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Posts from the ‘Pork’ Category

The Bacon Craze.. How Did This Happen?

It’s been called a meat condiment, meat candy, people have described themselves as having a bacon tooth. It seems like nowadays everywhere you go, you find bacon. Bacon infused vodka, bacon cupcakes, bacon wrapped anything under the sun… What can’t you find that isn’t bacon flavored? Bacon has become a national craze that has got even vegetarians admitting they find it hard to resist bacon. In an extremely and increasingly health conscious public and in a time when soda bans and trans fats bans are being legislated, why is bacon consumption in the United States growing larger than ever before? Well, to be honest, butchers and meat processors are really left scratching our heads here. Read more

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Nitrites: What’s the REAL Story?

Nitrites are something that have been in the news off and on since the 1980’s. One news story tells you they cause cancer, the next one tells you the health benefits of nitrites. There have even been billboards trying to prey on the fear that hot dogs are just as bad as smoking cigarettes. hot-dog-billboard-cancer-project-300x169Some products claim to be “nitrite free” but are they really nitrite free…? There’s so much information out there, what’s the real story? Before we get down to the real story, let’s cover what a nitrite is and how it ended up in our beloved cured meats like hot dogs and bacon.  Read more

How Do I Know When My Pork Chops Are Cooked?

For a long time as a child, I didn’t like pork… I know, the daughter of a butcher not liking pork it’s like a sin. Why didn’t I like pork? Well my mom usually over cooked it. It was dry, it was tough, and it was tasteless. She cooked it like her mother had always cooked it for her. Then one day, the butcher man himself, cooked us up some pork chops. Like a typical child, I turned my nose up at it but my dad didn’t give up until I tried it. His pork chops were juicy, they were flavorful, and they were delicious. Now pork has become a regular staple in my weekly meal plan. So what did Dad do that Mom didn’t…? He didn’t overcook the pork, he cooked it the way it should be.  Read more

Best BBQ Sauce Recipes

We love a good BBQ sauce.. It makes a great marinade, dipping sauce, glaze… The uses are endless. And we sell a few wonderful BBQ sauces, but the truth is, homemade BBQ sauce HANDS DOWN takes the cake… Homemade BBQ sauce seems like it’s something that would be hard to make… Or take a lot of time. Truth is many homemade bbq sauces are easy and quick. We’ve put together five of our favorites for your chicken, pork, or beef!

BBQ Sauce Collage1. Pulled Pork BBQ Sauce – The New York Times Food

2. Asian Twist Homemade BBQ Sauce – Smitten Kitchen

3. Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce – Iowa Girl Eats

4. Sweet Baby Rays Copycat BBQ Sauce – Half Baked Harvest

5. Tangy Carolina BBQ Sauce – Buns in My Oven

We hope that these recipes spice up your usual grill routine! Do you make your own BBQ sauce? What’s your favorite recipe? Please share with us!

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Pork Chops Are No Longer Pork Chops

You may be thinking huh? In the beginning of April, The National Pork and Beef Councils came out with a new campaign aimed towards helping customers more readily identify their cuts of meat as well as how to cook those cuts of meat. According to the research from the councils, customers were having a hard time when shopping at the meat case and were looking for more clarity.

Most names consumers know and love won’t be changing, but after two years of research it became apparent that Americans needed more clarity when they perused the meat case, said Trevor Amen, director of market intelligence for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Denver.

The old, hard-to-understand labels were based on lists created in the 1970s. They were very anatomical, describing cuts based on their location in the animal, Amen said. That information remains on the new labels, but it’s second after the new cut name. Read more

A Look Inside Glass Walls of a Slaughterhouse… A Pork Plant

A while back I shared a video looking inside the walls of a beef slaughter plant. If you missed it, I highly suggest you check out that post! In the post I said,

It’s no secret that customers of the meat industry have been searching for transparency within the industry for a while now. Every time an undercover video comes out or things like Lean Finely Textured Beef get “exposed”, people begin to scramble looking for answers. Where do they go to look for answers..? Their friends, their family, those people that they trust to provide them with the truth. I am sure that most people don’t go looking to American Meat Institute (AMI)  for answers. But regardless of where you go, AMI decided to finally join in the conversation of animal slaughter and began work on a video looking inside a slaughterhouse. And I am so thrilled that they’ve decided to join in this discussion because well, if I didn’t have the experiences I’ve had in my lifetime, known the many farmers and ranchers I do, as well as seen first hand many an animal slaughtered at large and small processors alike, I too would want to take up a vegetarian and vegan diet too! Those undercover videos put out by animal rights/animal welfare groups are hard to watch, they are very graphic, and quite frankly they aren’t how I want my industry to be portrayed. Read more

Cinco De Mayo Recipes

Grab your sombrero and something cold to drink and try your hand at these Mexican recipes to celebrate Cinco De Mayo with your friends!

Cinco De Mayo Collage

Photos courtesy Martha Stewart, Kitchen Konfidence, She Knows Food & Recipe, and The Shiksa in the Kitchen

1. Mexican Braised Beef Tacos – Kitchen Konfidence

2. Guacamole – Martha Stewart

3. Homemade Taco Wrap – She Knows Food & Recipe

4. Arroz con Pollo (Chicken with Rice) – The Shiksa in the Kitchen

5. Margarita Pie – Martha Stewart

6. Grilled Garlic-Lime Fish Tacos – Martha Stewart

7. Horchata – Martha Stewart

8. Roasted Jalapeno Blackberry Margarita

9. Mexican Wedding Cookies – She Knows Food & Recipe

10. Spicy Hot Corn Dip – She Knows Food & Recipe

11. Yucatan-Style Slow Roasted Pork – Kitchen Konfidence

 What is your favorite Cinco De Mayo treat?

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Cooking the Perfect Easter Ham

Ham has been an Easter tradition for as long as we can remember. And out of all Holiday dishes, ham is probably the easiest to prepare. It takes almost zero labor, but for those of you who are still unsure or want to spice it up a little bit, here’s our take on how to cook the perfect Easter ham.

First of all, what is a ham? A traditional ham is a hind leg of a hog that’s been cured and smoked meaning that it’s been fully cooked. Ham, Bone-in Ham, Bone in Ham, Cooking Ham, Easter Ham

So all you are really trying to do is heat it up. If you aren’t sure if your ham has been fully cooked, read the label or simply just ask! All of our hams at Chico Locker are indeed fully cooked and could be eaten cold if you preferred. We only offer one type of cure at Chico Locker. It’s our House Maple Sugar Cure which has been perfected to be not too salty but at the same time not too sweet. Our hams have been recognized at the national level (American Association of Meat Processors) bringing home Grand Champion awards in both bone-in ham and boneless ham categories. Many other places may offer varieties in their curing anywhere from hickory smoked ham to a glazed ham. Just make sure you aren’t purchasing a country ham. A country ham is a ham that has been cured for a number of months and is usually very high in salt meant to be used sparingly. Read more

Meat Supply in Danger…?

Lately I’ve been seeing confusion coming across our social media feeds in regards to the government’s plans for sequestration and the meat industry. If you aren’t aware of what’s going on, you should be. After all, it could affect all of us. And to us in the industry, it’s a scary thing.

So what’s all this about…? Well last week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that, in order to meet the required budget cuts demanded by the sequestration plan, federal meat inspectors would be required to go on a two week furlough. So what does this mean..? Basically, all meat production under federal inspection will cease to exist for two weeks. Read more

Cured Meat Championship… Literally the Best of the Best

You may be thinking a what kind of championship…? And yes, you read that right, cured meat! It’s how meat processors like us compete. The American Association of Meat Processors (or AAMP, a national meat processors association) holds the Cured Meat Championships every year in conjunction with the annual convention. Meat processors from all across the country, big and small, enter products into different categories to be judged by some of the most credible people you will find in the industry… Fellow meat processors and meat scientists make up the majority of the judging panel. Products are entered into 26 different categories including ham, bacon, smoked turkey, smoked sausage, summer sausage and many more. Products are then judged on a wide variety of factors… external appearance, internal appearance, workmanship, flavor, aroma, fat to lean content. Once the scores are added up, an overall winner is chosen (Grand Champion) as well a second, third, and sometimes fourth winner is awarded.

2012-12-17_001 Read more