I seem to have picked up a couple food-oriented followers since lately I've been on a food bend. The method and technology behind it all can be quite interesting, after all.
Just tweak your process just a bit and you have a totally different dish. That is especially obvious when cooking pork.
You can go from BBQ Pulled Pork, which is one of my favorites, to shoe leather just in a matter of degrees of cooking.
It used to be that you always had to cook pork well because the production methods in the US meant you had to cook out any nasties that were in the meat. Since the farmers cleaned up their act, even the government has dropped the recommended temperature for cooking lean pork depending on the cut.
I was researching recipes and found one that recommended 110F for a first cook of a pork chop in a crock pot, then follow up by a sear to bring internal temp to 135F and a rest to serve it at 140F.
A bit surprising to me when you consider that I come from the generation that thought that a pork chop was meant to be shoe leather, and therefore we would pass.
A bit of a long lead in for a story about a pig farmer isn't it?
My buddy, who's a pig farmer, was having some marital troubles. His wife was threatening to leave him.
He called me up and asked my advice. I said "look I'm a chef, why don't I come over and cook you both an incredible breakfast from the produce from your farm, and we can talk things through over a delicious meal". He agreed and I headed over.
The breakfast was perfect, and the conversation was long but cathartic. They seemed to iron some issues out and I left the room a couple of times so they could be alone.
He eventually came out and said "thanks so much, I really think we've turned a corner after today. I don't have much to give you as a thank you, but as a token of my appreciation, please take this bag of salt-cured pork. "
I'm happy to say I saved his bacon.