Tag Archives: pork

Grandma Janet’s Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. There I said it. My love for it started as a child, where most people’s supposed despise of the stuff also began. I never quite understood why meatloaf got such a bad rap? I grew up eating several varieties, all of which I absolultely loved. I’ve made my classic version here before and recently my dad stumbled upon my Grandma Janet’s recipe, the one that started it all, and scanned it into his computer and emailed it to me.

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Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

When we were in Phoenix for Thanksgiving, my sister made these stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer and I absolutely loved them. It was just a matter of time before I found the perfect occasion to make them myself. I decided to give it a go on Christmas day and served them as an appetizer. They’d also be a great side dish.

As you can see from the photo I super stuffed these mushrooms, stacking extra filling on top. I still wound up with some extra stuffing despite this and they were not the most photogenic or pretty as they could have been, but I figured more stuffing > pretty mushrooms. After later conversing with my sister, she suggested having some extra mushroom caps handy to stuff, as it will be inevitable to have extra stuffing. Good to know!   Continue reading

Braised Country Ribs

This was a good indoor winter dish that sort of reminds me of summer a bit.  It was doable on a weekday in about 2 hours and well worth it.  The meat was soft and flavorful and didn’t need a lot of attention to make.

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Pork and Ginger Dumplings

We were making some finger foods for guests and while dumplings are not the typical “finger food”  they were a good munchie to have out.  We kept it pretty simple with pork, ginger, and green onion.  We tried a few different cooking types as can be seen above before deciding on the best.

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Spinach and Feta Stuffed Sage Pork Chops

I felt a bit like I was in a cooking rut and wanted to switch it up somehow.  We hadn’t had pork in a while and I found an inspiration for spinach and feta stuffed pork chops rubbed with fresh sage.

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Stuffed Banana Peppers

These were simple and good but they sure were hot!  Start by making the stuffing which was primarily hot sausage with chopped onion, garlic, and Italian cheese.  Make the stuffing with the proportions of your choice.

Cook the sausage about half way and drain the grease.

Add the other ingredients once the sausage is ready and put aside.

Cut the stems off of the peppers and remove the seeds and pulp.  You may want to wear gloves and be sure not to touch your face….TRUST ME!

Then stuff as much filling as you can into the peppers and line in a baking dish.

Cover with a bit of tomato sauce and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

We put them on a bit of pasta to cut the heat of the peppers.

Enjoy!

Greg

Pig Roast!

Warning!  Some of the following post may be graphic and upsetting to some readers!

As a going away gift, our friends graciously sponsored our going away party as we were about to depart Maryland.  Roasting a whole pig was decided upon, as the idea has been floating around for a few years and this seemed like the opportunity.  They were able to find good deals on a pig and renting an electric spit.  We cook, eat, and talk about a lot of different cuts of meat on this site, but being in the whole form does seem to change things a bit.  So proceed with caution, and I did omit many pics that could have made it far worse.

The first questions is, what kind of person desires so strongly to roast a whole pig?

This guy does!

The pig weighed about 49 pounds and came pre gutted and basically all prepped for us.  We added some seasoning and filled the cavity with onions, garlic and leeks.  Then the pig had to be skewered and sewn up to keep the filling in.

Coming together

Filled and ready to be closed up

He makes an excellent seamstress

The rented spit was well experienced but did a great job once we messed around with it, formed it into shape, and got the right tension on the chain to the motor.

We ended up using about 50 lbs of charcoal total

Once the pig was stabilized on the skewer and the coals had ashed over, it was time for the final assembly and a lot of waiting.

The pig ended up cooking for about 8 hours and could have used a little more time and a little hotter charcoal throughout.  It was our first time though and everyone seemed pleased with the final product.  There was plenty of time to hang out while the pig roasted and it was over 100 degrees this day so…

What up dawg? Ya know staying cool in the pool.

This is the last picture we have of the pig, which is about halfway through.  It turned out great though and we will do even better next time!

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

 

Pulled Pork

Pork butt also known as Boston butt (not Bill Belichick) was on sale at Harris Teeter for .99 cents a pound which made this 8 pounder quite a deal.  I wanted to slow cook it since it was summer and I had the time, but didn’t want to slow cook it for 14 hours.  I did a bit of an in between method using indirect heat.  First I got the grill started before I prepped the pork.

 

Keeping all of the heat to one side

I put down a base of charcoal and a few small logs on top as added fuel and to get a smoky flavor.  I kept all of these to one side and started them up planning to put the pork on in about a half an hour.

In the meantime, I prepared the pork.

 

Fat jackets are gross, but necessary for flavor and tenderness

There was a bone in the meat

Next I took about 8 cloves of garlic and cut them in half.  Then I cut small slits throughout the meat and put the garlic in, making sure it was deep enough that it could not be seen.

You wouldn't know it, but there is a lot of garlic in there

Next I prepared a dry rub by combining some dry seasonings.  I prefer doing this over using a store bought one as they are often packed with sugar and or can be way too salty.

 

Just pick what you like and mix it up

Then I thoroughly covered the pork on all sides.

Next onto the cooking.  The coals were white and ashed over and the wood was burning and smoking well.  I opened the bottom air intake of the grill about half way and placed the pork on the grate on the opposite side of the heat so that there was nothing underneath it.

 

The flames will die down when covered but will still be plenty hot

I then covered the grill putting the top air intake over the meat and opening it about halfway also.  This makes the smoke and heat travel over and around the pork in order to escape out of the top.  Opening the intakes up halfway gives the flames enough air to be hot and continue to burn.  To truly slow cook it, you would have barely opened the air valves, but it again would take twice as long (up to 8 hours 0r more).  This is what I meant by using a hybrid method that was still slow (about 5 hours), but not the typical slow cooking process.

After about 2 hours, I opened the grill up and took the whole grate, pork and all, off and placed it aside.  I stirred up the coals, got rid of some of the spent ash, and added a few more coals and small pieces of wood.  Then I turned the pork so that the other side of it was facing the heat source.  It was looking great already and could have probably been eaten, but it would not have been very tender.

 

After about 2 hours of indirect smoking

This was also going on during the process which really helped. The site's namesake!

I let the charcoal and wood heat back up uncovered for about 10 minutes then put the flipped pork back on.  I checked it in about an hour and flipped it around again, and the same in another hour.

Because the temperature was close enough to what I had wanted it to be and it was getting late, I took the meat off after about 4.5 hours of total cooking time.  This method also uses the fuel very efficiently as the coals could have gone for another few hours.

 

Got to about 205 degress at its highest

Government official numbers say to cook the pork to 160-170 degrees, but when slow cooking it like this, you want to get it closer to 200 for the tenderness.  This was tender and did come apart pretty easily, but also could have gone for another hour or a little less.  Towards some of the bone, the meat was not as uniformly tender, but was still tender enough.

 

Finally ready to come off the grill

I let the pork rest for a bit so that it could be handled.  The fat jacket came right off and many other visible fat pockets were easy to remove, though some people(southerners) would keep most of them for the extra flavor.

In the meantime, I cut up some cauliflower and covered it in vinegar and mustard before grilling.  I wanted something tart to contrast the pork and this easy mixture did that well.

 

Threw it in the grill basket for about 30-40 minutes

Once the pork was cool enough to handle, I shredded it with two large forks which was pretty easy except for a bit around the bone as mentioned.  The smoky flavor and rub had really penetrated throughout and there were pockets of stronger garlic flavor than others which I considered prizes.

 

Pulled Pork

We put the pork in a bowl with some cauliflower and ate some plain and ate some with a bit of BBQ sauce.

 

Was good enough plain

BBQ sauce is good too.

It was great and I am really pleased at how it turned out.  It could have been enjoyed on buns or with slaw or many other ways.  As you may have noticed, we do not know how to cook for 2 people and base our portions on a family of 8 which means that there were tons of leftovers which you will see some uses of in the coming days.  This may sound difficult, but really was not and also did not require a lot of attention.  Don’t put it on and go to the store, but is easy to set up and entertain while the magic happens.

 

Recipe for Pulled Pork Dry Rub

Pork Chops Marsala

SnOMG, Snowmeggedon, Snowpacolypse, SuperStorm ’10, etc etc etc! Whatever you want to call it, it came, it conquered, and it’s little brother is on it’s way tonight to provide another 10-15 inches. Just what the region needs! I am a little behind on posts so here we go with the first since the onset of the mega snowstorm.

These pictures were from 4pm on Friday.

So for dinner we decided to make pork chops Marsala (a play on veal Marsala). This complimented the weather nicely, as the sauce came out thick and rich. Also, this recipe is relatively easy and doesn’t take too long to make.

First, we dredged the pork chops in flour, a step that can be omitted if trying to go low-carb. I like to use bone-in pork chops for the extra flavor the bone provides. Don’t be scurred of the bones!

Next, we sauteed the pork chops…

…and put them aside to make the sauce.

The sauce ingredients include mushrooms, onions, garlic, and Marsala wine to name a few. They actually sell Marsala wine at the grocery store, so no special trip to the wine store is needed (although if you are on your way there already they probably have it there as well!).  We also had some leftover thyme so we threw that in and it worked really well too.

We used “baby bellas” (pre-sliced) for this dish. Any mushrooms on hand will do.

We were happy with the way it turned out, although an afterthought was to add lemon juice to the sauce. This would have been a great way to break down the sauce a little and add some acidity to it.  Next time, we will definitely add lemon juice!

Even though having cabin fever would be physically impossible at this juncture because we just got home hours earlier, maybe the thought of being stuck in the house for the next several days was the catalyst for this bout.

Recipe for Pork Chops Marsala

Bogie lost this match, but many more will likely be fought… keep your head up buddy!

Meatloaf! The All-American Dinner

Whether it’s 1950 or 2010 you cannot go wrong with this dinner. A classic diner institution, I am pretty sure my meatloaf can match up with anything you see on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Ok, maybe I’m getting a little carried away here, but as Greg said, my meatloaf is good because I make it with love. I really do LOVE making (and eating) this meatloaf and the combination of eating it with mashed potatoes and peas (thanks to my Grandma J) is the ultimate combo.  In our house though there is a division over ketchup. I simply cannot eat meatloaf without it and Greg rarely uses it all and prefers his meatloaf with the classic beef gravy, which coincidentally I do not like so much. So, what to do? Make two meatloaves- one with ketchup and one with gravy.

The ingredients for the all-American dinner include, meatloaf “mix” (ground beef, pork, and veal), peas, mashed potatoes (cheating, ya caught me-not from scratch), ketchup (reduced sugar), onion soup mix (hiding in the background), beef gravy, eggs, and bread crumbs.

Meatloaf #1 was my meatloaf- Ketchup Style.

From left to right, bread crumbs (I try to use as little as possible), onion soup mix, ketchup, and an egg atop a package of ground meat. I mix my meatloaf by hand to get all the ingredients incorporated together.

Meatloaf #2 was Greg’s meatloaf- Gravy Style

From left to right, onion soup mix, gravy (a little too much poured out than I wanted), egg, and breadcrumbs (I had to use more to balance out the excess gravy) atop a package of ground meat. Due to my pouring error I had to add more breadcrumbs to get the consistency right. This nearly doubled Greg’s meatloaf in size from mine.

Each loaf went into it’s own dish and got covered in preferred sauce- mine ketchup, Greg’s gravy.

These guys have to cook for a while, at least 45 minutes. In the meantime, I prepared the sides- mashed potatoes and peas. It’s tough to know when the meatloaf is done. I used a meat thermometer and also just went on looks. Below: this meatloaf is not quite done but it’s getting close.

Yum, yum, yum. Both varieties came out great.

Ketchup!

Gravy!

I have to say, the gravy plate looks great! I still prefer to have it my way though.

Recipe for Meatloaf