We’re all used to eating pork in the various, common ways we find it in restaurants. There are the “usual suspects”, such as barbeque, Mexican foods, bacon, sausage, ham, etc. I’ve found though, you don’t really find pork in a “to go” form like I did on a recent trip through southeast Kansas. While on this trip, I was lucky enough to buy a bag of, and subsequently eat, some authentic pork jerky! The jerky is called “Midnight Special”, and it’s one of the many types of jerky made at Luther’s Smokehouse in LeRoy, KS.
|Midnight or not, these are good.|
Luther’s Smokehouse, a former locker plant and now a jerky plant, is owned and operated by Martin Luther, a past professional meat cutter, and his wife Shirlee. The smokehouse, which also serves as a restaurant and grocery store, is the only place to buy food in LeRoy, population 550. Needless to say, the store is very important to the region! I’ve been familiar with Luther’s Smokehouse for many years. I frequently stopped there during my college years to get his famous beef jerky. I never dreamed during that time that he would someday pull off making a delicious pork jerky!
Having never eaten pork jerky, or even seen it before, I thought I’d better try the stuff as soon as I saw it on the shelf. It turned out to be an excellent decision, as I found it to be really good! It's a “pan jerky”, meaning it is ground and formed into the desired jerky shape and size before it is cooked on a flat surface. It is described on the package as “cured and dried smoked pork shoulder”, so I wasn’t surprised that it had a smoky, salty taste like ham. It was a flavor that I found to pair very nicely with the dry jerky texture.
|Release your inner cowboy.|
While I haven’t gotten a chance to try it, I know Mr. Luther has put another twist on the pork jerky theme with a product he calls “Cowboy Pocket Food”. It's pork jerky that is ground up with sweetened cranberries to make a pemmican-like snack.
Both types of pork jerky from Luther’s cost $7.00 for an 8 ounce package. If you can’t make it to the smokehouse, a lot of gas stations in southeast Kansas now carry a limited selection of Luther’s jerky too. If those options don’t work for you, a person can always order from the store online; Luther’s ships worldwide.
However, if possible, find a way to make your purchase in person. The reason being that Martin Luther takes pride not only in his meat preparation abilities, but in a good joke too. The store, inside and out, reflects his sense of humor much more than this article can, so schedule a trip to LeRoy, KS to try some pork jerky at one of the true treasures of rural Kansas.
In the spirit of jerky, the folks at the Kansas Pork Association thought that you may want to try your hand at some of your own homemade jerky fixin’s. We don’t expect it to be quite as good as Luther’s but if practice makes perfect. Here is your chance.
The giveaway includes: (1) A NESCO Dehydrator & Jerky Maker. This brand of lean mean dehydrating machine touts itself as the world’s fastest and most even-drying dehydrator on the market. (2) A Bandiola pork spice pack. Bandiola prides itself on enhancing the simple pleasures of family, friends and food with a complete line of spices. To learn more about Bandiola, visit them here.
As always, a big thank you goes to our sponsors at the Kansas Pork Association for supporting us and providing these gifts to you all.
Answer the question below for a chance to win. We will randomly choose one person from the comments below on December 10 (yes, that's tomorrow) at 2 pm CST.
Question: What cut of the hog do baby back ribs come from?