Barbecue Pork Burgers

Ground pork is a lot like ground beef. It is easy to prepare, quick cooking and can be used by itself or in a variety of casseroles, meat loaves, meatballs, and other entrees.

The other day, a friend of mine, Bob Sullivan, was looking for suggestions for some ground pork that was part of a purchase of a half-pig. I told him my favorite use was to combine it with ground bison, elk or venison and make meatballs.

But after I got home from the gym, my first inclination was to go to the Internet to search for some other uses.

What caught my eye was the following recipe for Barbecue Pork Burgers that appeared in Redbook magazine a few years ago.

The burgers, which can be made in 10 minutes, are cooked on the grill and would be perfect the next couple of days, when temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-30s to almost 40 degrees.

Barbecue Pork Burgers
½ pound ground pork
½ cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon(s) salt
¼ teaspoon(s) pepper
2 ounces sliced Monterey Jack or Muenster cheese
4 (hamburger buns) split, grilled or toasted
1 1/3 cups coleslaw
Potato chips, for garnish
Pickles, for garnish
Prepare grill.
In a medium bowl, gently mix pork, ¼ cup of the barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Divide mixture evenly into 4 patties.
Grill burgers 5 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through, brushing them with the remaining ¼ cup barbecue sauce. Place cheese on burgers during last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking time, with grill covered, to melt cheese.
Place each burger on bottom of each hamburger bun; top with coleslaw, dividing evenly. Serve with potato chips and pickles, for garnish.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 591 calories, 34 grams fat, 31 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein.

Pork Roast with Spicy Cranberry Orange Glaze

There’s nothing more traditional during the holidays than a glazed ham. Easter is the holiday probably most associated with ham, but you might get an argument from some people who wouldn’t be without one at Christmas or New Year’s.

I have my eye on a smoked ham to ring in 2013, since we have a couple of them in our freezer after purchasing a half of a pig this past fall. But a recent post by Facebook friend Mike Pokrzywinski for a glazed pork roast has me thinking twice.

Mike shared a recipe, which follows, for a pork roast with spicy cranberry orange glaze that looks pretty tasty. He found it at the Tabasco website. Mike said that’s what he’s planning on serving his family on New Yea’’s Day.

Pork Roast with Spicy Cranberry Orange Glaze
5-pound pork loin center rib roast (with bone)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup sweet orange marmalade
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2½ teaspoons Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle pork roast with salt and ground ginger. Place pork roast, fat-side up, in large roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into center of roast, being careful that pointed end of thermometer does not touch bone. Roast 2 to 2½ hours until thermometer reaches 155 to 160 degrees.
Meanwhile, combine orange marmalade, cranberries, mustard and Tabasco Sauce in medium bowl. Brush pork roast with mixture after 1 hour, brushing occasionally with mixture every 15 minutes.
Remove roast to a platter. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Skim fat off pan juices. Serve roast with pan juices if desired. Garnish roast with rosemary sprigs.
Serving suggestion: Serve pork roast with oven-roasted butternut squash chunks and Brussels sprouts.
Yield: Serves 6.

Tamarind Marinated Pork Belly Skewers

The days when a person can buy farm-raised meat directly from the producer are almost a thing of the past. But there still are options.

Just recently, a few of my friends and I purchased some pork from a local farmer. A couple of whole pigs were sent from the farm to the butcher and then came to us.

So far, I have been pretty satisfied with the meat. Therese and I already have sampled some chops, steaks and bacon. And with the holidays just around the corner, a smoked ham is looking pretty good for Christmas or New Year’s Day.

Not everyone has the opportunity to buy meat this way. For those people, Pig of the Month (www.pigofthemonth.com.) is a great option.

Featured on “Good Morning America” and personally endorsed by Iron Chef Michael Symon, Pig of the Month is an online retailer specializing in world famous barbecue and sides, all one click away from your dinner table.

With a smoking technique that was perfected over decades, the company ships homemade, all natural barbecue products ranging from a variety of meats, sides and sauces straight to your door — all ready to be served within 30-minutes of arrival.

Among best sellers at Pig of the Month:

BBQ Feast! $74.95 — 2 racks of Texas Style Barbecue ribs, 1 pound of pulled pork, 1 bottle Cattle King Texas Brisket & BBQ Sauce.

Bacon Sampler, $55 — 1 pound Pepper Crusted Smoked Bacon, 1 pound Chipotle spiced Bacon, 1 pound Applewood Smoked Maple Cinnamon Bacon.

Sausage Sampler, $38.95 — 1 pound Duck, Pear and Port Sausages; 1 pound Mild Italian Sausages; 1 pound Garlic Sausages.

Memphis Style Ribs, $58.95 — 2 racks of Memphis style baby back ribs (1.75 to 2 pound per rack),  1 bottle Memphis Barbecue Sauce.

Pig of the Month also features recipes on its website, including the following one.

Tamarind Marinated Pork Belly Skewers
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced shallot or green onion
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 pound pork belly, skin removed and sliced in ¼-inch cubes
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add cubed or sliced pork belly to marinade. Let sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature. If you have more time, let sit for up to 2 hours.
Bring your grill up to medium heat. Remove pork from marinade, thread onto skewers, maybe with your favorite vegetables, and then grill 2 to 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned.
Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Barbecued Baked Pork Chops

Just about anyone who has experience with a Dutch oven will say that there is no going back to other types cooking vessels once you’ve tried this method.

Their reasoning is understandable, since there are many advantages to Dutch oven cooking, which dates back hundreds of years. One is the way in which the food is prepared. With a Dutch oven, the food is cooked uniformly, and because of the slowness of the process, the food is prepared so that optimum tenderness is achieved.

Dutch ovens, which usually are made out of cast iron, can be used to prepare main dishes, side vegetable dishes, breads as well as the most decadent of desserts.

My favorite use for our trusty cast-iron Dutch oven is to cook meats and seafood, including venison, elk, buffalo and pork roasts, chickens (regular and smoked), salmon and halibut.

Most recently, I made some Dutch oven-barbecued pork chops, baked with a homemade spiced barbecue sauce. It made for an excellent weeknight meal when combined with baked potatoes and some whole-kernel corn.

Barbecued Baked Pork Chops
4 pork chops, trimmed of fat
2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
6 tablspoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
Olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic and celery and saute until translucent. Add remaining ingredients except pork chops. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add pork chops, cover and pot oven in preheated oven. Bake for 2 to 3 hours until tender. Remove pot from oven. Take meat from the bones and return to oven for another 10 to 20 minutes.
Serve with potatoes (baked or mashed) and whole-kernel corn.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Mini-Kebabs

Wintry weather probably has put the kibosh on a lot of people’s outdoor cooking plans for the year. But hard-core grillers always seem to find a way to get he job done, no matter if temperatures are in the 80s or single digits or the grass is green or covered with snow.

I don’t fall into the latter category, but recipes such as the following one for sweet-and-sour kebabs from the National Pork Board might make me reconsider.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Mini-Kebabs
3 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed, cut into 48 (1-inch) pieces
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 24 (1-inch) pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into 24 (1-inch) pieces
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
24 6-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained
Preheat broiler with rack about 8 inches from heat source.
Toss pork with chili powder and salt. Thread 2 pieces of pork and 1 each of pineapple and red pepper pieces on each skewer. Wrap exposed end of each skewer with foil to discourage scorching. Mix honey and vinegar together for glaze. Broil, turning occasionally and brushing well with glaze during last 2 minutes, until pork is barely pink when pierced with tip of knife, about 8 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: Serves 12 (small-plate servings).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 100 calories, 12 grams protein, 2 grams fat (no saturated), 230 milligrams sodium 35 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams carbohydrates, no fiber.
Cooking Tip: For marinated pork chops, put pork in a self-sealing bag with marinade in the refrigerator first thing in the morning. By suppertime, pork chops can be removed from marinade and ready to grill. (Dispose of used marinade.)

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin

There’s a good reason why center-cut pork loin roasts are so popular: They are among the most tender, juicy and lean cuts from a pig. And during the holiday season, that’s a combination that guests will find hard to beat.

Pork loin roasts are best prepared with an spice rub, marinade, stuffing or flavorful sauce, which take little time to prepare.

The following recipe, from the National Pork Board, features this well-liked cut wrapped in bacon, along with several sauce options, making it a great entree for a party or family get-together.

Simply Saucy Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin
4 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast, (untied), fat and silver skin trimmed
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 to 9 slices bacon
1 cup barbecue sauce, purchased
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool for 10 minutes.
Wrap bacon slices vertically around pork roast; do not overlap bacon. Tie lengthwise and crosswise with kitchen string to hold bacon in place; tuck loose ends of bacon under string. Place on a rack in a roasting pan, tucked-bacon side down.
Roast on rack for 15 minutes. Turn pork over and reduce temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 15 minutes. Remove rack and return pork to pan, tucked-end side up. Roast, turning occasionally until bacon is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145 degrees, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
Skim fat from pan juices, leaving browned juices in pan.
Add barbecue sauce and preferred ingredient (see below) and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring to loosen browned bits in pan; simmer 2 minutes.
Remove strings, carve pork, and serve with sauce.
Note: For marinated pork chops, put pork in a self-sealing bag with marinade in the refrigerator first thing in the morning. By suppertime, pork chops can be removed from marinade and ready to grill. (Dispose of used marinade.)
Yield: Serves 10.
Preferred ingredients:
Savory: Whisk 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard into the sauce.
Spicy: Stir in 2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos chilies (nacho slices), drained and finely chopped, into the sauce.
Fruity: Stir one 8.25-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained, into the sauce.
Smoky: Stir in 1 or 2 minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo into the sauce.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 370 calories, 43 grams protein, 17 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 790 milligrams sodium, 140 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, no dietary fiber.

Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Potatoes

The combination of pork and sauerkraut is a tradition among many cultures. It’s most associated with the Germanic, Polish and Slavic populace of Eastern Europe. That’s one reason why it is very popular in our region of northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The pairing is one my favorites, too.

I was introduced to the combo at an early age. My mom every once in a while would cook baby back ribs and sauerkraut together in a big roaster and serve them with mashed potatoes. To this day, we still have that on Christmas Eve.

The pair is going to be starring in a meal in our home soon. We recently purchased a half-pig from a co-worker’s cousin, and my friend, Darrel Koehler, has a couple of crocks of homemade sauerkraut fermenting in his basement, which he will be sharing with us.

One of the first meals I’m planning will be the following skillet dish in which pork chops, sauerkraut and potatoes are cooked together, seasoned only with salt, pepper and some parsley flakes.

Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Potatoes
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 bone-in pork loin chops, thin cut (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into ¼-inch wedges
1 1-pound can sauerkraut, drained
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Sprinkle pork with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper; cook pork in oil 5 to 8 minutes, turning once, until brown. Remove pork from skillet; cover to keep warm.
In same skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining ½ teaspoon salt; cook potatoes in oil 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown. Add pork. Stir in sauerkraut and parsley.
Cover; cook 7 to 10 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center and potatoes are tender. Serve pork over sauerkraut.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 340 calories, 16 grams fat (4 grams saturated, no trans), 70 milligrams cholesterol, 1,300 milligrams sodium, 24 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams dietary fiber, 1 gram sugars, 27 grams protein.

Pork Tenderloin with Wine-Shallot Sauce

Pork, without a doubt, is one of the most popular meats in the world, making gains by leaps and bounds every year. More than 100 million metric tons are consumed yearly around the globe.

But before the 20th century, pork in Europe and North America was traditionally a fall dish. The reason was simple: Pigs and other livestock were slaughtered in the autumn after growing in the spring and fattening during the summer.

Still, a lot of people around here buy their pork in the fall to stock up for winter. And that’s exactly what we are doing this year.

Within a couple of weeks, we and some friends of ours will be splitting a pig. It’s at the  butcher’s right now, where it will be cut up, smoked (bacon and hams) and wrapped.

I can hardly wait until we get our share. One of the first meals I’m going to fix is a tendeloin that cooked in a wine-shallot sauce. And the shallots will be right from our garden, the best ones we’ve ever grown.

Shallots are member of the onion family and thought to have originated in China about 2000 B.C. They often used in salad dressings stir-fries and sauces to add flavor and are low in calories and fat-free.

Nutritionally, they contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that helps protect the body and may reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots is high in potassium, vitamin A and folate.

Here’s the recipe I’m going to try. It’s very elegant but quick and easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal.

Pork Tenderloin with Wine-Shallot Sauce
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaf
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
4 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup merlot or 1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder or 1 tablespoon chicken soup base (a concentrated reduced chicken broth can be substituted)
2 tablespoons cherry preserves or 2 tablespoons blackberry preserves
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat pork with 1½ teaspoons olive oil; rub with rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Heat a heavy, ovenproof skillet over high heat.
Cook pork, turning often, until lightly browned on all sides, 5 minutes.
Transfer skillet and pork to oven; roast until thermometer reads 150 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer cooked pork to a platter; keep warm.
Add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to same skillet. Heat over medium heat.
Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Add wine; cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.
Stir in stock concentrate and preserves. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; adjust seasoning if necessary. Whisk in butter.
Pour into a serving bowl. Slice pork into ¼-inch slices and serve with sauce.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 426 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 12.3 grams fat (3.4 grams saturated), 164 milligrams cholesterol, 448 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 5 grams sugar, 53 grams protein.

Pulled Pork

Anyone who has purchased pork (one-half pig or more) in quantity knows that is a lot of meat. You have roasts, chops, steaks, hams, bacon and possibly side pork. And maybe even some ground pork to make  your own sausage.

We’ll be buying some pork next month from friend and co-worker Eric Hylden’s cousin, who raises the pigs near Park River, N.D. It’s a deal we can’t refuse.

So, I’m on the hunt for more pork recipes to add to my already bulging recipe collection. Of course, some of the pork will be featured in meals with homemade sauerkraut, one of my favorite combos. Perhaps, a ham will be saved for the Christmas holidays. And the bacon will come in handy for BLTs. (Hopefully, we’ll still have some tomatoes left  from the garden.)

But another use for the meat that I’m anticipating is pulled pork. It’s the perfect fare fall events such as football games and hunting trips.

I just came across the following recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Everyday Gourmet (http://everydaygourmet.areavoices.com/). It’s written by  Jessica Karley, an executive chef at UND. I’m going to share that here, along with another one from a friend, Doris Bornhoeft.

Jessica Karley’s Bourbon Honey Mustard Pulled Pork
1 large yellow onion, thin sliced
2 ribs of celery, not chopped.
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 4-pound boneless pork shoulder (or butt)
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
½ cup applesauce
1 cup honey Dijon (mustard) dressing
2 tablespoons molasses
¼ cup bourbon (optional)
1 cup honey Dijon dressing (same one as above, just reserved for later)
Turn slow cooker on to low and spray with pan spray.  Evenly distribute onions over the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place celery ribs on top of the onions.
Rinse pork roast and pat dry with paper towels.  Combine the next 4 ingredients in small bowl and rub over the pork, being sure to get all sides.  Place the rubbed roast over the onions.
In another bowl, combine red pepper flakes, garlic, applesauce, dressing, molasses and bourbon.  Whisk until combine and pour over the top of the pork roast.
Set slow cooker for low and cook for 10 hours.  Remove the meat and onions from pot and set aside.  Discard the celery ribs and pour the juices that are left in the crock into small sauce pan.  Add the remaining 1 cup of honey Dijon dressing to the pan and reduce mixture over medium heat until 1 1/2 cups remains.  While the sauce is reducing, pull pork and onions with 2 forks and add back to the slow cooker.  Pour the reduced sauce over the pulled pork and stir until combined.  Keep warm, serve with your favorite fresh baked buns.

Doris Bornhoeft’s Pulled Pork
2- to 3-pound pork roast
1 12-ounce can Coca-Cola
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 12-ounce bottle barbecue sauce
Place pork roast and can of Coke in a crockpot and cook overnight.
The next day, drain liquid and shred pork with a fork. Add your favorite barbecue sauce and cook for another couple of hours before serving.

Pulled Pork Tostadas with Slaw and Chipotle Cream

It’s hard to escape the allure of pulled pork these days. Anyone who has been to quick-service restaurants such as Subway, Quizno’s or Burger King may have noticed the places have  barbecued pulled pork sandwiches on their menus. And according to Google Insights, pulled pork recipe searches have more than doubled in the past four years.

But when the weather is hot like it has been for the past couple of weeks, no one likes to fire up the oven to cook a pork shoulder or loin roast.

Home cooks, seeking flavorful meals that require minimal effort and time in the kitchen do have another option, though. They need to look no further than the slow cooker, which allows them a surprisingly easy preparation that they can simply walk away from with confidence that a delicious meal will be as good as ready when they return.

And once their pork is cooked and shredded to perfection, the number of dishes that can be made is almost never-ending.

Here is a Latin-inspired entree, Pulled Pork Tostadas with Slaw and Chipotle Cream, a bold combination of chili-rubbed pulled pork, bright cabbage slaw and chipotle-spiced sour cream.

Pulled Pork Tostadas with Slaw and Chipotle Cream
1 pound cooked pulled pork , warm or room temperature
3 or 4 limes
2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
8 cups shredded cabbage or 1 10-ounce bag coleslaw mix
¾ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
Salt
1 cup sour cream
½ chipotle chili from a can of chipotle chilis in adobe sauce, seeded and finely minced
6 8-inch tostadas, (flat, crisped corn tortillas)
2 tomatoes, diced
3 radishes, cut into wedges
Halve and squeeze 1 or 2 of the limes to yield 2 tablespoons of juice. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice and oil. Add the cabbage, onion, and cilantro, tossing to combine. Add salt to taste. Cut the remaining 2 limes into 6 wedges each. Set the slaw and lime wedges aside.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and chipotle pepper. Season with salt and set aside.
Arrange the tortillas on plates. Top with the pork, slaw, sour cream mixture and tomatoes. Arrange the lime and radish wedges alongside and serve.
Yield: Serves 6.