My Favorite Memorial Day BBQ Recipes

Hard to believe we’re into Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer! It’s a perfect weekend for firing up the BBQ and doing some grilling! Here are a couple of recipe ideas to tempt your appetite:

For a great side dish to go with the tri-tip, try my recipe for Scott’s Easy Baked Onions – or the Melted Onions actually cooked in the charcoal coals of the BBQ.

Fire up that grill – and have a great holiday weekend!

What’s for Christmas Dinner? Pork Loin w/Apples!

Tonight, we’re making a pork loin roast for Christmas dinner – using one of our old favorite recipes but tweaked just a bit for this year’s event. (Isn’t recipe tweaking what fun cooking is all about?)

We’re trying dry brining the pork loin for a few hours in advance of cooking. The advocates of dry brining suggest that a day or so is the ideal timing for it – but I didn’t decide to try it until just a few hours before we need to serve dinner! So, it will be an abbreviated version.

To do the dry brining, I covered the pork loin (a 3.3 lb roast this year) with salt and put it into the refrigerator uncovered. When it’s time to cook, I’ll rinse the salt off the roast and then season it with salt, pepper and Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning. From there, it’s back to our original recipe!

This pork loin roast turned out REALLY GREAT! Even though the dry brining was abbreviated, the roast came out great – moist, not dry at all – and a perfect compliment to the apple/cream/mustard topping. To add a bit more complexity to the topping, I also included a couple of rosemary springs and a layer of sliced red onion. This combination added beautiful flavor and complexity to the topping.

We’ve cooked this recipe many times over the years – although not much if ever during 2012. Today’s treatment makes us want to come back to it again soon. Try it for your family – it’s a huge favorite with ours!

What’s for Dinner Tonight? – Saturday Oct 22, 2011

Tonight, we’re making a pork loin roast using this old recipe from Scott’s Kitchen. This was one of our regular favorites back in the day – but it’s been a few years since we’ve made it. The feel of fall in the air today tempted us to upgrade to this pork loin roast from a quick pork tenderloin recipe we were considering for tonight’s dinner.

I made one addition to tonight’s recipe – adding a hearty coating Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning and a bit of lime juice as a rub before searing the roast in the French Oven. Sure smelled wonderful when I seared it just a few minutes ago!

After taking the roast out of the oven and wrapping it in aluminum foil, it’s time to remove the apples and then deglaze the French Oven with a bit of wine.

After deglazing, simply put the apples back into the pot, add in the cream and the mustard and you’ve got the perfect sweet/tart side dish to compliment the pork. This is a wonderful combination – love those Granny Smith apples!

Perhaps add a green salad like we did tonight and you’re done. A great hearty weekend meal!

Scott’s Easy Skillet Pork Chop Dinner with Lemon-Mustard Sauce

Yesterday, I picked up some boneless pork chops from Trader Joe’s – each about 3/4 of an inch thick. These chops are perfect for a quick (25 minutes or so) meals when cooked in a skilled on the stove. They’re also low fat!

This technique involves first searing the pork chops on high heat for 2 minutes/side to get a nice flavor on the outside – and then slowing down the cooking with some liquid that helps keep them moist and flavorful on the inside. The mustard and lemon juice used for the finishing sauce adds a very nice sweet/sour taste to the chops – they’re delicious.

Here’s my recipe – modified from Mark Bittman’s recipe.

  • An hour or two before I cook the the chops – or at the last minute if I forgot (!), I first coat them liberally on both sides with my favorite pork seasoning rub – Penzey’s Galena Street. This rub is an absolute must have for grilling thick pork chops on the Weber BBQ – and its equally good for these pan-fried chops. Trust me, Penzey’s Galena Street Rub is just the best for pork chops!
  • Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat in the skillet until it’s shimmering. Add the chops to the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Cook on high for 2 minutes per side.
  • Add 1/2 cup white wine, 1 Tbsp minced garlic and 1 Tbsp minced shallots (we love both of these from Penzey’s – we’re fortunate to have a local Penzey’s outlet here in Menlo Park!). Turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, you can toss a quick salad or sauté some fresh veggies to accompany the chops.
  • When the timer is up, check the chops for doneness – firm to the touch – and, if done, remove them to a platter. You should still have some liquid left in the pan – if not add a touch of water. Then add 1 Tbsp lemon juice plus 2 Tbsp coarse mustard. Reduce this a bit over medium-high heat and then pour a bit over the chops. Put the rest into a small bowl or pitcher to accompany the chops to the dinner table. You’ll want to add more of the sauce to the chops – and maybe the veggies – during the meal!

That’s it – about 25 minutes start to finish – not counting the 5 minutes it takes to rub the chops in advance. Hope you enjoy!