.
Favorite herb or spice: Shit that’s tough, mmmmmmm! Salt doesn’t fall in that category right? What about yeast? Hmmmmmm. I guess fennel.
Build a sandwich that represents ultimate deliciousness and describe it here: Sour dough roll with the inside dug out. Or fuck it, a bodega roll! Im a sucker for super crispy bread although it always tears up my mouth. Bodega roll with super garlicy roasted pork, ham,swiss, sour “huge jar” pickles, mayo and mustard and if your feeling zesty a lil vinager. Just distilled, nothing crazy. Everything has to be hot and melty, the ham should be crispy on the edges and bread should be toasted on inside before being assembled and then pressed and toasted on both sides. Cubano son!!!!
What is the biggest challenge you face on a daily basis? Staying focused.
How do you overcome it? I don’t always. Sometimes smacking myself around works. Most times I get it back after a short period of time.
3PM snack, go: ginger kombucha, sliced salumi.
What are four things you are grateful for? Well shit this is real huh! Its so weird because these things fluctuate all the time, I’m a moody bitch. Heres a couple solid ones.
My Girl Elizabeth
My close friends and family
People in the industry in NYC.
What are you doing for dinner? Going to the bathouse and maybe having a juice, beet or carrot most likely then its Mexican beer and whatever lavishly rich and terrible bar food I can get my hands on.
Thoughts on leftovers? Great, love em, wish I had more.
Please feel free to share a favorite BigBellyBloch moment if you have one.
I fixed her monkey one time. SHHHHHH!