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Grilled Pork Kebabs with ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barret Browning did not pen those words while reflecting on food, but for some reason, her words danced through my head as I ate the Grilled Pork Kebabs with Ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce. Let me count the reasons why I love this recipe. Made from lean pork tenderloin, these kebabs are lower in fat. In fact, in an article written by Jeff Volek, Ph.D, R.D. for Men’s Health, he states, “Pork really is the other white meat. Ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin has less fat than a chicken breast.” In addition, as the complex flavors of the sauce swirled in my mouth, I thought about its versatility and how fabulous it would taste on other grilled meat, particularly salmon, prawns, or chicken. The final reason why I love this kebab recipe focuses on its ease of preparation and its make-ahead convenience. Serve these kebabs with rice pilaf for Valentine’s Day and experience love at first taste.

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce
Gourmet, August 2003

INGREDIENTS
For Barbecue Sauce:
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1½ tablespoons molasses (regular or robust, not blackstrap)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh serrano or other small hot green chile (1 or 2), including seeds
1/2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Pork:
1 (1-lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment:
About 30 (8-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

DIRECTIONS
1. To make barbecue sauce: Stir together all sauce ingredients in a 1- to 1½-quart heavy saucepan and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 3 minutes. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

2. Put tenderloin on a cutting board. Starting about 5 inches from narrow end of tenderloin and holding a large sharp knife at a 30-degree angle to cutting board, cut a thin slice (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) from tenderloin, slicing diagonally toward narrow end and cutting through to cutting board. Continue to cut thin slices from tenderloin following same diagonal, starting each consecutive slice closer to wide end. (You will have about 12 slices. Cut any slices more than 2 inches wide in half lengthwise.)

3. Thread 2 skewers, 1 at a time and 1/2 to 1 inch apart, lengthwise through each slice of pork and transfer to a tray lined with plastic wrap.

4. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes.

5. Sprinkle pork slices with salt and brush both sides with barbecue sauce, then grill on oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning over once, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes total. Discard any leftover sauce.*

6. Cooks’ notes: Barbecue sauce can be made 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Kebabs can be prepared 6 hours before grilling (without salt or sauce) and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, cook kebabs in a hot oiled well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. For even cooking, try to cut pork in uniformly thick slices.

2. The spiciness of the sauce can be adjusted by reducing or increasing the amount of minced chile.

3. *I make double the amount of sauce and pour about half of it into a separate bowl to serve alongside the meat or to slather it on the grilled meat prior to serving. Discard the remaining half that was brushed onto the raw meat.

4. These kebabs make hearty appetizers and taste just as good when served at room temperature.

5. I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the kebabs and cilantro leaves on the serving plate prior to serving.

ENJOY!

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Despite an effort to cut back on our consumption of meat, my husband surprised me this weekend by buying two whole tri-tip roasts. The bargain package of meat he grilled will certainly last us a while. More simply put, with only two of us at home, we each have one roast to eat up! The plus side of having so much cooked meat is I get a temporary reprieve from cooking dinner. The negative side of it is you can bet the dog is going to find beef mixed in with his low cholesterol kibble and I’m going to need to prevent sliced-tri-tip-boredom by being creative. Off the top of my head, I’m planning French Dip sandwiches and sliced beef salads. I’m also thinking of a few sauces that pair nicely with grilled beef. One obvious example is barbecue sauce. Here’s an easy recipe that uses ingredients that most of us have at home. You’ll notice that there is no sugar listed – don’t need any, thanks to the ketchup and the Coca-Cola!

Georgia Coke Barbecue Sauce
Recipe from Nathalie Dupree’s New Southern Cooking cookbook

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 cups ketchup
6 ounces Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion; cook 5 minutes. Do not brown. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Makes 1½ cups

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Do not use diet cola! The recipe needs the original Coca-Cola for it’s flavor and sugar.
2. This barbecue sauce is good and simple to make, but if you’re wanting one with a great depth of flavor, this may not be the one for you.
3. My hubby thinks this would be great on chicken, too!

Enjoy!

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Ernest Hemingway allegedly wrote a compelling work of fiction using only six words. A seemingly tragic story, complete with a beginning, middle and end, unfolds with these simple words: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Following Hemingway’s format, I’ve come up with my own semi-tragic six-word story: Party planned, game lost, theme changed. Not really being an ardent football fan, I surprised myself with thoughts of hosting a Super Bowl party if the San Francisco 49ers beat the New York Giants. After Sunday’s overtime loss, I was in no mood for a party. But since, in my head, a menu had already taken shape, it seemed a shame not to put part of it to good use. Here’s a recipe for pulled pork sandwiches that’s easy, doesn’t smack too much of mustard or vinegar, and can be made in a slow cooker ahead of time! Australian Open party, anyone?

Easy Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 Boston Pork Butt Roast
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Enough root beer to cover roast (not diet version)
About 3 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 dozen onion rolls, sliced in half and lightly toasted
1 large can of French’s French Fried Onions, optional

Directions:
1. Rinse roast under cold running water and pat dry.
2. Rub salt and freshly ground pepper over roast.
3. Place pork in slow cooker and pour root beer over the meat until it is covered.
4. Cover with lid and cook on low until meat is well-cooked. Meat should fall off the bone and should be easy to shred. Length of cooking time will depend on the size of the pork butt roast and the type of heating element in your slow cooker. Plan on at least 8 to 10 hours for this portion of the cooking.
5. After meat is cooked, shred it and discard any fatty pieces.
6. Pour out the cooking liquid in the slow cooker (skim the fat off first, so that it does not go down the sink drain) and put the shredded meat back into the cooker. Stir in the barbecue sauce and gently mix until evenly distributed. Cook on low for one more hour, being careful that the sauce and meat does not burn.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. To serve: Let guests mound the pulled pork onto toasted rolls. Sprinkle french fried onions on top of meat, if desired. Put tops of rolls on sandwiches and make sure to provide plenty of napkins!

Serves about 12.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. The last time I made this I did not have root beer on hand, so I used some ginger beer that my brother-in-law kindly brought back from Australia for my hubby. I poured ginger ale soda in to cover the rest of the pork roast.
2. I used a 40 ounce bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Award Winning Barbecue Sauce, because I had it on hand. Obviously, the tastier the barbecue sauce, the tastier the pulled pork.
3. The pork can be cooked, shredded, cooled and refrigerated ahead of time. On game day, put the meat back in the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce and cook on low for about one hour.
4. The topping of french fried onions gives the sandwiches a nice salty crunch!
5. Serve with some coleslaw and you are all set to go!

Enjoy!

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