Blooming Glen is one of those Bucks County villages you could easily miss as you travel west on Route 113. Cows grazing, an auto repair shop, a few offices and some modest Victorian homes.
Of course, if you drive past Blooming Glen Pork on any Saturday from April through November, you can’t miss the big tent out front and the smells of barbecue. Cars and bikes crowd the small parking lot. Happy people sit at picnic tables munching on pulled pork, baby back ribs, Texas-style beef brisket, kielbasa, bratwurst and even pig wings amid the smoke drifting from the barbecue pits. You’ve arrived at Big Bob’s BBQ Pit.
If you can get past the folks feasting on barbecue, you’ll find Blooming Glen Pork’s retail market. Step inside and explore the cases filled with house made sausage, fresh pork – loins, cutlets, pork chops, fresh hams, kielbasa, scrapple, bacon (smoked, nitrate-free, British, Canadian, and fresh) and even a pork tenderloin, stuffed with sausage (sweet or hot) and wrapped in bacon. They have three on-site smoke houses and a large kitchen. In addition to the retail market (open Wednesdays through Saturdays), Blooming Glen Pork has a bustling catering and pig roast business.
What you may not see is just how much history and family pride stands behind Blooming Glen Pork.
Talking pork and BBQ
It was a beautiful, warm day when I arrived to interview Bob Moyer for an article I was writing about barbecue. He said, “Let’s go sit down.” Figuring we’d go into some back office, I was a little surprised when he led the way out of the store and to an adjoining building. There we sat in rocking chairs on the porch of what was one time the Blooming Glen Grammar School.
While we chatted, I watched the cars drive by on 113. I gazed across the street where cows were grazing on fresh pasture at Tussock Sedge Farm. But mostly I sat and listened to Bob Moyer, the fifth generation to run Blooming Glen Pork, tell me about his family and what they have accomplished since 1856.
Look past the buildings, behind Blooming Glen Pork, and you’ll see farmland. Bob’s grandfather was raised on that land (now the Blooming Glen Community Supported Agriculture Farm). His grandmother grew up just down the road. It was a courtship “across the fields,” says Bob.
Taking the early train into Philadelphia
His grandfather made his living farming in the summer and butchering in the winter. From Perkasie, he took the early morning train into Philadelphia to sell meat house-to-house. In 1904, he decided to open a stand in the Reading Terminal Market where the family sold their pork products and fresh pork three days a week, using the first half of the week to make the product. Bob still uses his grandfather’s recipes for country sausage and scrapple.
But as supermarkets grew, other markets started to slow down. While the business did wholesale as well, Bob began to wonder if they could retail in Blooming Glen instead of traveling to Philadelphia. The store started with just Thursdays, then Fridays, then Saturdays too. In 1997 the family decided they could afford to leave the Reading Terminal Market and focus the business in Bucks County. “It was time we put all our effort into one spot,” Bob says.
Goodbye Philadelphia, Hello Blooming Glen Pork & Catering
Catering was the next step. Blooming Glen now does up to three parties a day during the summer months, with parties up to 1000 people. That’s a lot of pulled pork. Want a pig roast in your backyard? Blooming Glen will show up with the pig and fixings, or you can pick it up ready to roast. They marinate the meat three days ahead of time and even rent you the roaster.
“I had a couple of guys come in one Friday,” Bob relates. They gave them the pig, the roaster and instructions – put the charcoal in, put the pig in and leave it alone (if you’re interested, it’s six hours for a 30 lb. pig and 11 hours for a 120 lb. pig). The guys were flummoxed. “Do you mean we don’t have to turn it? But we told our wives we’d be up all night!” (with a case of beer, no doubt).
“It seemed every time I turned on the TV, I’d see a barbecue show,” says Bob. That got him thinking. So in 2001, they started doing barbecue in the front yard with a small tent. First it was just a charcoal roaster. But when it started getting really busy, it was time for a road trip.
Bob headed to Indiana to check out two companies who made serious grills, custom-built. Now you’ll see two large grills, with 8 foot racks and rotisseries, using charcoal to start and then hardwood laid on top. The shelves revolve, basting the meat, with Bob’s crew mopping the meat with their own barbecue sauce.
They fire up the grills at 6:30 am and are ready to serve by 10 am. Set your calendar; the tent goes up the first week after Easter, and stays up into November. And check out the “BBQ Bowl” – barbecue meat on the bottom, layered with mac and cheese, cornbread crumbs and topped with barbecue sauce.
While it may not be barbecue season yet, Blooming Glen Pork has plenty to warm up a cold winter night. Here are some recipes offered by Pene Bryant, Bob’s daughter, and the 6th generation to join the business. For more recipes, see their website.
Blooming Glen Pork & Catering
1248 Route 113
Blooming Glen, PA
Smoked Sausage and Corn Chowder
Makes 12 servings
1 lb. diced bacon
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
4 cups peeled & diced potatoes
2 cups water
2 lbs. canned corn
2 lbs. cream-style corn
1 ½ cups milk
1 TBSP butter
2 lbs. smoked sausages, cut into ¼” slices
- Cook bacon until crisp and set aside.
- Saute celery and onions in bacon drippings (using as much as needed) until onions are lightly browned.
- Add potatoes and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20+ minutes. Stir in corn, milk, butter, sausage and bacon. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
Apricot Pork Loin Roast
Makes 8 servings
½ cup dry cooking sherry or chicken broth
½ cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP dry mustard
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground ginger
1 boneless pork loin roast (4 – 5 lbs.)
1 (10-ounce) jar apricot preserves
2 TBSP dry cooking sherry or chicken broth
1 TBSP soy sauce
- In a large plastic bag or glass dish, combine first six ingredients; mix well. Add pork roast, turning to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Remove meat and discard marinade.
- Place roast with fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Preheat oven to 425-450°F. Place boneless loin roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes in oven to brown and sear pork. Reduce heat to 325°F. Cover roast (with lid or foil). Continue to bake the pork loin for another hour or until the internal temperature registers 145-155°F. Let roast rest about 10 minutes before carving to lock in the juices.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine apricot sauce ingredients. Heat and stir until well mixed and heated through. Serve with roast.
Spicy Mustard Kielbasa Bites
2 lb. kielbasa
2 cup spicy brown mustard
1 ½ cups honey
2 TBSP Frank’s red hot sauce (more if you like it hotter)
- Slice kielbasa into bite-size pieces. Using a griddle or frying pan, brown both sides of the kielbasa slices.
- While the kielbasa is grilling, combine mustard and honey in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in hot sauce.
- Next, add the kielbasa to the honey-mustard sauce, stirring to coat.
- Transfer everything to a small crock pot or serving bowl and serve with toothpicks.