Saturday, February 28, 2009

". . . Nothing Will Be Left"

A recent phone conversation with the folks at the Pork Shop in Queen Creek (AZ) went something like this:

“We had breakfast at Matt’s—,” began my greeting.

“Big Breakfast,” came the quick reply.

“Yes, we had the--,“ I continued.

“The pepper bacon or the ham steak,” was the sentence-finisher.

“Both, and they were terrific. Do I...,“ my third comment began.

I paused, then continued, “…need to place an order for the pepper cured bacon or the center cut ham slices I plan to pick up this weekend?” I got the whole question in!

“If you’re here Friday or Saturday—no problem; if you come here Sunday, nothing will be left,” was the response.

We arrived early Saturday morning at this modest little shop whose exterior hides the high energy and high volume of activity that is present inside.

Walking into this shop reminded us of Moyers pork store in Blooming Glen (PA). The smells were as enticing and the display cases were filled with a similar array of rib chops, pan fry chops, and loin chops that would look good on a grill or in a pan.

But the variety of sausages at the Pork Shop easily surpassed Moyer's. Linguisa, green chili summer sausage, andoulle, maple syrup sausage, bratwurst, chorizo are among the 22 kinds of gourmet and fresh sausages.

Eleven selections were listed among the "Smoked Meats," including the mouth-watering pepper cured bacon, smoked pork chops, capicola, and dried beef. "Ham" items covered 8 choices from whole hams to center sliced boneless ham, and 20 selections under "Smoked Sausage" and 11 kinds of "Lunch Meats" (including some magnificent tasting, but humble, ring bologna) rounded out the creations of the Pork Shop.

In 1979, Greg Combs began selling pork products from his family farm directly to the consumer. But it is Combs' mustachioed son-in-law, Jason Corman, who is often the main presence in the Shop. Such was the case today.

It was a beautiful day for a drive from just north of Phoenix to Queen Creek, just southeast of the city. But the 150-mile round trip (with wrong turns and road closures) was a tad too long for a weekly shopping excursion--even though the sausage makers are exceptional.

Among our purchases this morning, were two pounds of pepper cured bacon--the last pepper cured bacon available.

Sometimes, it seems, even if you arrive on Saturday "nothing will be left."

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