I love Summer. It is a fantastic time for Family fun and gathering friends together for good times and great food. People everywhere are indulging themselves with great vacations and Family outings. And . . The last, greatest day of the Summer for a perfect backyard gathering with good friends and Family is fast approaching. Labor Day!
Labor Day is the day that we celebrate and thank the American Labor force that made and makes this country the best place to live on our little planet. It is to the American Worker what Memorial Day is to our Armed Forces.
It also means a long weekend for most of us. Some of you will go camping, some will go on float trips. Some may spend the weekend doing family day trips to zoos and amusement parks. But there are a lots of us, myself included, that will spend the weekend getting things together and cooking up a storm for the backyard party and barbeque on Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd. This article is mostly for that last group, the backyard party people. I am going to give you the perfect Pork Steak.
I have found out over the years that Pork Steaks are not generally known outside of the midwest. I went to a Butcher Shop in Kentucky a while back and asked for Pork Steaks and the butcher looked at me like I was from Mars. Simply stated, Pork Steaks are a pork shoulder or butt roast cut into steaks about 3/4 of an inch in thickness.
Here is the general preparation list:
- Prepare the Basic Barbeque Sauce (recipe below) Make several batches. This can be done well ahead of time as it will keep for months in the refrigerator. Store it in clean jars. Make the recipe several times over to have on hand at a moments notice. For the following recipe allow one batch of basic sauce (about two cups) for every two or three Pork Steaks. You will need enough sauce and a large enough sauce or stock pot to completely immerse the Pork Steaks, but I will get back to that later. As an alternative have plenty of your favorite bottled barbeque sauce on hand.
Basic Barbeque Sauce:
- 2 cups of ketchup
- 1/4 cup of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsp. molasses
- 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
- 1Tbsp. barbeque dry rub (There are a few very good rubs available at your neighborhood grocery store like “Montreal Steak" or “Stubbs" or “Grill Mates. ")
- 1 Tbsp. tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- black pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients and bring slowly to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a slow simmer until the sauce thickens and darkens, about ten to 15 minutes.
Today is the Day! It is Labor Day and you are expecting a bunch of hungry people this afternoon. It is time to get started.
About four hours or so before you before your want to ring the dinner bell start making your barbecue sauce ready for your Pork Steaks. Since I have no idea how big a party you are having I will keep this limited to cooking with six cups of sauce and six to nine Pork Steaks.
What You Will Need:
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped. Vidalia onions are my preference. (if you are increasing the recipe add 1 small onion for each additional six cups of sauce)
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped. (add an additional green pepper if you like for every 12 cups of sauce)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (add one clove per 6 cups)
- 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
- 6 cups of either your homemade sauce or your favorite bottled sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
- cayenne pepper to taste. Be careful with this stuff. Add only 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. wait a few minutes and taste the sauce. If you want it a little hotter only add 1/8 tsp. at a time and wait a few minutes and taste again.
- beer! This is important. For 6 cups of sauce you will need 1/2 can of beer. (add 1/2 can for each additional six cups of sauce. You could add more if you like but you don't want to thin the sauce too much. )
Now, in a fry pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic and saute just until the onion is translucent. Transfer to a stock pot that is large enough to hold all of your sauce and all of the Pork Steaks without overflowing.
Combine all other ingredients in the stock pot and cover. Slowly bring to simmer to meld the flavors. While it is simmering stir it occasionally and take a taste once in a while. your may realize that there is something else that you think will make it better for you. By all means feel free to experiment. If you do just be sure to do it a little at a time. You can always add more but once it's in there you can not take it back out. Simmer about 30 to 45 minute. Turn off the heat.
One to two hours before you want to serve your hungry guests get your fire ready. It is best to use a covered grill. If you don't have one have a spray bottle of water handy for flareups which are inevitable with any pork but doubly so since the marinade I use is oil based. You will want a fire no hotter than medium. I am a charcoal man myself. This means after lighting and letting the coals get a nice coating of ash spread them out and let them stand for about 25 minute. In the meantime, get the Pork Steaks out of the fridge and remove from the marinade. Season with a little salt and pepper if desired.
Start reheating your sauce to a slow simmer. Put some of it into a bowl to brush on the meat as you grill it. Spread your Pork Steaks out over the grill. Cook for about 5 or 6 minutes and turn. Brush the upside with sauce. You want some of the sauce to cook into the meat while it is grilling. Cook an additional 5 minutes and brush with sauce again. Turn the Steaks again and brush the upside with more sauce. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, brush and turn again. After 2 or 3 more minutes remove the meat from the grill and put them into your stock pot of simmering sauce.
Simmer the Pork Steak in the sauce over low heat for 30 minutes to one hour, depending on how many steaks you are cooking. The more your have the longer you should simmer but not more than one hour. Stir them up once in a while to move the top to the bottom and the bottom back to the top for even cooking. Turn off the heat.
It's time to eat. Add some corn on the cob, cole slaw, baked beans, garlic bread, or any other side dish that strikes your backyard barbeque fancy and you have a feast.
Do Not forget the Watermelon!
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I hope the rest of your Summer is perfect and your Labor Day is an absolutely full of fantastic fun and food.