Barbecue dinner for an October evening

Barbecue pork loin, cheese grits and caramelized onions

“Write this one down,” Ann said.

“This one” was a pretty much off-the-cuff meal that just happen to hit some good notes.

It started with a stop at the grocery store while I was out running errands after a dental appointment. I went “fishing” for something to prepare for dinner and was almost going to pick up some beef for stir fry. In the case I noticed a piece of a pork loin that had been split lengthwise. It was labeled “Pork Loin for Barbecue” and that got me thinking, “What if…”

So, I snatched up the pork and headed for the checkout line.  On the way home a plan started to come together in my mind.

I threw together a dry rub and applied it to the pork loin. I put the meat in a glass dish, covered it with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for the afternoon.

While I took the dogs on their evening walk, I started finalizing the menu and the plan of attack. Some cheese grits and a salad to round out the menu. Caramelized onions and a little sauce of some sort to add a little “pizzaz!”  It sounded like a plan.

By time I got back home with the dogs and fed them, I had the meal completely envisioned.

Judging from Ann’s directive, it worked. So I complied and wrote it down.

Barbecue Pork Loin

  • 1 piece pork loin, cut in half lengthwise (about 1.75 – 2.0 pounds)
  • Dry rub (make your own or use your favorite store-bought one), enough to cover the meat on all sides

Rinse and pat dry the pork loin. Lay the roast, fat side down on a cutting board and make a few shallow slits across it. Flip the meat over and apply a generous amount of rub and pat it in well. Lay the loin, fat side down, in a glass dish deep enough to contain the juices that will leak out of the meat. Apply a good coating of the rub to the top side, making sure to work it into the shallow slits you made earlier. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

Take roast out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Prepare your grill (gas or charcoal, doesn’t matter) and once ready, put the pork on the grill over indirect heat, fat side down. Cover and let cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Turn over (fat side up) and let cook until meat thermometer reads 145 degrees farenheit (40 -45 minutes) . Remove from heat, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice thinly, garnish with some caramelized onions, a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce and serve with cheese grits and a tossed salad.   Serves four.

Cheese Grits

  • 1 cup yellow corn grits (polenta)
  • 4 cups stock, water, milk or combination (I used about a cup of corn cob stock and three cups water)
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sweet butter

Bring liquid to boil in a saucepan large enough to hold it and the cornmeal with room to stir.  Add salt to taste…be careful if using canned stocks, they may be salty enough.

Slowly add the corn grits while whisking briskly to avoid lumps. Grits will start to thicken, turn down heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Add cheese and butter and stir well. Remove from heat and cover. Will hold for a few minutes until serving. If it thickens too much, add a little more warm liquid and stir until well incorporated.

Caramelized Onions

  • 1 very large or 2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons light olive oil and/or sweet butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 to 4 ounces of good bourbon

In a skillet just large enough to hold all the raw onion, heat the oil/butter over medium flame. Add the onion and stir. Sprinkle in the salt, stir again until all the onion has been coated with oil and the pieces start to separate. Reduce heat to low – medium/low. Let cook slowly, stirring occasionally to make sure onions take on an even golden and then brownish color. Do not let them stick or burn, about 45 minutes or so. OPTION: after onions are soft and sweetly caramelized, you can add a little bourbon (be careful around an open flame) or beer to the pan and continue cooking until the liquid evaporates. Use to garnish plates.  Good on burgers, too. (Make a big batch and freeze some for later use).

 

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