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Original Mr. Pork Chop drops in on stand in Britt

  • 27 July, 2010

Britt – The original Mr. Pork Chop might have retired, but the RAGBRAI tradition lives on.

A crowd of riders gathered across from the recognizable pink bus parked about five miles outside of town off Old Highway 18 Tuesday afternoon, each eager to sink their teeth into one of the legendary chops.

“We have one every single year, at least three times a day,” said Kathy Moss of Algona. Moss is riding her 24th RAGBRAI this year.

Paul Bernhard, 81, and his son Matt Bernhard, 45, the old and new Mr. Pork Chop

The pork chop stand is the creation of Paul Bernhard, the former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. The first was set up at RAGBRAI in 1983 as a way to promote pork.

Its fame has grown each year since.

Two years ago, the stand switched hands from father to son. Matt Bernhard, 45, made a few adjustments in the way the business was run, including the addition of a pie stand, but the pork chops remained the same.

And the crowds have continued to come.

“It’s just that pork chop. The way it tastes, the way it’s prepared,” Matt Bernhard said.

The secret to the juicy, buttery chop is in its thickness — 1 1/4 in. to 1 1/2 in. — and the way its cooked — with corn cobs.

“The worst thing about the pork is they over cook it,” Paul Bernhard said. “It’s easier to keep it juicy if they’re thick.”

While Matt now takes care of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the business, Paul still swings by from time to time when the RAGBRAI route comes close to his hometown of Bancroft.

Tuesday, he sat in the shade of a tree and greeted riders who wanted to take a picture or hear his infamous pork chop call. The booming call was what Paul would use to let RAGBRAI riders know there were pork chops ready at the stand.

audio Mr. Pork Chop’s pork-chop call

“I get a kick out of them,” Paul said about his fans.

The best part of the business has always been meeting the people, Paul and Matt said.

“I’ve yet to meet a bad person on RAGBRAI,” Paul said.

-Cynthia Reynaud


  1. paul and cindy pieplow

    We just wanted to thank you for stopping in our little town
    of Hutchins Iowa..we are 4 1/2 miles west of britt, several
    people stopped at our farm to rest and we met and got to
    talk with so many wonderful people..please keep us on your
    route..we look forward to next time..paul and cindy pieplow

  2. Doug Kollasch

    Great day today outside of Britt!
    You really made those riders happy
    to ‘Stop & get a chop!’
    Music and water slide to boot.
    What a party!!

  3. Anne

    They used to have a website where you could order pork, I can’t find it. Does anyone know it?

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