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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cooking pork chops with the Lazy Farmer

My wife left me Saturday evening. She went to see her college friends in the big city and left me alone. This generally means that I take a really long bath, listen The Legendary Stardust Cowboy at higher than average levels, and blog, sometimes all at the same time.
Once in a while I invite some of my friends to visit.
Sometimes I even let the dog in the house.
Living life on the edge is what I do...
This Saturday I determined to make pork chops.
It all started with bacon. She sent me out to the freezer to get bacon for my baked potatoe and I spied the pork chops.
We get pork from the Democrat in the neighborhood. I think the pigs thrive on his nitrogen rich environment. They certainly seem happy. Happy as a pig in...
He is getting back to sustainable and has found some "heritage" breeds. Tamworths and Black and Whites.
The Black and Whites are pretty fat. He feeds them my pig feed mix. Barley, Wheat, Oats, 10 percent organic soy curls, 10 percent camolina meal, 20 percent ground whole alfalfa hay, five percent clover screenings, and a touch of molasses to keep the dust down. Then he supplements with apples when they are in season. The problem is not with the vitamins and minerals as the pigs are on pasture, rather it is probably the lysine ratios. I looked at a study that showed the older breeds make fat instead of muscle at a higher rate when lysine ratios are not correct and you are feeding wheat, oats, and barley.
This is certainly a fat hog.
Oh, but so good. I never understood that fat can actually taste good!
But, i digress...
I dug out the old cast iron skillet and found some olive oil. I thought I would be healthy. However, I decided to fry up the bacon for the baked potatoe first. I just hated to waste all that wonderful bacon grease so I decided to be Southern and fry the pork chops in bacon grease. We have been saving it as it seems such a shame to throw it away. So I spooned in a couple more tablespoons, about a quarter cup and let it melt while I took care of the pork chops.
I found a walla-walla sweet onion in the pantry and cut it up and set it aside.
I spread out a half cup of flour and some coarse sea salt on a paper plate. I was looking for garlic powder and paprika but found several different types of meat seasoning. I just dumped them in randomly till I got a nice red color in the flour.
I washed and dried the pork chops and then rolled them in the flour. By this time the bacon grease was nice and hot and about a quarter inch deep across the cast iron skillet, medium heat.
When I poped the pork chops into the bacon fat they popped and sputtered enthusiastically. I also tossed in the onions. You can't go wrong with onions.
I set the timer for six minutes. I decided to go with six minutes per side. They were quite thick.
Then I started thinking about gravy. Those baked potatoes seemed kind of bare...
The chops took longer to cook than I thought. After 12 minutes they were still pink in the middle. I've been using an extra stainless steel soil thermometer as a meat thermometer but I couldn't find it in any of the flower pots or in the freezer so I just had to guess.
I put the lid back on and turned the heat down and set the timer for another six minutes.
Then I started thinking about gravy.... Mmmm gravy.... How did Grandma used to do it?
I found some flour and some milk.

After the chops were done I set them aside to drain a bit of the grease off.
I was amazed to find there was little of anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet. So I dumped in some flour and started stirring with a fork. This is the touchy part.

I wanted the flour to get sticky and lumpy and then I'd brown it a bit, but I started with too much grease which took too much flour. I should have drained off some grease or stopped when it was not quite as thick. I browed the flour mixture and then added milk. It took a lot more milk to get it to correct thickness than I wanted to use. I left it pretty thick which was a little too much flour for my taste.

Was it good? Oh my! It was incredible... I could actually feel my arteries hardening as I ate.
If I would only have had some fresh lettuce, I'd have poured a little hot bacon grease on that and had "Wilted Lettuce" and I'd of felt I was in my Grandma's kitchen .

It was really too much for me. The gravy was so rich I couldn't eat it all. I gave the rest of it to Stanley (the dog) and he can't even move today...


  1. Boy, that does sound (and look) good. Lucky thing I have just finished supper or I'd be looking in the freezer. I've never tried pork chops in the cast iron pan but had kind of tough results on steaks. They came out tough as shoe leather. Maybe it is my english background that makes me tend to over cook everything. That and the fear of e coli, salmonella, etc.

    1. Ralph, I have avoided steaks and chops in the cast iron pan as I tend to ruin things when there is any pressure to do an amazing job. I fried chicken for a church dinner and it was terrible. Kind of dry and a bit chewy.
      I think my rediscovery of the wonders of bacon grease will perhaps make it worth re-trying some failed cooking adventures. I am going to have to find my old Betty Crocker cookbook. The old ones with the red and white checked cover are amazing.
      I had my left over pork chop for Sunday dinner and it was not greasy. So perhaps proper draining is the key.

  2. So what I have just learned is that I need to make sure my lysine ratios are correct and this is the reason my belt size has increased. Am I eating too much or too little wheat, oats, and barley?

    1. "Only if you are a pig....."

      Guilty as charged! Used to be able to get away with it but my metabolism is slowing as I reach the middle thirties. Not good. Either that or my pants are inexplicably shrinking.

      Thanks for the cooking adventure posts....good home-made gravy is such a treat.

    2. Orin, I used to be able to eat this stuff. I couldn't actually finish the gravy. It was too rich!

  3. My mouth is watering! I must admit I love the fat on food. I have a guilty habbit of cutting it off my wifes food, putting it back in the pan then eating it when its golden. Does this make me a bad person?

    1. Kev, I am the same way. I like the crispy fat around the edges of any good cut of meat. My wife cringes. Say it will bring me to an early grave. You won't get any condemnation from me.

  4. I remember reading somewhere that it is the fat that gives the flavour. Remember "marbled beef"? Don't hear much about it nowadays in our fat conscious world where skinny guys like me are in the minority.


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