A while back, I enjoyed a thick, almost buttery pork porterhouse at District Meats. The server told me the cut came from Tender Belly, a Denver-based, all-natural pork supplier. Since then, I’ve noticed Tender Belly pork on menus all over town, including at Fruition, Willow Creek, and Steuben’s.
Then, I became curious. Is the pork, which is naturally raised and humanely produced on small family farms, available to the public? Yes, as it turns out. The company’s delicious, dry-cured, smoked maple bacon is available online and at Cured in Boulder. Ambitious cooks can also order whole hogs, which are fed on a diet of apples, pecans, peaches, barley, and acorns.
Starting March 15, Tender Belly will begin online sales of thick, sausage-like franks made from 100 percent coarse-ground Berkshire pork. I got a hold of an advance sample and grilled the franks over an open flame at a party, where they were a resounding hit. The exceptionally juicy franks are made from rear leg meat, which is unusual, and are 100 percent nitrate-free.