GO
Loading...

Welcome to the pork-cooking center of the universe

Inside the Swine Barn at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, it smells like...a swine barn. At this year's World Pork Expo, a record 4,007 pigs are registered for the show.

Outside the Swine Barn, however, it smells, well, delicious. The Expo is hog heaven for those who love the other white meat.

Hog farmers all over the fairgrounds were firing up grills, cooking pork ribs, pork chops and pulled pork sandwiches.

I sat down with farmer Dennis Gienger, who was busy slicing hot-off-the-grill, crispy-yet-moist, BBQ ribs.

Read MoreWhy more food industry mergers are likely to come

The secret to cooking ribs, he said, "is not overcooking them, pulling them off at 145 degrees." Everyone around him was using an instant-read meat thermometer. "If you take them up to 160 or 180 (degrees), you're going to start drying them out."

I was stunned by the full flavor of the ribs (see my reaction in the video) and Gienger admitted all the meat was seasoned with locally owned Cookie's Flavor Enhancer. "That is our secret ingredient," he said.

Racing pigs take to the course at the World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Steve Pope | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Racing pigs take to the course at the World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

One local specialty here is an "Iowa Chop"—it's more than one-inch thick—carried precariously on a popsicle stick, so you can eat on the go.

Read MoreBright spot for economy: Fewer rely on food stamps

Well get ready for the next "must have" pork product. Gienger said his group will introduce at the state fair in August a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin on a stick. Breaded. And deep fried.

This could be the perfect food. Though I suggest you check with your cardiologist before tasting.

—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

Humor