3 Interesting Facts about Pork + The BEST Sausage Meatball Recipe!

by Jennie on February 8, 2018

This post is sponsored by Ohio Pork Council. All opinions are my own. Thanks for reading! 

You all know I love supporting local farmers and I was stoked when I was invited to a lunch with Farmers right here in Ohio! Bob Evans cooked up some AMAZING food for us to try using PORK in every recipe and I was able to talk with local Ohio Pork Farmers and boy did I learn a lot!

I wanted to share 3 Interesting facts about Pork that I learned because, although I love me some pork, bacon anyone?!, I didn’t cook with it as much as I did beef and chicken. This lunch opened my eyes up to the world of pork and how I can incorporate it more into my meal planning.

Use Pork instead of Ground Beef  

I use ground beef for everything!! We split a quarter cow last year with a friend and although we had tons of steaks and roasts, the first thing to go was the ground beef. You can use it in so many easy weeknight dinners: tacos, chili, meat sauce for spaghetti… need I go on? 

You can actually use Pork in any recipe that calls for ground beef! Not only will it make the meal more flavorful, but it’s cheaper! We have spaghetti a lot because it is such an easy meal and I always try to add meatballs or ground beef to the sauce for some protein. After I learned this trick, I added sausage instead and it really kicked things up a notch! Not sure I can go back after that, it is just so much more flavorful! 

Penne with Sausage & Spicy Cream Tomato Sauce

Add it to any pasta dish for a mouthwatering combo! 

Pork Farmers are not allowed to use HORMONES in the pig EVER! 

You all know I try not to buy meat that has added hormones or antibiotics. One of the questions I asked the farmers is do you add hormones to your pigs to fatten them up? I was SO surprised to hear that they aren’t permitted to add hormones to the pigs EVER! How awesome is that?!

When I was looking for a local farmer to get our cow from, I was so surprised to hear that even the farms that have grass-fed cows do use antibiotics when the cows are sick. It’s not like they are injecting them full of antibiotics their whole life. They are only using it when the cow is truly sick and the antibiotics will help get them healthy. This was the first I had ever heard that. The Pork farmers actually do things similarly. If the pigs are sick, they get antibiotics. However, they go through a very strict process making sure that all antibiotics are out of their system before they are taken to be slaughtered. 

Certain Cuts of Pork have the same, if not LESS FAT than Chicken

Say what??!! I was always under the assumption that pork=fat. I mean it is a pig right?! Well I was WRONG! You can check out this website which shows the exact cuts that have the same, if not less fat than chicken!! I am always looking for ways to cut calories and if I can do that by adding flavorful pork to my menu plan vs. always having chicken, I’m in! 

So there ya have it mamas! Save some money, add some flavor and get some more pork in your life! It was so nice meeting up with local farmers and really understanding their role. I could see the love that they have for their farms and the pigs and everything that goes into that on a daily basis. I told them my boys and I would love to come and tour a farm and really see what they do with the pigs and all the farmers said any time! Once it gets warm, I am hoping to take a field trip with the boys and learn even more so if you have any questions, let me know! 

So now that you are craving pork and want to use it in more recipes than just frying up some bacon, I have the BEST sausage meatball recipe you will EVER have!!!!! Your welcome! 

Asian Maple Sausage Meatballs

 

Bob Evans Asian Maple Sausage Meatballs
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Meatball Ingredients
  1. 1 lb Bob Evans Maple Roll Sausage
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  4. 1/4 cup maple syrup
Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs Thai Chili Garlic Sauce (found in the international aisle in the grocery store)
  2. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  3. 3 tbs soy sauce
  4. Directions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place all into a large mixing bowl. Stir until fully combined.
  3. Shape into small meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake until browned, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Place all sauce ingredients into a crock-pot and stir together.
  6. Turn heat to low and add cooked meatballs.
  7. Heat for 30 minutes and turn crock-pot to warm before serving.
Notes
  1. You can cook and freeze the meatballs and sauce (freezing separately) ahead of time and then add both to the crock-pot to thaw and warm. Easy for party days!
  2. This sauce tastes delicious on fish! Add your fish to a foil pouch, pour the sauce over top and bake! YUMMMM!
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You can visit Bob Evans for other delicious recipes!! I especially recommend their Penne with Sausage and Spicy Cream tomato sauce, Potato Kale Soup with Zesty Sausage, and their Sweet Potato cookie recipes. I personally tried all of these the day of our lunch and they were all amazing! The cookies you can actually make ahead and freeze and then just add the frosting the day of! #nomnom 

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