In the annals of American farming, pigs have a long and colorful history.
For instance, in colonial-era Manhattan, a long solid wall was built to
control roaming herds of pigs. As time went by, the area became known
as "Wall Street."
And the man we call "Uncle Sam"? He was actually a businessman
named "Uncle Sam Wilson" who provided pork to hungry U.S. troops
during the War of 1812.
Today, pig farmers continue to make history - health history - producing
a product so lean it's dubbed "the other white meat." Steve Weaver heads up the California Pork Producers Association and says
times have really changed.
"When our great-grandparents had pigs on their farms the pigs that
went to slaughter all had three to four inches of back fat on them,"
said Weaver. "The reason it was used - we didn't let it go to waste-we
melted it down into lard. It makes the best pie crusts and cakes you've
ever had. But we also found that that much fat isn't good for our bodies
so we've selectively raised pigs with less and less back fat to where
the pig that goes to market currently will have about an inch of back
fat versus four inches."
Today's slimmed-down pigs are the result of selective breeding and
selective feeding, with diets that build more muscle than fat. Earning
pork a "thumbs up" with nutritionists like Dana Wu Wassmer.
"It's not the same pork we used to see," offered Wassmer. "It
is considered very lean and you can compare it to the traditional white
meat, which is chicken."
Along with being low in fat, pork is naturally low in sodium and a good
source of "B" vitamins. But, like any other food, don't overdo
it. Pay attention to serving size.
"Look at the palm of your hand. And generally it's about the size
of the palm of your hand. Same thickness, same size and that would be
a good serving," said Wassmer.
Marinated pork tenderloin is a tasty choice for health-conscious consumers
and we have a recipe that will quickly become a family favorite.
Marinated Pork Tenderloin Recipe
This recipe is both easy to make and low in fat.
To keep the sodium content low, eliminate the salt.
The key is to cook this at a low temperature to seal in the juices. Serve
with red cabbage and a mix of wild and white rice for a colorful, balanced
One pork tenderloin (about 1 ½ to 2 pounds)
(rinse with cold water and pat dry)
In a bowl mix together 2 tablespoons each:
Course black pepper
Granulated garlic or garlic powder
Dried orange or lemon peel (optional)
Add 1 tablespoon:
Course salt (optional)
Add 1 teaspoon:
Add 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon:
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Generously rub the pork tenderloin with olive oil, then press the herb
mixture into the meat. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least
four to six hours (or longer) in a sealed plastic bag or covered glass
bowl, turning occasionally.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Slow cook the pork
for about one and a half to two hours. When done, let it cool then thinly
slice and serve.
You can also grill the pork on the barbeque, but it tends to dry out a
bit more than in a conventional oven.
If you have any pork left, it makes great cold sandwiches, served on potato
bread or light rye.