Authenticity, portability and incredible flavor – what’s not to love? International street food has come to America, but this on-the-go culinary movement has deep roots in almost all cultures around the globe. Originally considered peasant food, it was sold on the streets or in public places where urban populations could affordably access a variety of prepared foods.
American street food culture used to mean hot dog and pretzel carts.. But in 2008, Roy Choi changed the landscape with his Korean-Mexican taco truck, Kogi, in Los Angeles. Considered a founder of the modern food truck trend, Chef Choi showed Americans that street food really had no limits. Kogi’s food was thoughtful, delicious and evoked a sense of place and nostalgia. Combined with the rise of Twitter and other social media outlets, the trend quickly swept the nation. And because Kogi’s launch coincided with the recession, people’s minds and wallets were open to comfort foods from all cultures. The opportunity for emerging cooks to open their own kitchen and create their own style of cuisine at a fraction of a brick and mortar startup also helped fuel the growth of trucks and carts joining the fray.
Today, food trucks can accurately be called a national phenomenon. From the humble beginnings of one taco truck roaming the streets of LA, the street food scene has exploded – consumers flock to food stalls, food cart pods, and independent trucks as a culinary destination for unique meals, or simply to enjoy some really good food. As more consumers grab lunch on the corner, chefs are looking to amp up the creativity and excitement of menus – and pork is king when it comes to grabbing attention and appetites. According to Food Genius, among meat types in street food menuing, pork is the most widely used at 68%, compared to chicken or beef (62% and 57%, respectively). They also show trucks are using pork in innovative ways, pairing it with different cheeses, spices, or in unique cuisine concepts.
Here’s a look at some of the operators who are filling stomachs across the country:
Independent Food Trucks:
In an industry where location is key, independent food truck operators have flocked to social media platforms like Twitter, Yelp and Facebook to let fans know where they’re heading and when they’ll be there. Building a following is paramount to trucks that don’t have a consistent berth in a stall or market, and many operators are posting before the truck even takes to the road. Many trucks also use social media to feature menu specials or promote events. Take a look at some of the top trucks in action around the country
- Food cart parks are the norm in Austin, but the East Side King franchise mixes it up by partnering with bars as the backyard food option. The latest from Paul Qui and co-owner Chef Thai Changthong is Thai-Kun, newly named to Bon Appetit’s 2014 The Hot 10, is parked in the back of Wonderland bar in Austin and serves an 8-item menu
- The Waterfall Pork is a fan favorite – grilled pork shoulder with fiery Tiger Cry sauce. To balance the heat, the dish is served with pickled cabbage, cooling fresh herbs, and sweet rice
- Miami-based Gastropod trailer, by Jeremiah Bullfrog who cooked at El Bulli and wd-50, made a recent appearance at Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee. The cart doesn’t serve daily in Miami, but is known to make appearances at festivals and other big gatherings – followers monitor Bullfrog’s movements closely on Twitter, so as not to miss out on the rotating haute cuisine menu – past items include:
- Curry Pork Tacos – pulled pork, corn tortillas, cilantro
- La Porchetta Cubana – Duroc pork belly and loin with mojo pickled fennel
- Dirty Chips – kettle chips cooked in pork fat, spicy mayo, and slaw bits
- Triple Decker Slider Burger – stuffed with shaved pork belly on a potato bun with onions cooked in bacon
- Benton’s Bacon Fried Rice – everything bagel with furikake shake, poached egg, and scallion
- El Chinito Cubano – Benton’s ham, pork belly terrine and Hoisin mustard
- Mama Chow’s Kitchen in downtown Portland was recently voted one of the best in the city. This stand-alone food cart offers Chinese American comfort food. The Kalua Pork is served with garlic noodles and chayote squash. The truck uses Facebook posting to encourage consumer engagement
- In Las Vegas, NV Sausagefest has garnered a following through social media and partnering with local music festivals. Offering gourmet sausages, the truck features a Longanisa bánh mì, combining Filipino and Vietnamese street food into one amazing bite
Food Cart Pods:
Unlike food trucks, food carts don’t travel under their own power so mobility isn’t as easy. Thus, many carts tend to congregate in pods, offering consumers a one-stop shop to sample a variety of delicious cuisines.
Portland, OR has a flourishing pod culture and carts are set up in permanent structures. Offering a range of sophisticated fare, including a variety of global cuisines, there are over 600 in the city. Favorite pods include the largest collection at Adler Street, Fifth Avenue, Mississippi Marketplace, and Southeast Portland.
- The People’s Pig in the Adler Street pod owns the market for porchetta sandwiches and serves them with arugula and green apple
- “The Original Schnitzelwich” hails from the acclaimed Tábor Czech Food
- It features breaded pork loin in a Ciabatta roll with lettuce, paprika spread, sautéed onion and horseradish
- In Southeast Portland, Umai Ramen is one of the city’s favorite ramen carts.
- Their namesake dish features cart-made alkaline noodles topped with steamed greens, Umai pork shoulder, marinated egg, pickled shiitake, and scallion in a house double broth – an addictive chicken-pork broth that’s finished with duck fat
Austin may be known for its barbecue but it also offers up some intriguing street food fare. You’ll see trailers, carts, trucks and wagons on parking lots, sidewalks, in groups or standing by themselves – they are everywhere! If that seems overwhelming, don’t worry – there’s an app for that! The AustinFoodCarts app was developed to engage the community and make it easier for locals and tourists alike to follow their favorite stops.
One of the most notable stops is the South Austin Trailer Park, which features a group of food trailers, a pavilion full of picnic tables, strung lights and foosball and ping pong gaming tables – the perfect environment for a party! There is even a unique barn for special events.
- Torchy’s Taco Truck is the founder of this park, and often considered the main attraction. The truck suggests adding a fried avocado to any dish for an adventurous twist, and they’ve even created the Taco Anatomy System on their website to allow consumers to find their perfect taco combination. Users click their preferences and the website matches them with a perfect palate-satisfying taco!
- Their menu features Green Chile Pork – slow roasted pork carnitas simmered with green chilies – as well as jalapeño pork sausage.
Off the Grid, in San Francisco, boasts that they are the largest network of gourmet mobile food markets anywhere. This unique collaboration showcases hundreds of vendors each week in dozens of locations around the Bay Area, bringing communities together through a shared food experience. The market uses social media and a robust website to track all the delicious food whereabouts, with a motto of “Making street food happen… all the time”
- Reminiscent of the original Asian street food, The Chairman offers steamed buns and baked buns filled with your choice:
- Tender Pork Belly with turmeric pickled daikon and green shiso
- Coca-Cola Braised Pork with savoy cabbage and preserved yellow mustard seeds
- Sanguchon serves Peruvian street food, like hearty sandwiches stuffed with classic and contemporary Peruvian ingredients
- Pan con Chicharron – pork loin sliced, fried yams, marinated onions in lime juice and cream de rocoto
- Barbacoa – pulled pork barbecue with Inka-Cola sauce, potato chips, coleslaw and aji rocoto sweet sauce
Though it’s newer to the scene, Atlanta’s Food Truck Park has become the South’s everyday place to come together as a community to experience food and drink, and browse local art. Truck vendors rotate so there’s always something new and delicious to choose from any day of the week.
- Potentially the first food truck in Atlanta, Yumbii serves Korean, Mexican and American fusion. Highlights include:
- Spicy Pulled Pork Tacos with red Asian barbecue sauce
- Yumbii sliders – spicy pulled-pork topped with cucumber, kimchee sesame-salad, and shredded Mexican cheese
- Sweet Auburn Barbecue offers a variety of slow-smoked meats, where classic southern barbecue goes hand in hand with modern eclectic influences:
- Pimento Cheese Wontons made with bacon marmalade and sweet Thai chili sauce
- Sweet Auburn Country Picnic Plate – shaved Benton’s Country Ham, homemade pickles, pimento cheese and candied bacon crostini
- Coconut Lemongrass Pork Spare Ribs
- Auburn Bacon Pork Burger topped with pulled pork, candied bacon, Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion
- Mighty Meatballs food truck takes the Italian sandwich global, offering a variety of flavor profiles including a bánh mì-style pork meatball sandwich
Market Squares and Food Stalls
Public markets used to be a mainstay in cities across the country, but they fell from prominence. Now, they’re making a comeback. These community hubs feature specialty shops, eateries, local artisans, and regional food vendors, usually in an open-air environment. These establishments are helping to move public markets back into the spotlight.
In operation since 1917, LA Grand Central Market has a decidedly updated vibe in addition to some of its well-worn classics, thanks to a 2013 renovation that added space for a dozen or so new vendors. The market offers an eclectic mix of everything you need – from old tacos and Chinese food to new choices like breakfast sandwiches, pupusas, butchered meats and specialty cheeses. The market is a centerpiece of what LA has to offer and reflects the population of the downtown area, with people from all walks of life enjoying the mix of cultures and cuisines.
- Belcampo Meat Co. is a farm, processing plant, neighborhood butcher shop and restaurant. The Grand Central Market location offers premium pork cuts from porterhouse and sirloin pork chops to breakfast and lunch specialties like:
- Pork Cochinita – avocado, pickled onion and fried egg
- Cabeza Frita Cemita – deep-fried pork head and trotter, avocado, salsa and queso
- Poblano Pork Cemita – braised pork shoulder, chipotle, avocado, salsa and queso
- Berlin Currywurst serves the number one street food in Germany. If you visit Berlin by night, you can enjoy the vibrant corner Currywurst stand, a popular neighborhood meeting point
- Visitors select a made-to-order bratwurst, paprikawurst, or currywurst on a bun, plus a sauce and heat level
- Roast to Go has sold tacos, burritos and combination plates since 1952, as well as meats by the pound for parties and catering
- Meats include: carnitas, chicharron, el pastor and trompa pork nose
- Sarita’s Pupuseria serves Salvadorian cuisine based on family recipes from owner Sara Clark, serving handmade pupusas with a dozen different fillings, as well as fried plaintains, yuca con chicharron, stews, and other dishes
- The Revuletas o Mixtas de chicharron is a combination of pork, queso and beans
- Fatted Calf is a charcuterie and butcher shop dedicated to the details that produce incredibly tasty food. Featuring multiple varieties of fresh sausage and cured meats, the store also offers many enticing daily options:
- Early Girl Tomato and Ham Tart made with Fatted Calf’s smoked brown sugar ham with basil, melted onions and comte cheese in a flaky tart
- Heritage Pork Shoulder with fennel pollen, chili and garlic
- Toasted Fiscalini Cheddar and Bacon Jam sandwich
- C Casa offers a fresh approach to tacos, with chalkboard specials including the pork carnita tostada with white beans, corn relish, poblanos, micro greens, romaine, lime crema and cotija cheese
Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market was established in 1907 to connect citizens and farmers and it continues its “Meet the Producer” tradition with a year-round farmers market, owner-operated bakeries, fish markets, butcher shops, produce stands and specialty food stores. There are more than 80 restaurants within the Market boundaries, from take-out counters to fine dining establishments.
- Piroshky Piroshky brings a taste of Russia to the Northwest, serving the Russian version of the stuffed hand-held pie in both sweet and savory variations
- Favorites include the ham and cheese and salmon pate.
- Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie’s sandwich shops offers The Three Little Pigs – porchetta, premium Kassler ham, and whipped lardo
- Mee Sum Pastry, a family-owned business, serves a variety of steamed or baked hombows, or filled sweet bread rolls
- They’re best known for the BBQ Pork filling made with sweet and savory BBQ pork mixed with spices and onions
Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market occupies the former Reading Terminal train shed in the heart of Center City. After being revitalized in the 1990s, the Reading Terminal Market now features more than 80 restaurants, shops, and farm stands.
- DiNic’s, now in its fourth generation, serves classic Italian sandwiches stuffed with Italian-style pulled pork
- Their famous roast pork, broccoli rabe and provoline sandwich was crowned The Best Sandwich in America by Travel Channel in 2012
- Salumeria, an Italian deli and grocery, also serves lunch including hoagies filled with their charcuterie
- Molly Malloy’s, the market’s first gastropub, sources from their neighbors in the market and offers pork pot stickers drizzled with spicy szechuan oil.
- Beck’s Cajun Café is a New Orleans original and offers classic Cajun cuisine
- Favorites include the Muffaletta – salami, ham, mortadella, sharp provolone, and olive salad served on Italian bread.
Street food is the perfect way to deliver authenticity and amazing flavor on the go. No longer peasant food, this fare is now a driving force in the culinary scene, impacting concepts, flavors, and applications of up-and-coming trucks and pods as well as brick-and-mortar locations. As this trend evolves and expands, America’s street food scene will continue to raise the bar on taste and creativity, inspiring a whole new generation of chefs and operators.
A Conversation With
From salad bar attendant to executive chef to hospitality recruiter…to truck driver? Dave Danhi has been a mainstay in the Southern California restaurant scene for over 30 years, and his new adventure has him taking to the streets with The Grilled Cheese Truck. Since 2009, Danhi has been delivering innovative indulgence to hungry crowds across Southern California, with a fleet of trucks expanding to Phoenix and Texas.
Danhi’s career has run the gamut. The former Executive Chef of Georgia, the Roxbury Supper Club, and King’s Seafood Company, Danhi began working for hospitality recruitment firm DD Agency in 1998. He bought the agency in 2005 and still runs it today – in between thinking up new twists on classic comfort food, testing in the Grilled Cheese kitchen, and manning the social media presence for his food truck empire.
We caught up with Dave to talk trucks, the American street food scene and why pork is perfect on the go.
NPB: What inspired you to become a chef? What’s your culinary philosophy?
Chef: At 14, I wanted to be independent and make my own money, so I got a job as a salad bar attendant at a local restaurant. From there I was promoted to a cook – once the pan hit the burner I never looked back.
I strongly believe that food makes people happy, and that’s why I cook! It’s really what keeps me going in a profession that isn’t necessarily glamorous. I love that food is a common denominator between people and that I get to be part of creating their memories.
NPB: How do you express this philosophy in your food?
Chef: I’ve gone through a few different stages in my career – I had an ego when cooking in fine dining and was quickly humbled when I switched to the food truck. I learned you have to cook for who’s walking in the door to be successful – so give the people what they want! In my case it’s comforting grilled cheeses that provide childhood memories suited for an adult palate!
NPB: Who is the chef that has influenced your career the most and why?
Chef: That’s a tough question! Matt Stein, an old co-worker, taught me to always ask the question why – why a hot pan, or why that garnish. If there isn’t a reason than you probably shouldn’t do it. It made me a more thoughtful chef.
NPB: With so many years of restaurant experience, what made you start the Grilled Cheese Truck? What enticed you to join the street food scene?
Chef: In all my years of cooking, it was never to become popular. It was just to make people happy with food, so I never engaged in cooking competitions. Then one day I received a random email about the Grilled Cheese Invitational. The email made me wonder what I would actually make if I competed, and after some thought I decided to act on it. I didn’t win the competition, but I was introduced to this cult following. It was funny; when I walked out of the building there was a healthy food truck out front. I thought to myself, these people don’t want healthy food – they want grilled cheeses! When I got home and did some research I realized there was not one single grilled cheese truck out there.
And so far, cooking in the truck is the most rewarding culinary experience I’ve had to date. I really like working directly with the people and working in a fishbowl environment.
NPB: Consumers go crazy for grilled cheeses today. There is actually a National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12) and as you mentioned, grilled cheese culinary competitions. What do you think is behind this craze?
Chef: In my opinion, it’s a culinary common denominator. Many people grow up eating some kind of grilled cheese. It’s always a positive experience, whether your mom made it for you after school or you’re eating one at two in the morning after a fun night.
I always say, “You can’t make a grilled cheese without smiling!”
NPB: What is the biggest difference working in the truck vs. working in a restaurant?
Chef: Working on a truck is much more challenging – it’s basically Murphy’s Law on wheels! Equipment is rolling, the truck breaks down before you get to your spot, you run out of food, etc. Food trucks can be a logistical nightmare.
I would say sometimes the biggest struggle is space and how the trucks’ layout and equipment dictate your menu.
NPB: How does social media play into running a food truck?
Chef: The biggest pro is that you have your finger on the pulse all the time and you have the ability to interact and engage your followers at a moment’s notice. It helps create a personality for your company.
The biggest con is dealing with negative feedback – but I try to look at this as a positive. In the end, this feedback makes us more aware and helps us pay attention to detail. Oh, and did I mention typos? You have to watch out for those – I’ve found the “O” and the “I” are unfortunately close together!
NPB: What’s the secret to your large following? How do you take social media beyond simply posting location and food photos?
Chef: I love polling the followers. I ask them questions like, “What type of cheese do you want us to work with?” or “What flavors are you craving right now?”
Also, I make it a point to look up social media analytics. I do this to learn more about who’s following us and what their interests are. It’s really a marketing opportunity. Do they like music? What kind? Do they play Dungeon and Dragons, etc? This takes time, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
NPB: Do any tweets from followers stick out in your mind?
Chef: Before we even got the keys to the first truck we had 2,500 followers. Someone posted, “Your tweets should be considered cruel and inhumane until the truck is up and running!” and “Is this a hoax – this is brilliant!”
But the most touching tweet to date was “You’re the best thing after chemotherapy!” Just to know we made that one person’s day better was enough for me. It still gives me goose bumps!
NPB: How do you think street food impacts or inspires brick and mortar restaurants?
Chef: I always think, “Let’s be smart – food trucks are like rolling billboards for restaurants!” It’s a great way to interact with the community and market your business.
America’s culinary landscape didn’t have an established street food scene. It’s made the food more innovative and has pushed some restaurants to change their menu sizes – they realize that snack sizes can sell and people will show up for the food. Restaurants don’t have to make behemoth plates anymore!
NPB: What process do you go through to create specials for the Grilled Cheese Truck?
Chef: There are a couple of ways. The first is just inspiration. Maybe I’m walking through a market and see artichokes and I haven’t done something with them in a while, or maybe I turn off the music in my car and think about how we can work familiar tastes into a grilled cheese – like french onion soup. We also poll our followers to see what they want!
NPB: Can you tell us about any recent pork specials?
Chef: My favorite pork special is the smoked pork loin with apricot preserves, fresh thyme and brie on peppercorn bread. I really like how the flavors balance each other.
We also had a Piggy Melt special with bacon-onion-bourbon marmalade, brie, ham and roasted smoked pork loin, with a Parmesan-bacon crust on the outside!
I think our followers would say the secret menu S’more is their favorite. Consumers have the option to get the regular S’more, but asking for it off the secret menu adds bacon to the melt! We probably sell more with bacon than without.
I think my next special will incorporate pork belly!
NPB: What about pork makes it a good protein for street food?
Chef: Pork is very authentic to street foods – historically, it was considered a peasant food. And beyond its authenticity to dishes from places like Southeast Asia and Latin countries, pork is very popular right now. I even have a pig tattooed across my chest!
I also learned at Pork Summit 2014 that it’s very affordable – pork loin is actually cheaper then belly and can be applied many ways. So I would say it also offers vendors more profits.
NPB: Do you have a favorite pork and grilled cheese combination?
Chef: Hands down the Cheesy Mac and Rib. The sandwich itself is a bit of a “biography” of my culinary loves. The macaroni and cheese recipe is based off the recipe served at Georgia, where I started really having fun with comfort food. The rib rub also started at Georgia, but it has evolved over the past fifteen years into something I am extremely proud of. All the elements are very close to my heart – it’s my baby!
NPB: How many trucks do you have now? What’s it like managing so many?
Chef: We started with one, and I would say, “Be careful what you wish for!” Now there are twelve – nine in southern California and three in Phoenix. The biggest challenge is controlling quality, so we work out of a commissary kitchen where I can oversee the food and the trucks pick up their daily order.
NPB: Tell us about the Grilled Cheese Truck franchise and the exclusive opportunity to veterans?
Chef: We have some exciting new things in store for The Grilled Cheese Truck – we are looking forward to a brick and mortar location soon and going public.
The most exciting news is the new Veteran Program. The Grilled Cheese Truck has committed the first 100 trucks to be run by qualified Veterans. We feel that the skill set developed by a veteran’s military training lends itself incredibly well to operating one of our trucks, which requires hard work, long hours and the ability to think under pressure while being able to smile at our guests.
With so much success, we really had to take the bull by its horns. I really wanted to give back and do something that feels good – and that’s by helping veterans assimilate back into life as a civilian.
NPB: What are your five favorite street food pork dishes in the Los Angeles area and where can we find them?
Chef: When I’m looking for my dose of Vitamin P – here are a few of my go-to spots:
Animal Restaurant, although a brick and mortar restaurant, I have stopped there (with the truck) and grabbed several of their BBQ Pork Belly Sliders. The belly is cooked perfectly and not overpowered by the barbecue sauce.435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 782-9225 http://animalrestaurant.com/
Havana Mania, another Brick and Mortar stop, serves Cuban street food in my eyes. Every Tuesday they roast a whole pig – the lechon is delicious and you’re guaranteed to get a wonderful, crispy pork skin cracklin’ as a garnish.3615 Inglewood Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90278 (310) 725-9075 http://www.havanamania.com/
Ramen Yamadaya, in Gardena, puts out the most amazing ramen. I always get the Tonkotsu Ramen spicy with a side of pork belly to make sure there’s enough! This is liquid pork in its most perfect form.3118 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504 (310) 380-5555 http://www.ramen-yamadaya.com/
Los Cinco Puntos has the most amazing carnitas tacos in LA. Make sure to get there early and specifically ask for the shoulder meat! The salsas are perfect and don’t overwhelm the meat, but the heat will sneak up on you if you’re not careful.3300 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90063 (323) 261-4084 http://www.los5puntos.com/
Bigmista’s BBQ, a little hard to find, this barbecue spot has the best ribs! They are also known for their pig candy, which often mimic potato chips in the car with the exception of the sticky steering wheel afterwards – but totally worth it!Long Beach, CA (562) 423-4244 http://www.bigmista.com/
Ingredients2 outside fresh pork leg muscle
pork belly skin-on, braised, as needed
Pernil Marinade1 cup fresh sour orange juice
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup black pepper fresh ground
2 TBL olive oil
3 TBL oregano fresh, minced
2 TBL cumin
30 cloves garlic crushed
- In mixing bowl, combine orange juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, oil, oregano, cumin, and garlic. Set aside
- Cut pork leg into cubes and skewer, alternating with braised pork belly slices (when cooked it will produce cracklin/crispy skin)
- Submerse skewers in Pernil marinade for few hours, reserve some marinade for dipping sauce
- Grill pork on a plancha or flat griddle until fully browned on all sides or cooked to approximately 140 degrees and let rest
- Serve with sliced Cuban bread, tostones, Puerto Rican-Style Hot Sauce and dipping sauce
Blueberry Bacon Jam1 1/2 pounds ripe blueberries washed
10 oz applewood smoked bacon 1/4” dice 6 oz. thinly sliced shallots
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sage chiffonade
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Sweet Onion Dressing1 large egg
1/2 pound sweet onions pureed
1 TBL mustard seed
2 TBL Dijon-style mustard
2 1/2 TBL apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup olive oil
Butter Spread12 TBL unsalted butter softened to room temperature
12 TBL mayonnaise
Sandwich Ingredients16 slices bread (suggested bread is a black peppercorn but French will do)
24 oz pastrami sliced
24 oz Bouchron cheese
8 TBL blueberry bacon jam
4 oz micro mustard greens
Sweet onion dressing to taste
- In a stainless steal saucepan, render bacon until crisp and remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
- In a small amount of bacon fat, saute´ shallots on a medium heat until just starting to brown.
- Add blueberries and sugar and cook on a medium heat until first bubble is reached.
- Add balsamic vinegar and sage and continue to reduce until thickens (about 20 minutes).
- Remove from heat and add crisp bacon and black pepper. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours before use.
Sweet Onion Dressing
- In a pan, toast mustard seeds over a high heat. Once starting to brown, add 3 cups of water and boil seeds for 10 minutes. Strain and cool
- Whisk eggs in a bowl until foamy. Add all ingredients except for the oil and mix.
- Slowly add oil until incorporated.
- Chill and allow to sit for at least 2 hours before use.
- Mix ingredients vigorously to completely incorporate, making sure there are no lumps
- Generously Butter one side of each slice of bread with the butter/mayo mixture. Be sure to butter to the very edges.
- Assemble each sandwich in the following order:
- Spread 1 1⁄2 oz. of Bouchron Cheese on the unbuttered side of each slice of bread. Be careful to not go too close to the edges of the bread as this will cause it to melt out of the sandwich while cooking.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of the blueberry jam on top of the cheese and spread evenly
- Top the cheese on once slice of the bread with 3 oz of thinly sliced pork pastrami
- Place remaining slice of bread on top with the cheese on the inside of the sandwich.
- Heat griddle to about 350°F.
- Place all sandwiches on griddle and allow to cook SLOWLY.
- Once golden brown, gently flip and repeat until cheese is melted and interior ingredients are hot.
- IF the bread browns prior to the inside being hot, place pan with sandwiches in oven at 450° to allow to finish.
- Remove from heat and allow to stand for 30 seconds before cutting. Cut with a sharp knife and serve with dressed micro-mustard green salad.
Did You Know?
America’s pig farmers know chefs and consumers want to understand how pork gets to the plate. We know there are a lot of misconceptions about how pigs are raised and it is the obligation of our industry, from farmers to pork processors to food retail companies, to work together to ensure the quality and safety of pork in the marketplace.
Safe pork comes from healthy pigs. And as part of a comprehensive herd health program, farmers and veterinarians may choose to use antibiotics if it is best for the health of the animals. Responsible use of antibiotics is essential not only to animal health and well-being but also to public health and the safety of the food chain. Decisions affecting antibiotic usage should be based on sound science, ongoing research, and what is best for animal and human health. America’s pig farmers are committed to protecting public health and preserving animal health and well-being by only using FDA-approved antibiotics, and using them responsibly.
As the dialogue continues, we want to draw your attention to several important developments:
- In a recent publication by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013,” the CDC used three threat levels to rank 18 bacteria-specific resistance threats that, taken together, comprise the public health problem we call antibiotic resistance. Only two – Campylobacter and non-typhoidal Salmonella – are listed by the CDC with food animals as a potential source. All others are unrelated to food animals.
- Similarly, the World Health Organization recently published “Antibiotic resistance: global report on surveillance 2014,” which also focuses on pathogens not related to agriculture.
- In the Food and Drug Administration’s new policy on judicious use of antibiotics in food-producing animals (FDA Guidance 213), animal drug manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to withdraw growth promotion claims on all affected products. By December 2016, antibiotics that are important to human medicine will be labeled for use in food animals only to address disease and under veterinary oversight.
- Additionally the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon release an action plan for antimicrobial resistance that will include recommendations for efforts to strengthen and expand surveillance, biological sampling at various production points, research on alternatives to antibiotics, and new initiatives aimed at funding multi-institutional/multi-agency research and education projects.
Using antibiotics to keep food animals healthy is a complicated issue and we will continue to provide the facts and information to help understand this topic. The graphic below can help educate chefs and consumers about how farmers, with veterinarian oversight, choose to use antibiotics when raising pigs.
To learn more about how farmers use antibiotics responsibly to raise pigs, visit porkcares.org (http://porkcares.org/our-practices/day-to-day-animal-health/antibiotic-use)
Chefs at popular restaurants across the country are using pork to grab attention and appetites. From the classic Cuban to sausage-stuffed sacchetti pasta to pulled pork on pizzas, sandwiches and more, take a look at who’s crafting menus with amazing flavor and versatility.
- Carrabba’s Italian Grill is pairing their classic favorites with new creations to deliver comfort and adventure- all on one plate. For a limited time, the Classics & Creations offer is pairing a new Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with menu favorite Chicken Bryan. The pork medallions are wood-grilled and topped with a port wine fig sauce. (235 units, HQ in Tampa, FL)
- Which Wich is offering a LTO Bánh Mì sandwich, made with pulled pork, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, fresh jalapeños, and spicy Sriracha mayo. (270 units, HQ in Dallas, TX)
- Papa John’s is celebrating a favorite summer tradition – the backyard barbecue. The new Spicy Pulled Pork pizza has a unique flavor of slow-cooked pork with sweet Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, layered with a blend of spicy pepper Jack and mozzarella cheese all on Papa John’s signature fresh, hand-tossed crust, finished with crushed red pepper for a spicy kick. (3,207 units, HQ in Louisville, KY)
- Burger King is offering the A.1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger Sandwich, featuring two ¼-lb. savory fire-grilled beef patties, topped with thick-cut smoked bacon, melted American cheese, and savory A.1 Thick & Hearty sauce, all on a warm, toasted, artisan bun. (7,155 units, HQ in Miami, FL)
- Buffalo Wild Wings has just launched a signature “Redhook Game Changer Brat,” handcrafted by Johnsonville; this sandwich is finished with braised onions and spicy mustard on a pretzel roll. (817 units, HQ in Minneapolis, MN)
- Barbecue is back at Sizzler for a limited time. The special offer features a new create your own BBQ platter choosing from five favorites – pulled pork, baby back ribs, riblets, pulled pork mac & cheese, and hand-breaded chicken tenders. (172 units, HQ in Mission Viejo, CA)
- Togo’s Sandwiches introduced new pork sandwiches to the menu! (242 units, HQ in San Jose, CA)
- The Smokehouse BBQ Pork Sandwich was so successful as a summer LTO in 2013 that the eatery added the dish on to the permanent menu. The sandwich features barbecued pulled pork topped with coleslaw.
- The Toasted Cuban Sandwich, available for a limited time, features pulled pork, Black Forest ham, melted Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard vinaigrette on toasted white bread.
- El Pollo Loco launched a lineup of Mexican torta sandwiches, including: (402 units, HQ in Costa Mesa, CA)
- Shredded Pork Carnitas Mexican Torta – shredded pork carnitas (slow-cooked shredded pork), guacamole, refried beans, cheese, pico de gallo and garlic aioli.
- Ruby Tuesday unveiled new featured items, including the Shrimp Po’ Boy Flatbread topped with fried popcorn shrimp, Parmesan cream sauce, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon, Andouille sausage and chipotle sauce. (736 units, HQ in Maryville, TN)
- Starbucks unveiled new Starbucks Evenings menu items, available after 4 p.m. at select stores. New food items include Bacon-Wrapped Dates with balsamic glaze. (11,457 units, HQ in Seattle, WA)
- Carl’s Jr. turns up the heat on breakfast with two ways to savor spicy Mexican chorizo – the new Made from Scratch Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Biscuit and Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Burrito. (1,157 units, HQ in Carpinteria, CA)
- The Made from Scratch Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Biscuit features flavorful chorizo and egg topped with spicy pepper Jack cheese and served inside a warm, freshly baked Made from Scratch Buttermilk Biscuit.
- For those who prefer their breakfast in burrito form, the Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Burrito features spicy chorizo, scrambled eggs, shredded Jack and Cheddar cheeses, hash round nuggets and freshly prepared pico de gallo salsa, wrapped together in a flour tortilla.
- Jack in the Box added two breakfast burritos to their menu: (2,254 units, HQ in San Diego, CA)
- The Meat Lovers Breakfast Burrito is made with sausage, ham and bacon wrapped in a large tortilla and served with a side of salsa.
- The Grande Sausage Breakfast Burrito features eggs, sausage, hash browns, bacon and a new creamy Sriracha sauce.
- Fazoli’s expanded its menu this summer with Stuffed Pasta Selects, a collection of dishes incorporating sacchetti pasta packed with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses. (215 units, HQ in Lexington, KY)
- Stuffed Pasta Supremo combines oven-baked sacchetti with a sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce, caramelized Italian sausage, mushrooms, shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and julienned salami.
- Stuffed Pasta Robusto is oven-baked sacchetti in a creamy marinara sauce with diced chicken, bacon pieces, shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and a cheese-spice blend.
- Pizza Hut brought back its Cheesy Bites pizza in a promotional partnership with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. The Cheesy Bites pizza, available at Pizza Huts nationwide, features cheese-filled crust bites in place of traditional crust. Pizza Hut is offering an online-only “hidden menu” of Cheesy Bites pizza recipes inspired by the personality of each Ninja Turtle. The pizzas include: (6,326 units, HQ in Plano, TX)
- Michelangelo’s Favorite Pizza topped with pepperoni, ham, pineapple and jalapeño.
- Raphael’s Favorite Pizza topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon and beef.
- In mid-July, Taco Bell expanded its breakfast burrito lineup and morning value offerings with the following: (5,346 units, HQ in Irvine, CA)
- Grilled Breakfast Burritos, featuring scrambled eggs and a choice of bacon or sausage, topped with warm nacho cheese sauce, all wrapped up in a tortilla and grilled.
- Breakfast Quesarito, featuring scrambled eggs, shredded Cheddar cheese and nacho cheese wrapped in a quesadilla-style wrap, available with sausage or bacon.
- First Watch, the daytime café, unveiled three new seasonal menu offerings: (114 units, HQ in University Park, FL)
- Shrimp & Grits made with sautéed shrimp and Andouille sausage in a Cajun low-country reduction with house-roasted tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn, and fresh herbs on Cheddar Parmesan grits served with ciabatta toast.
- BLT Benedict featuring two poached eggs on toasted ciabatta with bacon, vine-ripened tomato slices, hollandaise sauce, lemon-dressed arugula, avocado slices, and fresh herbs, and served with fresh, seasonal fruit.
- Brûléed Banana Waffle topped with caramelized bananas, brown sugar-glazed bacon, a sweet cream sauce drizzle and bacon-infused syrup.
- Bruegger’s Bagels added a new Jalapeño Bacon & Egg Sandwich, a combination of Latin flavors including a sofrito sauce of green bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, and roasted onions, plus jalapeño bacon, Cheddar, and egg served on a 12-grain bagel. (293 units, HQ in Burlington, VT)
- Denny’s added Baja Moons Over My Hammy– a ham and scrambled egg sandwich topped with Swiss and American cheeses, sliced fresh avocado and sun-dried tomato mayo on grilled 7-grain bread. (1,599 units, HQ in Spartanburg, SC)
- Cousin’s Subs is featuring a Wisconsin Brat & Bacon sub for a limited time only, made with bratwurst slices, bacon, Cheddar, sautéed onions, brown mustard and a pickle slice on pretzel bread. (136 units, HQ in Menomonee Falls, WI)