Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Everything but the squeal making the cut

Published:Thursday | July 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Chef McKenna slicing his pork loin.
Chef McKenna prepares his pork loin to roast.
Jo Jo’s Jerk Pit owner Anna Chin shows international chef Charlie McKenna (left) and Animal Science expert Dr Dean Pringle (right) the traditional jerked pork method.
Chef Charlie McKenna takes a bite of JoJo’s Jerk Pit barbequed ribs. In the background is Tina Hamilton, brand manager of Copperwood Pork.
JoJo's Jerk Pit owner Anna Chin with a tasty dish of Red Stripe grilled pork chops topped with cinnamon apple sauce, confit pork belly, jerked pig'stail, yam puree and ratatouille vegetables.
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With tourists from all around the world flocking Jamaica every year to enjoy the island's delicious food offerings, University of Georgia's Animal Science expert Dr Dean Pringle said Jamaica could benefit significantly if Jamaicans become more creative and make use of all of the pork carcass.

Dr Pringle was a guest presenter at Copperwood Pork's third staging of Making the Cut held last Wednesday (July 19) and Thursday (July 20) at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston.

According to world statistics, the average world consumption of pork stands at about 40 per cent, but only 6 per cent of Jamaicans consume the meat. Dr Pringle said if more creative and innovative pork dishes outside of the usual jerked and stewed pork were introduced, more Jamaicans would start adding the protein to their diets and, therefore, the country would benefit even more from its production.

"Consumers in general want to try new things. Sometimes they are scared to try these new things because it's kind of intimidating the first time you try something unfamiliar, but by sharing information about how they can prepare them, it will help them to see the value of some of these new and different cuts," said Dr Pringle.

 

CREATIVE DISHES

 

Restaurateur Lorraine Ross-Clunie, owner of the Oasis on the Oxford, said most of her customers visit because she is known to prepare innovative and creative pork dishes. With 13 pork dishes on her menu, using all parts of the pork carcass, she said that people come to her restaurant because they know they will be getting something different. These include pig's tail, smoked hock, trotters, pickled pig tongue, tripe, pork rind, curried kidney, and her unique pig head stuffed with rice and peas.

"Sometimes customers come in and I introduce one of my dishes to them and they say, 'No, I won't eat that' because they have never heard of it before. But you give them a taste and they are sold. People eat with their eyes so if it's not attractive to the eyes, they will not eat it," Ross-Clunie emphasised.

With most Jamaicans only accustomed to ribs, stewed and jerked pork, Copperwood Pork Brand Manager Tina Hamilton said the local pork industry could earn significantly more if other cuts and parts of the pig are used.

"Jamaicans are not that familiar with all the possibilities with pork, especially compared to chicken. Many of the myths that are popular about pork have been disproved, so it is now for us to provide as much information as possible about the product to the public."

Making the Cut was hosted to target players in the food industry, including retailers, restaurateurs and chefs, to bring about change in how Jamaicans use the product.