Posts Tagged With: bbq

Too Much Planning

Planning a weekly menu can help you control your budget. When you’ve got specific meals in mind, you can draw up a grocery list that is limited to ingredients that you will need. You may pick up a few extra things at the store, but overall it should be easier to focus on finding the products that you will be sure to use. The shopping trip should be shorter, and you should be more satisfied than exhausted when you come home, unload the groceries, and see your sufficiently-stocked pantry and refrigerator.

But then come the variables. You bought lovely, fresh fruit and vegetables. Now you’re afraid you might have overdone it. What if all four avocados ripen at the same rate? Will you be able to eat all five pounds of russet potatoes before they sprout eyes? Is the huge bush of cilantro going to turn black and yellow before you have time to chop it? Are the bananas going to end up so soft that you have to freeze them for a future banana bread?

Just looking at the beautiful bounty makes you too tired to cook! Will someone please take you out for dinner. Nevermind that the ingredients might be at their peak right now.

If you think that cooking is only a science, you’ll probably go crazy. You’ll be happier if not only have the formulas memorized but  also understand the rules. When your life doesn’t go according to plan you’ll know which rules can be broken without ruining everything.

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“Sweet Then Heat” from Mission BBQ is highly recommended.

Perhaps you have pulled pork stuck in the sandwich category of your brain.  Maybe you think it should only be served plated with a side of cornbread, a dollop of creamy coleslaw, oven-roasted potatoes, and a juicy pickle.

You served that on Thursday evening and now, Friday, there is a little bit of meat left over, but it doesn’t look like enough for a meal two adults. And, oh, the last of those four avocados you bought last Saturday is feeling quite soft! Do you lay out a haphazard buffet of plastic containers full of leftovers you’ve colletcted over the course of the week, or is there a possibility of fusing the ingredients into a “proper” meal that you both can enjoy?

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Considering someone else’s ideas can be liberating.  I wasn’t so sure that fresh avocado would pair with sweet bbq sauce and pulled pork, but I listened to my husband’s suggestion. The corn tortillas, chopped onion, sliced avocado, diced potatoes, and shredded pork were quite a nice combination.

So. Do plan. Do make lists. But also be happy when creativity can rearrange your plans into a differently shaped success.

 

 

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Categories: Food and drink, Pork, sauces & condiments, Shopping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Rush a Pig

 

Pork chops were on sale, so even though I didn’t have meat on my grocery list, I brought a package home with me.  Since there were six huge chops I separated them into zipper-seal bags and put them into the freezer. One morning I left two of the pork chops in the refrigerator so that they would thaw in time for dinner. A few recipes claim that you can prepare tasty pork chops in just ten minutes with only salt and pepper for seasoning, so I decided to see if it would work.

However, when my husband emailed me to see if he could help get anything ready for our evening meal, I googled to see if there were any interesting marinades. Ideas for “Summer pork” included fruity combinations as well as mustard-soy-worchestershire mixtures.  Joel mixed together the ingredients in a list that I emailed to him and when I got home from the office the pork had been absorbing the flavors for about an hour.  All I had to do was heat our stove-top griddle and throw the chops on.

Maybe I wasn’t patient enough. The pork chop did not want to let go of the griddle after cooking for five minutes on one side. I put a cover over the meat to see if capturing some moisture would help it release; no luck.  Eventually, I was able to force the pork chop off and flip it over, but when we cut into our pieces the flavor had not penetrated the meat. Also, it took several days of soaking and scrubbing to get the bits of burnt-on pork off my griddle.

Pork chops take two.

The next weekend, our grocery store’s flyer was advertising their “buy theirs get ours free” offer. One of the items was barbeque sauce. If you purchased a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce they would give you a bottle of the grocery store brand for free. They hoped that you would compare the two and notice that their version was just as good as the “real” name brand product.  Sweet Baby Ray’s has quite a few interesting-sounding flavors to choose from, but I stuck with the classic regular one.

At first, I thought that I would just throw the rest of my frozen pork chops into the crockpot and let them cook until they were tender enough to shred for pulled pork sandwiches. I couldn’t remember if you were supposed to put the barbeque sauce in the whole time you were cooking the meat or if you were to wait and just mix it in at the end. So, I looked it up.

While looking, I ran across a recipe that cooked potatoes along with the meat. Cooking two-thirds of your meal in one slow cooker sounded like a good idea to me. The author(ess) suggested greasing the inside of the crockpot and layering sliced potatoes, sliced onion, pork chops and bacon. Barbecue sauce goes between the layers. You let these ingredients cook on the high setting for 4 hours. Then you are to add cheese for the last 10 minutes. I decided to keep things simple and leave out the bacon and cheese.

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The moisture from the pork drops to the bottom of the slow cooker, mixes with the barbeque sauce, and boils the potatoes. The liquid was a bit runny after the first 4 hours of cooking. But we didn’t eat it until the next day, and when I reheated the mixture it had thickened enough that I didn’t need to add any roux or cornstarch.  A bag of steamed peas added some color to the plate.

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We enjoyed the meal, but next time I might let the meat cook a bit longer, because I like fall-off-the-bone tender pork.

Categories: Food and drink, Pork, Potato, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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