Pulled Pork Tacos with Pineapple Pico De Gallo

pulled-pork-taco-2Everyday is taco day in my house. But how about a little sweet and spicy kick?  Tex Mex meets Hawaiian and this is the end result. The slow cooker does most of the work, you get all the credit. Can’t beat that!


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (3 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks or fresh if available
  • 1 small white or red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 20  small corn tortillas


  1. In a 6 quart slow cooker add pork shoulder.
  2. In a large bowl, add barbecue sauce, brown sugar, lime juice (reserve 1 tablespoon for the pineapple pico de gallo), cayenne pepper, chili powder and garlic powder. Mix together to form a paste and spread evenly over pork shoulder.
  3. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours; or you can cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. Shred when done cooking. pulled-pork-in-crockpot
  4. When your pork is ready, assemble the pineapple pico de gallo.
  5. Slice the pineapple chunks into smaller pieces and place in large bowl. Add the diced onions, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, cilantro and reserved 1 tablespoon of lime juice. If you can handle the extra heat, add the crushed red peppers to the bowl. pineapple-salsa
  6. Top your tortillas with pulled pork, pineapple pico de gallo and shredded cabbage.
  7. Garnish with lime wedges. pulled-pork-taco-1

You can also change this recipe into pulled pork sliders by substituting Hawaiian bread rolls for the corn tortillas. pulled-pork-slider


Tender Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

BBQ Ribs PlatedOnce again, I have failed to go exchange my empty propane tank. So using the grill is out of the question. That’s all right. My oven works fine. I decided to add a simple spice rub to my ribs. I normally just salt and pepper them and let the barbecue sauce do all the flavoring.  But I wanted to change things up and give it a try. Plus, since I am taking a short cut and using store bought barbecue sauce, I wanted to do a little extra something. And the ribs came out surprisingly good. My son, who normally loves his ribs slathered in thick, sticky barbecue sauce suggested next time I leave some of them with just the dry rub and no sauce. What the what?


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 1/2 pounds
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. If your store/butcher doesn’t already do so, you will need to peel off the membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder and black pepper.
  4. Cover the ribs with this rub on all sides. At this point, I like to cut my rib racks into sections of 3-4 ribs. You can leave whole and cut when finished. I just hate burning my fingers when cutting ribs. But that’s my issue. You are probably not prone to burn yourself when cooking like me.
  5. Place ribs on two layers of foil. (or one layer of heavy duty foil) BBQ Ribs prep 1
  6. Place another two layers of foil (or one layer of heavy duty foil) on top of the ribs.
  7. Roll and crimp edges up tightly. Be sure edges are facing up to seal.
  8. Place packaged ribs on baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is shrinking away from the ends of the bones.
  10. Remove from oven.
  11. Turn oven to broiler setting.
  12. At this time, if you haven’t already done so, cut your racks into 3-4 rib portions.BBQ Ribs prep 2
  13. Arrange on pan, bony side down. Brush on barbecue sauce generously.
  14. Broil for 1-2 minutes until sauce is caramelized and bubbly.BBQ Ribs prep 3
  15. If you prefer, turn ribs over and repeat with sauce on bony side. I don’t bother since it is all bone. Plus when I tried, the meat fell off the bone.
  16. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy! Don’t forget the extra napkins. BBQ Ribs

Baked Garlic and Parmesan Pork Chops

Baked Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops 1I was originally going to make this recipe with chicken breasts. Then I discovered I actually only had chicken wings on hand. Oops. Good thing I did have a pack of thin cut pork chops. While I was hesitant at first, I am glad I made the substitution.  Crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside and quite tasty from the garlic and cheese combination. If you are in a rush you will love that these can be prepared and cooked in less than 30 minutes as well.


  • 4 thin cut boneless pork chops (you can use thick cut or bone-in but remember to adjust cooking time)
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large shallow bowl combine Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and Italian parsley. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Prepare pork chops by covering each piece in olive oil. Be sure the pork chops are well coated on both sides.
  4. Individually dip pork chops into Panko mixture. Pat down on both sides to ensure even coverage. Place covered pork chops on non stick baking pan.
  5. Bake pork chops for 15-18 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  6. Let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving. Garnish with reserved Parmesan cheese and Italian Parsley.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops

Chinese Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

Chinese Stuffed PeppersEver since he was a baby, my son has been a picky eater. The only way I could get him to eat any type of meatloaf is if I formed the meatloaf into meatballs or stuffed it into vegetables. And it all had to be covered in some kind of sauce or gravy. Yet, he would eat most vegetables, but not any kind of meatloaf! Don’t get me started! Thus, this recipe was born.


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 stalks green onions, finely diced; plus 1 stalk regularly diced for garnish
  • 3 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 can (8 ounce) water chestnuts, finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch, divided 2 teaspoons for meat; 3 teaspoons for gravy
  • 1/8 teaspoon minced ginger or ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar divided, 1/2 tablespoon for meat; 1/2 tablespoon for gravy
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (optional)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce, divided 1/2 tablespoon for meat; 3 tablespoons for gravy (can be found in most International Aisles at local grocery store)
  • 2 large bell peppers (your choice of colors)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cold waterChinese Stuffed Peppers 1


In a large bowl, place ground pork, green onions, mushrooms, water chestnuts, egg, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, ginger, garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, cooking wine, and 1/2 tablespoon black bean sauce. Mix well. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.Chinese Stuffed Peppers 2

Cut bell peppers in half and discard seeds and white membrane. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch bell peppers for 5 minutes. Remove bell pepper halves from boiling water and place in casserole dish.Chinese Stuffed Peppers 3

Stuff bell pepper halves with meat mixture. Be sure to pat down, so peppers are well stuffed.Chinese Stuffed Peppers 4

Add chicken stock to a small pot. Turn heat to medium high. While waiting for chicken stock to boil, make a slurry in a small cup or bowl with 3 teaspoons cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water, mix well. When stock comes to a boil, add 3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce and 1/2 tablespoon sugar and stir. Then add slurry of cornstarch and water. Stir until gravy has thickened to consistency of syrup. Turn off heat.Chinese Stuffed Peppers 5

Pour gravy (saving 1/4 cup for garnish) over stuffed bell peppers and into casserole dish. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake in oven for 45 minutes. Carefully remove foil when done. Garnish tops of bell peppers with green onions and reserved gravy.Chinese Stuffed Peppers

Serve with rice to complete your meal.Chinese Stuffed Peppers Plated

Pan Seared Brined Pork Chops

Pan Seared Pork Chops PlatedI’ll be honest. I’m not much of a pork chop fan. Probably because it is not a forgiving meat. If you are not careful, it will go from moist and tender to dry and leathery rather quickly. So since I usually brine my turkeys to keep them moist, I decided to experiment and try using a brine on my pork chops. This extra step worked wonders. The pork chops came out moist and tasty. And now I will add pork chops into my meal rotation more often.


  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup salt (I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves slightly smashed
  • 2 cups ice cubes


  1. Stir together the water, salt, and sugar until dissolved.  Add thyme sprigs and garlic cloves. Stir in the ice and cool the brine to 45°F or lower.
  2. Place 4 pork chops in a zipper-lock bag. Pour in the flavor brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl in case it leaks and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops. Remove the chops, discard the flavor brine, and pat the chops dry. Proceed with the recipe, or wrap the chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 2 days.Brined Pork Chps


  • 4 brined pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Let brined pork chops come to room temperature by setting out 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. On medium high heat,  add olive oil to sauté pan.
  3. When the oil begins to ripple, carefully add pork chops to pan.
  4. Next add butter, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs to pan.
  5. Spoon butter over pork chops to baste repeatedly. Continue to do this for 2-3 minutes then flip pork chops over.
  6. Repeat basting butter over pork chops for another 2-3 minutes. (Depending on thickness of your pork chops.)
  7. Pork chops are ready when they reach an internal temperature of 145°F. Let rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Pan Seared Pork Chops

Chinese Spare Ribs in Black Bean and Garlic Sauce

Chinese Black Bean Spare RibsHere’s a traditional Chinese dish that may look complicated, but is really easy to make. The main ingredient that does all the flavoring for you is a concentrated black bean and garlic sauce.  You should be able to find this in most grocery stores that have an Asian or International aisle. I like to use the Lee Kum Kee brand, but any brand should work.

Black bean and garlic sauce


  • 2 lbs. pork rib tips (if you cannot find, substitute with country style pork ribs)
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion cut into 1/4 inch half-moons and separated
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce
  • 32 oz. beef broth
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice wine or mirin – not rice wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 cup Chinese long beans cut into 1-2 inch pieces (you can substitute with fresh green beans)
  • 3 russet potatoes peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes (optional)


  1. Cut the pork rib tips into sections, leaving only one bone per section. (If you are using country style pork ribs, cut into 2 inch cubes.)
  2. In a large pot (or wok that has a lid) add vegetable oil and turn heat to medium high.
  3. When oil begins to ripple, add onions and pork. Continually stir to saute onions and pork for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add black bean and garlic sauce, enough beef broth to cover pork, rice wine (optional), sugar and stir to mix.
  5. Once broth comes to a boil, lower heat to medium low, cover pot and let cook for 1 hour.
  6. After an hour has passed, turn heat back up to high.
  7. Make a slurry in a small bowl with cornstarch and cold water. Mix well.
  8. Add remaining beef broth if any. If not add 1/2 cup water.
  9. When broth is back to a boil, add slurry mixture and stir until thickened to thin gravy consistency.
  10. Add Chinese long beans (or green beans) and potatoes (which is optional, but I like them to cut down the saltiness of the black bean and garlic concentrate.) Stir.
  11. Lower heat down to medium and cook for 20 more minutes. (10 minutes if not adding potatoes.)
  12. Serve over rice.

Makes 4-6 servings