Friday, July 9, 2010

BBQ Pork Steak & Beans

Pork steak is a staple of St. Louis-style barbeque. They mainly prepare it in two ways; simmered in a tomato-based sauce and/or slowly cooked and then caramalized. This tender, meaty entree is the centerpiece of many backyard weekend barbeques.

The steak is cut from the pork shoulder/pork butt/picnic arm shoulder. It is a fatty, meaty cut that needs to be cooked slowly to break down the protein to produce a tender, tasty steak.

I decided to grill the steaks over high heat for a quick sear and then add them to the sauce for a slow simmer to achieve a tender, meaty-tomatoey-beany taste. Everything is cooked on the grill which adds a smoky flavor to it.

Before you prep your sauce, you want to start the grill. Fill up the chimney starter and place all the hot coals on one side of the grill for a two-zone fire. You want the direct side piping hot, a one-to-two count with your hand placed over the hot coals.

You can use your favorite barbeque sauce but I prefer to make my own. The sauce ingredients consist of:
  • 40z bottle of tomato ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cidar vinegar
  • 3 to 4 tbl of  Worchestershire sauce
  • 28 oz can of baked beans
  • 1 tbl chile powder, garlic powder, cumin
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 chopped, large onion
  • 3 to 4 chopped, pickled Hungarian sweet peppers, you can use jalapenos for extra heat
  • 12 oz beer
  • hot sauce, to taste

Place a pot on the grill and add your ingredients. I began with the bottle of ketchup, followed by the vinegar, Worchestershire, veggies, spices, beans, and then finishing it with the beer. Mix and combine well.
You want to place the pot on the indirect side of the grill.

Any pot will do as long as it can withstand the heat of the grill. I used an 8 quart size stockpot but a foil pan or a cast iron dutch oven would work well too.

I seasoned my pork steaks with black pepper and garlic salt but you can season it with whatever you prefer. Set the steaks over the high heat and sear each side for about 2 minutes.

After the steaks are seared, nestle them in the simmering sauce and give it a good mix. Coat the steaks with the sauce.

You want a pot that will fit so the grill lid can be closed but if it doesn't, not a big deal. Mine was too large so I kept the grill open. If it does fit with the grill lid on, add some soaked wood chips to the coals to add a layer of smoke flavor to the pork and beans.

You want to grill for about two hours. Mostly, I kept the pot over indirect heat with a the pot lid on but I did place it over the direct heat at times. I did not add coals to the grill so when the high heat lowered to low-medium heat, that is when I placed the pot over the direct side. Just pay attention to the heat and your sauce and you'll be fine. Give the sauce a good stir now and then while tasting it for flavor and heat.

After two hours the pork and beans should be done. The beer prevents the sauce from becoming too thick so you should have a nice, balanced ,consistent sauce. It shouldn't be watery like a broth. The steaks won't be cooked down like pulled pork but should be tender and easy to cut with a knife.

Served with cole slaw (sorry, not homemade....) and cold beer, this backyard BBQ dish was certainly rewarding. The pork and beans were extremely tender and tasty. My sauce had some sweet flavors in it which paired well with the vinegary cole slaw. The aroma was classic barbeque.

Of course, any choice of beer is recommended. I went the cheap route with Miller High Life Light. Lately, I have been drinking costly Microbrew beers so the "champagne of beers" quenched my thirst just fine.

BBQ Pork & Beans is an easy, classic backyard entree to cook and prepare. You just need some time in the day for slow-and-low cooking.

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