Welcome to the pork-cooking center of the universe
Inside the Swine Barn at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, it smells like…a swine barn. At this year’s World Pork Expo, a record 4,007 pigs are registered for the show.
Outside the Swine Barn, however, it smells, well, delicious. The Expo is hog heaven for those who love the other white meat.
Hog farmers all over the fairgrounds were firing up grills, cooking pork ribs, pork chops and pulled pork sandwiches.
I sat down with farmer Dennis Gienger, who was busy slicing hot-off-the-grill, crispy-yet-moist, BBQ ribs.
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The secret to cooking ribs, he said, “is not overcooking them, pulling them off at 145 degrees.” Everyone around him was using an instant-read meat thermometer. “If you take them up to 160 or 180 (degrees), you’re going to start drying them out.”
I was stunned by the full flavor of the ribs (see my reaction in the video) and Gienger admitted all the meat was seasoned with locally owned Cookie’s Flavor Enhancer. “That is our secret ingredient,” he said.