Archive for the 'pork' Category

Bourbon-Molasses Pork Tenderloin

Bourbon pork tenderloin Collage Bourbon Molasses Pork Tenderloin

Things are growing around here – no doubt because the regular rain showers interspersed with blasts of sun is taking care of the garden more consistently than I ever have. And having previously lived with a sad and severely balding back lawn, ravaged by kids and peed on by dogs, we’ve managed to bring it (almost) back to life with copious quantities of grass seed and a strategically placed monkey statue, rescued from a friend’s flooded basement and brought home to clean, to keep the birds from eating all of it. (The seed, that is.) Which is all to say it’s worth sitting in the back yard again this year.

bourbon pork tenderloin 3 Bourbon Molasses Pork Tenderloin

I was craving something sticky-sweet and grilled, preferably something made of pig, something like ribs, only leaner but no less sticky. Molasses and bourbon did the trick, along with fresh garlic and ginger and grainy mustard and soy sauce for saltiness. Molasses is often overlooked for savoury dishes, but I find myself using it more and more for marinades and sweet barbecue sauces – it goes particularly well with pork. (Crosby’s has a great selection of free e-book downloads here.) And speaking of pork, a tenderloin is perfect for grilling; its long, thin shape means it doesn’t take too long on the grill, and it has great flavour and texture.

Tofino Collage Bourbon Molasses Pork Tenderloin

I made two, so that the second could be sliced thin and made into grilled molasses-bourbon pork sandwiches with arugula on a long, buttered baguette, to pack for a road trip. Picnics by the side of the road, at a picnic table in the trees or planted on a big rock with your feet in the river, are the best, aren’t they? or on the soft sand at the beach? Of course, grilled molasses-bourbon pork sandwiches are just as tasty planted on the grass in your own back yard.

bourbon pork tenderloin 1 Bourbon Molasses Pork Tenderloin

This recipe is pretty simple – pour the marinade ingredients into a big zip-lock bag, add the pork, seal it and leave it in the fridge overnight (or freeze it ahead of time – the marinade will protect the pork from freezer burn) – when you take the meat out to grill, you could simmer the remaining marinade on the stovetop – let it cook for a few minutes, which will cook it through and thicken it up to brush over the tenderloin as it grills, or dribble over your sandwiches. Yum.

Bourbon-Molasses Pork Tenderloin

From the Crosby’s Molasses Family Favourites e-book

1/4 cup Crosby’s fancy molasses
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup grainy mustard
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 pork tenderloins

Combine all the ingredients in a large ziploc bag, squish it around with your hands to blend and coat the meat well, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Cook on a preheated grill, turning frequently, for 15 to 25 minutes, brushing with sauce, until the internal temperature is 165°F. Slice in 1/2-inch thick slices to serve as a main course, or in thinner slices to make sandwiches. Serves 6 or so.

* This post was generously sponsored by Crosby’s Molasses – but I chose the recipe and the words and thoughts are my own. Thanks, Crosby’s!

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July 29 2013 | on the grill and pork | 7 Comments »

Sticky Almond Ribs

Almond Ribs 1 Sticky Almond Ribs

When W was still a baby, just starting to pull himself up to toddle around the coffee table, he skipped directly from fruit and veggie purees to grown-up food, going straight for a platter of ribs at one Sunday barbecue and never going back. I have photos of him sitting out in the grass in his swimmers, happily knawing on a pork rib in the sun, sauced from ear to ear. This is how I feel when I get to eat ribs – carefree and happy, loving the opportunity to eat with my fingers, and usually covered with sauce.

w eating a rib 20061 Sticky Almond Ribs

W will still choose ribs if he has any say in dinner. It’s on the top of all our lists, but best eaten when it’s warm enough to sit in shorts and flip flops, leaning in over the rib in hand, letting any drips land on the grass, then washing up in the sprinkler afterward. Ribs are the ultimate summer food, best served in the great outdoors, or in our case, the disastrous back yard. Like summer itself, there’s little concern for proper etiquette – you’re eating with your fingers, after all – the only requirements are plenty of napkins, and something fizzy and/or lemony with loads of ice to wash them down.

Lemonade Sticky Almond Ribs

I was getting into a bit of a rib rut when a really exciting opportunity came my way – I’m so excited to announce that I have partnered with the Almond Board of California to develop a summertime inspired recipe booklet using one of my favourite ingredients – almonds! The Sticky Almond Ribs below are just one of the many delicious recipes in the free booklet you can download (for free!) here. You’ll want to print the whole thing (I hope!) – it’s full of tips and recipes to inspire your summertime entertaining, whether it be a backyard barbecue or sunny, grassy picnic. I’ve managed to cover everything from breakfast to gooey desserts and frozen treats on a stick.

almond butter sauce Sticky Almond Ribs

Almond butter, something I almost always have a jar of on my shelf, is the secret to these sticky, sweet and savoury ribs. I’ve already made them no fewer than five times – I’m pretty sure they have ruined us all for any other kind of ribs ever. “Well you know we can never have ribs any other way now,” Mike said last time I brought a stack of them to the table, right on the wooden cutting board. I secretly love any kind of meal you can serve directly from a board – it looks rustic in a hip urban farmhouse resto-kind of way, and yet really what it does is minimize work and dishes.

almond ribs 5 Sticky Almond Ribs

And in summer, when there are plenty of extra people around, ribs are great for feeding a crowd – it’s just as easy to roast and finish a pile of racks of ribs as it is to make enough for a few, and you can cook them ahead of time and finish them off when you’re ready for them to be served up en masse. And of course there’s the benefit of not requiring utensils – you don’t have to worry about having enough to go around. Napkins beat out plates and forks any day of the week. (Ditto sandals and shoes.) And even though it’s totally low-maintenance, there are few more tempting sights than a stack of ribs, maybe some slaw or corn on the cob (while we’re getting our fingers sticky) and a tub of ice, nestled with jars of lemonade and cider and beer. Who says dinner parties have to be complicated?

The trick to a tender, fall-off-the-bone rib is precooking them. When making ribs at home, most people seem to pre-boil them; a long cooking time breaks down tough connective tissues so that you don’t have to coax the meat off the bone with your teeth. (If you toss a rack of ribs straight on the grill, you’ll wind up with something like jerky on a stick.)

pork ribs Sticky Almond Ribs

Boiling, however, is messy and awkward, you have to cut the raw ribs apart in order to fit them into the pot, and then you wind up boiling out much of the flavour of the meat.

I like to roast mine whole – throw a rack or two onto a rimmed baking sheet, cover with foil and bake for 2-3 hours in a low (275-325F) oven. Your ribs can be made ahead to this point, cooled and refrigerated to finish on the ‘cue – super easy if you have friends coming over and don’t want to be in the kitchen. It also gets the cooking part out of the way before you slather on that sticky sauce, which if it’s sweet, can burn if left in the oven or on the barbecue too long.

almond ribs 21 Sticky Almond Ribs

These will appeal to those who like their ribs sticky and saucy, savoury yet sweet; they wind up coated with a caramelized almond glaze similar to peanut sauce. If you want extra points for presentation, shower them with a flourish of fresh cilantro before bringing them to the (picnic) table.

almond ribs 4 Sticky Almond Ribs

Sticky Almond Ribs

2 racks pork side or back ribs
salt and pepper

1/2 cup almond butter, smooth or chunky
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 325F. Place the racks of ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper; cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Uncover the ribs and preheat the grill to high, or turn the oven up to 400F.

Brush the ribs generously with sauce and grill for 10 minutes or bake for 20 minutes, brushing again with sauce halfway through the cooking time, until the ribs are well-coated, dark and sticky. Cut into individual ribs and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.

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June 04 2013 | appetizers and on the grill and pork | 11 Comments »

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