Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Take This Chop and Stuff It
I recently had a request for some stuffed pork chops from the grill. I checked my usual sources for a recipe, but came up without any help. I've never let a lack of knowledge hamper any of my activities, so I set about the task at hand.
First requirement was the pork chops. I consulted my butcher, and he recommended some boneless loin chops. I asked that they be at least an inch and a half thick. While the butcher was chasing the pig, I picked up a box of Stove Top herbal flavor stuffing mix and a pound of Owens regular style pork sausage.
Back at the Prep Station: The first order of business was to make the stuffing. I diced about a half cup of onion. Then half of the one pound of pork sausage went into the skillet to brown. When the sausage was nearly done, the onion was added along with a little garlic powder and rubbed sage. While the sausage cooked, the stuffing mix was prepared per the recipe on the box. When the sausage was done, there was no excess fat in the skillet, so the stuffing mix was added to the skillet and everything mixed very well. A little extra water was required to get the desired consistency. The stuffing was put in a bowl and set aside to cool.
I pounded the wings of the chops with the dull side of a cleaver to thin them out a little. Only about two large tablespoons of stuffing would fit into each chop. The chops were closed with toothpicks and string making a neat package. (Make sure the stuffing is cooled to at least room temperature when you do the stuffing. Hot stuffing might take too long to cool in the ice box). The stuffed chops were then well seasoned with an all-purpose barbecue seasoning, wrapped in clear wrap and placed in the icebox overnight. The excess stuffing went into the icebox also.
The next day, the chops came out of the icebox about three hours before cooking time to let them come up to room temperature. They went on the grill about ten inches above a bed of oak coals. The chops were turned occasionally to get even cooking. They were basted several times with Italian dressing. In about two hours they were done. I overcooked the chops just a little. It is difficult to recook something that didn't get done the first time, so I erred on the safe side. No matter; they were delicious. Served along with the reserved stuffing and stuffed potatoes, it was a great outdoor meal.
Snow on the Prairie
Scott's wife, Jacque, sent the dessert for the day. Scott dubbed it "Snow on the Prairie". This dish was a white sheet cake topped with crushed pineapple, vanilla pudding, whipped topping and coconut. Very good on a warm Texas afternoon.
Coffee becomes one of life's staples when you reach middle age. The storied Texas cowboys drank a lot of coffee, because the water available was usually suspect and could contain odd bits of debris. So boiling and flavoring it was the thing to do. Lacking electrical outlets for the Mr. Coffee maker, the cowboys used whatever watertight container was available to brew their coffee. Could have been anything from a gallon bucket to an enamel ware coffee pot. The "coffee pots" lacked any means of straining out the grounds. The old cowhands found two ways to settle the grounds issue. First and most popular is to crack an egg and put it in the freshly brewed coffee, shell and all. The egg will hold the grounds together in the bottom of the pot. The other method was to put the coffee grounds in a clean, white sock, tie the top and throw it in the coffee pot and boil it. Clean, white socks were at a premium on the prairie, so the egg got most of the business.
RecipesWe used the egg method on our camp coffee. Coffee and cold water in the pot, bring it to a boil, set it off the fire and add the egg. Let it set about five minutes and it's ready.
Research and Development Time.
The well rounded cook is always looking for something new under the sun. I'm always on the lookout for something that will add a different and, hopefully, better taste to my barbecue and grilled products.
Recently I've been looking into honey mustard sauces. I think they are excellent on pork and chicken. Here are three recipes that have caught my eye.
Honey Mustard Sauce No. 1:
Honey Mustard Sauce No. 2:
Honey Mustard Sauce No. 3:
Sauce No. 3 is the only one I've actually tried. I modified it to suit me better. I used about a half cup of honey, being I thought the original recipe was a little tart. I used Tabasco for the hot sauce. This was used as a glaze on some grilled chicken thighs. It was very good. Had some nice compliments on it.
I had some of my version of the number three sauce left over and put it on a pan-broiled ham slice and found it to be just great. Next time I have ham slices on the grill, they will get glazed with the number three sauce.
Until next time, keep 'em running, swimming and flying.
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