Pork was in the spotlight at a special Agriculture Day dinner at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. last week. A menu of Irish stout and maple-glazed rack of pork with smoky bacon crushed potatoes, accompanied by mixed greens with smoked ham impressed more than 150 guests at the dinner.
For the past six years, the National Pork Board has worked with the National Pork Producers Council, which sponsors the Ag Day meal. This year’s dinner, which included USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, was served to agriculture industry leaders from various commodity groups and other industry organizations.
“This meal has to be perfect, and Chef Mark Salter takes great pride in ensuring that the pork is exceptional,” says Howard Greenblatt, national foodservice marketing manager for the NPB. Salter, executive chef at Maryland’s famed Inn at Perry Cabin, was extremely pleased with this year’s event. “My goal is to make sure that everyone appreciates the pork that is served, and this was probably the best dinner we’ve done with USDA. Not only did the Irish stout tie in with St. Patrick’s Day, but it pairs well with pork.”
Those in attendance agreed “The pork dinner was outstanding,” said Richard Degner, executive director of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “In fact, one of the gentlemen at my table requested the recipe, stating that the pork reminded him of prime rib. The meal was a tremendous effort on behalf of America’s pork producers.”