Crash Your Grill with Pork!

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Disclosure: This post is Sponsored by our friends at the National Pork Board to inspire readers with our favorite pork chop recipes!

porkcollage

Last month Susanne had us over for dinner and made these mouth-watering Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Guacamole.

The chops were so tasty we were inspired to host a family BBQ for friends to try out another one of her delicious pork recipes, Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce.

grilled-pork-chops-with-chimichurri-sauce

Crash Your Grill with Pork!

It’s common to get into a grilling and flavor rut, isn’t it? I know personally, we have our standard go-to grilling recipes that are recycled over and over again. Boring.

Grilling pork chops are a great way to mix up your menu and delight guests with unexpected, delectable flavors.  

This season, crash your grill with pork, and watch the rave reviews that result!

Plan a BBQ Together with a Friend

We wanted to surprise our guests with a delicious pork recipe at an outdoor BBQ to kick off the summer season.

Susanne came up with the amazing menu,  grilled pork chops with chimichurri sauce over a bed of grilled asparagus and tomato bread pudding, we set the date and our Grill Crashers Party was in motion.

From menu planning to shopping to designing the decor, planning a dinner party with a friend is so much fun. Not only does it split up the work load, but being able to share ideas and to-do lists takes off the burden and allows you to enjoy the process from start to finish.

Step 1: Time to Shop 

Ralphs

Ralphs was our supermarket of choice for shopping because we knew they would carry everything needed for our party. We love their selection of fresh herbs, all the Simple Truth product options, amazing wine selection, fresh flowers, and more.

The first stop on our shopping excursion was the butcher to check out their selection of boneless pork chops. When serving smaller groups, look for pre-cut pork chop packages, but when planning for a large group, you can ask the butcher to cut them for you.

Our Ralphs butcher was so accommodating. When the butcher cuts the chops you can customize the thickness (our preference – 3/4″ thick).

For those that opt for natural meat, Ralphs natural and organic line, Simple Truth, carries natural pork which is humanely raised, fed an all vegetarian diet, with no antibiotics, added hormones or preservatives.
porkpic RalphsCollage

Step 2: Party Prep!

I got to Susanne’s house early to help with the cooking and set-up. This is another benefit of throwing a dinner party with a friend – you can sip on a little wine and chat while getting ready and it doesn’t feel like work!   

She handled the food prep and I worked on setting the table.

Flowers are one of the most inexpensive ways you can add a pop of color to your party and make your dinner table feel special.

I love using mason jars and milk bottles as vases for outdoor BBQ’s. To me, this inspires a natural, rustic feel.

For a backyard party with all the natural elements, you really don’t need much more for decor. Opt for some fresh flowers, candles, and cafe lights and you add instant ambiance, without breaking the bank.

rustictable2

rustictable3

Now it’s time to talk about the star of the party – the pork chops! Here Susanne will give you the how-to on how to make this delicious pork chop recipe for your next party….

Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce,
Tomato Bread Pudding & Asparagus

[Click here to download and print the recipe]

serves 8 people

Chimichurri is a super fresh, herby sauce.  It’s little salty and a touch spicy in the best way possible giving your pork chop a bright, summery flavor.  Warning: you may want more than just one!  Paired with asparagus (in its peak season) and the delicious and sort of indulgent savory bread pudding.  This plate is sure to please the party people.

Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce

12 pork chops, boneless, 3/4 inch thick

garlic powder

onion powder

salt + pepper

Pat the pork chops dry and sprinkle liberally with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once done, set aside until it is time to grill.

grilled pork chop seasoning

susanne seasoning

Chimichurri Sauce 

1 cup flat leaf parsley, packed, stems removed, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped (or fresh oregano)

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt (maldon or kosher)

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Stir together ingredients, serve at room temperature.  I like to make chimichurri sauce no more than a few hours ahead as the freshness of this sauce is key.  (If you need to make ahead, no more than 24 hours.)

chimichurri sauce herbs

chimichurri sauce

Grilled Asparagus

2 bunches, asparagus, tough ends snapped off and lightly shave the ends

1/2 lemon

drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt + pepper

When you are finished grilling your pork chops, quickly put the asparagus over medium heat for no more than a few minutes, taking care to keep a little crunch to them.   Then quickly add the lemon to the grill for a minute to sweeten the juice a little and squeeze over the asparagus.

grilled asparagus

Tomato Bread Pudding Recipe 

Serves 6-8

12 cups (1 inch) cubes country style bread (can use a flavored bread, like garlic or rosemary, day old bread is best), crusts discarded

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems

1 tbsp tomato paste

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp tabasco

tomato bread pudding

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400.

Toss bread cubes with butter in a 13×9 inch baking dish until coated.

Place tomatoes in a saucepan along with brown sugar, garlic, thyme, tomato paste, salt and hot sauce.

Bring mixture just to a simmer, stirring to break up the tomato paste.  Pour mixture over bread, gently stirring to combine.  Bake uncovered, until edges are beginning to caramelize 35-40mins.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.

How to Grill Perfect Pork Chops

Because our men LOVE to BBQ we put them in charge of the grilling – careful not to share with our guests what was on the grill.  They probably assumed steak or chicken or burgers. But little did they know we had something special planned for them!

Here is Susanne’s husband Mike at the ‘cue.

grilled pork chop tips

You will want to grill your pork chops over medium heat, turning once, for 4-6 mins per side until they reach an internal temperature of 145-160 degrees F followed by a 3 minute rest.

We pulled them off the grill at 145 degrees, and then let them sit under foil to rest.

A digital meat thermometer is a necessity to ensure proper cooking. Click here for the full guide of pork cooking times and temps.

porktemp

pork1

The Grill Crashers Reveal!

In the meantime, our party guests were hanging out, keeping Baby Shea entertained with no idea we were about to crash the party with pork!

When we shared the menu they were surprised, and also really excited to try Susanne’s recipe.

Doesn’t Teresa look happy at the thought of having pork chops?

teresa

ourbbq
The pork chops were juicy and delicious and the herby sauce made it so flavorful.  And, please do yourself and your party guests a favor and try out Susanne’s tomato bread pudding recipe.  The dish was passed around and around for 2nds and 3rds.

Perhaps the most important feedback however, was from these little girls who can tend to have discriminating tastes when it comes to food (discriminating tastes = picky eaters). However the girls all loved the pork which we cubed for easier eating.

Big thumbs up.

kidslikeit2

Be Inspired to Throw Your Own Grill Crashers Party!

Our party was a huge hit! Everyone had the best time and the pork was the talk of the night.

Are you feeling inspired to throw your own summer BBQ and crash the grill with pork? We want you to be able to have the same experience too!

Come back here tomorrow for a big GIVEAWAY of a Grill Crashers prize back generously offered by the National Pork Board so you can plan your own Grill Crashers Party and crash your grill with pork.

Do you love grilling pork? What’s your favorite recipe? Please do share in the comments below! 

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Vote for America’s Top #ChopGriller!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Pork Board

Grilling Tips for Pork Chops

Recently Susanne’s family had our family over for a barbecue and served this original brined pork chop recipe which was, in a word, phenomenal.

My husband attempted her recipe last weekend for a post dance recital family dinner and our parents couldn’t believe how juicy and flavorful the pork chops turned out.

Try this pork chop recipe out for a summer barbecue – your guests will love it. Love it.  You can read our grilling tips for pork chops below.

Here was our rendition of Susanne’s recipe…

chops

 

Cast Your Vote for a Chance to Win!

In our last post we told you about a contest sponsored by the National Pork Board searching for America’s Top #ChopGriller.

Out of nearly 6,000 entries, the National Pork Board narrowed it down to eight #ChopGriller finalists (two from each pork chop category.) The race is now on for one lucky winner to be voted America’s Top #ChopGriller and they need your votes!

Why would you take the time to vote you might ask?

Well, by submitting a vote, you will be entered for a chance to win a Large Big Green Egg® Grill Package and a summer’s worth of free pork to” get your grill on” this summer (valued at $2,000).

You are allowed one vote per day, so come back daily to enter, and of course for more chances to win.

Voting runs now through June 13th, 2014.

Click here to place your vote today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…)

Grilling Tips from the Experts…   

Our Grilling Tips for Pork Chops 

In our pork chop grilling experience we have learned the following grilling tips for pork chops have made for the tastiest chops.

stefan2

 1. Brine ’em, baby! 

Susanne’s recipe called for brining the pork chops for 2 – 3 hours prior to grilling.

The brine makes the chops SUPER moist, juicy and flavorful. My sister also made her recipe and loved the brined pork chops so much she told me she will never go without brining again!

brine

2. Get ready to grill 

Preheat grill to around 400 degrees.  Pat the chops dry after removing from the brine and rub both sides with a little olive oil prior to grilling.

3. Watch the clock like a hawk

You do not want to overcook pork so you have to watch the grilling time carefully.  You can use this pork cooking times and temps resource as a cooking guideline.

4. Check the temp 

My husband used a timer and meticulously watched the cooking time and removed from grill when chops reached the recommended internal temperature.

For those of you who didn’t know the National Pork Board recommends grilling pork chops to an internal temperature between 145°F degrees (medium rare) and 160°F degrees (medium), followed by a 3 minute rest time.

145

5. #’s aren’t just for social media

Well, they are not really hashtags, but I couldn’t resist.

When grilling, change the direction of your pork chop on the grill at 1/4 turn angles at equal time intervals to get nice grilling hashmarks on the meat.

Gives them a nice touch for the presentation.

hashmark

6. Give it a rest 

After taking off the grill, cover with foil and let the chops rest for at least 3 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Yummmmm……

Do you have any grilling tips to share? 

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Get Your Grill On [Giveaway!]

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Brined pork chop recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Pork Board 

Nothing makes me happier than the official arrival of grilling season.  In sunny SoCal we truly can grill year round, but I particularly love spring time when we can embrace the arrival of even warmer temps, lighter nights and weekend BBQ’s with friends firing up the grill while the kids run around.

To celebrate, I have an amazing grilling giveaway today from the National Pork Board and Kroger‘s which includes:

$250 Kroger (Ralph’s) Gift Card
Two Grilling Prep Trays from Williams Sonoma
Tong/Spatula Set
Grilling Mitt & Apron
Basting Brush
Digital Thermometer

Hello ultimate Father’s Day gift (enter below!)

Susanne and her husband recently had my family over for a Sunday afternoon barbecue to test out a new brined pork chop recipe and let me tell you, she makes a TOP chop! Hopefully this post inspires you to invite some family or friends over to try it out for yourself.

But before we get into the recipe (which you have to try – total crowd pleaser), I wanted to share a current contest going on where the winner gets a $15,000 backyard makeover!

#ChopGriller Contest 

Do you think YOU have a top chop?

In only 140 characters, enter the reason why you think you make the best chop in the neighborhood in the #ChopGriller contest by May 16th, 2014 and you might be grilling in the backyard of your dreams!

The winner will receive $15,000 toward a backyard makeover, a summer’s worth of free pork and a Large Big Green Egg® in Mahogany Table, Custom EGG® Tools and Big Green Egg Organic Lump Charcoal.

Click here for #ChopGriller contest details and to enter.

Chop Shoppin’ 

Susanne has been on a mission to help me learn to cook for some time now, so I joined her at our local Ralph’s, the ultimate source for barbecue essentials, to get some tips on shopping for her menu, which was to include brined New York Pork Chops, grilled peaches, cous cous and a balsamic Burrata salad.

suschops

There were prepackaged chops in the refrigeration section and also chops available at the butcher counter.

The National Pork Board adopted several new cut names last April to match the names of familiar cuts of beef for easier identification and preparations. For Susanne’s recipe, we went for the prepackaged New York Pork Chop, a boneless cut, formerly known as the Top Loin, or Center Cut.

The prepackaged chops were thinner than the ones behind the counter, so Susanne opted for the thinner variety.

Ralph’s had it on sale at $2.99/lb which means we got 9 New York Pork Chops for only $9.30! Very inexpensive way to feed a group, right?!

Susanne’s New York Pork Chop Recipe 

To infuse the most flavor into the chops, Susanne made a brine for the chops to marinate in for a couple hours before cooking.

Any lean, dry meat, like a pork chop is a great candidate for brining, which enhances flavor and adds moisture.

brining

Pork Chop Brine Recipe

9 New York Pork Chops

1 c brown sugar

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

4 T Kosher Salt

2 T garlic powder

1/2 T black peppercorns

1 T allspice (whole)

2 T dried marjoram (or dried thyme)

2 t dry mustard

1/8 t red pepper flakes

ice cubes

Pork Chop Brine Instructions 

1.  In a medium saucepan bring all ingredients to a simmer (except pork chops and ice cubes- ha!)  Stir until sugar and salt has dissolved.  Remove from heat and pour over ice cubes to cool.

2.  Once cooled, place New York Pork Chops in the liquid and refrigerate, brining for 1-2 hours.

3.   Remove New York Pork Chops from the brine, pat dry with a paper towel,  lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub with a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Grill It Like a Steak!

Grilling a New York Pork Chop is very easy, you simply grill it like a steak!

Susanne cooked them on a medium heat grill, and turned a total of 4 times, for 2 minutes every turn, to give them the nice grill hashmark.  The length of time you want to cook depends on the thickness.  Click here for an easy cooking times and temps guide.

When you’ve finished grilling, cover the pork chops with foil and let them rest for 3 minutes before serving.

chops

Here is my husband who was the inspired “SUS Chef”!

grilling

Important note: you don’t want to overcook pork or it will be too dry.

The recommended internal temp for our chops was between 145°F degrees (medium rare) and 160°F degrees (medium) followed by a 3 minute rest time, so Susanne was careful to monitor the temperature to take them off the grill at the right temperature.

A good digital meat thermometer is essential when grilling pork.

145

Then it was time to grill the accompanying peaches.

Grilled Peaches Recipe 

4 peaches, quartered, pit removed

2 t maple syrup

2 t balsamic vinegar

2 t brandy (or sherry wine)

2 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt + pepper

fresh basil, rinsed and torn for serving

Grilled Peaches Instructions

Toss the peaches the rest of the ingredients about 15 mins before ready to grill (except basil).

Grill until just browned and caramelized, turning frequently to maintain the structure of the peach.  Remove from grill and return to the balsamic/maple liquid.

grilled peaches

And look how pretty it turned out to serve on a platter family style with some fresh basil leaves…

familystylechops The meal was served on a bed of cous cous with a refreshing salad of crisp greens with Burrata cheese on the side.

The whole group, including my two picky kiddos, gave it a thumbs up!

girls

Crisp Greens Salad with Burrata Cheese Recipe

Mixed baby greens (we chose one with baby kale)

2 packages Burrata cheese (drained from liquid, dried with paper towels)

1/2 thinly sliced onion, marinated in red wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar to remove the over whelming onion taste.

whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

balsamic vinaigrette (you favorite from the store or make your own!)

plateoffood

The entire meal was light and perfect for a warm afternoon.

The combination of the sweet peaches with the brine flavor packed a flavorful punch.  All of the flavors on the plate played so well together, it was fun mixing different ingredients on the plate to make each bite a little different.  Creamy Burrata and crunchy almonds with a bite of pork and peaches- YUM!

Happy grilling from our families to yours!

BBQing

 

Grilling Giveaway! 

One lucky winner will receive $250 Kroger (Ralph’s) Gift Card, two grilling prep trays, tong/spatula set, grilling mitt & apron, basting brush and digital thermometer! Good luck and happy grilling!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Pork Board. We also received the above grilling giveaway items to assist with the writing of this post. 

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