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Pork’s Potential

Pork’s Potential

Top-tier pork from Eagle Ridge’s Legacy 72 brand gets gourmet treatment

Pork is getting a 21st century upgrade, as chefs take high-quality cuts from the Legacy 72™ by Eagle Ridge® line to exciting new culinary heights. Here, two experienced chefs, who source from Eagle Ridge, share their most popular pork dishes and the secrets that unlock their best flavors.

Timothy Ewers, chef and owner of Le Chateau, an upscale French restaurant in La Crosse, Wis., says his 14-ounce, bone-in Duroc pork loin is one of his top sellers. Seared on all sides in a cast-iron pan and traditionally served medium rare with confit garlic and a walnut crust, it’s cut wide open to let the diner see inside.

“We slice almost every steak wide open when we serve them, whether it’s beef, pork or lamb, so that people can see the temperature and how it has cooked,” Ewers says.  “There’s a nice aroma, and since we never overcook, the customer can see how well trained the kitchen staff is. You can’t fake that.”

In addition to its expert preparation, the dish’s success is attributable to the quality of the meat, as well as updated FDA temperature guidelines.

“The FDA has lowered the temperature so you can now serve mid-rare pork, and that has created a new flavor profile for people to understand,” Ewers explains. “A quality pork product like Duroc will raise the flavors on its own without overcooking, and I now have the confidence to offer it in the correct way it’s supposed to be cooked.”

porks potential plated

Justin Scardina, executive chef at Toppling Goliath Brewery Co. in Decorah, Iowa, finds plenty of uses for bacon, ground pork and pork shoulder on his ambitious, yet accessible menu of pizza, sandwiches, seasonal salads and appetizers. The pork shoulder is a particularly valuable product, as it does double duty. 

“We take pork shoulder that’s slowly braised with aromatics and spices, and we pull it and shred it for our carnitas tacos and Cuban sandwich,” Scardina says.

The pizza program, meanwhile, includes as much as possible made from scratch, including the dough, sauce and toppings.

“We season the ground pork heavily with fennel and garlic to use as sausage on our pizza,” he explains.

As for the bacon, it finds a home atop the house burger, a 1/3-pound, build-your-own masterpiece that keeps the crowds happy, especially when accompanied by the brewery’s Pseudo Sue pale ale.

“The beer is named after Sue, the dinosaur from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and it pairs really well with a grilled burger,” Scardina says.

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