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Pork is a versatile component for weekday or holiday menus


By Linda Smith / For the Enterprise - 

In spite of there still being about two feet of snow covering most of our yard as I write this, the grill finally was found on the deck and the grilling season has officially begun at our house. Pork is a favorite meat around our house, and I’ve included in this week’s column three recipes for grilling pork. If grilling isn’t your thing or if you haven’t been able to access your grill yet, I think you’ll enjoy the crock-pot pork stew or the oven-baked pork roast.

Kansas City Style Pork Back Ribs

3 slabs pork back ribs

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. paprika

3 T. seasoned salt

2 T. chili powder

2 T. ground black pepper

1 T. celery salt

1 T. onion powder

1 T. garlic powder

2 t. ground sage

1 t. dry mustard

1 c. barbecue sauce

1/2 c. honey

In a pint jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, paprika, seasoned salt, chili powder, black pepper, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground sage and dry mustard. Place lid on jar and shake jar to combine thoroughly. Set spice rub aside. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together the barbecue sauce and the honey. Heat through, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set barbecue glaze aside; keep warm or at room temperature before using. (If storing for more than 2 hours, cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently before using.) Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season generously with spice rub, using about 4-6 T. for each slab of ribs. Grill over indirect heat in a covered grill or smoker for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn ribs once during cooking, about halfway through. Ribs are done when the meat is very tender (insert a paring knife between ribs to determine); they will pull apart fairly easily. About 20 minutes before ribs are done, baste heavily with barbecue glaze. If you like your ribs extra sticky, baste again 10 minutes before removing from the grill. Serves 5.

Italian Grilled Pork Chops

4 bone-in pork chops (1-inch thick)

2 c. Italian salad dressing, divided

3 T. balsamic vinegar

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 T. honey

1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 t. dried rosemary)

1/2 t. black pepper

Put the pork chops in a gallon-size zip-top bag, and pour 1 c. of the Italian dressing over the chops. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, turning bag occasionally to thoroughly marinate chops. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 c. Italian dressing, balsamic dressing, Worcestershire, honey, rosemary and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Grill the pork chops until done, approximately 6-8 minutes per side (depending on thickness), brushing with basting sauce while cooking.

Bourbon-Spiced Pork Tenderloins

2 (1-lb.) pork tenderloins

1/4 c. bourbon

1/4 c. soy sauce

1/4 c. Dijon mustard

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. olive oil

2 T. grated gingerroot

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Arrange the pork tenderloins in a non-metallic dish. Combine the bourbon, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, olive oil, gingerroot, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a blender or food processor container. Process until blended. Pour over the pork tenderloins, turning to coat. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours. Drain, reserving the marinade. Sear the tenderloins on all sides over hot coals; do not pierce the pork. Reduce the temperature to medium. Grill for 20 minutes or until cooked through, basting with the reserved marinade frequently. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Yields 6 servings.

Cider, Pork and Vegetable Stew

2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast

3 medium potatoes, cubed (about 2 1/2 c.)

3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 c.)

2 medium onions, sliced

1 c. apple, coarsely chopped (1 medium)

1/2 c. celery, coarsely chopped (1 stalk)

3 T. quick-cooking tapioca

2 c. apple juice or apple cider

1 t. salt

1 t. caraway seeds

1/4 t. black pepper

Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. In a 3 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart slow cooker, combine meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, apple, celery and tapioca. Stir in apple juice or cider, salt, caraway seeds and pepper. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Serves 8.

Cranberry Orange-Glazed Pork Roast

2-lb. boneless pork loin roast

1 (16-oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce

2 T. brown sugar

2 t. orange peel, grated

In a small bowl, stir together cranberry sauce, brown sugar and orange peel. Place roast in a shallow baking dish. Spread with 1/4 c. cranberry mixture. Roast, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (about 20 minutes per pound) or until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees. Baste every 20 minutes with cranberry mixture. Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve. Heat remaining cranberry mixture and serve with roast. Yields 8 servings.