I’m somewhat embarrassed by how long it has been since my last post, but life happens. Running three businesses, keeping up with the family doings, and all those nights spent bowling takes its toll on taking pictures and writing blog posts about barbecue. Don’t get me wrong, I still cook outdoors on a frequent basis. Here’s proof from last night.
You don’t get a pulled pork pizza without the pulled pork, and in this house that only comes after a long day on the smoker. But after awhile pulled pork posts get a bit old, at least after you’ve seen them a few hundred times. For that matter, so do pizza posts, something we’ve done more than our share of here.
Today, however, I saw something worth writing about, at least as it relates to the barbecue world. Steven Raichlen was recently inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame (yes, that is a real thing) and shared his induction speech (full text here) on the Barbecue Bible blog. Among other things, a couple of items on his list of 10 things he’s learned during his 20(!) years of writing about barbecue really resonated with me. From his post:
Barbecue isn’t a noun. Or a verb. It isn’t a piece of equipment (the so-called barbecue grill). It isn’t a cooking technique—low and slow with plenty of wood smoke. It isn’t a meal cooked and eaten outdoors. Or a public or civic celebration. Barbecue isn’t Texas beef, or Carolina pulled pork, or Kansas City brisket or spareribs. It’s all of those things and activities and it’s the story of humanity itself.
No one eats barbecue alone. We may cook to show off or compete or express our creativity. But the bottom line is that we do it to feed the people we love.
There is a lot of other barbecue (and other) wisdom imparted as part of his speech. Congratulations to Steven on his induction to the Barbecue Hall of Fame (and to me for actually sitting still long enough to write a post).
In keeping with what is becoming a fine and honorable tradition, once again I publish a Rekindle the Fire post not only late but days after it was actually cooked. So much for good intentions. With that said, I had to make this meal based on one of the following ingredients from Tom’s most recent post: Thick cut pork chops, pears, brown sugar, or oatmeal. Oatmeal wasn’t actually available since I used it in my last post, brown sugar was too easy (and I’m attempting to cut down on the sugar these days), and there is only so much one can do with thick-cut pork chops (making them special usually involves either stuffing them like Tom did or layering them over something technical and/or bizarre on the plate), so pears it was. In a stuffed pork loin. With mangos and cream cheese. Almost like a stuffed pork chop, when it gets right down to it.
Speaking of good intentions, sometimes things that don’t look that great coming off the grill actually turn out to be pretty good once they hit the plate. Case in point…
Notice the charred bits of cream cheese leaking out of the seams and ends of the roast. Not all that appealing. But sliced and on a plate, what was once unappetizing turned out to be pretty nice looking. Best of all, it tasted great as well.
Paired (no pun intended) with some sautéed spinach and fresh jicama slaw, dinner turned out quite nice. For those looking for recipe instructions, here you go.
- 1 pork loin roast
- 1 fresh mango, chopped
- 1 fresh pear, chopped
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- Enough of your favorite pork rub mix to cover the pork loin (I used some Simply Marvelous Apple on this one
- Slice (butterfly) pork loin roast lengthwise, keeping thickness to about 1/2 inch.
- Roll out roast and spread a thin, even layer of cream cheese over the pork.
- Sprinkle chopped fruit evenly over the cream cheese.
- Roll up the pork loin and tie with roasting twine.
- Roast over indirect heat (at about 325°F) until internal temperature reaches 140°F. Remove from heat and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Slice into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick pieces and serve.
So there you have it. Now it’s back to Tom to see what he can come up with. I’m sure it will be something good…