Thanks to my piggie-loving friends over at The National Pork Board for sponsoring this post, and bringing me on this super fun and VERY TASTY tour!
I really wish that I had a Mac computer right now.
Which may seem like the weirdest opener ever. How-EV-ER, word on the street is that they have some super-secret emoji keyboard. Like, WITH THE ADORABLE PIGGIE EMOJI.
I would be sprinklin’ that adorable little pig-picture ALL OVER this post if I could. But, sadly, I am just not that cool and trendy.
So instead of talking about cartoon pictures of pigs, let’s talk about the REAL DEAL ones. You know how I’ve been doing ALL the traveling lately? You probably saw on Instagram that I went to Iowa with The National Pork Board for the Pass The Pork Tour a few weeks back!
You guys. It’ was SUCH a blast! I got to meet so many blog friends, reconnect with old ones, eat SO much pork (yumyumyum in my tum) and learn about all thing piggie-related. We even got to meet someone PRETTY COOL….but you have to scroll down to the bottom to see who it is!
We had dinner the first night at The Pullman Bar and Diner. Some serious amazing food guys. WHICHHHH you will see pictured below. OBVIOUSLY. I’m a food blogger don’t you know.
Dessert must be photographed first right? Yes. Especially when it’s this Bread Pudding with Bruleed Bananas, Candied Bacon and BACON FAT CARAMEL. With ice cream. BUT. BACON FAT CARAMEL. Yep. Dead. AMAZING.
Duroc Pork Chop with Apple BBQ Sauce and Mustard Seeds. AKA: The best pork I’ve ever had in my life. It was the size of my head, and I ate it ALL. Note to self: add mustard seeds to everything that exists ever in the world. Especially anything with pork. <3 <3 <3
MEAT SALAD. Which is MY KIND OF SALAD. This was super-simple, but seriously AMAZING. Compressed cucumber with Heirloom tomatoes, and charcuterie. The fried prosciutto was ON POINT.
DAY 2! Let’s see some piggies! Look how many there are…and this was the “small barn!”
Okay, I debated sharing this photo because it’s sort of messy and gross and such…but there are not many times that I can say that I PULLED A PIG. As in I pulled it out of it’s mommy. As in I helped BIRTH A PIGLET. Seriously, a really cool experience.
Teenage pig. As you can see it’s yelling at me. Like my future teenagers will do. SIDE NOTE: We had to do a process called “showering in and showering out” before entering the barn. Which means we had to take a FULL shower before going in, and then when leaving. This is to keep everything SUPER clean. This is also why I’m rockin’ the no makeup and shower cap. Should I wear one always? Don’t answer that.
Wanna go for a ride on my big green tractor? Insert musical notes here. If I had a Mac. Not that I’m bitter.
Meet the farmers – The Brennemans!
Pork-filled lunch after playing with big. Ham balls (AKA: The greatest thing in the existence of the planet. SERIOUSLY), Pork on a stick and Pork Belly Burgers. You need to start making pork burgers guys. DEEEEELISH.
Final Day- we had a super fun cooking class with the sweetest lady named Nina! Before we started we learned how to cut a side of pork into all the cuts like ribs, tenderloin etc.
I didn’t take many pictures of the food we made…because it was SO GOOD I just wanted to eat it. But this Pork Belly Pho was my favorite. Now I want to make pho every day forever. Have I said that a lot lately? I think I just realized that I love me some pork!
SURPRISE! See I told you we met someone cool. And if you don’t know who this is, you live under a rock. I actually normally do too though, so it’s okay. BUT, this is Chris Soules from the last season of The Bachelor giving us bacon roses. Yes, he did ask if I would accept this rose. I did say yes. Hubs was not impressed.
Chris helped us cook throughout the day. This is us making pork. I texted this photo to Mr. FFF. Not impressed, the sequel. 😉
Now that Chris has got your attention, I think it’s a good time to wrap this post up with my top 5 piggie-related facts that I learned on this tour, and I think you should know too!
- KEEP PORK PINK. You’ve probably been hearing this a lot lately but, because they have really changed the way animals are raised (much cleaner and healthier) it’s totally safe to eat pork pink, or 145 degrees. This is considered medium-rare. Let’s not be like our grandmas and make it dry like there’s a cactus in your mouth when you chew mmkay?
- Pigs have HUGE litters. Like 15-18 piglets AT ONE TIME. I’m still trying to deal with the fact that ONE may be popping out of me at some point in my life (NOT ANYTIME SOON. DON’T GET EXCITED.) I can’t imagine that many. I die.
- Things like bratwurst and other sausages are made from the older mommy pigs that have had many years of being bred…BUT they still use the really good cuts of the pork to make them. My dad always told me that sausage was “floor sweepings” growing up, which I think a lot of people think, but it’s actually good quality meat. The pigs are just older, which means they’re tougher and not as yum for something like a tenderloin.
- Pigs are cared for SO much better than I thought. I have the “movie picture” in my head of pigs crammed into a wooden pen outside in the cold, playing in the mud and eating out of wooden troughs. I mean, I watched Babe growing up you guys. BUT, these piggies are kept in a crazy-technology-controlled barn that controls the temperature of the room ON IT’S OWN. Plus they all have their own little stall when they’re about to give birth, or have given birth. They really are treated on an individual basis…and it’s awesome!
- All pigs are raised hormone free. BUT not all packaging will say that. It’s all about marketing. If something SAYS it, you’ll pay more money for it. BUT, you could buy the cheaper product and be getting the exact same, hormone-free meat. UMM WHAT? Yes, I just saved you money. You’re welcome
That’s it! I hope you learned something from this post! See you tomorrow!
JUST A REMINDER THAT THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY MY FRIENDS AT THE NATIONAL PORK BOARD. THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO CONTINUE CREATING GREAT CONTENT FOR YOU BY SUPPORTING PARTNERSHIPS WITH SUPER-FAB BRANDS THAT FOOD FAITH FITNESS LOVES TO WORK WITH! AS ALWAYS, OPINIONS REMAIN 100% MY OWN!