The quality and consistency of the Iowa Chop makes it almost fool-proof to cook, says Chef Austin Bailey, an instructor at Des Moines Area Community College’s Culinary Institute.

You can sear an Iowa Chop in a cast-iron pan or on the grill, then pop it in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, as measured by a food thermometer. The pork will turn out perfect every time, Bailey says.

You don’t need to marinate an Iowa Chop to make it tender, Bailey says. And you don’t need to add complicated seasonings (unless you want to).

Bailey says he seasons his Iowa Chops with salt, pepper and maybe a little garlic powder.

Because of modern pork farming practices, you no longer have to cook pork until it’s as dry as “a hockey puck,” Bailey says.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has lowered its recommended safe internal cooking temperature for whole pork cuts to 145 degrees, from 160 degrees previously, because of improvements in pork safety.

Bailey says the quality of pork today is outstanding thanks to the work of Iowa farmers.

“I’m very appreciative of all the quality (pork) that’s coming into our school so we can teach these future chefs and future cooks, here’s what quality looks like,” Baileys says. “We’re lucky to be in this area, where we’re surrounded by pigs. We raise them really well here.”

Return to The Iowa Dish

Get more stories like this one, for free!

Subscribe to the Iowa Dish.
* indicates required