Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tribute to the 13 Colonies Parts VII, VIII and IX: Virginia Sweet Heat Pork Chops with Carolina Sweet Tea BBQ Sauce


I've been on a short hiatus from the blog.  It's nice to be back. 

I don't mean to rush the summer along or the summer series for that matter.  When I started to think about what regional recipes I would write for the colonies of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, the cuisines seemed similar to me so I decided to incorporate all three into one nice dinner post. 

Here are a few pictures that Dan and I took on our trip to the Biltmore in Ashville, through the moutains, and into Virginia to the NASCAR race.

Virginia, of course, is the oldest colony. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_of_Virginia. North Carolina and South Carolina were once considered one in the same http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina and http://www.carolana.com/Carolina/thesplit.html . One thing is clear, though settlements, wars and time, the region is as diverse as any other in the US.




Not to take anything away from these three beautiful and diverse states, but I understand from my friend, Janice, who lives in North Carolina that the Carolina region takes such great pride her barbecue that there are actually disagreements as to the components of the sauce.  I do not want to cause any big controversy so I decided to compromise between the vinegar and a mustard-based champions.  And in honor of legendary comedian Andy Griffith who passed away recently, I added a twist to the sauce that I am sure "Aunt Bee" would love, plus an extra surprise -- sweet tea!



Do try both the rub and the sauce together as they compliment each other.  You will note that the sauce has all sweet characteristics while the spice is in the rub. 

I recommend a light side dish to go along so that you can enjoy two chops.  If you select a heavier side dish such as potatoes or rice and beans, one chop would be an adequate serving, and then you can turn this into a meal for four!

It was so hot outside today.  I actually prepared the chops on an indoor grill pan.  You can certainly throw them on the grill.  Adjust cooking time accordingly.

Note that I selected the hot sauce for this recipe as it is made in North Carolina.  I did not receive any product and this is not a paid endorsement.

Serves 2 - 4.

For the pork chops:

4 Virginia Center Cut Boneless Pork Chops, about 1 pound
1 tbs. smoked paprika
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. onion powder
1 tbs. coarse sea salt
1 tbs. light brown sugar
2 tbs. Texas Pete ® Hot Sauce

For the Carolina Sweet Tea BBQ Sauce:

2 tbs. Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. yellow hot dog mustard
1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbs. strawberry preserves
1/2 cup store-bought sweetened green iced tea
2 springs fresh oregano (do not remove from stem)

Remove pork chops from refrigeration.  Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, coarse sea salt and brown sugar in a bowl and mix well.

Bush the chops with the hot sauce and then coat with the seasoning on both sides.  Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling, covered lightly.

While the chops are coming to room temperature, add all ingredients for the sauce into a sauce pan.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about fifteen minutes, whisking constantly until the sauce reduces.  Remove oregano springs.  Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Bring grill pan to high heat.  Add chops.  Cook for three minutes on one side, three minutes on the other until the internal temperature of the chops reaches 145 degrees F.

Need a quick side dish idea to go along with this dish?  Check out one of my previous posts: 
http://welcometojustforcooking.blogspot.com/2011/07/two-easy-summer-side-dishes.html

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