One of the biggest trends in food in recent years has been a growing love of pork and all things piggy, especially if you could add a little smoke and salt to the mix. Everything, it seems, is better with a little bacon. Or barbecue. Or, ooh, how about a really great tenderloin?
In the Moshannon Valley, one business has stepped up to the porky plate with a name that tells you just what you are going to get when you walk through the doors: Hogs Galore.
The business sits on the top of the hill on U.S. Route 322 in Rush Township, overlooking Philipsburg. It’s an entertaining building. Part restaurant. Part retail store. Then there is the manufacturing facility that makes the pork products they distribute. Oh, and then there’s a doctor’s office.
A what? Yes, a doctor’s office.
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Jeanne Beyer and James Mathis started it all when the two doctors got married and received a hog as a wedding present. Hog became hobby, and eventually a delicious business was born. When they opened Hogs Galore in 2006 in the Moshannon Valley Regional Business Park, they included their medical practice, Guided Care, on one side.
Their son, Garfield Mathis, heads up the big pig operation, though. Every day, he carves meat into tenderloins, roasts, chops and more, smoking some into hams, curing others into bacon and grinding sausages of all kinds. Mathis says he has more than 50 fresh and more than 50 smoked products produced out of his kitchens.
Some are standard. You can get a ham steak pretty much anyplace. Others are totally original, like the pepper-crusted munchetta, a kind of summer sausage-y product rolled heavily in cracked pepper like pastrami. There is also the bacon loaf, a fully cooked smoked bacon roll that can be sliced and fried like Canadian bacon but takes on the crispy, chewy texture of bacon strips.
A selection of the smoked products is turning up in regional stores. You can get things like the housemade ring bologna and smoked pork chops at Weis Markets and more, including fellow small business Way Fruit Farm.
Mathis hopes to expand the wholesaling even more.
Meanwhile, sales manager Hilary Pelton is working on expanding the online business, shipping product across the country, and growing the restaurant and catering side.
Hogs has even added cows, introducing their own beef products, including burgers, on the restaurant menu.