The smell of barbecue sauces and rich marinades filled the South Wing Lobby as participants in the Kentucky State Fair’s Pork Challenge meticulously plated their dishes.
Sponsored by the Kentucky Pork Producers for the second year, cooks were invited to submit their most creative pork recipes combining fresh pork with up to five other ingredients for a main dish.
Dishes were prepared off-site and then transported to the fairgrounds to be plated and judged by a team of three professional chefs.
In its second year, the Pork Challenge is gaining popularity. Participant Jayne Judd Adams entered in both 2015 and 2016 and noted that entries were up.
“I think its because you can do so much with pork,” Adams said.
Taking home top honors and a $250 prize was Henrietta Booth from Louisville, with her Pork Garden Vegetable Stew.
Booth says her stew is a simple family favorite she’s made for years with whatever vegetables she has on hand from her garden.
“This is just homecooking like I’d make for my husband,” Booth told the judges after the competition.
The second place $100 premium went to Jayne Judd Adams from Upton, with Herbed Pork Loin with Braised Vegetables.
In third place, wining $50 was Byron White of Louisville, for his Spiced Pork and Cabbage Pies.
The judges felt that there were a total of four dishes that rose to the top of the competition. Though there are only premiums for the top three, they chose to name an honorable mention as well. Honorable Mention went to Joe Clark of Louisville, with Joey’s Little Smoker Ribs.