Monday, September 27, 2010

September Cooking Challenge

Remember Professer TBD in college?

I'm part of a yet to be named group of live fire food bloggers that does a monthly challenge. A meat, vegetable, starch, and fruit are selected randomly and then you have a month to come up with a meal using all 4. This months ingredients were easy!

Pork chop

I knew right away that I would make a raspberry bbq sauce for the pork chops. I adapted a blackberry bbq sauce that I've made before. I was going to use raspberries and raspberry preserves, but the raspberries broke down so well I skipped the preserves.

Raspberry BBQ Sauce for Pork Chops
Adapted from John Besh

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup raspberries
1 ea green onion, chopped
2 dried red chilies
1/4 cup fig infused vinegar
1/4 cup broth
1/4 cup bbq sauce
salt and pepper

Heat the oil over medium heat and saute ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add the raspberries and onion, stirring often and breaking down the berries into a paste. This took about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. You can use as is for a rustic sauce with texture but I used an immersion blender to smooth it out.

For the pork chops, I had 4 nice thick bone in pork chops. To me, bone in pork chops are the "porterhouse steak of pork". I brined them for 2 hours in:

Pork Chop Brine
Just something I have come up with but I'm sure I borrowed from several people.

2 cups apple juice
2 cups water
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
12 whole peppercorns
2 bay leaf

I seasoned them with Billy Bones Competition rub and then gave them a quick sear over a 500f fire.

I brought the Big Green Egg down to 300f and set it up for indirect heat. I glazed both sides with the sauce and cooked until they finished to 145f.

Alexis saved the day with zucchini. She made these zucchini rolls [Click for recipe link] on her Big Green Egg.

These things were huge, more like loaves than rolls! But they were very good.

These took forever to bake, perhaps because of going in with a cold stoneware? It took 45 minutes instead of 20-25.

The rice was our basic rice pilaf.

2 tbsp butter
1 cup rice
1/4 cup carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 green onion, chopped and divided into white and green parts
1 cup stock
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine

Saute carrot, celery, and white part of onions in oil for about 5-8 minutes until softened. Stir in and rice and continue sauteing until the rice turns golden and emits a nutty aroma. Add the liquids, cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Add the green onion, toss and cook covered another 2-5 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

All in all it was a very good meal, despite having to put up with the rain. The BBQ sauce worked exceptionally well with the chops and I loved the zucchini rolls.

Here are the other participants. Click on their blog title to see their creative challenge entries.

Robyn of Grill Grrrl

Robyn Medlin is the "grill girl" behind Her focus is on healthy, simple and creative recipes on the grill. She encourages women to learn to grill as it a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen. This "grill girl" holds quarterly "Women's Grilling Clinics" as a way to encourage women to not be intimated by the grill. As a McCormick's flavor correspondent for their "This Week in Grilling Campaign", Robyn shares fun, tropical video recipes documenting her grilling adventures from her backyard in Sunny, Hollywood, Florida.

Larry of The BBQ Grail
The BBQ Grail website was created in 2007, initially to document the author’s quest to find the perfect backyard BBQ experience. Since that time The BBQ Grail has become one of the more popular BBQ blogs on the internet, including a listing on as one of the top BBQ blogs.

Paul of No Excuses BBQ

The No Excuses BBQ website was started in January of 2009 as a way to record the author's goal of barbecuing at least once a week throughout the year and showing the results to the world. Somewhere along the way things got out of control; two years later the streak is intact and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. In the process, No Excuses BBQ has become a fairly popular BBQ location on the web and is listed as one of the top BBQ blogs on

Robert of
Into The Flames
Rob launched Into the Flames in the summer of 2010 as a way to share his passion for cooking, eating, and exploring food.

This was fun and I look forward to the challenge October brings!