Before they go into the oven
My family has been farming for over 30 years now. This fact has made me think a bit about my family and my role at the farm. This much I know: 1. I’m getting older. 2. We are completely nuts.
the final result: meltingly tender sage pork chops
Last night my mother made guinea hog boar chops for dinner. She seared them in lard, then slow roasted them in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour and a half. The only seasoning was sage leaves from our garden. It was hands down one the best meals I have ever eaten.
Guinea hogs are an American heritage pig breed that were used primarily as a homesteading pig, and were a dual propose breed, providing pork and lard for small farmers. When you think about it, having a pig that produces excellent meat and lard would have been indispensable for pioneers and subsistence farmers who lived far away from towns and local stores. Lard is not only nutritious, it’s an indispensable cooking aid (try to cook without any fat or oil). The Guinea hog makes one appreciate all the industrious farmers who came before us who recognized the small west African pig for it’s frugality and excellent meat and helped to created the Guinea hog.
Heritage breeds tie us to indigenous knowledge and a tradition where working with nature was key. Guinea hogs are so prodigious at converting poor forage and waste into meat and fat that our boar, Cosmo, had become so fat we didn’t think he could breed. He almost had fat blindness, and our ration is almost 70 percent home grown hay. We put him with our best “super sow” and hoped for the best. My father was convinced the love match had failed and we had Cosmo processed. To our surprise, the sow just gave birth to a litter of piglets with the telltale ears of a guinea hog, so it seems Cosmo got the job done.
Cosmo’s pork chops were highly marbled and so tender it’s almost criminal. The fat is also delicious and reminds one of butter. We are just astounded by how good they were, not to mention that there was little to no boar taint. During dinner, the conversation veered to our history with farming and our trials and successes as a family. There have been a lot of both, but these pork chops were definitely a success. Thank you, Cosmo.