By now you all should have seen the Big Butz BBQ opening salvo in the Rekindle the Fire challenge I went on about a couple of weeks ago. And if you haven’t, why not? After all, I just gave you links to both…

Back now? Ok, on with the show. This week it was my turn, and in keeping with the rules of the challenge, I selected one of Tom’s primary ingredients (apples) and incorporated them in a dish of my choosing. Naturally, the name of the dish (Pork Tenderloin and Braised Red Cabbage) didn’t say anything about the apples, but trust me when I say they are in there.

Oddly enough, this meal required more prep and cooking time for the veggies and fruit than the meat. The first step was to prepare the braised red cabbage. I leveraged (copied, stole from, absconded, plagiarized, whatever…) several recipes on the web for German-inspired braised red cabbage and settled on the following list of ingredients and instructions.


  • 1 small head of red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large apple of the sour variety, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium to high heat.
  2. Stir in onions and cook until limp (but not quite translucent).
  3. Add red wine, cabbage and apples and mix thoroughly. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly.
  5. When liquid boils, reduce heat, cover, and let cook to desired tenderness (at least 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Here’s the end product still en pot (and complete with steam).

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One lesson learned from this cook is that certain ingredients (such as cider vinegar and cabbage) aren’t well suited for cast iron pots as they have a tendency to pick up some of the iron taste from the pot. Of course this might just mean that my CI is due for some much needed restoration and seasoning; either way I will be using enamel-on-steel next time I do this outside (or stainless steel if I cheat and use the indoor stove).

Once the cabbage was on the grill I prepared a spicy apple compote to top off the pork. Recipe is my own, based on years of watching homemade applesauce being made and a desire to spice it up a bit.


  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper


  1. Melt butter over medium heat in small pot.
  2. Mix apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl, stirring thoroughly.
  3. Add apple mixture to melted butter and stir.
  4. Cover and cook over medium to low heat until apples soften and begin to break down (about 20-30 minutes).

No pictures were taken of the apple compote coming off the grill, but I have to share a cool set of measuring spoons SWMBO picked up during the course of her travels to thrift stores and other proprietors of off-the-wall items.

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These measuring spoons are actually calibrated to dash, pinch, and smidgen. When I said I used a dash of cinnamon and cayenne in the compote, I was actually referring to a real measure.

At any rate, the pork tenderloin went on the grill at some point during the braising of the cabbage and simmering of the compote. Oddly enough, this was the simplest part of the cook, as I limited the rub to a dusting of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and dried thyme. It was grilled until just done (145°F internal) and then left to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing. Once plated, we had something that looked like this.

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Other than the slight iron taste in the cabbage, this was an excellent meal enjoyed by all. The apple compote had a slight back-of-the-throat burn that went well with the juicy pork and sweet/sour taste of the braised cabbage. All in all, it was declared a “do again” meal that will likely be a favorite around here, especially during the colder (and wetter) months.

Now it is up to Tom to pick an ingredient from the three feature ingredients (pork tenderloin, red cabbage, onions) not used from his previous post and featured here (apples). It should be interesting to see what he comes up with…

Rekindle the Fire: Challenge Accepted

by zydecopaws on October 13, 2014

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August, September, October… Oh crap, where have I been the past three months? Not posting again, that’s for sure. You’d think I’d dropped off the edge of the earth or been in a motorcycle accident (no, in spite of the newspaper report that wasn’t me, but some dude that shares my name and lives up here in the Pacific NorthWet).

It appears that my absence has been noted by others who have also pulled disappearing acts over the past few months, citing the normal “family/work/other obligations” excuses. All valid, and not once was incarceration listed as a reason for not cooking/posting. One in particular was Tom Porter from Big Butz BBQ (who knows how to get me to respond to Twitter, albeit not promptly), and in a moment of weakness on a Friday morning convinced me to re-prioritize my calendar to include more cooking and posting.

I won’t rehash the chest-thumping, clothes-rending, brainstorming Twitter session that led to this latest round of silliness, but here’s the deal. This “challenge” is a combination of the challenge I set for myself when I started this blog and a variation on the 4-Ingredient Challenge we did a couple of years back. The difference this time around is that there is a bit more flexibility, and, at least for now, there are only two of us involved. The rules are as follows:

Rules of 4:

  1. Must use one feature ingredient from previous post by other participant and post one week later.
  2. At least 4 feature ingredients must be used and listed in the post.
  3. Can’t use the same protein or feature ingredient more than once every 4 blog posts.
  4. Have fun, be creative, don’t stress.

We have some other unwritten agreements as well, but no lawyers were involved in the creation of this challenge, so I’m pretty sure that Tom and I can hash out any issues with late posts, repeated ingredients, or food dropped on the ground while cooking (does the 5-second rule apply outdoors?). Also, please note that we are doing this at a time of the year where cooking outdoors is a bigger challenge for Tom (did I mention he lives in Wisconsin). I will cook my challenge meals outdoors, but I will forgive him if he has to move inside during a blizzard. You should too.

Also, as a reminder, comments have been turned off on this blog. You got something to say, fire up your own blog and point at us or pick your favorite social media outlet and have at it. However, if you pick the latter, there is no guarantee that I will respond. For those of you that like this idea, feel free to pick one of the feature ingredients, cook up a meal using the rules above, and post on your own blog. Who knows, a bit of anarchy like this could lead to the end of society as we know it.

Or possibly some great new dishes for others to sample, and a bit of fun as it scales out of control…

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