When cooking with pork, the possibilities are endless. Chops, tenderloin, roast, ribs, bacon, ham, sausage, shoulder — and those are only a few of the widely available, affordable cuts. Pork can be cooked quickly and easily on the grill, in the oven, in a slow cooker and on the stove.

And praise for pork doesn’t stop at versatility, affordability and taste.

Studies prove lean cuts of pork are as effective in high-protein diets as chicken or fish. For example, pork tenderloin contains the same amount of fat and fewer calories than the same serving size of chicken breast. Consumers truly can’t go wrong with pork.

For stay-at-home mom and St. Clair County Women’s Leadership Committee member Laura Shelton, pork is a staple for her big family.

“We have four children — two are grown and two are still at home, and then my niece lives with us, too,” she said. “We also have four grandchildren. And with all those kids, we have many varied tastes — one doesn’t eat rice, and one doesn’t eat ground meat. So we want to have the healthiest food we can while making sure everyone will eat what we cook.”

Shelton said pork is the family’s go-to meat, so when she heard about the Alabama Pork Producer’s Cooking Contest, she thought it would be a fun activity for the family. Her 15-year-old daughter loves to cook, so the mother-daughter team created their own original recipe, Monterrey Pork Tenderloin.

“We were looking at what we had on hand,” Shelton said. “We love Moore’s Marinade. Coffee is good to tenderize meat, and I always have a pot ready. Then you’ve got bacon, barbecue sauce, cheese and French fried onions — we liked all those things, so we said, ‘Let’s just see what happens.’”

The recipe a hit with the state contest’s judges and Shelton’s family.

“Everybody loves this recipe,” Shelton said. “They all request it frequently. After the first time we made it, we all said, ‘Yay! We have a winner!’

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