The Food Guy: In praise of Pig of the Month
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Even though St. Paddy's Day has come and gone, I'm still in an Irish food state of mind.
I'm not seriously expected to eat corned beef but once a year, am I?
We enjoyed a little more luck o' the Irish when we recently received an awesome package from the Pig of the Month Club. (Best gift ever, by the way.) Inside was an iced-down selection of gorgeous pork products you can have delivered to your door and on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Take that, Dominoes.
I dug through the cooler to find slabs of thick-cut chipotle and garden herb bacon, large pre-cooked racks of "Cattle King" and "Love Me Tender" smoked barbecue ribs and a package of premium pasture-raised and beautifully marbled corned beef brisket (not pork, I know) cured with black peppercorns, garlic and pickling spice.
Color me happy.
In honor of the Emerald Isle, I made a home-cooked dinner featuring said corned beef stirred into fried potatoes and onions seasoned with broth, chopped pickles and a hint of spicy mustard. So good.
Facebook fan Lynn Jones read about the meal online and shared her technique - coating corned beef with a dry mustard rub and then cooking it in beer - which sounds mighty fine, too.
A few days later we threw the rack of Cattle King ribs in the oven and baked over slow, low heat until they were warmed through. I had my doubts about the quality of precooked ribs (dry and flavorless, dry and tough, just plain dry) but these babies were moist, tangy and delicious.
Now let me at that bacon!
Need a special delivery in time for this Sunday's Easter brunch? Check out www.pigofthemonth.com.
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On a related note, during cooking demonstrations held at the recent West Virginia Culinary Classic at Stonewall Resort, Chef Mark Glass of West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling shared some great tips on cooking meat with dry rubs and brines.
Besides getting to sample bits of chicken, beef and pork seasoned with jerk, Mexican and assorted rubs and marinades, some of the tastiest nuggets I took away from this session were . . .
Items like honey, barbecue sauce and brown sugar can add great flavor but easily burn due to their high sugar content, and that can impart a distinct bitter flavor. Add these ingredients in moderation, and reduce your heat accordingly.
Look for the goo? Will do!
Contact writer Steven Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at blogs.dailymail.com/foodguy/.