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BBQ Pork Chops with Toasted Barley and Red Bean Pilaf

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This recipe for barbecued pork chops is adapted from one I found on the National Pork Board’s website.

Try a variation on red beans 'n rice with a toasted barley pilaf -- perfect with an oven-barbecued pork chop wrapped in bacon.

For a side dish, I didn’t have the recommended sweet potatoes to “smash,” but I had a cup or so of pearl barley plus a can of Glory brand seasoned red beans — these turned out to make a decent substitute for red beans and rice.

I toasted the barley, thinking about how good Mexican rice is, lightly fried or toasted in the pan previous to simmering in water or broth. The flavor was fine, especially with the addition of browned garlic, chopped bacon and a few glugs of beer to the mix. What’s not to like?

The pilaf recipe is below — I’d suggest making it first or doing it while you’re browning the chops. It doesn’t take long to toast the barley and garlic, but it will take about 20-25 minutes to cook the grain.

I also thought it needed something spiky in the pilaf flavor to tie into the sweet-vinegary barbecue sauce, so I added a couple of dashes of Tabasco. Still, I felt a sprinkle of something pickled (onions, jalapeños?) would have been good, too. Feel free to message me ideas for that final touch!

BBQ Pork Chop with Toasted Barley and Red Bean Pilaf

2 teaspoons canola oil
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless top loin pork chops, cut 1 1/2–inch thick
1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 slices bacon, preferably maple-flavored
4 tablespoons (your favorite) barbecue sauce (I used smoky)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup lager beer
1/4 cup chicken broth

After pan-toasting the barley and garlic in a little bacon fat, add liquids. Continue stirring until barley tender and liquid cooked off.

2 strips bacon
2 large cloves garlic
1 cup barley
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup beer
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup or more Glory brand seasoned red beans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the pork chops: Put a large, ovenproof skillet on the stove and heat up the oil. Season pork with salt. Wrap bacon around the edges of the pork and secure with a wooden toothpick.

Heat oil in ovenproof large skillet over medium-high heat. Stand chops bacon side down in skillet, leaning against the side of pan if needed. Using tongs, in sequence, turn and stand chops along bacon-wrapped edges to lightly brown bacon, about 4 minutes (allow about 45 seconds to brown each section). Place chops, wide flat side down, in skillet and cook until underside is lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, mix together barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and 1/3 cup lager beer and broth. Put in small saucepan and let simmer for a moment to reduce without letting it get too thick. It’s more like a glaze than a sauce at this point. (After you’ve used this to glaze chops before baking,  let simmer some more, if you need to. Season if you think it needs salt.)

Turn chops over in cooking pan. Spread a bit of the sauce over the top of the chop. Put chops into the oven for 15 minutes or until they are cooked as you like them.

For pilaf:

Note: you can make this ahead of time, then keep warm. Fry bacon, keeping some of the pan drippings. Set bacon aside. Fry the barley over medium heat, stirring, as it gets a little toasted, add the sliced garlic and continue to stir. Let garlic brown, be careful not to burn. When barley is golden brown, add the chicken broth and beer. Cook it, stirring, without covering so the liquid reduces.

Add the half cup of red beans toward the end of cooking the barley to heat them. (If barley doesn’t get tender before the liquid cooks off, add more of the broth and/or beer.)

Season with Tabasco, salt and pepper. Toss the chopped bacon in at the end. Serve the pork chops, drizzled with a little more barbecue sauce, with the pilaf.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from The Pork Board




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