Links To A Good Life


Raised with a meat cutter as a father, I have always known about the prime, quality cuts however he never discussed how the lives of the livestock were so important before they hit the chopping block. Ironically, my sister gave up eating red meat when we were teenagers because she watched a documentary on the inhumane treatment of cattle. I understood her beliefs but instead I chose to go the route of finding farms who provided much loved meats.

In early 2014, Rich and Christia Cook moved from Chicago to Altamont, TN to join her parents on their cow farm, Dayspring Farms. Her parents already had plans for the grass-fed beef program so they decided to bring pigs on and so Pig Mountain was born! Farming was all new to Rich and Christia but they studied a lot and caught on quick through a lot of trial and error. They’ve built the herd from crossing a Red Wattle boar with a blend of Hampshire, Yorkshire, and Duroc sows. Their piglets thrive from hybrid vigor and they are beautiful in a variety of colors. They live in a mixture of pasture and woodlot - this time of year they are full of acorns and other tree nuts. The hogs are also provided a non-gmo grain mix grown less than 2 miles away at their neighbor’s.

Besides the bone-in chops, a favorite is the Boston Butt which they slow cook for carnitas, pulled pork or bbq. I am enamoured with the sausage links specifically the bratwurst and chorizo. Their other flavors include hot italian, andouille, and breakfast blends. The links or patties are a simple meal for breakfast with eggs, lunch with peppers, or dinner with potatoes.

Sometimes keeping a meal uncomplicated allows the flavors to come to the forefront. Sear the patties or links, I prefer on a grated cast iron skillet, and flip with tongs once browned. No seasoning required, even with the peppers or potatoes. Use the drippings from the sausage to flavor any side dish.

After some well balanced discussions, my sister eats meat again but only of the highest quality knowing all the deliciousness was well fed, raised under open skies, and roamed in fresh pastures. Our lives should not be rushed and our food should not come fast.