Friday, 21 July 2017

Know your Pork {Making the cut}

Do you know your pork?

It’s something I’ve always said to my family and friends; humans are the most trusting species on the planet. Most people disagree until I break it down. We eat at restaurants, buy cars, use ovens, brush our teeth’s, why? Because we trust that the establishment is clean, we trust the car was built properly, we trust the oven won’t explode and that the toothpaste isn’t poisonous. Likewise, the meat we buy also shows a level of trust to the companies or persons who supply it. In recent times over and over we are seeing where that trust is broken and we find it imperative to dig deeper and really get to know where our food comes from.

Copperwood pork (a division of CB foods) has started a campaign to revitalize and create a sustainable pork industry in Jamaica through education. They have launched a five year program called KNOW YOUR PORK. Pork is commonly seen as unclean, fatty and unhealthy. Generally, people have lost their trust it. One of the initiatives of the Know your pork campaign is the seminar Making the cut. This is targeted at  industry professionals, butchers, farmers, restaurateurs and pork lovers. If persons in the industry are more educated about the real facts about pork, production, health benefits etc. then it will be a much easier thing to get the general public consumers on-board.

I was invited to the two-day Seminar, but could only make it to the second day. I found it to be the most interesting and informative seminar I’ve been to in a while. I always thought I knew a lot about pork but I can truly say I learned a great deal. The day started with registration and a breakfast; muffins, sandwiches, fruit, juices and coffee. I thought that was thoughtful since the event started at 9 and would end at 4. Even though we were off to quite a late start, Tina Hamilton started us off with a very interactive discussion giving an overview of the current pork industry in Jamaica, why we should know our pork and the important factors in pork production. She then handed over the reins to Dr. Dean Pringle who lectures at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Pringle

Dr. Pringle also had another engaging session discussing very technical aspects of the meat. Its chemical compositions, meat safety, storage and a bit about offal and its utilization. If you are wondering what offal is, it’s the entrails, internal organs and pretty much what would be considered “waste material” after the traditionally accepted parts of the pig have been butchered.
Lunch was served after Dr. Pringle’s lecture then we were back at it with the coolest live butchery demo. Chef Charlie McKenna and Dr. Pringle took half of a pig and butchered it right down showing us where all the cuts come from and telling us the characteristics of the meat and great uses for it.  During the demo we sampled candied bacon from the pork store and some pimento cheese spiced pork rinds made by Mckenna. After the live demo we headed back downstairs where we sampled bits of pork tenderloin made by Mckenna.

Mckenna and Pringle

There were only two things to me that could be better for the next staging. Firstly, the day was sectioned into two parts with the lecture in the morning and the demo after lunch. What I think is usually most effective and keeps attention spans, are shorter sessions. So maybe instead of one long hour and twenty minutes to two hour lecture have two thirty five to forty minute sessions, maybe one is a lecture and one is cooking demo or a recipe development exercise I don’t know. While Dr. Pringle did drop a world of knowledge, I’m sure everyone in the room has a food handler permit, so I guess things like food safety were not necessarily the most needed topics to cover.  Secondly for me lunch was underwhelming. I guess because Charlie Mckenna is a bbq smoking genius, and after all this is Copperwood, I just expected some really crazy and unique food. We had smoked pork chops and roast pork with sausage kebabs. Which in itself is fine, but I think I had let my imagination run too wild. I was thinking we were gonna get pig ears, ribs, pork belly, some pig tails cooked in crazy ways. From what I gather day one had pork belly and pig tails, which is so unfair to me :) . Never the less my husband loved the food, especially the smoked pork chops (they had a yummy Appleton sauce). Next time I would cut that salad bar in half and have offal bar and see how adventurous these foodies really are.

My husband and I exited the doors around 5:30 pm. This is only its third staging so its a pretty young initiative with lots of room to grow. I adored the theater style seating everyone had a really good view of what was happening up front. All in all it was a great day. Very well planned and extremely informative and was well worth my time. Get more info here:

Chef Mckenna

Xoxo Greedygirl

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