Pork, Dreams, a Contest and Barbecue at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas

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The National Pork Board wants to help people fulfill their dreams. I’m not talking about the lucid dreams that Cassidy Smith of the Texas Pork Producers Association told me she gets after eating pork. They have a new contest that they want to promote, but more about that later.

To get the word out about their new Pork Passions Pursuit contest members of the National Pork Board , the Texas Pork Producers Association and their marketing agency hosted a party for dinner in Austin this week during the SXSW conference at Franklin Barbecue. I was lucky enough to be invited in my role as one of the “Pork 5” sponsored bloggers.

Bob, my limo driver, told me that Franklin Barbecue was the best barbecue in the city of Austin. Now Bob had to admit that he had never actually eaten at Franklin Barbecue but was taking the word of other people because, he said, on a typical night people line up outside Franklin Barbecue for 2 to 3 hours. And in a city where you can’t throw sparerib without hitting a barbecue joint that’s saying a lot. Like the Pork Board, Bob knows something about fulfilling your dreams. This former director for NBC television got tired of the stress of that job and drove all around the country to determine where he wanted to live and what he wanted to do. He chose Austin and limo driving.

Aaron Franklin is living his dream as well. Bon Appétit magazine just recently named Franklin Barbeque on a list of the 20 Most Important Restaurants in America. They had previously named the restaurant The Best BBQ Restaurant in America. That’s not bad for a guy who opened a “food trailer on a vacant lot in Austin in 2009”. Aaron is being recognized among America’s top chefs although Aaron laughs and says chef may not be the right term for a barbecue guy. I disagree.

With Franklin Barbecue all to ourselves and a Bacon Chocolatini in my hand we were treated to a dinner that, not surprising, featured a  lot of pork. We had:

  • cornbread with pulled pork
  • 2 pork spareribs
  • more pulled pork
  • flash-fried pork fat
  • Jalpeño pork sausage
  • potato salad (what no pork?)
  • A slaw with aioli made with rendered pork fat
  • ice cream with caramel and bacon

I think I am still dreaming of pork.

After we signed the Pork Constitution and proposed a few amendments, our entertainment was watching expert pork fabricator Steven Gerike  (Director of Foodservice Marketing for the National Pork Board) turn half a pig into the various cuts of meat that we are more familiar with. We learned of the difference between back ribs, baby back ribs (a Danish marketing term), and spareribs. We learn where to find pork butt (oddly on the upper shoulder). We learned where to find pork loins (in the thoracic cavity near the back), ham, pork chops, and of course bacon. It might not have been a welcome entertainment in a vegan crowd but this was not a vegan crowd.

Cassidy told me over dinner how she ended up with her job at the Texas Pork Producers Association. She raised pigs in 4-H. She was in future farmers of America and  she did three unpaid internships for the Texas Pork Producers. Her mom says Cassidy was made for this job. Cassidy is living her dream.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post the Pork Board wants to help you fulfill your dreams as well. Their new Pork Passions Pursuit contest will give $5000 in prize money to a winner in each of the five following categories:Pork Passions Pursuits Contest

  • The Foodie
    Do you live to experience the ultimate taste, learn a new recipe and try new cuisines? If you live, breathe and dream food, we want to hear about your ultimate pork foodie experience!
  • The Traveler
    Is your life-long dream to attend a pork roast on the beach in Hawaii? If you are begging to take your passion for pork across land and sea, you’re a Traveler!
  • The Parent or Host
    Are your hosting skills unbeatable? Do you revel in holding the perfect dinner party or being able to rustle up exciting meals for your family? If so, share your pork entertaining passion!
  • The Lifestyler
    Is your pork passion to attend a top food event and mingle with celebrity chefs? If a combination of people and pork makes your perfect dish, this is the category for you!
  • The Tailgater
    Does pork always score big at your tailgate celebration? Tell us how pork can make your tailgating tradition the ultimate game day experience!

All you have to do is describe how you will live out your passion in that particular category in 500 words or less. So whether you dream of a pilgrimage to Des Moines, enjoying roast pig and a luau in Hawaii, or just skipping the three hour wait at Franklin Barbecue you can sign up at the Pork Be Inspired website. May all your bacon dreams come true!


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “Pork, Dreams, a Contest and Barbecue at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas”

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[…] from Amateur Traveler attended a pork-centric dinner at the world famous Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas last […]

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[…] A friend of pork and travel junkie, Chris from Amateur Traveler, was in attendance and deliciously shared the awesome menu items on his blog: […]

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