Two weekends ago, my friend Rex from Savory Reviews invited me and a few other guys over for a grill session. I think I’ve said this before, but when I’m sitting out with a cold beer and a hot grill, I’m not sure that it is possible for me to be happier. It’s pretty much ideal.
Given that there were two food bloggers at the event, the food was pretty solid. For starters, these were the pesto pork chops we grilled up.
We had quite the menu for this event, especially given that there were only four of us. Course one was margaritas. Nothing like a little tequila to smooth out a Saturday.
Course two was a dish that I learned from my Dad actually: Jalapeno Poppers wrapped in bacon.
(For 12 poppers. Enough for 4 healthy guys.)
– 12 jalapenos
– 6 ounces cream cheese
– 2 ounces blue cheese
– 12 strips thick bacon
– Toothpicks, soaked in water
Making the poppers
If you have some rubber gloves you may want to put them on. First, mix your cream cheese and blue cheese together in a bowl. You can just use cream cheese if you want, but I think the blue cheese gives it a nice bite.
As far as the jalapenos go, chop off the stem but try to leave as small a hole as possible at the top of the pepper. Then chop them in half horizontally and cut out all the guts. If you want these guys really spicy you could mix the seeds in with your cheese mixture. That’d be kind of crazy, but I’m not against it.
Then stuff as much of the cheese as you can between the two halves of the jalapeno and sandwich them back together. They should be able to close completely.
If you are my father, then you have a drill bit that you use solely for this purpose. He just drills out the center of the pepper so there’s no need to cut them in half. It’s about 10 times as fast, but I don’t have a drill really so I do it this way. Still works great.
The problem obviously is that if we were to throw these guys on the grill like that, the cheese would just melt right out and you would have one big hot mess. Solution: bacon.
Wrap each pepper in a full strip of bacon. Start at the top of the pepper to make sure the top hole is covered and then just wind the bacon around until it is snug around the pepper. Then secure the whole thing with a toothpick. Make sure to soak your toothpicks in water before you do this or they will just burn off really fast on the grill.
As the bacon cooks, it contracts and keeps the pepper nice and tight so very little cheese will escape as it melts. I know it sounds crazy but it works!
These guys need to cook until the bacon is nice and crispy. Probably 10-15 minutes on the grill. Turn them every few minutes. The first time you make them you may lose one or two, but don’t worry about it. You’ll get good at it quickly.
The final result is crispy bacon wrapped around a roasted pepper that still has a tiny bit of crispiness to it. Inside is an awesome cheese mixture.
I think I could eat a dozen of these by myself, but usually 2 or 3 is enough to do the trick.
Rex cut up a bunch of nice veggies and marinated them. You can find his recipe on his post, but here is some grill porn for ya.
Pesto Pork Chops
There is a farmer’s market around the corner from my house and it gets bigger every weekend. My favorite stand so far is one that sells all kinds of pork products. They have amazing bacon (used theirs for the poppers above) and also pork chops.
Rex had lots of fresh basil growing in his backyard so we decided to mix up some pesto to marinate these guys in.
– 1 1/2 Cups fresh basil
– 1/4 Cup pine nuts
– 3-5 cloves garlic (ok. Five.)
– 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
– Salt and pepper
Just mix up all those things in a food processor or blender and then pour the pesto over your chops in a plastic bag. Let these marinate for an hour or two at least.
Literally, as we were walking out to the grill it started to monsoon rain. Luckily, Rex is prepared for any situation. He has a full tent that was quick to set up that completely covers his patio – grill and chairs. Awesome.
While we were cooking the veggies above, there were some serious flare-ups on the grill and it would create these huge plumes of smoke which would get trapped in the tent. I stepped back from the tent and snapped this photo while Rex was manning the grill.
Cook the pork chops on pretty high heat for 5-7 minutes a side depending on thickness. You want to make sure they have a good char on them.
So there are a few recipes here that maybe you can use the next time you are looking for something to grill.