Sweet tea-brined and wood grilled pork loin, silver hull crowder peas & aromatic rice, voodoo greens, and pickled peaches at Big Jones
Sweet tea-brined and wood grilled pork loin, silver hull crowder peas & aromatic rice, voodoo greens, and pickled peaches ($16)
Working only with whole hogs from small local farms, it's always been a challenge to balance the demand for loin cuts with supply. We want to have great pork loin dishes, and we want them to be great without having such popular appeal that all we sell are loin dishes. The way we've met this challenge is by pairing it with a traditional heirloom pea we get from Three Sisters Garden. Crowder peas are an 18th-century family of Southern field peas and are beloved to some, not everyone. Personally, Mississippi silver hull crowder peas are one of my all-time favorites - they explode with earthy pea flavor and cook up with the most sublime creamy texture. The taste is too earthy for some, but those of us who love the taste of the earth love things like crowder peas (and catfish and truffles.) So, we get a dish that has great appeal to its fan base, but isn't necessarily the first choice for everyone. Bingo, we have a great dish that keeps our pork loin selling in proportion to the rest of the pig.
The crowder peas are cooked with lots of onions and smoked hog jowl - the smoke from the jowl (cured in-house from the same pig) is classic with crowder peas, and since we cure, smoke, and cook the jowl with the skin on, we get collagen added to the dish which accentuates the creaminess of the pea liquor. Since we would be committing a sacriledge to serve peas without rice, we complete the accompaniment with aromatic rice from the Arkansas Delta by Southern Brown Rice, one of the oldest certified organic rice farms in the United States, and a small family operation since 1905.
The pork loin is done according to Big Jones tradition, brined in sweet tea and spices for juiciness and the wonderful bitter tannins of the tea and sweetness of cloves and anise. The wood grill adds another layer of smoke.
Our traditional voodoo greens preparation provides the green and vegetal bitterness, and we garnish with pickled peaches - they provide sweetness, acidity, and gorgeous aromatics that compliment beautifully the earthiness of the peas, Our peaches come mostly from Paul Friday with some from Seedling, so they are picked ripe and pickled at their peak.
Pairing: German riesling or draft cider
peach (local), peas (fresh/specialty), gluten-free, Ark of Taste, farmer (local/regional), farmers' market, heirloom ingredient, heritage, unique/rare varietal, housemade charcuterie, house canning/preserving, house pickling, and wood-grilled
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