This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. All opinions are my own.
This sweet heat chile sauce is so stinking easy to throw together and packed with flavor, you’ll find yourself finding excuses to make it and dip anything in it.
Earlier this week, I left the metropolis of Columbus, OH and ventured off to Sabina, OH to spend the evening with Ohio Pork farmers including John and Connie Surber and Neil “Uncle Squeals” Rhonemus, members of the Ohio Pork Council including Heather Johnson (The Food Hussy), Chef Rachel from The Glendalia, Casey from Batter Up Bakery, and fellow bloggers Julie and Kinsee (Tastes of Lizzy T) and Amiyrah and her family (4 Hats and Frugal). It was an intimate group which lent itself to getting to know each other and for some story telling!
John and Connie Surber regaled us with stories about Connie jokingly receiving a fridge for pig semen as her 60th birthday present, and John finding a pair of Connie’s panties in his coat while out running errands because she had worn his coat while visiting the pigs one day and you have to shower in and out of the pig facilities so she tucked them in the pocket and forgot! They could probably write a book with all the stories they had to tell and said that raising pigs has certainly changed their conversations around the dinner table.
Wait did I say showering to visit pigs? Let’s talk about health for a minute namely of the pigs and, down the line, us. Neil “Uncle Squeals” Rhonemus told us that Trichinosis used to be a big problem and is why many people still cook their pork to 160 degrees F. As you know, pigs love to roll in the mud but what you may not know is why. Pigs do not have sweat glands so in order to cool off, they roll in the mud. Unfortunately this is also how they become infected. By bringing the pigs indoors, with temperature regulation, their overall health and the quality of the end product drastically improved. And showering when you enter and leave contributes further to their safety and health, therefore preventing sick animals from entering the food supply. I hope to come back and tour the facility myself and cuddle with some baby bacon!
Other than hearing funny stories and learning facts about raising pigs, another key to this event was to squash common misconceptions about cooking pork. What keeps you from cooking pork more often? Until Bob taught me to brine pork chops, I didn’t typically cook pork myself outside of a slow cooker because it typically came out too dry and tough. Turns out it wasn’t just an issue with marinading this other white meat, it was also a combination of not bringing to room temperature before cooking and then cooking too long. Let me explain.
One misconception is temperature and it’s relation to color. The first key is to bring the meat to room temp before cooking – and this goes for beef and chicken too. Putting a cold piece of meat on a hot pan is going to cause the muscle to seize and dry out. By bringing it to room temperature first, the muscle is more relaxed and therefore tender. As for how long to cook it, that will depend on the thickness of the cut, but the rule is to cook to 140 degrees F. That being said however, some heat and cooking will carryover for 5 minutes and 5 degrees after removed from heat, so Chef Rachel recommends removing it from heat when the thermometer reaches 135, let it sit for 5 minutes, and in that time it will reach 140. And resting for 5-10 minutes allows the juices to redistribute before cutting.
Pink inside? That doesn’t mean it’s under cooked! After all, you used a thermometer that read 140 right? And I can attest to it, that pork Chef Rachel cooked for us might have been the most tender and juicy pieces of pork I’ve had in my entire life and I find myself craving it every day since. Now I desperately need a weekend getaway to her boutique hotel and culinary studio, The Glendalia to see what else she can teach me. Take a culinary journey with a hands on cooking class and then stay in a cute hotel room with personality and breakfast the next morning? Sign me up!
After dinner (which was complimented with side dishes made by Connie using vegetables and herbs from her garden as shown above), Casey served up two cobblers using the last of the season’s peaches and blackberries, and surprise, the original recipe is Heather’s mom’s! Could this dinner seriously get any better? Batter Up Bakery is a made from scratch bakery that bakes farm to table and only carries things while they are in season. Add her bakery to my list of places to visit on our weekend getaway because I also heard she uses an old school rolling doughnut cutter to make all their doughnuts. I freaking love it! P.S. I may have had 3 not-so-small servings of those cobblers. Seriously legit.
Sorry, this post is supposed to be about pork. I digress. This recipe is for one of the sauces served with the pork loin, which yes was a little pink and freaking fabulous. Chef Rachel admitted that this sauce recipe was the result of cooking while under the influence of alcohol but it’ll knock your socks off with how much flavor is packs and how easy it is to make. While we had it served over grilled pork loin, it could really go with anything. Heck I want to use it as a dip for anything edible. It’s sweet but packs some heat!
Thank you again Ohio Pork for inviting me to this event and to the Surber family for hosting us in your home! I love sharing stories and talking food with people involved in every aspect of how it gets onto the table and cannot wait to come back for more.
One year ago: One-Pot Sausage & Swiss Chard Pasta
Three years ago: Single Serving Cake Batter Popcorn
Four years ago: Vegan Buckeye Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup
Five years ago: Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Six years ago: Peanut Butter Hummus
SWEET THAI CHILE SAUCE
Makes about 2 cups
1 (12 oz.) bottle sweet chile sauce (she used Frank’s Red Hot Sweet Chile Sauce)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Serrano pepper, finely chopped with seeds
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Transfer to a medium sauce pot. Heat over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through and bubbly around the edges.
- Remove from heat and either serve immediately over preferred meat or store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Source: Chef Rachel at The Glendalia.