Ethiopian-style Pork Stew
You’d probably never see pork on the menu in North Africa, where Islam is dominant. You will find the chicken version of this dish (called Doro Wat) pretty much everywhere because it’s the most popular dish north of the Sahara. Sik Sik Wat is the beef version, and lamb is also common. This is truly an all-purpose main dish recipe! It has a spicy hot, complex flavor unlike anything else.
It takes 3 hours to make this superb slow-cooked, nutritious, and flavor-rich meal, and it is oh so worth it!
- 3 lbs pork cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T butter
- 2 T extra virgin olive, pure peanut, or coconut oil
- 3 C yellow onions, finely minced/pureed
- 1 T finely minced garlic
- 1 T finely minced ginger
- 1 T butter
- 1/4 cup Berbere Spice Blend
- 2 T butter
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 cup White wine mixed with 1 t honey
- 1 cup Chicken or Beef stock
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and pierced all over with a fork 1/4-inch deep
- Place the cubed pork in a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them. Let them sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes. (Or leave it on the counter while you do Steps 2 – 4, 95 minutes.)
- Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic, ginger, and 1 T butter. Continue to sauté, covered, another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add Berbere Spice Blend and 2 T butter. Continue to sauté, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the pork, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasonings, adding more Berbere according to your preference. Add the hardboiled eggs, simmer on low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Serve with a side of rice.
- Cut each egg in half and use a half egg as a plate garnish.
- Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro over the dish as a colorful and tasty garnish.
- Sprinkle diced fresh tomato over the dish for a cooling color and taste contrast.
Quick, Tasty Pork Chops
Try these delicious pork chops for a perfect, healthy end to a busy day!
- Pork chops, as many as needed
- 2 tsp Smoky Maple spice blend per chop
1. Place thawed pork chops on a cookie sheet or shallow-sided baking dish.
2. Sprinkle each pork chop with 1 teaspoon Smoky Maple blend. Turn over and sprinkle the other side.
3. Let pork with spice blend rest at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 F.
4. Bake 20 minutes. Turn. Bake until cooked through: 15-20 minutes.
Side Dish Notes
1. Start medium sized whole potatoes 15 minutes before putting the meat in the oven for perfectly timed baked potatoes.
2. Start potato wedges – drizzled with olive oil and coated with Italian spices, or our Lemon-Pepper Herb blend, and topped with parmesan cheese – at the same time as the pork chops. Use oven-safe tongs to turn the wedges when you turn the meat.
Delicious Hungarian Pork Stew
This simple and easy-to-make pork dish comes with a robust flavor!
- 5 slices bacon, diced
- 2 large onions, diced
- 7 tbsp Hungarian Spice Blend
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 5 lbs boneless pork chops
- 1 lg yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2/3 cup beef broth
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 (6 oz) packages wide egg noodles
- In a large skillet cook the diced bacon on medium-high heat until browned; drain and save the drippings.
- Add the onions to the bacon and cook until the onion is translucent.
- Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the 7 tbsp Hungarian Spice Blend. Transfer the mixture to a large stockpot.
- Using the skillet, without cleaning it, heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet on medium-high. Cook the pork chops until evenly browned on both sides, adding bacon drippings as needed.
- Transfer pork chops to a cutting board, blot off the excess oil, trim the fat, and cube the meat. Then add it to the stockpot.
- Using the skillet, heat a couple teaspoons bacon drippings on medium. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until they are softened and fragrant. Drain them on paper towel, then add them to the stock pot.
- Pour the 2 cans of diced tomato and beef broth to the stockpot and place the pot on a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally – about 1½ hours.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.
Quick, Tasty Pork Loin
This simple and delicious oven recipe also works well with pork chops!
- 2-2½ lb pork loin roast
- 6 tbsp Smoky Texas spice blend
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Very thinly coat the entire pork loin with olive oil, then evenly coat with Smoky Texas spice blend, and pat or rub it in. Let it rest at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator, covered. Add a second layer of rub before cooking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325°, then place the roast fat side up in a shallow roasting pan, preferably on a roasting rack in the pan. Position the pan in the center of the oven. Roast uncovered, 20 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature reads 145° F.
- Remove from oven and rest the meat 15 minutes before slicing.
While the pork is resting, pour off the accumulated roast juices into a heavy skillet.
Use a tablespoon to skim off the excess (not all) fat, then gently heat on a medium setting on the stovetop.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp flour over the heating juice and whisk it in until lump free.
Keep stirring as the juices thicken, making a thin gravy.
Spoon Au Jus over plated slices of pork. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Carolina Style Pulled Pork (with Carolina Coleslaw)
This is a very simple recipe and meal – really, it can’t get much easier to make a delicious lunch or dinner treat for your next party or gathering! But it does take time to do it right, so consider preparing your pulled pork a day or more ahead, if your party day is going to be busy. Then simply reheat it in a low oven or on the grill before serving.
We find the Carolina Coleslaw too vinegary and spicy for our palates, however we’re including it because it’s traditional, and you might enjoy it.
- 1 pork shoulder butt (this is not a part of the pork’s butt; it’s the upper portion of the front shoulder, also known as Boston Butt.)
- 3-6 tbsp Sweet Carolina spice blend
- 1-3 tbl olive or pure peanut oil (if you use peanut oil be sure it’s pure – most available peanut oil is mixed with some low-quality vegetable oil or is treated with an anti-foaming agent; neither is good for your health)
Hint: In choosing the size of the pork shoulder (or how many pork shoulders) you need, estimate ⅓ to ½ lb finished pork per person; and know that pork shoulder loses about 40% of its weight between cooking and removing the bone. So, a 5 lb pork butt will yield about 3 lbs of finished, pulled pork. At ½ lb per person, that will feed 6 people (9 people at ⅓ lb per person). 3 tbsp Sweet Carolina spice blend will easily and richly coat a 5-pound roast, but only thinly cover twice that. For best flavor, you want a thick coat that blackens richly as it cooks, which is why doubling the spice coat can be a good idea.
Coat the thawed pork butt in a very thin film of oil. Then cover thoroughly with my Sweet Carolina spice blend, and pat or rub it in. (You can add 1-2 tsp salt to the spice blend before you spread it over the pork, if you wish.) Let it rest, fat side down, until it’s time to cook.
You can cook a pork shoulder butt in the oven, or on a grill. But you can’t smoke your pork in the oven.
Simple Oven Method
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Select a large enough roasting pan with a rack in it for lifting the meat off the floor of the pan; place the seasoned pork on the pan, fat side up. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Continue cooking until a thermometer reads 190 degrees in the center, near the bone, typically 4 – 5 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and rest it 20 minutes or so, to finish cooking and so you can pull it apart without burning yourself.
Smoking on a Grill
To smoke your pork shoulder, you’ll need a package of smoking wood chips. You should be able to purchase one for about $5 wherever grills or smokers are sold. Soak your chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the grill so they’ll smoke rather than burn. (Leftover chips can be let dry and re-bagged.)
To use a gas grill for smoking you will need a smoker box and a drip pan. Both are available wherever gas grills are sold, and should not be very expensive. They are, however, a great investment!
Make sure you have a full propane tank! (A backup wouldn’t hurt, either, but one tank should be enough.)
Fill your smoker box with the well-soaked wood chips.
Preheat the grill to high.
When smoke appears, reduce the heat to medium. (If you have a thermometer built into the cover, you’re looking for about 300 degrees cooking temperature.) Center the pork butt on the grate over the drip pan, fat side up. Close and smoke until the pork’s internal temperature reaches 195 F. It will take at least 4 hours, unless it’s an unusually small butt, and could take 6 hours. When it gets to temperature, it should be falling-off-the-bone tender.
To use a charcoal grill, you will need a drip pan that you can place in the coals to catch the melting fat. Otherwise, you could end up with a flash fire.
Preheat the grill to medium-low. Use the vents to establish a temperature of 300 degrees F.
Spread 1 cup of well-soaked wood chips on the coals. Place the pork shoulder on the grate, centered over the drip pan.
Cover the grill and smoke the pork shoulder at least 4 hours, and as much as 6 (or even longer if it’s a very large butt), until the meat’s internal temperature registers 195 F. It should be fall-off-the-bone tender.
Check the grill every hour, and add a dozen or so fresh briquettes to each side when you do. Also spread another cup of soaked woodchips over the coals at those hourly inspections.
After Smoking – Final Preparations
When the internal temperature of the pork butt has reached 195 F, transfer it to a cutting board or platter. (Use care, if it’s very tender it may fall apart easily!)
Tent loosely with a bit of tin foil and let it rest 20 minutes, until you can pull it apart without burning your fingers.
Using two large forks (or your washed fingers), remove any remaining fat and bits of skin. Then shred the pork into thin, short strips. Patience and time pay off, here. You’re aiming for something like 1-2 inches long and not more than, say, 1/4″ thick pieces. Toss the bones and fat you come across.
Transfer the shredded pork to a nonreactive roasting pan. Stir in enough of your favorite BBQ Sauce to keep the meat moist, but not so much it becomes sloppy. You want it to be able to sit on a bun without sliding out or dripping all over your new summer shorts.
Cover with foil and warm in a 300 degree oven, or on the grill. Keep it covered and on a medium-low heat until served.
Serve on a bun.
Carolina Vinegar Sauce
If you want to be more Carolina authentic, try this Carolina Vinegar Sauce in place of your BBQ Sauce. Simply whisk until thoroughly dissolved and combined:
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1⅓ cups (non-chlorinated) water
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 5 t salt (or less)
- 4 t hot red pepper flakes (halve it for more flavor and less heat)
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 t freshly ground white pepper
Shred one small green cabbage, and mix it with 1 cup Carolina Vinegar Sauce. Salt to taste. Let it rest at least 1 hour, and even overnight in the refrigerator for a softer texture.
Use the Coleslaw as a side dish, or as the topping for the pulled pork on a bun.
Southwest-and-Maple Baked Pork Chops
This dish is delightful when made with local, field and forest raised pork chops with a rich strip of fat still attached!
1. Mix 3 tbsp Mellow Santa Fe spice blend in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon real maple syrup. Stir until a thick paste forms.
2. Coat one side of 4 center cut pork chops, using a basting brush, and place them in a baking dish, coated side down. Then throughly coat the tops, letting the paste drizzle down the sides, too. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Tip: Thicker pork chops (1″ or more) retain more moisture; thin chops dry out quickly. Chops with up to 1/2″ fat attached will have more flavor, and will retain more moisture.
3. To cook, preheat oven to 350 F, place pork chops on a center rack and bake until the internal temperature is 160 F (35-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops).
4. Reposition the rack for broiling, turn oven to Hi Broil and quickly broil for 5-10 minutes to form a crusty top surface. Serve immediately.
Serve with a side of young, thin stalks of asparagus lightly sauted with 1 teaspoon butter in a covered skillet until just tender. Remove from heat, drizzle with a light touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Use as a side or to garnish.
Smoked Pork Spare Ribs
Okay, so it takes half a day to make these delicious smoked ribs, but that makes it ideal for a day at the lake with friends – and the results will knock your socks off!
- 2 racks of pork spare ribs, roughly 1 square foot each
- 6 tbsp Smoky Texas spice blend
- 1 package of oak or hickory smoking wood (available wherever grills are sold)
- optional: 2 large pieces of butcher paper (try asking your local butcher when you buy the ribs)
- Prepare the rib racks by removing the membrane and trimming the hard fat cap to about 1/8″ thickness. Then thoroughly and thickly coat them with Smoky Texas spice blend. Let rest bone side down until ready to cook, at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours wrapped and refrigerated. Add remaining rub as a second layer, and let rest 10 minutes before grilling.
- Preheat grill to medium-low. Use the vents to achieve a temperature of 225-250° F. Then spread 1 cup well-soaked wood chips on the coals.
- Place the ribs, bone side down, on the grate. Cover and smoke until the meat’s internal temperature registers 165° F in the thickest part – 4 to 6 hours.
Note: check the ribs every hour or so. As needed, add a dozen briquettes to each side of the grill and spread a cup of soaked wood chips over the coals at those checks.
- When the ribs register 165° F, wrap each rib in a piece of butcher paper and replace on the grill. Continue smoking until the internal temperature reaches 185° F, another 2 hours or so.
Note: Texans often use tin foil, which doesn’t breathe; it’s a matter of choice. Foil traps the stream and speeds up the cooking process. It also softens the “crust.” By contrast, butcher paper allows much of the steam to escape, but retains enough to help soften the meat without altogether softening the crust made by the rub. So it’s a question of time or crust: you decide!
- When the internal meat temperature reaches 185° F transfer the ribs to an empty cooler and let it rest at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours. The longer it rests, the softer and juicier it will become.
To serve: Slice into individual ribs and serve garnished with steak sauce or Hickory smoked BBQ sauce.