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Grilled Pork Grilled Pork Chops

Grilling It All

by John Raven, Ph.B.

Here we are at one of the rare times of the year when the weather should be nice just about everywhere. Spring in the northern hemisphere, and fall down south. It's the perfect time to do some outdoor cooking and dining.

I am confident that each and every one of you kept your grill clean and in perfect working order during the off-season. Those of you who live where any day is outdoor cooking day are to be envied. Put your apron on and let's get to it.

Let's start off with a pork chop recipe that will have all the neighbors downwind of you looking over the fence to see what smells so good.

Pork Chops Adobo

This recipe makes enough Adobo Sauce for about a dozen half-inch-thick pork chops.
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 big ancho peppers, seeds and stems removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until very smooth. Add a little water if necessary. Spread adobo on all sides of the pork chops, seal in a plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 days.

Grill over low coals four minutes, turn and grill another 4 minutes or until done to your taste. Don't burn them. Best served with tomatillo sauce.

Tomatillo Sauce

This sauce is excellent with pork and chicken. Matter of fact, it's great with just about anything.
  • 1/2 fresh or canned serrano chile pepper (you may substitute jalapeño)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cup fresh tomatillos, paper skin removed and crushed (or canned and drained)
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process lightly, don't puree it. Garnish with small amount of chopped cilantro. Serve on the side of the pork chops.

Garlic Shrimp a la Southwest

Shrimp on the barbie Texas style.
  • 2 pounds medium-size shrimp
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small hot red pepper, minced, or a pinch of cayenne powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 5 or 6 skewers
  • lime wedges for garnish
Shell and devein the shrimp, leaving tails intact. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the garlic, pepper and lime juice, and simmer about one minute. Skewer the shrimp and brush with seasoned butter. Cook three minutes on preheated grill, turn and cook one more minute. Baste with remaining butter while cooking. Serve with lime wedges for garnish.

Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter

  • 4 fresh salmon steaks, one inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Juice of one-half large lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Simmer one minute.

Brush the salmon steaks with the melted butter and grill over medium-hot coals about 4 minutes per side. Turn carefully with spatula. Brush with remaining melted butter while grilling. Fish is done when it separates easily from backbone, about ten minutes total cooking time.

Place the steaks on a serving dish and top each with a slice of lemon butter (recipe follows). Garnish with lemon wedges.

Lemon Butter

Prepare this a day ahead of time.
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one-half lemon
  • Salt and black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Turn out on aluminum foil or waxed paper and form into a roll. Roll up the foil or waxed paper, pinching the ends closed, and refrigerate overnight.

Here's a couple of stuffed vegetable recipes for you.

Stuffed Onions

  • 8 large onions of uniform size (onions that are flat rather than round work best)
  • 1 cup cooked ham, chopped fine
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 slice of bread, crust removed
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5-ounce can of chopped mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (flat-leaf parsley is preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 large sheets aluminum foil, buttered on one side or sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray
Peel the onions and take a thin, flat cut off the top. Scoop out a cavity in each onion with a teaspoon or melon baller. Don't scoop too much; leave the sides firm. Reserve 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.

Pour the milk into a bowl and soak the bread a few seconds, squeeze out the excess milk from the bread. (Discard the milk or give it to the cat.) Mix together the moistened bread, the reserved two tablespoons of chopped onion, chopped ham, mushrooms, egg and chopped parsley. Mix well and divide mixture evenly among the scooped-out onion shells. Dot each onion with one teaspoon butter. Place each onion on a sheet of the buttered foil and carefully wrap, sealing the folds.

Set the packages on a hot grill for about 20 minutes, turning several times to insure even cooking. Test for doneness, and cook a little longer if needed.

Zucchini with White and Wild Rice

  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup soft, white bread crumbs
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 6-ounce package white and wild rice mix
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces of Cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
Prepare rice mix per package instructions and set aside.

Cut a thin slice lengthwise off each zucchini. Hollow out inside with a teaspoon or whatever. Chop up the thin slice and the insides. Parboil the zucchini in salted water in a large skillet or stockpot for about five minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add one tablespoon of the butter to the breadcrumbs, mix and set aside.

Add the chopped onion and garlic to the butter in the skillet and sauté until onion is transparent. Add the chopped zucchini and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the egg, salt and rice mix, blending well. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Spoon the filling into the hollowed zucchini. Top with the breadcrumbs. Make a little foil "boat" for each zucchini. Cook on a covered grill at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You may have to take it to the broiler to brown the breadcrumbs, or use a propane torch. (A little hand-held propane torch is a handy kitchen gadget. You can brown the top of anything in nothing flat. They are also handy for charring chiles for peeling. Just don't work too close to the curtains.)

Vegetables in Foil

Here's an unstuffed recipe for veggies on the grill that you'll like.
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 sheets foil, buttered
Wash all the vegetables in cool water and pat dry before processing. Mix the vegetables and divide onto the sheets of foil. Sprinkle with tarragon, dot with butter and salt and pepper. Seal the packages. Place on a hot grill. Check for doneness after 15 minutes.

There you go, boys and girls. Happy grilling and eating. Where's the beef, you ask? Maybe next month I can come up with some beef for the grill that doesn't require sitting up all night tending.
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