Pork is leaner than ever, according to the Pork Industry Group (humorously referred to as PIG). Recent nutrition updates provide facts and figures regarding pork that might surprise you. Did you know that a three-ounce serving of lean cooked pork contains only 197 calories, yet it has 42 percent of the adult male recommended daily allowance for protein? Pork also has an excellent vitamin B profile containing an abundance of B-6, B-12 and thiamin. As for cholesterol, it also comes out a winner with only 77 mg. per three-ounce serving–compared to veal at 83 mg. and dark meat turkey averaging 86 mg.
Keeping all this positive information in mind, it’s time to promote the leaner said of pork! In the Restaurant Business Test Kitchen we experimented with a variety of pork cuts and came up with some exciting light and lean recipes. These menu ideas coupled with the promotional programs developed by PIG (and geared towards restaurants) should aid you in your promotion of palate pleasing pork.
One of the more trendy menu features showcasing pork is barbecue. Americans seem to fancy finger licking ribs, with bountiful rib restaurants the result of this appeal.
One annual event that caught our eye is The National Rib Cook-Off held in Cleveland, Ohio. This contest boasts participants from over 40 restaurants throughout the U.S., as well as several international attendees. The ribs are judged for appearance, tenderness, taste, quality, and sauce by a panel of food critics and writers. Over 100,000 consumers attend this annual event spending an estimated $1.5 million.
This year the proud recipient of the “over-all best ribs” prize was Calhoun’s restaurant located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since the contest is held every August at Cleveland’s open air mall, now is the time to start practicing for next year’s competition. We’ve compiled a list of rib specifications for your benefit.
When featuring pork rib it’s important to know what to ask for from your meat supplier. Fortunately, the National Association of Meat Purveyors has prepared a specific coding system which will aid you in ensuring consistency. Each cut of pork (and all red meats) is number coded. The name of a cut will vary from region to region, so knowing the code number will help determine the desired cut.
Pork Back Ribs
Weight ranges: Tupe A-1 to 2 lbs. B-2 to 4 lbs. C-4 lbs. and up.
Pork Country Style Ribs
Prepared from the shoulder end of the loin section. This cut will include at least three ribs and the blade and chine bones are removed.
Weight Ranges: Type A-1 to 2 lbs. B-2 to 4 lbs. C-4 lbs. and up
The intact rib from the belly made section of the hog.
Weight Ranges: Type A-1/2 to 3 lbs. B-2 to 4 lbs. C-4 lbs. and up
PIG makes available a chart that illustrates all the necessary information on cuts and code numbers.
Pork is a natural at breakfast–the fastest growing meal period. Sausage links, patties, ham, bacon and Canadian bacon fit into this category with ease. These meats are being sandwiched between breads ranging from the home-style biscuit to the elegant croissant. And, they are enthusiastically received by patrons across the country.
A simple pork roast as pictured on page 190 can be complemented with myriad sauces. We’ve compiled a collection of recipes and would like to share them with you. Sauce recipes can also enhance pork chops.
Mustard Sauce (Yields 1-1/4 quarts) 1 cup chopped shallots 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup flour 4-1/2 cups chicken stock 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- Saute shallots in butter. Add flour. Cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add boiling chicken stock. Cook 10-15 minutes at low heat.
- At the last minute, add parsley and mustard. Serve with pork roast or chops.
Sauce Robert (Yields 1-1/2 quarts) 1-1/2 cup shallots, minced 1/4 cup parsley, minced 3/4 cup cornichons, julienned 1-1/2 cups white wine 3 cups demi-glace 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Combine shallots and wine. Heat and reduce by half.
- Add demi-glace and cook 2-3 minutes. Add cornichons.
- Remove sauce from heat. Add mustard and parsley, and serve with pork, beef, or fowl.
Cumberland Sauce (Yields 2 cups) 2 oranges 1 lemon 1 cup port 1 cup currant jelly 1/2 cup Madeira wine 5 cloves 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard zests of orange and lemon
- Juice and julienne oranges and lemons. Set aside.
- Combine Port, Madeira, and cloves together in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce by half.
- Add current jelly, orange and lemon juices to reduction. Heat thoroughly.
- Finish sauce with zests and mustard. Serve with roasted pork.
Spicy Barbecue Sauce (Yield 1-1/2 quarts) 1-1/2 qts. barbecue sauce 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 3 tbsp. dry mustard 2 tsp. cayenne pepper dash of Tabasco
- Combine dry mustard with water to create a paste.
- Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Coat cooked pork or ribs with sauce and glaze under boiler until brown and bubbly.
So look at your menu, keep pork in mind, and you will find it possible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!