DES MOINES, Iowa, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Grilling season is about to heat up – but the National Pork Board (NPB) discovered that millions of Americans might be missing out on what could be a seriously tasty summer. After ranking all 50 states based on their flavor footprint – the volume of social media food conversations people had about flavor, seasonings and sauces in 2014 – NPB found that many states may be in dire need of some flavor-packed inspiration. The top 10 "flavor deserts" reach coast to coast and include Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Georgia and Oklahoma.
"We know that Americans love to grill, but our research showed us that many people aren't sharing and talking about flavor as much as they could be," said Pamela Johnson, director of communications, the National Pork Board. "We're going to tackle Americans' 'flavor shyness' this summer and show them that getting bold flavor is as simple as choosing juicy, tender pork."
With the official start to grilling season kicking off this weekend, the National Pork Board launched its flavor mission today with an unexpected cookout "crash" in one of the country's top 10 states most in need of a flavor infusion. NPB created a little fun for one unsuspecting couple in Illinois, enlisting improv actor and comedian Anthony Courser to pose among their grill-out guests and humorously sneaking pork chops on the grill to feed the unsuspecting crowd.
Today's crash is only the start of the fun – NPB's "The Grill Crashers" series will air on social channels and feature "crashes" from across the country all summer long. Together with comedic actor and not-so-clueless grilling enthusiast Donald Faison, NPB will surprise fans with unexpected cookout crashes in California (the 6th flavor desert in the U.S.) later this month. America's pork farmers also will team up with local radio disc jockeys in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Houston to conduct BBQ Flavor Takeovers throughout the summer, helping inspire people to crash their own summer cookouts with new flavor – and pork.
"I'm at the grill almost every day in the summer, and I know how quickly you can fall into a flavor rut – which is why I'm helping to flavor-ize grills for some lucky grilling fans," said Faison. "You can't go wrong when you choose pork because it's so easy to pair it with any flavor – and it's so easy to grill. Whenever I grill pork, I know I'm going to have an out-of-this-world grilling experience that my friends and family won't forget."
NEW RECIPES TO CRASH ANY COOKOUT WITH FLAVOR
Grilling fans don't have to wait for the "Grill Crashers" to get in on the flavor action. For those living in "flavor deserts" – or even for those whose states top the flavor-loving list – it's easy to let the flavor take over grills this summer with one of six new pork chop recipes. Perfect for a crowd or any family gathering, these chops pack in sweet, spicy, savory flavors – something for everyone.
- Cider-Brined Porterhouse Pork Chops – Brushed with a maple syrup and hard apple cider glaze, these Porterhouse chops go perfect with sweet potato salad or fresh succotash.
- Saucy Salsa Ribeye Bone-In Pork Chops – These saucy Ribeye chops – inspired by colorful Caribbean flavors – will sizzle on your grill all summer long.
- Sugar & Spice New York Pork Chops – Loaded with sweet and peppery flavors, these New York boneless chops make everything nice.
- Pina Colada Ribeye Bone-In Pork Chops – This soak-up-every-drop tropical sauce – combined with tender Ribeye chops – will bring you from the backyard to the beachside.
- Basil-Garlic Porterhouse Pork Chops – Perfect for a hot summer day, Porterhouse pork chops with fresh basil add bright flavors to your summer dinner repertoire.
- Bacon BBQ New York Pork Chops – Bacon. Beer. BBQ. Need we say more?
NPB recommends cooking your pork chops like you would a steak to an internal temperature between 145 degrees F (medium rare) and 160 degrees F (medium), followed by a three-minute rest. Use a digital thermometer to check doneness and to ensure juicy, tender chops.
To see where each state stands in the flavor line-up, watch grill crashers videos and find more pork recipes that will have summer grilling tasting great, visit PorkBeinspired.com/GrillCrashers. Follow Pork Be inspired on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share photos of backyard crashes featuring delicious pork recipes using #grillpork.
About the National Pork Board
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.
 The flavor rankings are based on digital analytics from Crimson Hexagon's ForSight™ tool, capturing more than 30 million social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter shared by Americans across 50 states from Nov. 1, 2013 to Nov. 30, 2014. The per capita conversation volumes for flavors, seasonings, and sauces were each divided by the total number of per capita pork conversations for each state. Each state received a rank in the three different categories, ranging from 1 to 50 where a ranking of 1 shows the lowest percentage of pork conversations discussing flavors, seasonings, or sauces. The rankings received in the three categories by each state were added and sorted from lowest to highest to determine what states ranked consistently low across the three categories compared to the other states.
Video - http://youtu.be/mRLsmxcuAMg
SOURCE National Pork Board