By Sherrie Norris
According to national and state pork producers councils, October is National Pork Month.
In state rankings, North Carolina comes in second in pork production, following a good ways behind the No.1 producing state of Iowa.
Global pork production is led by China, which is projected to produce around 34 million metric tons of pork this year. The European Union and the United States currently hold the second and third positions, respectively.
Pork has in times past received less than positive reviews, but in recent years, has earned its place as “the other white meat.” There are many ways to use and enjoy pork, and hopefully this week’s recipes will help enhance your menu and inspire you to create your own new ways to put pork on your table.
Autumn Apple Chops
4 top loin pork chops
1 Tbs. flour
2 tsp. butter
½ sliced onion
1 cup apple juice
Season flour with a little salt and pepper, lightly flour pork chops and brown on one side in butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Turn chops; stir in onion and apple juice, bring to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer 7-8 minutes. Serves 4.
Easy Barbecued Pork
2-pound boneless pork loin
¾ cup cola carbonated beverage
¾ cup barbecue sauce
8 sandwich buns
Combine all ingredients except buns in Crockpot; cook, covered on high for 5-6 hours, until very tender. Drain and slice or shred pork. Serve on buns, with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
Bacon and Cheese Pull-A-Parts
2 Tbs. milk
1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Refrigerated Biscuits
Precooked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 finely chopped green onions
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat egg and milk with whisk until smooth.
Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in bacon, cheese and onions. Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; arrange pieces in single layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.
Optional: For a buttery flavor, lightly brush melted butter over top when removed from the oven.
Peppered Pork Roast With Cherry Salsa
3-pound boneless pork loin roast
1 or 2 Tbs. cracked black pepper, depending on taste
2 tsp. garlic salt
Rub pepper and garlic salt onto all surfaces of pork roast. Place pork in a shallow pan and roast in a 350-degree oven for one hour, or until internal temperature (measured with a meat thermometer) registers 155-160 degrees F. Let roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing to serve with cherry salsa, prepared as directed:
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup chopped green chilies
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup red cherry jam
1 ½ Tbs. vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Combine ingredients as listed and mix well. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Makes 8 servings.
Ham and Pineapple Kabobs
1 can (14 oz.) pineapple chunks, packed in juice
3 Tbs. orange juice
1 Tbs. parsley, dried
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 Tbs. olive oil
1¼ lb. cooked ham, cut into 1½-inch cubes
2 green peppers, cut into 1½-inch pieces
2 onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Drain pineapple and save the juice. Combine pineapple juice, orange juice, parsley, garlic powder, Tabasco sauce and olive oil in a small bowl.
Thread cubes of ham, pineapple, peppers and green onions alternately onto 6 metal skewers. Brush all sides with juice mixture. Place skewers on preheated grill, turning once and basting with juice mixture. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
*For variety, replace ham with chicken, pork tenderloin or scallops. Adjust cooking time to ensure the meat is cooked through. (Scallops are quickest.) The kabobs also can be broiled instead of grilled.