Pork Dishes That Will Make You Squeal
Smoked Ham Hocks
North Carolina does pork in a big way. In fact, nearly sixty percent of the pork production industry resides in four states in this country. North Carolina is one of the top producers in America. A few counties in the southwestern part of the state oink with pleasure at the number of people employed in the industry. Tar Heels don’t swim or fish in the hog lagoons after a busy work day, but they do go to the grocery store and marvel at the pork selections. Or people go out to dine on pulled pork. Often, foods like ribs are grilled for leisure thrills in the southern evening.
Sitting around the table feasting on swine dishes goes well with the Tar Heel folk love for the old pig skin and sometimes good-old pork barrel politics. They help gobble up the export pork market, with the U.S. remaining among the top five producers of the meat since the start of this century. Residents of the Old North State ham up sassy barbecue with vinegar or tomato rich sauces which are known worldwide. But there is a host of other wonderful hog products that might make you go roll in the mud awhile in ecstasy.
Pig out on these delicacies! Wallow around in this stuff! Live high on these hog portions! No need to be pig-headed about it! Here is a partial list of foods for your amusement and tummy:
1. Hog Jaws - Stop flapping them jaws! Put them on a plate and serve them up with some biscuits, Sugar! This dish likes to hang out with collard greens, too. (no offense meant to famous wisecracking pigs! Hog jaws will shut your mouth!)
2. Chitterlings – Don’t want to know what came through them, but I know where they are going. Just watch out for the little nuggets of extra goodness that might be hiding inside. The smell of this southern food while cooking can make a rebel start a revolt! The small intestines of a hog can make your house smell like a pig pen!
3. Eggs and Brains – That’s right. Scrambled eggs with scattered brains can make you forget you have a working cerebral cortex in your head. Don’t worry. Eat these and you can snort and run with the best. Don’t be surprised if you become in charge of your own animal farm!
4. Mountain Oysters – This is not to be confused with Rocky Mountain oysters, the testicles of a bull. Indeed, think male hog. Need I say more? If I do, then consider having a ball or two.
5. Cracklins – This comes from the outside of the hog. It’s the same as pork rinds. It’s the hard skin of the animal. Crunching on these babies will make you think about the pounding football players receive when smashing into each other. The name fits the food.
6. Pork butt –Boiled slowly to bring out the flavor, pork butt is a constant favorite on tables in North Carolina. Some people prefer it baked or smoked. Don’t be fooled! Pork butt is the end of the shoulder, not the hind quarters. No need to be a butt-head about it.
7. Liver pudding – Rolled in cornmeal and baked in a loaf, liver pudding is fine eating. Many people like it fried with cheese and a touch of mayo put into a sandwich. Liver loaf gives meat loaf a new meaning!
8. Sausages – North Carolina has a rich variety of seasoned sausages. Many of these are made locally. Some are spiced up to the point they bite with flavor. Others just want to find a mild home in your stomach.
9. Ham Hocks – These pork parts bring out the soulfulness in food. Ham hocks come from the joint of the leg of a hog. They are tasty after cooking in a pot with greens or butter beans.