Right now there’s more pork available than ever. And that means now’s the time to bring more pork to the menu.
According to Steve Meyer, Vice President of Pork Analytics at Express Markets, Inc., the number of U.S. market hogs has reached 64.8 million head, up 3.8% year-over-year and well above analysts’ expectations. Combined with high consumer demand and falling commodity pricing, this is a big opportunity for operators to increase their bottom line.
And it’s easy to add pork to the menu because consumers love pork. According to the 2015 Technomic Center of the Plate Trend Report, 29% of consumers would order pork more often at restaurants if it was available, a 26% increase from 2013. In fact, pork has been the fastest-growing protein in foodservice since 2011.1 Its unmatched versatility – from breakfast sandwiches to fine dining entrées, from classic comfort food to authentic global cuisine, from snout to tail – makes pork a force to be reckoned with across the menu.
Pork hits every key criteria to deliver big on menus. “Over the past five years we’ve seen strong consumer demand for on-trend, authentic flavors and pork is the perfect protein to deliver just that,” said Stephen Gerike, director of foodservice marketing and innovation for the National Pork Board. “If you consider the variety pork offers in both cuts and application, and the supply abundance, there is a real bottom-line opportunity for operators. They should take advantage of current market conditions and add pork to the menu now.”
Across the country, chefs and operators are leveraging pork to drive value and deliver great flavor.
1 – 2015 Volumetric Assessment of Pork in Foodservice, Technomic, Inc.
An easy and affordable way to wow diners, the bone-in loin brings incredible flavor to the menu – from smoky Ribeye chops and grilled T-bone chops to big, bad bone-in rib roasts. And new nomenclature aligns pork chops with well-known steakhouse cuts to help chefs showcase pork as premium, driving even more value from this valuable cut.
Boneless loin is the next big thing in easy. Home to a variety of chops and more, from New York and sirloin chops to cutlets and ribeyes, the pork loin is ideal for premium menu positioning – and it’s delicious in a range of dishes, from marinated Cuban Mojo Pork Loin and Japanese Tonkatsu to herb-crusted roasts.
Whether dry-aged or wet-cured, ham is making waves on menus. Its delicious smoky flavor makes it the go-to for crave-worthy sandwiches, and its reach is expanding to center-of-plate steaks, charcuterie boards and small plate offerings like Crispy Ham Ribs. Traditionally applied to the fresh leg, ham-cure is happening – pork loin and shoulder are also providing an opportunity for creative chefs looking to deliver amazing flavor.
Versatile. Profitable. Available. Craveable. Explore how restaurants around the country are using these cuts to build their menus and their business.
From Chefs Ori Menashe – a 2015 Food & Wine Best New Chef – and Genevieve Gergis, Bestia is serving rustic Italian fare to Los Angeles. Their menu features shared plates of pizzas and pastas as well as perfectly cooked meats. They offer a Grilled Pork Tomahawk Chop and a Grilled Spiced Pork Porterhouse. The porterhouse is served with spicy pineapple frutta, arugula, opal basil and lemon chili vinaigrette.
FlintCreek Cattle Co.
From husband-and-wife duo Chef Eric Donnelly and Operations Manager Christy Donnelly, FlintCreek Cattle Co. opened in Seattle, WA at the end of 2016 as a sister restaurant to RockCreek Seafood & Spirits. FlintCreek is the duo’s meat-centric restaurant, focusing on lean and game proteins. A menu must-try is the Brined Bone-in Oregon Pork Chop with Creole red-eye gravy, heirloom grits and marinated cabbage.
Located in the Liberty Hotel in Boston, MA, CLINK serves New England fare with global influences. Chef Anthony Dawodu uses fresh, seasonal ingredients from Massachusetts’ farms for his dishes. A menu favorite is the Berkshire Pork Loin – a boneless pork loin served all year round with different seasonal ingredients. For winter 2017, it’s paired with squash puree, juniper marshmallow, sorghum and benne.
Liholiho Yacht Club
Located in San Francisco, CA, Liholiho Yacht Club’s dishes are heavily based on Chef Ravi Kapur’s Hawaiian home. But what sets Liholiho Yacht Club apart from other Hawaiian food is the flavors pulled from Northern Californian, Japanese, Indian and Korean cuisines. The house-made spam is included on the regular menu and in “secret” off-menu specials, and chef Kapur also prepares a Country-style Pork Chop with sunchokes, sweet potatoes, coconut miso and mustard seeds.
A comfortable all-day cafe in Austin, TX begins as a coffeehouse serving breakfast and Sightglass Coffee, then transforms into a cocktail bar in the early evening. The menu from Chef Ashley Neave features a variety of comforting fare, including a Croque Monsieur served all day – made with roasted ham, whole grain mustard, Gruyère and rosemary béchamel on sourdough. Or top it with a fried egg for an indulgent Croque Madame.
With two locations in the Twin Cities, Revival serves an innovative twist on ham from a restaurant best known for its fried chicken. The Revival menu is based on the Southern-inspired foods Chef and co-owner Thomas Boemer grew up eating. The Johnny Cakes are a menu favorite – a spin on savory pancakes served with ham, Cheddar cheese cowpeas and a sunny-side up egg.