Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cherry BBQ Pork w/ Cheesy Grits & Greens



I don't know about you but I totally read that post title in a southern accent. Every once in a while, I channel my inner Floridian and throwdown some killer BBQ. Over the summer, Lewis and I were super excited to go cherry picking for the very first time. We were SO excited that we accidentally picked over five pounds of cherries -- enter this bomb sauce!

I think people often underutilize fruit in savory dishes. It adds a natural sweetness with a little extra sumthin sumthin in the background that you wouldn't normally expect. To cut some of that sweetness and add some spice, I had to whip up some cheesy jalapeno grits! I like to use dehydrated jalapenos because you don't have to worry about cutting them (I've had too many run-ins with this pepper getting jalap-in-my-eyeballs) and they really pack a flavorful punch! 

Cherry BBQ Sauce

yields about 3 cups of sauce

1 medium onion, minced
1 TBS butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional)
1 TBS oil (I used avocado oil)
3 Pound Boneless Pork shoulder, Cut into 3-4 inch cubes
1/2 chicken stock

For the sauce... In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until cherries are tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

For the meat...

1. Set a 6-qt Instant Pot® to the high saute setting. Add oil and wait a few minutes for the oil to heat up. Add pork cubes and cook until evenly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot (can add more stock if needed). 

2. Stir in the prepared cherry sauce, then select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 40 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions.

3. Remove pork shoulder from the Instant Pot® and shred the meat using two forks; serve on top of cheesy polenta (see below). 

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornmeal Grits

makes 4-5 servings - recipe adapted from Alton Brown

2 cups whole milk 
2 cups water 
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste) 
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal 
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
4 TBS unsalted butter 
4 oz sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 tsp dehydrated jalapenos (can use more if you like extra spice)


1. Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, add the dehydrated peppers, then gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all of the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover. Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps; make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking. 

2. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Feel free to add a splash of milk if the grits get too thick.

3. Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine. Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time. Serve immediately topped with even more shredded cheese!

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