All posts tagged: pork

Grilled Pork Chops with Knob Creek Lemon Glaze

This recipe is sponsored by Knob Creek Bourbon – they kindly sent me some bottles of their product, and are featuring this recipe on the Brothers of Bourbon site. Give them a visit, and tell them DadCooksDinner sent you! Pork loin chopscan be dry and bland. Today we’re fixing that, taking the flavors of a Knob Creek Sour and building them into the chops.Start with thick-cut, bone in pork chops. The mass of the bone slows down cooking, and the thick chop gives us time to build a browned crust on the outside of the chop without overcooking the inside. I don’t cook pork loin past medium doneness; chops are so lean they dry out when cooked past 145°F to 150°F internal temperature. And, best of all, bone in pork chops give me a bone to nibble on as part of dinner. If you can find Berkshire pork, a heritage breed that isn’t as lean as modern pigs, buy it! It’s worth the extra money to get a little fat in the meat – fat …

Rotisserie Pork Shoulder Stuffed with Onions and Parsley (Spiessbraten)

Spiessbraten is German-Brazilian fusion cuisine. Idar-Oberstein was famous for working gemstones into jewelry, especially Agate. But in the late 1700’s, the agate mines were almost played out. It was getting harder and harder to find gems to work with. Then, German immigrants to Brazil found a large deposit of agate. This started a busy trade route. Agate was shipped to Idar-Oberstein and worked into jewelry, then the profits were used to buy goods that were shipped back to Brazil. Along with the agate came the Brazilian tradition of churrasco cooking, spit roasting over an open fire. Idar-Oberstein took the idea of spit roasting and applied it to their favorite local ingredients, pork and onions. The region is famous for this dish; every year, they hold a festival in its honor. Traditionally, spiessbraten is a boned pork neck with a stuffing of onions and herbs. I use a common substitute, pork shoulder, and roll-cut it to open it up like a book. After stuffing it with onions and parsley, I cook it slowly over medium heat …

Rotisserie Barbecued Pork Belly

I wanted to make the half a pig’s head from The Greenhouse Tavern, Jonathon Sawyer’s monument to tender, fatty, crispy pork. He slow cooks the head, basting it with barbecue sauce. The half head is presented on a platter, with a plate of buns and a pile of crisp raw vegetables. You take it from there – shred the skin, meat, and fat from the head and use it to build sandwiches, with the crisp vegetables to help cut the fattiness of the pork. Unfortunately, a pig head is not going to work in my back yard. The snout, the floppy ears, the wails of “it’s staring at me”…it’s too much for the kids. *I took my 11 year old to the butcher. “Darn,” I said, “they don’t have pig’s heads today.” He looked at me like I was insane. My solution? Pork belly. Almost as fatty as a pig’s head, it has the same tender meat and crisp skin. I cook my pork belly on the rotisserie, of course, but if you don’t have a rotisserie, …

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork with Dried Chile Pepper Sauce (Pork Deshebrada)

I’m a food geek. I get enthusiastic about recipes like yakitori chicken skewers, pressure cooker Pho Bo, and rotisserie duck with a pomegranate glaze. But what recipe do my friends and family love? Slow cooker shredded pork. That recipe has a lot of bang for the buck. Toss everything in the slow cooker, come back ten hours later, and you have shredded pork that would fit right in on a Mexican roadside taqueria. Little league baseball is back in season, and my nights are getting hectic. I’ve already made my slow cooker shredded pork a couple of times this season; it is time for something new. This is a riff on mole, the long simmered Mexican sauce. I’m using the slow cooker’s long cooking time to give me the advantages of a mole without all the work. The dried peppers soften in the slow cooker, along with some other aromatics, and I use the defatted pork juices as the liquid in the sauce. A quick whiz in the blender, and I have a complex, sweet, …

Grilled Pork Chops with Ancho Chile Spice Rub

This month’s Cooks Illustrated magazine has an interesting tip. They spray a light coating of vegetable oil on a spice rubbed steak before grilling. Why? The thin layer of oil helps bloom the spices, giving them a fuller flavor. *Why bloom spices in oil? Flavor is in the spice’s essential oils, and because of the “oil and water don’t mix” thing, essential oils are extracted better by more oil.    I fry spices in oil when I make a pot of chili, but I never thought to use the technique when I’m grilling. I had to try it out. Grilled pork chops were already on the menu; they became my test subjects. I pressed a simple spice rub into the chops, then sprayed half of the chops with a light coating of vegetable oil. Cooks Illustrated is on to something. The chops with the coating of oil tasted richer and sweeter than the “dry” chops. From now on, when I cook with a spice rub, I’m adding a quick spitz of oil. Recipe: Grilled Pork Chops with Ancho …

Rotisserie Pork Shoulder with Greek Flavors

I love Greek flavors. What does that mean? To me, it means lemons, garlic, and oregano; cucumbers, feta and thick yogurt. And lots of extra virgin olive oil, preferably from kalamata olives. That’s why I was depressed. I missed Akron’s Greek Festival this year, for the first time in a while. *Why did I miss it? The usual reason – life got in the way. The kids had soccer games, I had to work the weekend, and everyone was fighting a cold. It added up to our missing the spanikopita, dolomades, moussaka, and baklava that I look forward to every year. But then Sunday came, and my depression lifted. We had a clear blue sky with a few puffy clouds for contrast, and a high temperature in the upper sixties. Everything that was getting in the way was complete; we had an evening to relax and enjoy ourselves. *The Cleveland Browns even won a game. It’s a miracle! Time for our own Greek Fest. I made a Greek salad, stuffed with feta, kalamata olives, cucumbers …

Pressure Cooker Pork Belly Beer Braise

Pork belly. It sounds unappetizing. So, why is it on the menu of every single “modern American” restaurant? What if I called it fresh bacon – would that get your attention? If so, do I have the pressure cooker meal for you. Pork belly is the same cut of meat as bacon, but pork belly has not been cured. It has all the advantages of bacon – meat layered with thick veins of delicious pork fat. *The disadvantage is…all those delicious layers of pork fat. Let’s just say this is not a low-cal recipe and leave it at that, shall we? How to cook it? In this recipe, I use the pressure cooker to braise it with beer. The result is tender pork, melting fat, and a delicious sauce to pour over the top. Looking for a luxurious meal that’s a bit out of the ordinary? Try this recipe. *Don’t have a pressure cooker? No worries. See the Variations section for cooking instructions with a standard dutch oven. **h/t Michael Symon for the phrase “fresh …

Pork Picadillo Tacos

Picadillo. I think this is where the travesty known as taco seasoning mix came from. Picadillo is common in Latin American cuisines; ground or finely minced meat, cooked with spices and tomato or tomato sauce, used to make a filling for tacos or to serve with rice. We took that and turned it into a filling for hard-shell tacos, a packet of spices to rip open and pour over ground beef. Now, taco seasoning mix is a travesty, but not because of the results. I fondly recall that seasoned ground beef mix of my youth.**Sitting there in the bottom of a taco shell, waiting. Waiting for that first bite. That first bite would shatter the taco shell and dump the greasy beef, cheese, tomatoes, and a few shreds of lettuce down my arm. Ah, memories. My gripe is with that 1.25 oz package of spices. I hate pre-made spice blends. I really hate calling this a spice blend at all. According to the package, the first three ingredients are yellow corn flour, salt, and maltodextrin. Starch, …

Grilled Pork Chops with Chinese Marinade

I got home from vacation, and I was tired. Vacation was a lot of fun, but we kept busy – cottage vacations involve a lot of splashing around in Lake Erie. The first thing I did was unload the car. The second was grocery shopping – the refrigerator was bare. It was late in the afternoon, and three cranky kids needed dinner. (Not to mention two cranky parents.) What to do? I went straight for the bone-in pork chops. Cooking on the bone boosts the flavor of the chops. And, believe me, modern pork needs that boost. Now, for quick grilling, I have a rule – if it won’t be ready by the time the grill preheats, don’t make it. That leaves fifteen minutes for the marinade to work. Fifteen minutes of marinade is not going to do it with boneless chops. *I need an hour to brine boneless chops. And, even then, I’d rather spend that hour brining bone-in chops. These pork chops have a Chinese flavor profile. Why? I would like to say …

Rotisserie Boneless Pork Loin with Apricot Glaze

USDA recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming. [United States Department of Agriculture, usda.gov] Finally, it’s official! Pork loin should not be cooked until it is dry as dust! Now, I know the USDA says 145*F. And 145*F is not bad – it’s a good medium. But…I prefer to cook to 140*F, with 10-15 minutes of rest, leaving just the slightest hint of pink in the middle of the pork. What can I say? I like to live on the edge. *My Samoan attorney advises me to say the following: The previous statement should not be taken as professional health advice. If you are feeding the young, old, or infirm, please follow the FDA guidelines and cook to 145*F. If you are the kind of person who has their own Samoan attorney, and likes to sue penniless bloggers, please follow the old FDA guidelines and cook to …

Grilled Pork Chops with Bourbon Brine and Baste

I know boneless pork loin is bland. But when it’s on sale, I can’t help myself – I grab a package from my local megamart. “What a deal!” I think…until it is time to cook it. Then I start to kick myself . What was I thinking? What can I do to make boring pork loin something I want to eat? Couldn’t I at least have bought bone-in pork chops? (No, they weren’t on sale.) Then, inspiration crawled out of the bottle. Bourbon pork chops suddenly sounded delicious. *In fact, I’d rather have this bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy! Hahahaha…ahem. Sorry. My inner 13 year old got loose again. I added bourbon to my brine, then basted the pork chops with a mix of bourbon, butter, and brown sugar. The bourbon adds a smoky, complex flavor to an otherwise straightforward recipe. I didn’t realize how alliterative this recipe was until just now. There sure are a lot of “B”s in there… Now, I always hesitate to cook with something I would …

Rotisserie Pork Belly

Pork belly is the current “It” ingredient at restaurants. (Replacing short ribs, I think.) Why? When cooked long and slow, it is a wicked combination of pork meat and melting pork fat. Never heard of it? Sure you have. Cured pork belly is commonly referred to as bacon. Who doesn’t like bacon? Chefs know that; they love bacon as much as everyone else. A good chef uses pork belly as a canvas for all his technique, and the diner gets the deliciousness of high-end bacon. It’s a win-win situation. Pork belly, in spite of its popularity in restaurants, is hard to find in grocery stores. I wanted to try it on my rotisserie, but I could not find it in my local stores. (And I wasn’t organized enough to special order it.) Then, I got lucky. I found pork belly in the meat case of my local Asian market. I bought it immediately. And? Pork belly cooked on the rotisserie has crackling skin, covering layers of luscious fat and tender meat. *Pork belly needs long, …

Pressure Cooker Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

We’ve been pounded by snowstorms this winter. I’m in the mood for comforting braises. If it seems like I’ve been working the pressure cooker hard, well…there you go. Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes, made in the pressure cooker, is now a regular in my recipe rotation. I’ve made pork stew with sweet potatoes, and pork stew with prunes. Pam Anderson combined them in Perfect One-Dish Dinners. She makes the recipe in a pseudo-pressure cooker, tightly wrapping aluminum foil over a dutch oven. I have a pressure cooker, so I adapted her recipe to work with the real thing. The first time I made this recipe, it was for my in-laws. Then, a few weeks later, I cooked it for my side of the family. Diane asked for it again this week, to fight the ice storm we were having. Make a recipe three times two months? I never do that; I’m a fickle cook, always moving on to the Next Big Thing. I realized I have a new favorite on my hands. Why …

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork (Pork Tinga)

Pork shoulder and slow cookers were made for each other. Slow cookers try to overcook everything; most meat dries out during the long cooking time. Pork shoulder gets better the longer it is cooked; it needs long, slow cooking to melt all the fat and connective tissue it holds. Properly cooked pork shoulder is juicy, and shreds at the touch of a fork. It is the perfect cut for stews, braises, barbecue, and today’s recipe, slow cooker Mexican shredded pork. Shredded pork is a great weeknight dinner. I start it in the morning (on low heat) or at lunchtime (on high heat), and come dinnertime I have a roast that is tender and ready to be pulled apart. I use the shredded pork for taco night, and then I get creative with the leftovers. I’ve used it in soups and topped it with cornbread to make tamale pie. But, I usually serve it in cheap white hamburger buns. If I want Tex-Mex sandwiches, I top the pork with salsa and shredded cheese; If I want …

Pork Tenderloin with Tomatillo Salsa and White Beans

In Rick Bayless’s Salsas That Cook, there is a Sunday dinner worthy recipe for roast pork loin simmered in a tomatillo salsa and white bean sauce. The flavors are a revelation; the meaty pork loin, spicy tomatillo salsa, and creamy white beans are a brilliant combination. I love that recipe, but I never make it anymore. My adapted version is this quick weeknight recipe. Instead of long-cooking pork loin, I use pork tenderloin. The tomatillo salsa and white beans make a quick pan sauce, and the whole thing finishes in the oven. When I’m prepared, and my freezer is stocked, this is a homemade recipe. I’ll have homemade tomatillo salsa and beans in the freezer. When my stock of homemade ingredients is dwindling, canned beans and store bought tomatillo salsa* come to the rescue. Either way, this is a remarkably easy recipe – brown the pork, dump the can of salsa and the drained beans, heat through, and it is ready to eat. *My preference is for Rick’s Frontera Tomatillo Salsa, out of loyalty to the original …