To have a good pork chop, you must start with good livestock. All of our pigs come from proven lines with strong mothering instincts, solid growth vigor, stronger resistance to common parasites and illnesses along good foraging ability (In other words, our pigs graze and consume large amounts of plants and veggies.) Our pigs are raised on the ground, regularly rotated through our grass pastures or our forested areas. They are given freedom to exhibit their natural pigginess in all of its glory while living in a safe, socially stable environment.
Our methods of management revolve around these basic principles:
1. Meet the specific needs of the animal according to the species. In other words, give a pig what makes a pig happy and healthy and you greatly minimize most issues before they even have a chance to develop.
2. Provide proper, balanced nutrition at all times so that the pig is getting everything it needs to thrive.
3. Clean, fresh water is given twice a day year round and mud wallows are also filled.
4. Provide a safe environment where the animal does not feel threatened or stressed.
5. Always raise animals in multiples. Pigs are social animals and need to be with other pigs.
6. Stewardship involves proper handling. Our pigs are not pets but are treated with kindness while being expected to behave and respect our personal space (both for our safety and theirs.) They are consistently handled in a respectful way by the same skilled caregivers (aka our family members) who have years of training in the proper methods of livestock management. They are content as they know what to expect and their routine does not change.
7. We limit traffic in and out to not only protect their health but also to help them feel secure (pigs are notoriously territorial.) Stress is kept to an absolute minimum.
So, how does all of that affect your pork chop?
1. Stress affects every system in the body and in this case if it is not managed properly, the quality of the meat will suffer. Meat from stressed animals will be tougher and stringier in texture.
2. Flavor. Our pigs consume a carefully planned diet which is designed to produce the clean, pure taste that has become associated with our pastured pork. Flavor is in the fat. We purposefully leave a ring of fat on each chop to enhance both the flavor and texture of the cooked chop.
3. Color. Our pork is darker than store bought. You won't find any pale, salmon pink pork in our freezers!
4. Proper processing. We carefully screen the processing plants we work with and personally deliver the animals to ensure everything is as it should be. The plants we use have high animal welfare standards which are available online for public review.
5. Proper meat storage. Our pork is handled only by our family members who also staff our market booths. We have direct control over every package of meat which comes to the market. This ensures the meat is safe for our customers.
SLOW and LOW is the key phrase here. You can't hurry great art or a great chop. We took months to develop the flavor profile in your chops and patience is required to draw all of the flavor out. Grilled chops are one of our family's favorite meals and here is how we do it:
1. You got to start with the best to get the best so stop by our booth to get you some dang good chops. Note the pic above displaying the color, marbling and fat ring. This pack was handpicked for the farmer's dinner table and they were divine.
2. Turn your grill on low and allow it to heat up.
3. Place chops on the grill, as is from the package, unseasoned and untrimmed.
4. Grab a beer and pull up a chair.
5. Keep a close eye for the first few minutes to make sure your grill is not too hot. Flip the chop every five or ten minutes to assure even cooking on both sides. Remove when the juices run clear which should take approximately 35-45 minutes.
6. Allow the meat to rest and continue cooking for a few minutes before serving. The fat will reabsorb which will ensure your chop is tender and flavorful.
7. If you don't prefer the fat, you can easily remove it before serving. Fat is where the flavor is stored and cooking the chops with the fat attached enables it to add loads of flavor and keeps the meat moist and tender.
8. Pork of this quality does not need fancy brines or rubs and there's no need to rush to the store for some expensive seasoning that you may never use again. Great meat has great flavor that does not need to be covered up with loads of seasonings and sauces. Simple salt and pepper is all we use.