Is it ‘chicken and pork loaf’? ‘Turkey and pork loaf’? ‘Turkey loaf’? ‘That square head cheese’? Whatever you call it, we know you’re talking about Nolechek’s famous Pork and Chicken Loaf! Pork and chicken loaf dates to the 1960s when it was made in very small batches by Joe Decker, Pearl Kinas and Celia Parks. The next generation included members of the Nolechek family – Mary, Tracey and Bill, until recently when he passed along his knowledge to Chad and Lindsey. While the people making it may have changed, the one thing that stays the same is the process. We even use the same metal loaf pans that were used back in the early days, four generations ago!
So, what makes this product unique? Some people say the toasted onion and peppery taste with just the right amount of salt; or the way we make this truly handcrafted old-fashioned product; or the different ways you can enjoy it. One thing is for sure, once you try it you’ll be pleasantly surprised and we’re positive you’ll want more!
Just like all the other product, it all begins with the highest quality pork and chicken products. We begin the day by cooking whole chickens in our electric cooker and the pork hocks and snouts in our steam jacketed cook kettle with lots of toasted onion flakes. This not only imparts a deep, rich flavor into the meat; but serves as the base for the broth. As the product is cooking, we trim the pork butts and cushion meat.
When the pork hocks are finished, they’re boned and go into the cooler with the snouts. It’s then time for the pork butts and cushion to take their turn. After the chickens are done, they’re placed on the large sausage table and cooled until they can be handled for boning. And if you think that’s a lot of chickens, it is and it’s a good thing we’ve done this before. It’s truly a hands-on process and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
After all the pork and chicken are done cooking, we place it in the freezer to set for approximately an hour. While that’s happening, we take the time to clean and sanitize the metal loaf pans. How many loaf pans you ask? Eighty. Each and every time.
Next, we prepare the broth by adding the gelatin and seasoning to give the loaf it’s signature flavor, which is lots of peppery goodness. Before the final cook, we chop the pork and chicken to the correct consistency. This gives the loaf it’s old-fashioned look and texture.After the meat has been chopped, everything is added back to the cook kettle and brought up to temperature.