Pork is the third-most consumed meat in the U.S. Americans eat an average of 50 pounds of pork per person each year — that’s close to 16 billion pounds annually.
It’s not a secret why pork is so popular — it’s flavorful, affordable and versatile, in addition to being packed with protein and nutrients. Contrary to past portrayals, lean cuts of pork are as beneficial for a heart-healthy diet as chicken.
Rickey and Tanya Frasier of Etowah County raise hogs and sell custom pork locally. They eat their own pork nearly every day.
“We use pork in place of beef in recipes a lot,” Tanya said. “We grill a ton, and we always have pork with breakfast — we love sausage and biscuits. Our daughter, Julie, and our three grandchildren live close, so they have breakfast with us a lot. I fry the sausage, and Julie makes the biscuits.”
One special way Tanya likes to use pork is in breakfast foods for people who have lost loved ones. Seventeen years ago, the Frasiers tragically lost their son. They were flooded with food, but noticed no one thought about breakfast.
“When you’re grieving, you don’t want to cook, so you usually just don’t eat in the morning,” Tanya said. “One morning, we woke up and, as usual, weren’t going to eat breakfast, but then someone showed up with sausage biscuits. It was such a blessing, and I’ve always remembered how much that meant to us.”
Now, Tanya always cooks a breakfast casserole for others who are grieving.
“That way, they can just pop it in the oven and don’t have to do any prep work,” she said. “Breakfast is so important, and I like to make sure people have something ready to go.”
6 slices bread, cubed
1 stick butter, melted
1 pound bulk sausage, browned, drained and crumbled
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, more if desired
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
In a small bowl, dip the cubed bread into the melted butter.
In a deep 9-by-13-inch casserole dish, layer butter-soaked bread cubes, sausage and cheese. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and stir in milk and dry ingredients. Pour over casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight before cooking. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.