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Just Five: Soda-Pop Pork with Roasted Strawberries

July 10th 02:07pm, 2013


This recipe was inspired by an early summer meal at The Restaurant at The Cheshire: a thick-cut, bone-in, smoked pork chop with a delicious black pepper and strawberry sauce. It was pretty transcendent, but it also was simple enough to set off my “Five Ingredients” alarm.

Smoking the meat is the challenge. If you have a smoker or can turn a grill into one, I recommend it for many reasons (smoked nuts, smoked mozzarella, smoked trout). But for this dish, it’s just as easy to toss some wood chips onto a charcoal fire until they smoke. If you don’t have them, you can skip this step entirely, since the brine adds a lot of flavor. Brining the pork in salt and Dr. Pepper turns it into something like a nice ham steak. The additional black pepper gives it real snappiness, and the mellow, roasted strawberries add sweetness.

Pork steaks are so cheap and easy to find, and they cook up in a flash. This dish also would be great using other summer berries or stone fruit instead of roasted strawberries. Elevate your pork steaks, St. Louis!

Soda-Pop Pork with Roasted Strawberries
Adapted by Dee Ryan from a dish at The Restaurant at The Cheshire
Serves 2

¼ cup salt
3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 pork steaks or pork chops (bone-in), 1-inch thick
1 liter Dr. Pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. white sugar

Special equipment:
Apple or cherry wood chips (optional)

• In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and the Dr. Pepper until the salt is dissolved. Place the pork in a zip-close bag and add the liquid. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
• Prepare a charcoal grill. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Place the strawberries on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes.
• In a saucepan over medium head, add the roasted strawberries, the white balsamic vinegar and the sugar and cook 5 minutes, until the strawberries are soft. Remove them from the heat and mash into a sauce using an immersion blender or a fork. Set aside.
• Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry. Drizzle a little olive oil on each piece and season with the remaining black pepper.
• When the grill is hot, toss the wood chips over the coals. Put the pork on the grill, cover and grill 5 to 6 minutes. Flip, then cover and cook 5 more minutes.
• Brush a layer of the strawberry sauce on the meat and cover for 1 minute. Remove the pork from heat and serve with the remaining sauce.



By Dee Ryan

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