I covered the top three entries in the Missouri Pork Association’s Taste of Elegance contest the other day. Here’s I’ll include the entries that didn’t place (ie, numbers 4-8) in no particular order.
One thing that became evident in the tasting is that the chefs were dealing with conventional, CAFO-raised pork, the hallmarks of which are whiter meat, a tendency to dry out easily and – absent brining and marinating – less flavor than their counterparts on real farms (like Greystone, JJR and especially, Newman Farm). I won’t get into the merits here too much, but the differences are worth acknowledging.
Note: We were scoring on appearance, taste, originality and repeatability (recipes that would be suitable in a busy restaurant kitchen), with taste being the most heavily-weighted.
Here we go…
Bangkok Peanut Pork Tenderloin, Couscous with Pignolis and Chicharrones
Chef Steve Henderson
Hy-Vee, Conley Road
Peanut-flavored applesauce on grilled pork loin. Couscous and fried pork rinds competing for most random accompaniment. It was cooked correctly, but I really don’t know what was going on here. Not a fan.
Trotter Cigars and Consommé on the Rocks
Red and Moe
Trey tends to get a little “out there” with his contest entries, but this one takes the cake. A cigar of trotter molé sauce on an aspic “ashtray,” atop an encyclopedia with a glass of pork consommé “on the rocks” (ie, knuckle bones). It looked prettier in real life, and was fun. I actually thought it worked pretty well – it came in fourth on my ballot – but the other judges were less impressed.
More after the jump.