This Little Piggy Went to Market
to the Tune of More Than 5.9 Billion Pounds in 2017 at Foodservice
It’s high time that pigs are given their just desserts. These guys have contributed greatly to society and its commerce for millennia. Some Americans can boast that their ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Well, pigs can boast that their ancestors came over with Columbus. According to historic accounts, a prescient Queen Isabella insisted that Columbus take enough pigs along on his second voyage to America to serve as both an emergency food source on board, and as reproduction stock in the New World.
It’s tough to track down the origin of the pig species. The fossil record indicates that wild pigs scavenged the woods and wetlands of Europe and Asia 40 million years ago. Pigs were domesticated in China before 5,000 B.C., and around 1500 B.C. in Europe.
Today, pork is the world’s most-consumed protein.
It is also the fastest growing protein at foodservice in the USA. According to the National Pork Board, over the past six years, pork has grown on a pound basis by more than double the next fastest growing protein (chicken). Total foodservice pork volume in 2017 is projected to reach a staggering 5.934 billion pounds. Queen Isabella would be amazed.
There is a pork cut for every imaginable application and for every menu daypart.
Bacon continues to perform as a real menu rock star. It lends its intense flavor to burgers and lots of other sandwiches, salads, soups and entrees. Bacon accounts for 20 percent of pork volume, and has been favorably impacted by QSR restaurants and the popularity of the
Pork Chop cuts have names similar to beef cuts and include the New York Pork Chop (top loin), the Porterhouse (bone-in loin), the Ribeye (bone-in or boneless rib) and the Sirloin (boneless).
Roasts include the Tenderloin, New York (top loin), Ribeye (center rib), Sirloin, Arm and Blade.
Rib cuts include Back Ribs, Spareribs, St. Louis-Style and Country-Style (bone-in and boneless).
Some of the other pork cuts popular at foodservice are the rack of pork, ham, sausages of all kinds, pork belly, cubes and slices and ground pork. Here are several chef creations inspired by pork:
Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn in New York City made the 2017 Food & Wine list of Best New Chefs. Her menu includes Milk Braised Pork Shoulder (served with jasmine rice soubise, hen of the woods mushrooms and sage) and Cherrywood Smoked Pork Chop (with green strawberries, rosemary and pan jus).
The BLT sandwich at the Pig & Pickle in Scottsdale is made with pork belly, butter lettuce, beefsteak tomatoes and cherry pepper aioli on a homemade roll.
Iowa is, of course, the nation’s leading pork producer. At 801 Chophouse in downtown Des Moines, the featured pork entrée is the Compart Farms Duroc dry-aged, double bone-in loin chop with cider jus and roasted apple compote.
Many restaurants and caterers feature whole-roasted pig spectacles to draw patrons to their door and to catered events. Lake Park Bistro on Milwaukee’s lakeshore hosts an annual Pig Roast on the lawn, featuring green salad, vegetables, potato salad, corn on the cob, cookies,
brownies and lemon bars.
Mexican restaurants across the land use pork cubes for convenience in trendy Carnitas and other specialties.