Quite simply, the “Pork Picnic in a Cup” that you’ll find at the Iowa Pork Tent during the 2022 Iowa State Fair “is everything that’s good at the family picnic.” That’s how Doug Rice of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, describes the layered combination of corn chips, shredded BBQ pork, baked beans, and creamy coleslaw, with a spear of brown sugar pork belly slid down the side of the cup.
Pork Picnic in a Cup was selected as a Top 3 of the Iowa State Fair’s New Fair Foods Contest. The fair announced the top new foods on Tuesday, July 19; fairgoers will select the winner during the early days of the fair, which begins Aug. 11.
Variations of this new menu item have been made by the volunteers working at the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Pork Tent through the years. The Iowa Pork Tent committee refined the ideas and added the result to the Iowa Pork Tent menu for 2022.
Rice, who is chairman of the Iowa Pork Tent committee, is a lifelong attendee of the Iowa State Fair. He has spent nearly every August helping in the Iowa Pork Tent; first, beside his parents, and later with friends he made through the years. He says Pork Picnic in a Cup is pork’s twist to the walking taco.
And while you may want to pick up the $10 meal-to-go, you should feel free to sit in the shaded and ample seating space offered at the Iowa Pork Tent. “It really is the heartbeat of the Iowa State Fair,” Rice said. “It’s a traditional stop for political candidates looking to meet Iowans, and it has the best food and best food value on the fairgrounds,” he says.
Hannah Spurr, IPPA’s consumer outreach director/Iowa Pork Tent manager, points out that one of those food values is a $5 pork burger special that will be offered every day of the fair from 2 to 4 p.m. At other times of the day, the pork burger will be $7.
“The Iowa Pork Tent is a great place to find fresh pork grilled by the men and women who raise it,” she says. “Eating at the Iowa Pork Tent is a tradition! Just last year, we celebrated 40 years of serving pork at the Iowa State Fair, and we plan to be here meeting and serving Iowans for many more years!”