Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat. It accounts for 38 percent of meat production worldwide. You’ll have trouble finding it in the Middle East and most of the Muslim world because both Jewish kosher and Islamic halal diets ban it outright. But almost everywhere else on earth including Asia, Europe, and the Americas, pork is in recipes and on menus everywhere. Nowhere comes close to China which, at any given moment, has 1 billion pigs on its farms.
In the mid 80s, in the US, the National Pork Board called pork “the other white meat”, advertising so successful I wish I’d written it myself: 87 percent of consumers identified pork with the slogan. And still do, despite the fact that it hasn’t been used since 2011. It might come as a bit of a surprise to know first, that the USDA considers pork a red meat and second, that the only real reason the Pork Board jumped on the white meat bandwagon was the public’s perception that chicken and turkey were healthier than red meat. It is true that Pork, with its fat trimmed, is leaner than most meats but certainly not chicken or turkey. And even the ‘new’ leaner pork is still high in cholesterol and saturated fat. And as any good cook will tell you, fat is a flavor carrier that’s hard to replace. But chefs have found a way to amp up pork’s flavor. They brine their pork. But I had never tried it until recently. And I am here to say, I am a convert. I recently brined what we jokingly referred to as ‘a side of pork’, chops so enormous they must have been almost three inches thick. And the results were spectacular.