7 Incredible Pork Recipes Making You a Grill Master

Summer is the season of sun, fun, and cracking open a few beers. It’s also the season for firing up the grill as often as possible. In honor of our favorite way to cook during warm-weathered months, we’re bringing you our Grill Master Series where we’ll highlight a different category of food to sizzle up over the grates each week. Follow along to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cooking over open flames. 

Though it doesn’t match the popularity of a certain poultry, pork is certainly among Americans’ favorite meats. The National Chicken Council estimated the average person in the U.S. will consume about 50 pounds of the red meat this year, making it the third most popular protein. It might become everyone’s top pick when you grill these seven recipes. These dishes star everything from succulent belly to lean tenderloin, so there’s something for every taste. Armed with these eats, you’ll rightfully be crowned the barbecue king.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce

Give applesauce a rest and introduce this go-to meat to some zestier flavors. These easy pork chops from Epicurious manage to get an impressive amount of flavor with just a few ingredients. The dressing is so bold that you don’t even need to marinate the pork chops, which makes this dish really speedy. It’s a great choice for an impromptu gathering. To complete the spread, grill your favorite veggies and cook a batch of rice or quinoa. Want to go even easier? After the meat rests, slice, and serve it with tortillas and taco fixings.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 (½-inch) boneless pork chops
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Whisk together lime juice, garlic, pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. While whisking, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in cilantro. Set aside.

Prepare a grill for direct heat over medium-high heat. Pat pork dry, and season with salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, and grill pork, turning once, until just cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes. Serve with vinaigrette drizzled over top. Serve remaining vinaigrette on side.

meatball banh mi

Source: iStock

2. Vietnamese Meatball Banh Mi

Though you’ve probably enjoyed your fair share of this Vietnamese sandwich, you might not know that it’s actually influenced by French cuisine. That explains why paté so frequently makes an appearance in the filling. Any number of different meats, or even tofu, are equally delicious. Give the dish a new spin with Serious Eats’ grilled meatball version.

Though marinating, chilling, and grinding the meat takes a bit of time, you can make the mixture in advance to make things easier on yourself. You can even roll and skewer the meatballs ahead of time. Then all you have to do is heat the grill, cook the skewers, and assemble the sandwiches. If you have some cilantro haters in your life, try subbing mint.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean pork, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup shallots, minced
  • ¼ cup garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Black pepper
  • 2 ounces pork fat, minced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted rice powder
  • 2 tablespoons toasted rice powder
  • 2 large baguettes
  • Pickled carrots and daikon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

Directions: Soak wooden skewers in water, at least 30 minutes. Whisk together shallots, garlic fish sauce, sugar, and pepper, in a small bowl. Place pork slices in a large zip-top bag, add marinade, seal bag, and turn to coat. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then place bag in refrigerator at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours. Just before making meatballs, transfer pork to freezer for 30 minutes.

Using a food processor, pulse pork fat into a paste. Add pork, and process into a pasty ball. Add rice powder, and pulse to combine. Form meat into 1½-inch balls. Thread four meatballs onto each skewer.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When covered with gray ash, pour evenly over charcoal grill grate. Grill meatballs over medium-high heat until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat, and let rest 5 minutes.

Fill baguette with pickles, meatballs, and a handful of cilantro. Serve.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Oklahoma Joe’s Pulled Pork

Don’t give up on making pulled pork at home if you don’t have a smoker, because your grill is every bit as capable. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, formerly Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Que, shared this recipe with Food Network to show you how it’s done. Though it takes a fair bit of time and plenty of monitoring, the results are well worth the effort.

Make a simple rub by combining brown sugar, chili powder, and paprika with a handful of other spices. Coat the pork, then get the grill ready. Smoke the meat for 5 to 6 hours, and then serve it with some tangy barbecue sauce. It’s great for sandwiches the first day, but make sure to save plenty of leftovers to make some phenomenal breakfast hash, nachos, and even pasta later in the week.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons galic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (4- to 7-pound) bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1½ cups barbecue sauce

Directions: Soak 4 cups oak or hickory wood chips at least 30 minutes. Combine all spices in a bowl, and mix to combine. Pat rub onto meat, making sure entire surface is coated. Cover pork and let sit at room temperature while lighting grill, no longer than 1 hour.

Coals are ready when covered with ash. Arrange coals on one side of grill, leaving area large enough for pork to cook indirectly. When grill reaches 200 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, scatter one-quarter of wood chips over coals. Close grate, and place pork over empty side. Close lid.

Maintain a 200 to 225 degree Fahrenheit temperature in grill, adding coals every 2 hours, or as necessary. Add chips, and spray pork with apple juice each time more coals are added. Do not remove lid unless adding more wood chips or coals.

When pork reaches 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer, about 4 to 5 hours, remove, and double wrap in aluminum foil. Return to grill to finish, 1 to 2 hours longer. Pork is finished when it pulls apart easily, and temperature reaches 190 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Let rest 1 hour. Unwrap, pull out bone. Pull pork, discarding large pieces of fat. Serve with barbecue sauce.

mango salsa

Source: iStock

4. Pork Roast with Mango Salsa

A perfectly cooked pork loin doesn’t need much to shine. Taste of Home’s recipe dresses the meat up just enough with an easy mango salsa. Pork is a natural pairing for all sorts of fruit, so don’t sweat it if you can’t find any ripe mango. Try making this salsa with pineapple, peaches, or cherries.

Ingredients:

 Pork

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (2½-pound) pork loin

Salsa

  • 1 medium mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped, seeded plum tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped, peeled cucumber
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Directions: In a small bowl, combine first nine ingredients. Rub over pork, and place in a shallow baking dish. Cover, and refrigerate 3 hours, or overnight. In a large bowl, combine all salsa ingredients. Cover, and refrigerate.

Oil grill rack, and prepare for indirect heat. Set a drip pan on empty side of grill. Place pork over drip pan, and grill, covered, 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat, and let rest 15 minutes. Slice, and serve with salsa.

Asian ribs

Source: iStock

5. Asian Ribs with Five-Spice Rub and Hoisin Glaze

Just about everyone loves ribs at a cookout, but most recipes take a ton of time. Food & Wine reinvented this barbecue classic with some Asian flavors and a simpler method. Instead of the usual low-and-slow method, these ribs get a quick cook so they’ll be on the table in 40 minutes. Throw them together for an easy weeknight dinner, or consider making them for a get-together — guests will go nuts for this addictive variation.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds pork spareribs
  • ⅓ cup Asian Five-Spice Rub
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • Vegetable oil

Directions: Using a sharp knife, make ¼-inch-deep slashes in rib meat, between bones, without cutting all the way through. Spread all but 1 tablespoon of spice rub over ribs and into slashes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine hoisin sauce, ketchup, and remaining spice rub. Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute, then remove, and transfer to a bowl.

Light a grill. Brush ribs lightly with oil, and grill over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until ribs are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Brush ribs with half of hoisin glaze, and grill 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut between bones. Serve with remaining hoisin glaze.

stuffed pork tenderloin

Source: iStock

6. Stuffed Cuban Pork Tenderloin

When you find yourself cooking for health-conscious guests, figuring out what to make can be sort of a headache. Cooking Light’s sandwich-inspired tenderloin fits into just about any diet and also tastes phenomenal. Keep the nutritious theme going by serving with a summery salad. The best part about this recipe, though, is the leftover potential. Cut a few slices, sandwich between some crusty bread, toast, and serve with some mayo for a sandwich that might be better than the original.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 thin slices Swiss cheese, halved
  • ⅓ cup chopped bread-and-butter pickles
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Cut a slit down length of tenderloin, going two-thirds of the way through meat. Open tenderloin to lay flat. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pound until meat is ½-inch thick. Spread mustard evenly over surface. Sprinkle with cilantro. Arrange cheese and pickles over pork in one layer. Roll pork, starting with long side. Using kitchen twine, tie pork at 1-inch intervals. Season pork with salt and pepper.

Grease grill grate. Grill pork 22 minutes, or until thermometer inserted into meat registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit, turning halfway through. Remove meat from grill. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice, and serve.

grilled pork belly

Source: iStock

7. Grilled Pork Belly with Soy-Mirin Glaze

If you like bacon, then you’ll love its uncured cousin. This pork belly has all the richness of the smoked meat, but it’s milder and easily adapts to tons of different flavors. The New York Times’ sweet and salty recipe might be one of the best ways to eat the tasty meat.

Though this recipe uses kabocha squash, you might have difficulty finding any this time of year. Try parboiling some sweet potatoes until just tender, slice into thick wedges, and then proceed with the recipe as written. If you have a grill basket, use it to cook some green beans and snap peas for an excellent side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless pork belly
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 small kabocha squash, seeded, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, slated sesame seeds

Directions: Cut belly into 3-inch, square pieces. Slice each into squares no thicker than ¼-inch. Combine soy sauce, mirin, salt, and pepper, to taste, in a medium bowl. Add pork, cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes, or overnight.

In a small saucepan, bring stock to a simmer. Add mushrooms, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms, saving for another use. Add honey and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until reduced by half. Whisk in cornstarch mixture, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Remove pork from refrigerator. Heat grill, and cook pork slices, turning every 4 minutes, until well seared and caramelized at edges, about 20 minutes. Add remaining sesame oil to marinade, add squash, let sit 5 minutes. Grill squash, turning, until fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

Arrange pork and squash on a platter. Heat glaze, and brush over pork and squash. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve.

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