Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

Rib-tato Salad to the Rescue!

Rescuing what, you ask? Rescuing you from getting stuck in a boring recipe rut for your next picnic or BBQ.

Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

I was recently hosting a big birthday cookout for Rob in our backyard and obviously meat was the #1 priority on the menu. Fortunately I had two racks of succulent dry seasoned pork spareribs from Smithfield on hand and I couldn’t wait to show off their deliciousness to all our friends. We smoked ’em on the grill for a couple hours and the smell had everyone at the party drooling.

Smithfield Pork Spareribs

We devoured some of the ribs as-is, straight off the serving board, but I wanted to do something a little more creative with the rest of the meat. I knew these smoky, sweet ribs would be such a great complement to traditional picnic sides…

Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

A thought dawned on me. I was about to throw together a potato salad. What if I just mixed the rib meat into the potato salad itself? A little sweet, a little salty, a little smoky, a little chewy…. yeah, it was basically the best idea ever. To really play up the sweet and smoky, I added some sweet potatoes into the mix and garnished with BBQ sauce. It was a hit and I have an inkling I’ll be making this dish for plenty of upcoming potluck parties.

Smithfield Pork Spareribs

 

Rib-tato (Rib + Potato) Salad

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Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork - Skewers over Ramen Salad

Ultra-Easy Grilled Marinated Pork Skewers over Cold Ramen Salad

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In my world, grillin’ and chillin’ time is in full force. Austin is sunny and beautiful on a regular basis and the nights are getting longer and longer. No time like the present to fire up the ol’ BBQ!

Even though I love grilling on these nice warm evenings, I’m not a fan of marinating meat. I mean, yes, I am in theory, but let’s be real. I often forget until it’s too late and I’m already home from work and ready to start cooking. I don’t want to wait forever for my meat to marinate. Luckily I discovered Smithfield’s line of marinated fresh pork so my days of forgetting to marinate my meat ahead of time are over. They have tons of flavors available and once you bring them home from the store, you can head straight to the oven or grill.

I used some Smithfield marinated fresh pork to grill up some skewers at a dinner party with my friends last weekend and it couldn’t have been easier. It took us about five minutes to prep the skewers, six minutes to grill the skewers, and another five or ten minutes to throw together the salad (depending on if you buy pre-chopped ingredients or not). And the finished product was so good!

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork - Skewers over Ramen Salad

I’m planning on making this over and over this spring/summer, and I suggest that you and your friends do the same.

Ultra-Easy Grilled Marinated Pork Skewers over Cold Ramen Salad

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Red Curry Coconut Pulled Pork

Coconut Curry Pulled Pork

Spring is in the air and flavorful, fruity recipes are on my mind! This time of year is always pretty busy for me, but spring of 2016 is proving to be especially crazy, mostly because I’m officially six months away from my wedding (yes, shockingly someone has stepped up to the plate to spend the rest of their life with me, who knew).

So I’m knee-deep in all sorts of wedding planning and bridal budgeting, while trying to juggle a day job, all my blogging projects, and SXSW, which completely takes over the city of Austin in both good ways (parties, events, and bands galore!) and bad ways (traffic, omg the traffic).

Basically, this leaves me with zero time to cook. The good news is, I have a slow cooker. And with a slow cooker, you cannot fail. Throw some ingredients in there, set it, forget it, come home from your job or event or meeting and you have a piping-hot meal waiting for you to devour. In this case, that meal is a mouth-watering, sumptuous pulled pork that you will be oh so happy to say aloha to after a long day.

Red Curry Coconut Pulled Pork

Of course, the ingredients you throw into that miracle slow cooker need to be good. And this recipe here is full of good stuff. We’re starting with a boneless netted fresh pork shoulder roast from Smithfield. This pork is the star of the show and it couldn’t be easier to prep. Literally go buy it at the store, take it home, cut it out of its net, and drop it in the crockpot. Done. No trimming, no chopping, no nothing. Love it!

Then you need some flavor to make your pork great. This is where the aforementioned fruit comes in. The pork shoulder is drenched in crushed pineapple and pineapple juice, plus a bunch of bright, island-y flair: ginger, soy, agave, sriracha, and curry paste come together to make a sweet-spicy-tangy sauce that is so perfect with this juicy, tender pulled pork. Oh, and you’re adding in some coconut milk at the very end for a little bit of creamy sweetness that takes this tropical pulled pork to the next level.

Even if springtime means “no time,” I promise this meal will come together in a snap and everyone will love it. Make sure to have plenty of sweet Hawaiian rolls and white rice on hand for serving!

Red Curry Coconut Pulled Pork

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Al Pastor San Miguel

Late Night Eats in Mexico: Pastor to Die For

Al Pastor San Miguel

You guys. Look. Look at that plate of deliciousness!

Okay, let me take a step back. At the end of the week I’m headed to Tulum (which, in case you didn’t know, is a little beach town on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, about a 90 minute drive south of Cancun). I’ve never been to Tulum before, but I’ve heard it’s a wonderland of beautiful beaches & cenotes, Mayan ruins, bohemian vibes, and great food. And yes, when I’m back later this month, I’ll be sure to give you a full report, especially on the food aspect!

While Tulum will be a new travel experience for me, I do know one thing I plan on eating a TON of while I’m there: pastor tacos.  Thanks to my visit to San Miguel de Allende (a gorgeous town in central Mexico, south of Mexico City) last year, I now realize how wondrous true pastor really can be. Pastor is a big late-night draw in certain parts of Mexico, and it’s so much better than the late-night hot dogs we’re used to in the USA. And sure, I’ve had plenty of al pastor here in Texas, but it is NOT THE SAME as the succulent, spicy, rich meat you find in Mexico.

The best pastor in San Miguel de Allende was at a little taco cart called Andy’s, which doesn’t open until after dark, so we’re talking late night treat only. And when I say taco cart, I mean taco cart. There’s a few little counter seats where you can get a glimpse of the action, but otherwise it’s standing room only. You walk up, order what kind of tacos you want and how many (trust me, never stop at just one) and then wait for your order to be ready and served up to you on a plastic plate covered in… more plastic.

Andy's Pastor San Miguel

So let’s talk about the composition of these tacos. The pork revolves around on a giant upright spit (think similar to a traditional kebap or gyro). The pork is sliced directly off the spit, fried up on the flat-top with gooey white cheese, garnished with traditional toppings (onion, cilantro, spicy salsa). You can also get pineapple or no pineapple. Some people have an aversion to adding the fruit, but I love it. You can see it roasting there above the pastor itself.

Just look at this glorious messiness… yes.

Al Pastor San Miguel

These pastor tacos are traditionally served on small corn tortillas, but you can also get “gringo” style which is basically the same exact taco, just served on a big flour tortilla. You really can’t go wrong either way! If you’re ever in San Miguel de Allende, Andy’s is definitely the place to hit up… they don’t have a website that I can find, but if you ask a local, they should be able to help you out. And as far as the best pastor in Tulum… well, I’ll let you know sometime in March!

Porky Photo of the Day

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Just a little snout sandwich at Tenderloin Grill in Kansas City, Missouri. It tastes like…um, like biting into an effing pig’s nose. With hot sauce.

Post-Thanksgiving Breakfast: Egg in a Hole…In a Pork Loin

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When we last encountered Smithfield Mesquite Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet, I was wrapping it in bacon for some extra-good pork-on-pork action. Fortunately, the good folks at Smithfield must have thought this was such a good idea that they now have a fresh pork loin product that comes with the (real) bacon already mixed in. Thank. You.

Even though I love me some bacon mixed in with dinners and desserts, it’s still hard to deny that it goes best with its longtime life partner, the Bert to its Ernie. I’m talking about eggs of course. I love everything about egg in a hole breakfasts — the cute appearance, the way the whites stick together in a small space and get nice and rich, and especially how the little yolky hole makes such a good spot for ripping off bread and dipping. In thinking about how to use this pork loin for a hearty holiday season breakfast I settled on recreating eggs in a hole…inside a pork loin. Here’s how it went down…

Bacon and Eggs in a Pork Loin

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Easy Pork and Apple Tacos

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As you could probably tell, I was pretty excited about my recent bacon, apple and pork creation/monstrosity. As much as I’d like to eat pork wrapped in pork and then grilled every day, unfortunately I don’t always have the time to make such an over-the-top meal. I had another of these Smithfield marinated pork loins on hand this month and was looking for a quicker way to cook it up. Smitten with the pork and apples combo, I made a quick pork and apple taco meal, perfect for that busy back-to-school, back-to-work, dear-god-why-am-I-not-on-vaction-anymore time of year.

Easy Pork and Apple Tacos

One Smithfield marinated peppercorn and garlic pork loin

One red apple

1/2 onion

queso fresco

corn tortillas

Simple directions: make this in to tacos!

Full directions:

Cut the pork loin up into small, 1/4-inch strips.

Throw the pork pieces in to a large saucepan on medium heat.

Meanwhile, chop up the half onion into small strips and throw those in with the pork.

Peel and chop your apple up in to small cubes. Toss these on the pork right as it’s just about done (after 10 minutes). I do this just to get the apples nice and hot — don’t want them all mushy!

Lather everything on to a warm tortilla; top with queso fresco and Sriracha.

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This sponsored post is part of Endless Simmer’s 2015 series as a Blogger Ambassador for Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork.

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