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Spiced apple pork chops

As the weather warmed up in April, Chuck Dressler offered some history and recipes on using the slow cooker. He writes slow doesn’t mean easy, but these recipes sound delicious.

These two are from “Slow Cooker Tonight!” a publication of Southern Living. As Chuck says: “As always, enjoy the cookin’ & then the eatin’!”

SPICED APPLE PORK CHOPS

Servings: 4

Observations: Just because it went into the cooker didn’t mean there wasn’t a mess to clean up. It was a little bland, so next time I will double the spices (cinnamon, cloves and ginger) and maybe use apple juice instead of water.

  • 4 (8-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) container refrigerated pre-chopped onion (about 1 3/4 cups) or chop your own
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (5-ounce) package dried apples

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.

Coat the cooker with cooking spray. Transfer pork to a 5-quart electric slow cooker, reserving drippings in pan. Reduce heat to medium.

Add onion to drippings in pan, sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in 2 cups water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in brown sugar and next three ingredients (through ginger).

Remove pan from heat. Add apples to meat in the slow cooker. Pour onion mixture over apples.

Cover and cook on low for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until tender. Serve pork chops with apple mixture and sides of your choice.

PORK AND SLAW SANDWICHES

Servings: 15 with small buns

Observations: As any barbecue enthusiast will confirm, good barbecue can’t be rushed. But I felt the meat needed to be in the cooker a little longer. Next time, I will add an hour to the seven suggested.

The issue with canola mayonnaise is there are only a couple such products on the market: Best Foods/Hellmann’s Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise and Whole Foods Organic 365. All the other “lite” brands use a combination of oils. Not keen on buying a jar of either product to obtain a 1/4 cup, I used what was at hand which was Duke’s. Maybe skip the whole process and use a coleslaw dressing.

Last, I used normal-size buns as opposed to smaller ones. However, for leftovers I used King’s Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls. The sweetness was an interesting counterpoint to the spice of the barbecue and hot sauce.

  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups barbecue sauce – I am partial to K.C Masterpiece Original but it’s your choice.
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce – I am partial to Frank’s Red Hot Original but, again, it’s your choice.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups packaged cabbage and carrot coleslaw – or make your own! After all, you’ve got seven hours to do it.
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 15 (2-ounce) hamburger buns

Place pork and 1 cup water in a 3- to 4-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for seven hours or until meat is tender.

Drain pork, discarding cooking liquid. Return pork to slow cooker and shred with two forks.

Stir in barbecue sauce and next three ingredients (through pepper). Cover and cook on low for one hour.

Combine coleslaw and next four ingredients (through salt) in a bowl; toss well. Place about 1/3 cup pork mixture and about 2 tablespoons slaw on bottom half of each bun; cover with bun tops.

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