You won’t find this slab of meat on the Gault Millau, or reviewed by Zagats. It doesn’t come with fancy fixings like apple sauce or rosemary fingerling potatoes. In fact, you don’t even get a fork and knife. This juicy, ripe, mouthwatering, and perfectly seasoned morsel of goodness is delivered to you in a paper towel.
Sure, I know what you are thinking; a piece of meat wrapped in Bounty, served on the side of the road… Whatever. If you can get past your preconceived notions of food consumption and take a bite, you will instantly be transported to flavor-town.
This is the joy that has been delivered to thousands of faithful RAGBRAI® riders for over four decades by none other than Mr. Pork Chop.
Paul Bernhard, a hog farmer from Bancroft, helped re-define the proper way to feed a cyclist and joined in on the RAGBRAI® fun in 1979. This tradition has continued to wow RAGBRAI® participants throughout the years. In 2007, Bernhard passed the torch to his son Matt.
Last year the grills were hot, the meat was smoking and the calls of “Pork Chawwwwwwwwwwwwwwpppppp!” reverberated through the thick Iowa air. Another amazing year, but it would be the last for the beloved grill master. In November, Paul would pass away, surrounded by his family in Algona, IA.
All we can say is thank you Mr. Pork Chop. Thank you to his son. Thank you to his family. Thank you to his friends. Thank you to RAGBRAI®. Thank you to those patrons that first rolled up and bought these delicious pork chops. And thank you to those that continued to support him in such a way that when we joined up with RAGBRAI®, we too could partake in our moment of delicious history.
This year we will be rolling to our favorite aid station at RAGBRAI®, holding up our chops and cheers’ing to the Man, the Myth, the Legend, Mr. Pork Chop.
(Forgot to order your customized team jersey for RAGBRAI?)