Ah, brunch. The word alone conjures up warm, fuzzy feelings associated with friends, family, food, and the weekend.
People are amped up to take a load off, have a mimosa (or a screwdriver for those hair-pulling weeks), and enjoy some belly-busting meals. But those meals come with an expectation, which is a wide variety and mountains of taste.
It all starts with the right proteins. Restaurant goers and operators alike may first think lox or beef tenderloin, but only one meat really knows how to navigate all corners of a brunch menu or at a buffet: the mighty (and affordable) pork. The “other white meat” plays no games as the all-purpose brunch booster.
Let’s look past pork sausage and bacon (mmmm, bacon) for ideas to help your menu.
If you have a carving station, or are considering one as an offering, substitute that pricey beef tenderloin or fish selection for a juicy and cost-cutting pork tenderloin. Have a succulent sauce, like an easy au jus or Dijon cream sauce to excite taste buds. Or sweeten them with a nice cherry gastrique, or blueberry mostarda. Idea: If you’re seeking a less expensive than beef, but more “eye-pop” factor at the station, consider full bone-in pork chops. Similarly, a stuffed pork loin with dried cherries and sausage is a dashing way to pop on the menu.
If your operation avoids carving stations, that pork tenderloin cut can make for excellent sliders, paired with a breakfast potato, such as country hash browns or spiced fries. Once again, make sure that au jus is ready and waiting for a pour or dip.
Go Full Euro
If you’re looking to give your brunch a bit of a different look and feel, try the European breakfast route. If you have touches of French, German, or Italian cuisine on your menu, you might be barking up the right brunch tree.
Ham, salami, and/or prosciutto on a charcuterie board or antipasti menu item levels up the menu choices. Pair with jams, jellies, bread, and cheeses. Though this may seem like a more expensive option, it can be a real money saver as it adds more offerings for your customers. This allows for a better price point to cover your food costs.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with other pairings like dried apricots, other cuts of fruit, pastries, and bread options. Also, spreads like Nutella, butter, and a variety of jams and jellies boost the European experience.
If you’ve ever thought barbecue was a good idea for brunch...you’d be right! Though not typically a mainstay on the brunch menu circuit, barbecue ribs could turn into an absolute fan favorite, not to mention the operator’s bottom line!
Try mixing in pork rib miscuts, or ribs not cut to spec, as a very inexpensive, easy-to-cook and use, money-making option. These miscuts usually come in three to four bone pieces you can dry rub or slather in sauce (depending on where you are in the country), and can be served as an appetizer with breaded fried onion and pickle chips.
Pass the Pork
Whatever section of the plate you are trying to solve, pork has an answer. Be sure to incorporate it as the tasty option it is, while knowing you can beef up your bottom line. Just don’t stop at pork sausage and bacon...there’s more to this “other white meat” at 11 a.m.