According to an old Wisconsin State Fair slogan, it’s the most wonderful time of the year — State Fair, that is! Okay, I admit Christmas might come out ahead. But without a doubt, this is a top-ranked summer outing, full of fun, entertainment and great food!
This year, sponsored by the Wisconsin Pork Association, I set out for the fair with my husband and daughter. After a couple days of rain and cold, it was a perfect Saturday morning!
We began the day with omelets at the Wisconsin Products Building, then did a tour of the animal barns. After a ride on the big Ferris wheel, we headed over to the Pork Schoppe for lunch.
We had decided on an early lunch to avoid the weekend rush. Though the booth’s location, at the northeast corner of the Wisconsin Products building, means less crowding. We did a quick browse of the menu which showed products that were affordable, healthy and tempting–even for a constant weight-watcher like me.
Our menu selections included three items: the Butterfly Pork Chop sandwich at $6 (or $3.25 for a half), the Pork Chop on a Stick at $7 and the Pork Burger, $5. Other pork offerings include bacon at $1/slice and piggy sticks (the pork version of beef sticks) at $3.
Now I have to confess–I’ve been eating the Butterfly Pork Chop sandwich for years! A 5-ounce portion of lean, tender, perfectly seasoned meat, it is grilled, then nestled in a soft sandwich bun. Most years we split one at lunchtime, then grab another “for the road” as we leave. In my family, it’s as essential a fair food as cream puffs and maple cotton candy!
The Pork Chop on a Stick was new to me and the first word that came to mind was “slab.” Weighing in at 8 ounces, it is tender and beautifully seasoned like the pork chop sandwich. It’s an ideal choice for anyone going low carb, or for big meat lovers. I think my husband was in food heaven.
Our final selection was the pork burger. If you are a hamburger lover, you have to try the delicious pork version. It was a V8 moment for me—why hadn’t I done this before!
Yes, every year I order a quarter pig from a local farmer. This was a good reminder why!
We’ve been visiting the Pork Schoppe for years, but this year I learned that it is staffed by volunteers from organizations like FFA and 4H. Working to raise funds for their programs, the volunteers are friendly and professional. And in decades of visiting we never encountered anyone who wasn’t perfectly courteous and knowledgeable.
And just one reminder if you are planning to cook pork at home. When I was a growing up, you had to cook pork well done. With the virtual elimination of trichinosis in US commercial pork, USDA cooking recommendations have changed. Steaks, chops and roasts are now considered safe cooked to 145 F, with a 3-minute rest (ground pork must still go to 160F). The result is a juicier, more tender product. Mmm!
Now how about a few more fun fair sights!
- Greek Meatballs in Egg Lemon Broth
- Still Crazy After All These Years & Eating Barbecue Chicken