It’s no secret that Iowa is home to some of the nation’s finest pigs, but within Iowa, Jude Becker’s hogs have it especially good. Well, until they don’t. On Becker’s Dyersville farm, his pigs feast on acorns, just like their prestigious Iberico cousins, which contributes a nutty richness to the well-marbled meat. Becker raises only 80 pigs per year, and chef Remi Lauvand was able to procure one at Café Pierre. During my recent (hosted) visit, Lauvand ran a pork duo as a $28 market special. Owner Guy Gabriele contributed the luscious house-made pork sausage links, made with 80% shoulder and 20% belly meat. Lauvand made boneless short rib, which featured a juicy slab of pork and a firm outer layer of fat. On the side were sous vide Brussels sprouts that were spectacular on their own, but even more remarkable when run through aromatic pork jus flavored with juniperberries, bergamot and orange zest. On the side, we received three kinds of wild mushrooms – white trumpet, honshimeji and hen of the woods – which played up the earthy nature of the free-range, acorn-fed pig meat.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.