Thrill of the Grill – Pork
By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com
Nothing beats a juicy pork chop sizzling on the grill in early June. Except perhaps a pork tenderloin or meaty country-style ribs. Grilling pork can be as easy as a pork burger in 20 minutes or as involved as marinating and slow grilling pork ribs. This week’s recipes are sure to please any crowd.
Pork chops in a flash
I often receive inquiries on the website from readers looking for “something quick and easy” to serve on a weeknight that doesn’t include a lot of preparation time. A great solution is a center-cut pork chop or a porterhouse pork chop. Fire up the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Season your chops with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning and grill until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Depending on the thickness of your chop, the cooking time will be about five minutes on each side. Once the chops are off the grill, let them rest three-to-five minutes while you prepare a green salad with shredded carrots. Serve a wedge of fresh melon for dessert. Grilling a bone-in chop provides additional flavor and can protect the chop from drying as it’s cooked.
Another easy dinner idea is cutting a pork tenderloin into 1-inch medallions and using a dry rub for flavor. Grill them over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until 140 degrees F is reached for an internal temperature. These medallions are a favorite with our kids because they are moist and flavorful.
On a stick is quick
Not only is grilling pork on a stick fun for the kids to eat, but it makes the cooking time even faster. You can prepare the entire meal, protein, vegetable and fruit, on an easy-to-serve skewer on your back patio or deck. A good cut of pork to choose for kebobs is a boneless pork loin roast. If you like to add the flavor of a barbecue sauce, hold off until the last few minutes of grilling so the sauce doesn’t burn.
Pork burgers are a canvas
Like the kebabs, grilling ground pork provides many options to infuse flavor or finish it with a flavorful topping such as a slice of grilled pineapple or tangy sauce. I like to mix one pound of ground pork with about eight ounces of chorizo to kick up the flavor of the burgers. To help prevent your patties from sticking, lightly coat your grill grates vegetable oil. Use a spatula-type flipper to turn gently turn the patties. Ground pork should always be cooked to 160 degrees F.
Ribs are worth the wait
Country-styles ribs are the meatiest variety of ribs. No doubt you have an uncle or a tailgating buddy that has a “secret” recipe for these delectable slabs. Ribs are best barbecued with indirect grilling with the pork placed to the side of the heat source. Preparing ribs takes a bit longer, but certainly the flavor is worth the wait. Some recipes can shorten the grilling time with the first step as parboiling the ribs for about 45 minutes and then grilling for 20.
Bacon Pork Burgers
Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite pork rub in step two to add even more flavor. Serve on a pretzel bun or brioche burger bun.
6 slices bacon
1 clove garlic
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Dice bacon into small pieces with a knife or meat scissors. Mince garlic.
2. Combine the ground pork, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix in the bacon and garlic with your hands, just until evenly disbursed. Shape into four equally-sized, 1-inch-thick patties. Press your thumb into the middle of the patty to make a small indention.
3. Grill for six minutes and flip them over gently. Grill for up to an additional 10 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. is reached. Let cooked patties rest for five minutes before serving.
Apron String Tips: Top with prepared coleslaw or grilled pineapple rings.
Pork and Chorizo Charms
These were a hit this past weekend due in part their amazing flavor and their size. The kids gobbled them up and asked for seconds. We topped them with leaf lettuce, slice Roma tomatoes and dollop of flavored mayonnaise.
1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
1/2 lb. fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed
1/4 c. grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
16 slices bacon
16 slider buns
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Cook bacon in a skillet or on the grill until crisp.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground pork, chorizo, cheese, salt and pepper together. Form the mixture into small equal-sized slider patties.
3. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes on each side until intern temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat, top with cooked bacon and serve on a bun.
Apron Strings Tips: You can purchase flavored mayonnaise but if you want to make your own simply combine ¼ c. mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika and 1 tsp. hot sauce and mix well. Do this the day before so the flavors can meld.
Honey-BBQ Pork Chop Foil Packet
The ground cumin in this recipe really gives the corn a nice flavor and the pork chop is incredibly moist! I use a bone-in pork loin chop for ultimate flavor.
1/2 c. barbecue sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 c. honey
4 bone-in pork chops
2 ears of corn, quartered
3 carrots, cut into coins
2 large potatoes, cut into coins
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Spread out four large sheets of aluminum foil and spray the inside lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Place 1 pork chop in the center of each foil piece and divide the remainder of the vegetables between the foil pieces. Fold edges up to make a boat.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together barbecue sauce, cumin and honey until combined. Divide into fourths (about 3 Tbsp. each) and pour over the tops of the packet contents. Fold foil so edges meet and fold over to make a 1/2-inch fold and then fold again.
3. Grill packets for 20 minutes or until internal temperature of pork reaches 140 degrees F. Vegetables will be tender. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Apron Strings Tips: Leave room in your foil packet for air to circulate and contents to expand some. If your chops are thinner, you may want to microwave your carrots and potatoes a few minutes to give them a head start.
The combination of hoisin sauce and five-spice powder give these kebobs just the right amount of flavor. I added a few sweet peppers to the skewer to add color and a vegetable serving.
2 (12-oz.) pork tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp. five-spice powder
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 1/2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Prepare at least four skewers.
2. In a bowl, whisk together five-spice powder, garlic powder and hoisin sauce. Add pork pieces and toss to evenly coat. Thread meat on skewers.
3. Grill for 15 minutes and test for an internal temperature of 140 degrees F for the larger pieces. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Apron Strings Tips: Leave a little space between your meat pieces for circulation of heat. If you do not have a rack the holds your skewers slightly above the grate, be sure to oil your grates with a light coat of vegetable oil to avoid sticking.