Recently a coupon caught my attention. It offered $2 off a 30 ounce package of Hormel’s Austin Blues Pulled Pork. According to the description on the Hormel website, “This succulent pork shoulder meat is naturally hardwood smoked for six hours. After smoking, it’s finished off with a clear Carolina-style sauce and lightly pulled.” Sounds pretty good actually, although it’s hard to believe that this industrial strength swine is truly hardwood smoked for 6 hours. (But since that’s what Hormel claims and they have a large legal team, I’ll take their word for it.)
More good news about the product: the Hormel website warns that their pulled pork is, brace yourself, NOT Kosher. This suggests that Hormel’s pulled pork is made from real pork and not some sort of pork-tasting mystery product (I have always been amused that bacon bits are often Kosher, which means, of course, that they contain exactly zero percent bacon). Hmm, so the Hormel Pulled Pork sounds kinda sorta okay at first, but rest assured there are some bright red warning flags.
It seems that Hormel’s pulled pork has an identity crisis. Allow me to present my case:
1) The product line is called “Austin Blues,” obviously a Texas BBQ reference. The phrase “pulled pork” implies perhaps a Memphis BBQ tradition. And, of course, it has the “Carolina-style” sauce that conveniently references both the Tarheel and Palmetto states.
2) As if #1 is not bad enough, the Hormel website lists a couple of culturally-confused recipe suggestions for the pulled pork, including the “AUSTIN BLUES® Pulled Pork and Green Chili Breakfast Burrito.” Huh?
3) Worse still is Hormel’s recipe for a BBQ sandwich that features the pulled pork (Texas/both Carolinas/Memphis), a hoagie roll (pseudo-Italy via Philadelphia, where hoagies were invented) instead of a simple bun, barbecue sauce (could be any southern state) and… provolone cheese (Italy). If I am elected President in 2012 I promise you that any company that so much as suggests that provolone cheese be placed on top of barbecue will be shut down by the government immediately. I hope I can count on your vote.