Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chile Stuffed Burger

This heat wave is oppressive.  We are expected to have an all time high of 107f here in Knoxville today.  Without a breeze to be found, the still heat is an unwelcome guest.  Since it is as hot as New Mexico, I thought I'd make some green chile burgers last night. 


This isn't a recipe post, it's too hot to bother and you really don't need a recipe to make these thick burgers with a kick.

Just make a stuffing mix of
4 parts chopped green chile (yes, from a can, the grocery store was out of fresh poblano chiles)
2 parts sauteed sweet onion
2 parts roasted red pepper
1 part cilantro chopped
salt and pepper

Make a bunch of 1/4 lb burger patties.  


Place a heaping spoonful of the mix on one patty.


Put another patty on top of that.  To seal the edges, you just knead or pinch them together and then smooth them out.

Since these are thicker than my usual 1/3rd lb burgers, they take a little longer to cook, about 6 minutes per side at 450f.


Those funky heat sink looking things are GrillGrates.  There was a thread about them on the Egghead forum earlier this week.  I've written about them before and think they are a useful grilling tool.  If you watched BBQ Pitmasters last Sunday, you saw Danielle "DivaQ" Dimovski use them on her frenched pork chops which won.  

While we're on that subject, major congratulations to Danielle.  Not only did she advance to the BBQ Pitmaster Finals and a step closer to being named Kingsford BBQ Pitmaster Champion (the $50,000 prize too).  Danielle is going to have her very own TV show next year!  (Details here)  In the mean time, you can watch DivaQ in the BBQ Pitmasters finale this Sunday at 9pm on the Destination American channel.

Anyhoo, back to my burgers.  I threw some muenster cheese on them in the last minutes of grilling and that was it.  

We served them on plain buns, no mayo, lettuce, or anything, it didn't need it.   For a quick side dish we paired them with Texas Ranchero Grillin' Beans

For dessert we ate the last of the pineapple upside down cake that Alexis baked on her Big Green Egg on Wednesday.  
Cooked at 350f on the plate setter, legs down.


Finished off the last of our fresh cherries too.

Everybody stay cool out there!  

[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I am under contract with Bush Beans to promote Grillin' Beans but this is not a sponsored post.  I am NOT an affiliate seller of GrillGrates but I did receive my set free as part of Kingsford University last year.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

We called these chicken fajitas and absolutely demolished them last night.


But technically they are not fajitas. 

According to Epicurious, fajitas are exclusively made from skirt steak.  The word "fajita" is the diminuative form of the Spanish word for belt or girdle (Wood), describing the skirt steak in the dish. Even my beef fajitas are not fajitas since I prefer flank steak.  So if you want to be accurate about it, these are chicken tacos al carbon.  We still called them fajitas.

In my opinion, boneless skinless chicken thighs are the best for fajitas.  They have more flavor than breast meat but more importantly, they have the right shape for fajitas.  They are thin and have a high ratio of surface area to meat.  That means you will have a lot of the crispy, spicy grilled edges which is where the flavor resides.   If you are going to use breasts, you'll need to pound them flat to get the same effect.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas (aka Chicken Tacos Al Carbon)
source:  www.nibblemethis.com
serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless*
  • 2 bell peppers, various colors, cut into strips
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
For the fajita seasoning*
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 season salt
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chipolte chile pepper
For the Marinade
  •  Fajita seasoning (less one tsp reserved for sauce)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz vegetable oil
For the fajita sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp fajita seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix the dry rub ingredients and reserve 1 tsp for the sauce.  Put the remaining seasoning* and lime juice in a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil.  Pour over the chicken in a bowl or Glad™ zip top bag.  Marinate at least one hour but preferably 4-6 hours.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients together and allow to chill for 1 hour prior to serving.
  3. Toss your vegetable strips together with 1 Tbsp of oil and season with salt and pepper.  Alternatively, you can just toss them in a little Italian dressing.
  4. Preheat* a charcoal grill to 400f (medium high). 
  5. Place the veggies in a grill wok or basket* and place on the grill.  Stir every few minutes.
  6. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill 5-6 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temp of 170f.  If using breasts, only cook to 160f.
  7. Remove veggies and chicken from the grill.  Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice thin.
  8. Serve buffet style with warmed flour tortillas, the fajita sauce, and whatever accoutrements you like, such as shredded cheese, salsa, and guacamole.
Notes
  • Thighs - Trim them of any excessive pieces of fat.  Grilled fat does not taste good.
  • Fajita Seasoning - Feel free to use a commercial fajita seasoning if you like, I won't be offended.  Use about 1 Tbsp for the marinade and 1 tsp for the sauce.
  • Preheat - This is always important but even more so with fajitas.  You want the hot grill grates to do a lot of the cooking, not just the radiant heat from the fire.
  • Grill Wok - Several options here.  I used the veggie wok insert for my Craycort cast iron grate system.  You can also use grill baskets and woks like I picture down below.  You can also use flat "grill toppers".
Veggie wok in front and grill pan in the back, either work.
My wok insert replaces one of the standard grill inserts and fits right into the grate system.  I also have a flat top griddle insert that I could use but the wok held more so I went with it.

The smell of fajitas on a warm summer night will get your appetite going.

Come and get it!  Didn't last long.

I like flour tortillas but feel free to use corn if you like.
Serving suggestion - I served it with Frijoles a la Mexicana from Bush Beans new Cocina Latina line.   They remind of the "ranch beans" that Alexis and I used to make but better.  They are pinto beans in a tomato/serrano sauce with a hint of bacon.  They disappeared just as fast as the fajitas did. 

Giveaway Winners:
I have updated the two recent giveaway posts with the winner announcements.  Congratulations to the winners.

[Standard Disclaimer]  I have a business relationship with locally headquartered Bush Beans; however, this was not a sponsored post.  Craycort is the first and long time sponsor of NibbleMeThis. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jerked Pork with Pineapple Salsa

[Non-recipe post]  [Vegan warning - some meat cutting pictures shown]

I did something a little different with pork shoulder yesterday.  Instead of a Southern style pork BBQ I went to the DEEP South.  Atlanta?  "South-er".  Florida?  South-er!  Try Jamaica.   

I smoked a jerk pork picnic shoulder and topped the sandwiches with a sweet, tangy pineapple salsa. 


It rocked.  Like Cajun seasonings, jerk is often misunderstood as just being spicy hot.  There is so much more to the flavors of jerk than just a burning sensation.  The allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and thyme give it an earthy flavor.  That is the essence of jerk to me.  Don't get me wrong, the layers of chile do give it a kick.  My lips and tongue tingled for 30 minutes afterwards - more about that later.

Pork Shoulder 101:  Whole Shoulder vs Pork Butt vs Picnic 
A lot of us BBQ geeks generally refer to "pork shoulder" but when newbies go to the butcher, they might not know what to ask for.  I'm giving the NAMP numbers to eliminate confusion when shopping.  If your meat department doesn't know what NAMP numbers are, change meat markets.

Whole pork shoulder (NAMP 403) - This the front leg of a hog.  It is the "butt" and the "picnic" sections together in one huge cut weighing 12-18 pounds or even more.  

Pork Butt (NAMP 406) - this is the upper portion of a whole shoulder weighing on average 6-9 lbs.  It is also known as a Boston butt.  It is probably the most frequently used for smoking your own BBQ at home.  It has a lot of marbling which makes it hard to mess up.  Prep work required:  None unless you want to trim or score the fat cap.

Picnic Shoulder (NAMP 405) - This is the lower portion of the shoulder also weighing 6 - 9 lbs.  It is sold bone in and skin on.  It generally costs less per pound than the pork butt but since part of  its weight is bone and skin, your net price for net yield is going to be about the same.  The picnic is a little leaner than the butt but still produces great bbq when handled right.   Prep work required:  For BBQ remove skin with a boning knife and trim excess fat.  For Lechon style roast, remove skin, trim fat, replace skin and tie down.

I can generally get either butt or picnic at Food City.  For me, I usually buy pork butt for BBQ, it's easier to handle and more forgiving.  But if the picnic shoulder is on sale or just looks better than the butts, I'll buy a picnic instead. 

Smoke and Spice and the Jamisons
The recipe I used this weekend was Boston Bay Jerked Pork from the classic book Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison.  They have been kind enough to grant me reprint permissions in the past but I didn't even ask this time because you need an incentive to go buy this book.  It is full of time tested and Nibble Me This approved rubs, sauces, and recipes.  Smoke and Spice has been around for quite a while and that is because it remains spot on relevant for making great tasting BBQ. 

I also just ordered their new book Tasting New MexicoCheryl and Bill celebrate New Mexico with a tribute to the traditional foods of their home state. In addition to featuring full-flavored versions of 100 beloved local dishes, the book covers the agricultural and ranching heritage of New Mexico, and relates stories about notable cooks, restaurants, food products, and more.  If it is half as good as Smoke and Spice, it will be a great book.  If you want one, you better hurry, Amazon only had 18 left when I ordered mine. 

Jerked Pork with Pineapple Salsa

9.9 lb untrimmed pork picnic shoulder.

To remove the skin work a sharp boning knife under the skin and make a series of shallow slicing cuts.

Lift the flap as you keep working toward the leg shank.  Then work around the shank.  It's all small steady cuts.

The Egg was set up with lump and 6 Mojobrick (3 cherry, 3 hickory) cubes.  Plate setter in with drip pan for indirect cooking.  Bottom vent open a fat 1/4" and the top was closed with petals open.

Shoulder rubbed with jerk seasoning and put in the smoke.

My secret ingredient for the rub.  Instead of ground habanero, I cut the cayenne chile amount in half and added 1/8th tsp of Trinidad Scorpion chile powder (hotter than the bhut jolokia aka Ghost chile).

The shank bone with start to protrude as the shoulder smokes and contracts.  This is 3 hours in.

Another difference for me, I mopped this shoulder using the recipe mop.  I haven't mopped since I got my Egg. 

The color started turning a nice mahogany about 6 hours in.

I took it off the smoker 9 and 1/2 hours later at an internal temp of 197f.  I drizzled with agave nectar (recipe deviation), foiled and rested it for two hours.
Yellow line is internal temp, red cooking temp.  The first cooking temp spike was from opening to mop.  The second one was when I raised the temp to help push through the stall.

Nice bark and deep smoke ring.  And flavor?  KAPOW. 

The grilled pineapple salsa was 1 can of pineapple slices grilled and chopped up.  Then added 1 diced jalapeno, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/3 cup red onion, 2 Tbsp roasted red pepper, 1 Tbsp lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Made a quick finishing sauce from 4 parts BBQ sauce, 1 part pineapple juice.  Served with sweet potato chips.
This was one of my favorite smoked pork shoulders in a while, apparently for the rest of the family too.  It had a good jerk flavor and it wasn't excessively hot while eating it but my lips tingled for a good while after we finished eating. 

[Standard Disclaimer]  I received no compensation for this post.  I paid full price for Smoke and Spice long time ago and for Tasting New Mexico.  Heck, I didn't even get free shipping from Amazon.
 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

True Rules of the Grillerhood and Another Giveaway

Two giveaways in one week?  Yep!

But first, here's a quick recipe.  The fresh peaches at the store looked too good to pass up so I grabbed a bag to use with a pork tenderloin.  I thought I'd use them to make a sort of pico de gallo but call it "peacho de gallo".  I thought that was clever and original but a Google search proved me wrong, someone else already thought of it.   Oh well, I already had the idea in my mind and was sticking with it.


Pork Tenderloin with Peacho de Gallo
Source:  www.nibblemethis.com

Ingredients
 For the Peacho de Gallo
  • 1 cup of diced peaches
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chilantro
  • 1 Tbsp simple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp McCormick Chipotle Chile Pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the peacho de gallo ahead of time.  Just mix all of the ingredients together.
  2. Marinade - Place the Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinade, cider vinegar, water and 1/4 cup of the peacho de gallo into a blender or food processor and blend together.  Place the tenderloin in a gallon zip top bag and pour the marinade mix into the bag.  Seal and refrigerate for an hour or up to 4 hours.
  3. Preheat a charcoal grill set up for direct heat to 375f.  Remove meat from the marinade and grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 137-140f in the middle of the tenderloin.  Rotate every 5 minutes or so and this should take a total of about 20 minutes.
  4. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes.  Then slice into 1/2" slices, top with the peacho de gallo, and serve.
Summer produce makes grilling so much better!

The roasted jalapeno and chipotle pepper gave the salsa a smoky note.

Covered in flavor!

Peach and pork make a nice pair.

True Rules of the Grillerhood & Another Giveaway
As an Ambassador for the Grillerhood, I was asked to come up with a True Rule of Grilling [Click to see the existing True Rules].   I've thought long and hard about it because there are so many rules, tricks, and axioms about grilling. 

"Grill Masters know to give it a rest.  Letting steaks,
roasts, and chops rest after grilling is as important
as the grilling itself."

What about you?  Do you agree that the reward for resisting temptation for 10 minutes is a juicier steak or chop?  Or do you prefer to dive right in while the smoke is still coming off of the food?

Giveaway
This giveaway is sponsored by McCormick Grill Mates and it is quite the prize package.  

Egg NOT included!!!!!

First, that heavy duty apron doubles as a carrying package for all the gear.  You also get a grill tool set, a grill mitt, toque (chef's hat), an assortment of Grill Mates products, and a booklet of recipes and tips for getting the most out of your Grillerhood experience.

How To Enter
It's easy.  Just leave a comment below giving me your response to my True Rule of the Grillerhood, whether you agree or disagree and why.  I will choose a winner from the responses at noon EST on Monday, June 25, 2012.    (If you are using the anonymous comment option, be sure to leave a way for me to reach you like email, twitter handle, or forum handle.)

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT
The winner of the prize pack is AMPED who wrote:
Know how when you cut in to that first piece of steak? How when you place it in your mouth and you experience the intense, juicy, flavors of that hunk of meat you loved from the minute you laid eyes on it? How you literally have to drop your fork and knife, close your eyes, and chew ever so slowly because you want to savor every moment of grilling delight?

THAT is because you let your steak rest!


AMPED - I can't access your profile from the comment so I'll need you to contact me to arrange delivery.


[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I have a business relationship with McCormick and this is a sponsored post.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grilled Chops with Flaming Cherry Salsa

I know.  Two cherry posts in one week.

I'm sorry (no he's not) but the fresh cherry season only lasts so long.  Fortunately pork season lasts all year and if you humor me, I'll have a great giveaway at the end of this post.

We grilled these chops last night and they had just the right amount of "bleep that tastes so good!". Plus, how can you NOT like the fun of a flambe?


Grilled Pork Chops with Flaming Cherry Salsa
source:  www.nibblemethis.com

Ingredients
  • 4 ea pork chops (bone in loin chops 1" thick) 
For the rub
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp Chipotle powder
 For the salsa
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp of the pork chop rub 
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum warmed to 120 degrees*
Instructions
  1. Mix the rub ingredients together and reserve 1 tsp for the salsa.
  2. Season the chops on both sides with the BBQ rub.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat a charcoal grill to 375f.
  4. Grill the chops for 5-6 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 140f*.  Remove to a plate and let rest.
  5. Put a grill safe medium sized saute pan or skillet on the grill* and melt the butter.  Add the onion and chiles and saute until tender.  
  6. Add the cilantro, white wine vinegar, and pork chop rub.  Cook another few minutes until the liquid is almost gone.
  7. CAUTION - see note below - Remove the skillet from the grill, add the WARM rum, wait a few seconds, light it with a long stem lighter and jump back jack!  The flame will go out in just a few seconds.
  8. Toss the pan a few more times and it is ready to serve on top of the pork chops.
Notes
  • Warm Rum: The warm has to be warm to give off enough vapors to ignite.  I warmed mine in a small pan on my grill but you MUST BE CAREFUL.  Spill it in the fire and you may prematurely flambe yourself.  
  • Time and Temps:  Last night I did 4 minutes, rotate a quarter turn, 2 more minutes.  Flipped and went 3 minutes, quarter turn, and then they were ready 1-2 minutes after.
  • Grill Pan:  My favorite pan for the grill is a cheap, oven ready saute pan.  It fits nicely inside a standard 18.5" round grill (BGE, Weber, etc) and holds up to the abuse.
  • CAUTION - Flambeing will create a flash flame.  Wear full length safety gloves and glasses.  Have a tight fitting lid and fire extinguisher near by to extinguish the flame.  Don't do it under an awning.  If you're under 18, get your parents permission first.  Probably illegal in California.  Seriously...BE CAREFUL. 
I will be sad when the fresh cherries are gone.

Summer evenings + Pork chops + Fire = Mmmmmmm

Grilling tip:  Keep the bugs away by covering your mise en place with your equipment - hey, it worked, don't laugh.

My favorite grill pan - a 10" bargain from the wholesale club.


So good we made it two nights in a row.
Here's a video clip of the flambe part.  Skip to the 1:40 minute mark to see the fire.


Top Chop Pop Giveaway
Now for that giveaway that I promised.  The National Pork Board wants to make sure that you are properly equipped to rock your grill this summer.  This prize pack includes a ton of great grilling gear.  

Big Green Egg not included....that's mine!

This prize pack includes:
  • Weber stainless steel grill pan (13.5" x 18.5")
  • Stainless steel grilling wok (fits perfect on a large BGE)
  • Grilling basket
  • Pair of FireWire flexible skewers (I'm a big fan and use these often)
  • 11 piece stainless BBQ tool set with tote bag
  • Kingsford ball cap and bottle-opener/key chain
  • $100 worth of free pork coupons!
Here's how I'm going to do the giveaway:
  1. How To Enter - Submit a comment below that is 100 words or less explaining why you or someone that you know should be named "Top Chop Pop" and/or give your top pork chop grilling technique.  
  2. Dates - The giveaway will run between now and Sunday, June 24th, 2012.  
  3. Judging - Usually I do random draw.  But THIS time, I am going to have my father pick the winner.
  4. Rules - The National Pork Board only sponsors the prize pack.  All giveaway decisions are made by me and are final.  
  5. If you use the anonymous comment option, you must leave some way for me to easily contact you (Egg forum handle name, BBQ Brethren name, email address, twitter account,etc )
  6. Winner must claim the prize within 7 days of being announced or the prize back will be awarded to the next selection.
For other great ideas for grilling or BBQ pork, check out Pork Be Inspired for some inspiration!  They have a great line up of ideas, recipes, and tips for filling your grill with fantastic pork this summer.

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT:
My dad reviewed all of the entries and chose the winner - Casie J - who wrote:


I think my husband should be named top chop pop! He his an awesome father to our 7 kids, and grandfather to our 4 grand kids, (one that we are now raising)! But he is the most awesome BBQ/Griller/Smoker we know! We have all had the chance taste his "bits" as he has learned and I would say mastered, but he always is his biggest crittic and nothing is ever perfect to him,no matter how much we all love it!


Casie, I'll email you today to arrange delivery of your prize pack!

As of 7/9/12 the original winner has not responded so after discussing with the sponsor, a runner up was drawn and the winner is Nan Slaughter of Pots and Pins.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Our favorite recipe of the weekend was a "Thai-ish" grilled pork tenderloin with a fantastic peanut sauce.


But first, a big shout out to our friends on the Uncultured Swine BBQ team for taking second in ribs at this past weekend's Big BBQ Bash in Blount County.


I met them at last year's Bloomin' Barbecue, and Bluegrass in Sevierville.  Great bunch of people and they use Big Green Eggs in competition (from Wayne Blalock Home Center).  They also use a Lang 84 using Kingsford with a blend of cherry, hickory and apple.   I'm guessing that they won 2nd by submitting baby backs like they did last year at BB&B.  

Anyway, back to my Thai pork tenderloin.  I like grilling pork tenderloins for several reasons.
  1. Twice the fun - they usually come in two packs, so you can cook two different recipes at the same time if you like.
  2. Perfect for 4 - one tenderloin feeds a family of 4.  That is until the two kids hit teenage years.  Then TWO tenderloins feed 4 with a little leftover.
  3. Quick cooking - 20 minutes on the grill is about all they need, perfect for weeknight dinners.
Our "live at home son" had a friend over so we had 5 for dinner and two pork tenderloins disappeared.  In fact, I was only cooking one tenderloin that night.  But I had extra sauce and they were dying for more so I quickly cooked the other one too.  It was gone in a flash.  Oh well, at least I had some curry and rice leftover for lunch today!  

Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce
source:  www.nibblemethis.com

Ingredients
  • 2 pork tenderloins, silver skin trimmed 
For the marinade
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar (sub brown sugar if you like)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
For the peanut sauce
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce*
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake*
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
Instructions
  1. Marinate - Put the marinade ingredients in a processor and blend for 30 seconds.  Place the tenderloins in a Glad zip top bag, pour the marinade over them, seal and marinated for 4-6 hours in the fridge*.  
  2. Make Ahead - Place the peanut sauce ingredients into a processor and blend for 30 seconds until well blended.  Refrigerate until needed.  When ready to use (if made ahead), heat for 3-5 minutes in a pan over medium low heat while the pork rests (see below).
  3. Grill it - Preheat a charcoal grill to 375f for direct heat.  Remove tenderloins from marinade.  Grill, rotating about every 5 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 137-140f in the MIDDLE*. This will take about 20 minutes but go by temp.  Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Slice the pork tenderloins into medallions about 1/4" thick.  Drizzle with the peanut sauce and serve with more on the side for dipping.
Notes
  • Teriyaki sauce - Our family are big fans of Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce for teriyaki.  I learned about this stuff from Paul at No Excuses BBQ and am glad I did.  
  • Heat level - as written, this was a mild heat level peanut sauce.  If you want medium or hot, increase. 
  • Marinating time - I haven't tried it, but with the slight amount of acid, you could probably let it sit in the marinade all day while you're at work and grill it when you get home.
  • Pork Tenderloins are tapered from one in to the other.  Tip 1:  Keep the thicker end towards your grill's hot spots.  Tip 2:  Measure the internal temp in the middle of the tenderloin. 
  • Serving Suggestions - We served ours with grilled peppers and onions, jasmine rice, and red curry sauce. 
The nice thing about a gas/coal grill combo?  The gas grill (left) makes for nice counter space.

Multi-purpose grilling - veggies in wok, pork grilling, and curry sauce simmering.

Pork and peanut sauce?  To die for!

[Standard Disclaimer] I received no compensation for this post.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cherry Pop Pork Chops

It's Fathers' Day Weekend and many dads like myself choose to celebrate it by cooking out.

Okay, I admit, I celebrate every holiday by cooking out.  I'll probably even grill on National Waffle Iron Day (June 29th this year, just in case you are wondering.)

When I think of my dad and grilling, I don't remember a specific specialty or recipe of his.  

What I remember  is the grill that he used.  Instead of using a kettle style grill like most suburban families of the 70's and 80's, my dad had a unique custom made grill.  It was made from a stainless steel beer keg that one of our neighbors threw out when they were moving.  My dad had a friend cut out the door, make a grill tray, put hinges on and used angle iron for legs.  That thing was shiny, cooked like a champ and was virtually indestructible.  I was talking to my dad about that grill tonight and he mentioned that they finally got rid of it a few years ago (after close to 2 decades) when they bought a new Weber.  

He jokingly said, "I had to get rid of it, I didn't want to get a reputation of being 'one of those people' who have a grill collection."  

I'm not sure to whom he was referring.....

Anyway, I made some ultra delicious pork chops today on one of my 5 grills, which is not made from a keg.  They had a soak in a cherry cola brine and then I topped them with a sweet cherry sauce that made them just out of this world.  

Since they had cherry profile it only made sense to serve them with the Bourbon and Brown Sugar flavor of Bush's Grillin' Beans.  In fact, I was tempted to do a bourbon/cherry sauce with a flambe finish, but my fire extinguisher wasn't nearby so I went with this.


Cherry Pop Pork Chops
source:  www.nibblemethis.com
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 6 boneless pork chops, 3/4" to 1" thick 
  • 2 Tbsp BBQ rub*, divided
For the brine
  • 12 ounce cherry cola
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
For the cherry sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup*
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of the BBQ rub listed above
Instructions
  1. Brine.  Mix the brine ingredients in a half steam pan.  Whisk together until the salt is dissolved.  Add the pork chops and brine, refrigerated for 4-6 hours.
  2. Preheat a charcoal grill to 350-375f (medium).  Clean and oil your grill grates.
  3. Remove chops from the brine and discard brine.  Pat chops dry and season on all sides with the BBQ rub.  
  4. Grill the chops for 4-6 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 140f.  
  5. While the chops are grilling, preheat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add a Tbsp of butter and the cherries,  tossing or stirring for 1 minute.  Add the vinegar, syrup and rub.  Simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.  This is not intended to be a reduction, so you don't have to try to get it to "reduce volume by half".  
  6. Let the chops rest 5 minutes after coming off the grill then slice them thin and top with the cherry sauce.
Notes
  • Rub - use your favorite homemade or commercial BBQ rub.  I used 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t sugar, 1/2 t garlic powder, and 1/2 t chili powder.
  • Simple Syrup - just heat together equal parts water and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved
This is a cold brine, so you don't have to heat it up first.  Just mix it up.

Fresh cherries and pork are a great combination.  Get 'em while you can.

The bourbon and sweet notes in the Grillin' Beans matched the cherry sauce on the pork. 

Tip:  To keep your chops from curling up as they grill, score the fat cap.

Season well on all sides - I wasn't finished here.

Grilling on my Big Green Egg. 
The cherries sauteing - you could do this part on the grill too.


This earned 4 or 5 "OMG"s from Alexis and I have to agree with her.  The sweet sauce mixed with the grilled chops to create a smoky, tart, and sweet flavor explosion.  The Grillin' Beans were a perfect match and things really got crazy good when the two sauces mixed.  

That's one of the best things about the Grillin' Beans line up.  No matter what I'm firing up on the grill, at least one of the seven bold varieties is going to be a good combination.

Back to Fathers Day - Do you have any favorite memory or recipe of your dad grilling?  (I do realize that memory might be less than a successful cook, ha ha)

[Standard Disclaimer] I have a business arrangement with Bush Beans, a local Knoxville company, and received compensation for this post.  Any opinions stated are my own.