The past couple of years have seen my attitude change a lot about pork. Not that I ever hated it but the practice of overcooking it to a dry, tough piece of meat left me wanting more…not to mention that on top of that dry meat was a big chunk of fat. Really wonderful tasting fat I might add…but one I always lopped off and threw away. You know – that ‘I won’t eat the thing I love the most cause it’s bad for me’ piece of fat?
This dish was so good that I’m now soliciting strangers to come over for dinner to have an excuse to make it again. What’s changed?
Well, first of all overcooking pork is no longer necessary. It used to be the healthy thing to do but the pork industry has changed their guidelines, animals are healthier and leaner and the resulting meat we get from the butcher does not have to be ‘butchered’ by us to be edible. Cooking a piece of pork until it’s still very lightly pink inside is now acceptable practice and that has made all the difference to my palate.
Secondly since I’ve started to use pork more I realize just how versatile it is. Although I have recently enjoy the most amazing ribeye steak; I seem to prefer meats that lend themselves to a wide variety of spices and preparations and as a result chicken and flank steak have been my close friends for years. But I’m learning to give pork a chance and this recipe? Well, I already said it; I want it again, soon.
The original recipe is from Bobby Flays ‘Grill It’ cookbook and one that he has served at his restaurant, Bar Ameracain. While I’m sure it is fabulous, no one reading this will be surprised I bet that I HAD to add a bit of rum. Full disclosure time. I don’t want everyone to visualize me like my hero in ‘Drunk Kitchen’ though; I love the booze IN the food more than in my glass. Well, except for wine but even then, no wino here, I promise.
The dish was served at the restaurant with a savory apple butter. I almost passed on it and TRUST me, so glad I did not. Pork or barbecue or even molasses not your thing? Don’t let that stop you from making the butter; it really is apple BUTTER, not apple butter made with apples! Of course it wouldn’t quite be me if I didn’t add some…come on, say it with me…RUM!
The apple butter is plain out of this world. It filled two half pint jars and I’m serving it this weekend with biscuits. When I first saw how much butter was required I almost held back but so glad I did not. I have a stash of Kerrygold Butter and it was most definitely a good choice to use it for this; actually I’m sure that their butter is one reason for the outstanding end result and it deserves to be call Kerrygold Apple Butter! Really, another little jar of heaven you can plan to get in your Christmas basket this year (you know who you are!).
The sage leaves were ‘just cause.’ I wanted to try something using sage from a plant in my garden that I typically don’t touch until Thanksgiving Day. They are a nice little garnish and I’m glad I tried them but they are not necessary to the overall dish being so exceptional. I think perfectly suitable to use no garnish or just some nice green parsley.
Barbecued pork with a molasses, mustard and rum glaze served with a savory apple butter and fried sage leaves.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped (I never peel apples I'm cooking and certainly not if they're being zapped in the processor!)
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp dark rum
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter - I used Kerrygold salted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/8 cup of dark rum
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of sirloin tip roast; sliced into 3/4 inch slices
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion until soft; about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add the apples, brown sugar and rum and cook until the apples are soft, approximately 5-7 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon and salt and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Put the mixture into a food process, add the butter and process until almost smooth (I like mine with a bit of a chunky texture).
- Refrigerate for at least an hour; let come to room temperature before serving.
- Whisk together the mustards, molasses, rum and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
- Preheat grill to high.
- Brush the chop on both sides with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the pork steaks on the grill and cook on one side until golden brown and slightly charred; approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Brush with the glaze and turn over; grill on 2nd side til done, another 4-5 minutes.
- Brush with the glaze on each side again, just to set the glaze, only 30 seconds per side.
- Check internal temp and remove at 145 degrees; tent with foil and let rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Top each steak with a dollop of the apple butter and garnish with the sage leaves.
This recipe makes two half pint jars of the apple butter, more than you will need for this dish. Serve it with biscuits or alongside some squash too.