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Originally published Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 6:05 AM

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Pork: It’s the other red meat

Grill a pork chop like a steak.


Tampa Bay Times

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Grill a pork chop like a steak.

What? Won’t that kill you, eating pork that’s even the slightest bit the color of a pink piglet?

In case you haven’t heard, that’s how we are supposed to eat pork now. A few years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved new guidelines for cooking pork, dropping the minimum internal temperature for safety from 160 to 145 degrees. That’s quite an adjustment for those of us who cooked pork until it was leather just to make sure we annihilated even the hint of bacteria.

“Pink is acceptable. You’ve got to get over that,” said Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe, barbecue guru and author of Pork Chop: 60 Recipes for Living High on the Hog (Chronicle Books, 2013).

GRILLED ROMAINE AND PORK CHOPPED SALAD

Serves 6

4 boneless pork chops, about ½-inch thick

Olive oil

Salt

Black pepper

3 large Romaine hearts, split in half lengthwise

1 small red onion, quartered

1 small red bell pepper, cut into quarters

1 ear corn, shucked

½ English cucumber, cut lengthwise into quarters

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the dressing:

½ cup sweet barbecue sauce

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons apple juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Prepare an outdoor grill to cook directly over medium-high heat.

2. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk vigorously to blend. Set aside.

3. Brush the chops lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the Romaine, onion, bell pepper, corn and cucumber lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the grill and cook for four to five minutes, until golden brown. Flip and cook another four to five minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

4. Put the onion, bell pepper, corn and cucumber on the grill. Cook for three to four minutes, until lightly charred. Flip and cook for another three to four minutes, until lightly charred. Leave the corn on until it’s lightly charred on all sides. As the vegetables are done, transfer them to a plate and set aside. Place the Romaine halves on the grill, cut-side down, and cook to four to five minutes, until lightly browned. Flip and cook another two to four minutes, until lightly browned and wilted. Transfer the Romaine to a plate and set aside.

5. With a sharp knife, cut the chops into bite-size pieces and set aside. Cut the onion, bell pepper and cucumber into large dice and set aside. Cut the kernels from the ear of corn and set aside. Split the Romaine halves down the middle, then chop them into bite-size pieces. Place the Romaine in a large salad bowl. Add the pork chops, onion, bell pepper, corn and cucumber. Whisk the dressing well again and pour half of it over the salad. Toss well. Add half of the remaining dressing and the Parmesan and toss well. Add the rest of the dressing if desired and check for seasoning; add salt and pepper if needed. Toss well before serving.

— From “Pork Chop: 60 Recipes for Living High on the Hog” by Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe (Chronicle Books, 2013)

GRILLED COFFEE-CRUSTED PORK CHOPS

Serves 4 to 6

For this recipe, Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe uses the coffee grounds from one “K-Cup” for coffee makers such as the Keurig.

1 tablespoon ground coffee

1½ teaspoons salt

1½ teaspoons Sugar in the Raw (see note)

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon granulated onion

¼ teaspoon granulated garlic

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 bone-in pork chops, about ¾-inch think

1. Prepare an outdoor grill to cook directly over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine the coffee, salt, sugar, cayenne, granulated onion, granulated garlic and cinnamon. Mix well. Season the pork chops on both sides, dividing the seasoning evenly and using it all.

2. Place the chops on the cooking grate and cook for four to five minutes, until deep brown. Flip the chops and cook for four to five minutes more, until deep brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees. Transfer to a platter and let rest for five minutes, then serve.

Note: Large-grain turbinado sugar can also be used. A fine-grain sugar, like what you would use for baking, is too sweet.

— From “Pork Chop: 60 Recipes for Living High on the Hog” by Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe (Chronicle Books, 2013)



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