In O Barco de Valdeorras and its surroundings, the traditional botelo is a pig stomach stuffed with marinated pork ribs and smoked for about 15 days. It is then eaten cooked, accompanied by potatoes, cabbage and some chorizo.
To prepare the botelo, a pig stomach is well cleaned, scalded and scraped, then stuffed using minced and marinated ribs, basically, although sometimes the bones of the head and spine are also used. They are marinated with garlic, oregano, salt and sweet and spicy paprika, kept in the marinade for a whole day, so that the mixture takes the seasonings well. Then the casing is stuffed, ensuring that the content is tightly packed. The openings of the botelo skin are sewn shut and a little paprika is applied to the outside. Then, the sausage is hung for eight to ten days, more or less, so that it becomes cured by the smoking process and the effect of the air, while waiting for the time it can be eaten.
When it is time to eat it, there has always been a special relationship between this product and festive winter celebrations. Depending on the date chosen for the slaughter, days such as Christmas, New Year, the Epiphany, or the feast days of San Mauro (patron saint of O Barco, celebrated on January 15) or San Antón feature the botelo as the star dish on many tables in Valdeorras.
In addition to the botelo, in O Barco de Valdeorras a similar sausage is made: the pigureiro. The name of “botelo” is only given to the sausage made using a pig’s stomach. The product made by filling the part of the intestine known as the “cecum” is called a pigureiro. Its content is similar to that of the botelo, but is closer to the Bierzo region’s “botillo”.