Pork burgers are 'fair' food

June 08, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

LIBERTY - Pork burgers grilling over ash-white charcoal are a sure sign that the fair is in full swing here.

Leaner than beef, the sandwich has become a trademark of sorts for the local fair. The Casey County Pork Producers have grilled them and sold them for the fair and the apple festival since 1985.

The lines at the concession stands where the burger is sold were steady, while the lines at the other fair booths were fairly sparse. Marion Murphy, a teacher of adult agriculture, had a few ideas.

"First, it's because they're good. Number two reason is they're good. And, well that's going to be all the reasons," he said, chuckling. "They're different than other burgers. You can go anywhere and get a beef burger."


Maybe it's the sauce. Murphy said there is no secret to it, and he readily gave up the list of ingredients on the jug. The sauce used is made and distributed by the Kentucky Pork Producers Association. It is white, and there are no tomatoes. A few other interesting ingredients were anchovies, tamarind and cayenne pepper.

"You could cook a rock in that sauce and it'd be good," he said.

But, what the group starts with is far from rock - it's prime pork product. The patties are made from lean, ground shoulder meat. It's a quality product, and it's popular.

"I like it," said John McQueen, an 11-year-old from Grove Ridge.

His mom said the preteen has burned out on beef, but that he likes pork burgers. Early in the evening he was on his first sandwich, but said he'd probably have another before the fair was over.

During the course of the week, the pork producers expected to cook 200 -300 burgers and 200 pork tenderloins, as long as the weather stays nice and people are out at the fair. The people working the concession stand said the burger is the second most popular sell, after the ribeye sandwich. Proceeds from the sale of the burgers, $2 a pop, will go to benefit the fair.

The group's president, Art Mills, said the fair was an opportunity to market pork and farm products. Most of the people in the group no longer raise hogs, but most are still farmers and stay active.

"It's a fun group," he said.

The group just donated a building, where the pageants are being held this year, to the county. Their grill was set up within eye shot of the new structure.

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