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Joe Park is one of Indiana's biggest promoters of porkJoe Park is one of Indiana's biggest promoters of pork

Joe Park's FFA Pork Chop dinners are legendary across much of Indiana.

Tom Bechman 1

February 18, 2015

2 Min Read

You haven't had a smoked pork chop until you have tasted one of Joe Park's smoked pork chops. Thick and meaty, always a hefty portion, it carries the flavor from the grill right to the plate. It's Indiana pork at its finest.

Park, director of the Indiana FFA Center near Trafalgar, perfected the craft while he was an ag teacher at Indian Creek High School. Indian Creek FFA pork chops bring a mouth-watering smile to anyone in the community, and also to people who chow down on them at the Johnson County Fair.


Now, the Indiana FFA Center hosts a pork chop dinner every second Thursday evening of the month to bring people together, offer good food at a reasonable price, and make a little money to help support the Indiana FFA Center.

The Center sponsored two benefit nights for people with serious illnesses last fall. At one of them, more than 650 people came through to eat and donate during the 3-hour period of the evening when dinners were served.

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Pork chops are finding their way onto the menu of wedding receptions and all sorts of banquets and meetings. They're becoming one of the most requested items, Park notes. He's also been known to deliver pork chops and cater events in the area.

Park has carried on the tradition of barbecued pork chops for more than 40 years. He says the secret is in buying good pork cured just right, and in grilling them over the coals correctly. He trained many FFA members to do it over the years, and now relies on Center staff to help cook meals for those who wait in line to eat pork chops.

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Why did he start offering a pork chop meal to the community one evening a month? "Other places do it with tenderloin sandwiches and fish fry events, and the word has gotten out about our pork chops, so we've been doing it about a year now," Park says. So far he's pleased with the success of the event.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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