|Please note that when I wrote this book I tried to use the slang that was prevalent in my section of Duplin
County, NC back in the late 40's, 50's and early 60's
Thank you for previewing my book. I hope you enjoy it.
Bob L Holt
PLANS ARE UNDERWAY FOR A SEQUEL TO THIS POPULAR BOOK.
LOOK FOR IT SOON!
|Available at Amazon.com
|1999, Bob Holt
“Country Cooking and other interesting stuff”
How many times have you picked up a recipe and every item listed was something you had. Not me, never
happens. Each time there will be at least one item I don’t have. So what? It’s only a recipe and what’s a recipe
anyway. Someone has tried it somewhere, liked it and wants you to try it.
I leaf through the recipes in Southern Living first. The other articles follow later. Same thing with the daily paper,
The Daily Reflector, Melva Burke’s “Cook’s Clippings”, in the Accent section on Wednesday comes first. Ain’t
nothing I can do about the headlines. They’ll be there when I finish the good stuff. Obviously I’m not in the o-bits
so that can wait. The recipes, that’s different. There may be something I just gotta try today. Yup, I was right.
No way have I got all this stuff. Lets see, spaghetti sauce looks standard. I’ll make a few changes there.
Checking the pantry, no noodles. So what? Tonight I’ll use potatoes. Potatoes? Why not? Think about it, just
because the recipe calls for noodles don’t mean its poured in concrete. Yeah, yeah, I know. Some things are.
Like when you get married, I guarantee you that she’ll change almost immediately ( that’s definitely poured in
concrete). Most times, it ain’t for the best, Not far as I’m concerned anyway. I don’t mess with the flour portions
in breads either. Hey, they warn you up front. “Don’t mess with these portions, it won’t turn out right.” You’ve
been forewarned. I don’t forewarn good, hard headed I guess. The first few times I tried making bread, no, I don’
t use those machines, That’s like taking something out of a box, mixing it with water or something, throw it in the
microwave and, bang! Look what I’ve created, I used whatever flour happened to be around. My measurements
were loose at best, sift, why? A little of this, maybe that, into the oven. “This breads tough, must be something
wrong with the recipe.” Naw, won’t the recipe, look in the mirror, there’s the culprit. Where am I? Oh, back to
the spaghetti sauce and potatoes. Throw the onions, vidalias if you gottem and chopped up bell peppers, red,
yellow and green of course, into a sauce pan with a little oil. When the onions have taken on a little color, add the
hamburger, lean and in small chunks, cooking on medium high heat til the pink’s gone. I know, skim off the fat if
needed, you knew that. Now may I continue? Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, canned mushrooms, fresh if
you got them, season with spicy spaghetti seasoning, seasoned salt, garlic powder and herbs, chives, parsley and
sugar. Add a cup or so of white wine and let her reduce. Meanwhile cut up a couple of baking potatoes, cause
that’s what is in the house, couple of peeled sweet potatoes, ¼ inch slices, and throw them into a pot of boiling
water with a little salt. Set the timer for twenty minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the cooked
potatoes into a colander and place them, like dominoes, in a oblong baking dish , 9 x 13 is good. Pour in the
thickened spaghetti sauce completely covering the potatoes. Layer top with 6 slices of Colby Jack cheese if you
got it, or whatever’s in the Fridg. It don’t have to be slices, shredded works just a well, put it on the middle shelf
in the oven. Remember, everything’s already cooked, just melt the cheese. If you’d rather caramelize the cheese,
shove it under the broiler. Don’t walk off, it will burn and then its “trash can city”. That’s good stuff. Of course, it
you don’t want to go through all that hassle, toss in a jar of that pre-mixed stuff and go from there. Won’t be as
good though, unless it’s spiced up some.
Spaghetti sauce seems to go with anything but pie and ice cream. I like to use elbow macaroni noodles, large or
small, or any pasta for that matter. In a rush, I toast old French bread and pour the sauce over it. No, this book
ain’t got nothing to do with calorie counting. This is one of those “If it feels good, do it.” books. I’d been
counting calories, more like fighting calories for the past 37 years, I was 21 when the battle started. Except for a
few minor skirmishes, the fat won. Back in 1990, I decided it was time to drop a ton of weight. I was approaching
42” in the waist and doing battle with my clothier, Mary, at H. Stadium’s in Kinston.
“Bob, you’re going to have to step up to a 42. You don’t look comfortable at all in a 40.
The labels are on the inside, nobody will know.”
I knew. No, I don’t diet well. It’s feast or famine for me. for the next couple of months I cut down to almost
nothing. Breakfast consisted of the tablespoon of diet supplement along with a cup of rice crispies blended with
a 8 ounces of milk. Lunch would be ½ bag of microwave popcorn with an orange or apple. Dinner would be
more popcorn or rice along with broiled chicken breast and all would be supplemented with lots of water. The
pounds melted off as I began walking around the neighborhood for 45 minutes to a hour a day. The tight 40
became a loose 38 and then, wow, I could get into a 36. I’d gone from 215 down to 181. God I looked good!
A couple of weeks after that, Pat and I drove down to Melbourne Fla. to visit my brother. I celebrated my weight
loss by disposing of at least one case of beer and very large quantities of food and snacks. I bought a pair of size
38 Bermuda shorts to wear back home. That’s the way its been for the past 37 years. There are two or three
wonderful reasons for living. Mine are; food, food, food. My last shot at loosing weight, I used something called
the Zone Diet, it worked well but I wouldn’t stick to it. I guess I’ll always be a 200 pounder.
Canned navy beans mixed with spaghetti sauce along with some chili powder, be careful, brings something closely
akin to “Chili” I know, the purists will crucify me but that stuff can be some kinda good on a cold winter evening
served with tall glasses of beer. If you’ve thrown the chili powder in with wild abandon, it will set more than your
soul on fire and create the need for large copious amounts of beer or something, anything cold and wet. Some
years ago I was shopping in a local supermarket and ran across some giant onions. These were perfect for
stuffing. After hollowing them out, they each held a cup of thick spaghetti sauce topped with some shredded
cheese, A 400 degree F. oven delivered one of the most wonderful meals I’ve ever prepared. I’m sure I’ve
seen a recipe similar to the above, but as far as I’m concerned, it was out of the air.
MY SPAGHETTI SAUCE
1 lb. Lean Hamburger
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup white wine; I use Chablis
1 14 ½ oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 4 oz can of mushrooms, drained
½ cup each red, green, yellow, bell pepper
1 tbsp. Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning (see below)
1 tsp. Sweet leaf Basil, dried
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
4 tbsp. Sugar
Tabasco couple of dashes Hey, its your tummy, add more if you like.
¼ cup fresh chopped chives for garnish (optional)
Brown Hamburger in Canola oil, drain in a colander reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings. Add onions and (3) bell
peppers to hot skillet. Continue cooking until onions are translucent.
Add hamburger, wine, diced tomatoes, sauce, mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients except sugar.
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 3 tbsp. of sugar along with Tabasco, stir and taste. Add other tablespoon of sugar and more Tabasco if
Cook for 10 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
Serve over prepared noodles.
Garnish fresh chopped chives if desired.
Now folks, when the Lord made pork chops, he said that they would be, bar none, Bob Holt’s most favorite
meat forever. Being brought up in the Presbyterian Church and instilled with the belief in “predestination”, I
believe it was fore-ordained that pork chops would be it for me. From the beginning, OK, my beginning, back in
the war years, 1941, pork was a main staple my first year of life on the family farm. You’re right, I don’t
remember it but it must have been “imprinted” onto my “hard drive”. The little bits and pieces I do remember,
there is one blip in 1942 that does standout. We’d moved to Goldsboro when Daddy went to work with civil
service and we lived in what was called “the projects”. I’d somehow ridden my little tricycle over to the large
grocery store in the next block and promptly got lost. That didn’t exactly light up my life but it sure did my
bottom. 1943, 44 and 45 bring back memories of something lacking in my life. We lived in Castle Hayne just up
the road from Wilmington, NC. Daddy worked at “Old Camp Davis” teaching mechanics how to repair the radial
aircraft engines on the B-17’s and B-25’s. He been transferred from Seymour Johnson AFB in late 1942. There
was a bottling plant beside our house. They bottled NuGrape and Orange Crush sodas and even though I had a
special friend that took his afternoon break under the tree in our backyard and shared one of those sodas with me
everyday, I knew there was something missing. The house is still standing today although the bottling plant, Mrs.
Corbett’s Grocery and the gas station that were across the road have long since disappeared. Several times a year
I’ll have the opportunity to pass by and I can still see that old black gentleman walking out the side door with that
drink is his hand. I’d be waiting under the tree for him. It goes without saying that I missed candy and lots of other
things that just won’t available. Some candies were, Mrs. Corbett’s grocery had lots of penny candy and once a
month, Mom would take us kids with her and we’d get to pick out one piece. Daddy had left civil service in late
1945 and began keeping books for Walter Godwin at the company office across the highway beside the gas
station. On one occasion, he took us kids with him to get a haircut down on Market Street in Wilmington. He left
us in the car out front and went in. As you can guess, it didn’t take us long to get into trouble. Blowing the horn
was a bunch of fun until it hung. We were screaming and crying when daddy came running out. He had to raise
the hood a pull the wire off the horn to stop it. The screaming and crying got a little louder just after the horn
stopped. I must admit that he never laid a hand on any of us in anger. Most times, it was the tongue lashings
before the controlled belt wackings that hurt the most. Momma would scream at us like a wildcat and whip us with
switches off the bushes from out front or the fly swatter promising us a good proper whipping when Daddy got
home, Stop! do you remember being sent out to fetch a switch so Momma could give you a much needed
whipping? Come on, what did she take us for?, fools I guess. You couldn’t hurt a flea with the little spinally things
I returned with. She’d have to get her own, won’t no way I was going to bring her something that would inflict
pain. If it turned out that’s what we needed, he’d march us off to the bedroom, sit us down and give us a tongue
lashing. He never raised his voice but sure got the message across. That plus we knew what would follow. Each
time I’d promise myself that no way was I going to cry. Tongue lashing over, we were instructed to drop our pants
and lay across the bed. He’d remove that big wide leather belt and tell us that business about it was going to hurt
him more than us. Sure it would! Very calmly he’d begin, one, two, three whacks. At that point, I was gritting my
teeth and losing the battle. He knew, I knew, the whacks wouldn’t stop until there were tears. After another
couple of whacks, I always give in, if tears were all he wanted, what the hell, I’d give em’ up.
Although I didn’t understand the significance at the time, I do vividly remember seeing the billowing black columns
of smoke rising from the burning ships off of Carolina Beach.
We moved back to Duplin County in 1946 where hog meat was readily available. My memory banks clearly tell
me that pork chops were the missing ingredients in my life. Sure I missed that old black man sharing his soda with
me, but I was back in pork chop country and another black man, Jim Grady was about to light up my life (you’ll
read about him later). Momma rarely cooked them more than a couple of ways. Frying them, breaded or un-
breaded, in hog lard was usually the choice and because of something called trichinosis, she made real sure they
were done. Made no difference to me. I’d fall on them with the gusto of a hound dog, gnawing them bones til
there was nothing left. She would at times cook’em like backbone, boiling them with dumplings. Being pork
chops, they were good but I preferred them fried. She’d do them “Country style” some days, serving them with
mashed potatoes or rice. Now folks, it don’t get no better than that. Sure fried chicken seemed to be the meat of
choice on Sundays and I’ve eaten my share, but it didn’t stand a chance beside them pork chops. On those
chicken Sundays, Momma would get us ready for Church and Sunday School telling us to be good and learn
something about the Lord. Sending us off with Daddy, we’d head off toward Pink Hill and the Methodist Church
(that was BGPC; BEFORE GIRLS AT THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH). We’d always pick up some riders
on the way having a full load by the time we got to church. She’d go in the back yard. “Come here chicken.” She’
d grab that biddy up and wring that sucker’s neck. I’ve seen them chickens, especially the roosters, now them
roosters were too tough to fry, you’d have to boil em and make pastry ( chicken slick ), run around the yard for 5
or 10 minutes dragging that head around. If Momma was in a big hurry, she’d grab em up and whap. The ax
would take that head right off. Ever seen a chicken cleaned? Oh yeah, they do come whole. Nothing like what
you see packaged in the grocery store, all separated and packaged up real pretty. They come complete with head,
feet, wings and feathers plus a bunch of stuff on the inside you don’t even want to hear about. Take that bird and
shove it down into a pot of boiling water, then pluck them feathers. There’ll be a bunch of little hairy ones that won’
t come out and they’ll have to be singed off over an open flame. Next comes the good part. You gotta unzip em
and remove the entrails and other goodies. Now a lot of folks love them gizzards, livers, lights and hearts. Not me,
you can trash all that stuff. Remove the head and feet. Head and feet? In 1959, on our senior class trip to
Washington, DC and New York, us country bumkins were introduced to a bunch of stuff we couldn’t have
imagined. Come to think of it, our chaperones were too; like hiding the pint of whiskey we won’t supposed to
have in the commode during bed check. While we were in New York, we visited places like Radio City Music
Hall, the Empire State Building, Coney Island and the Statue of Liberty, we also visited China Town and the
Bowery. Now folks, neither of the latter were my kind of places. It was bad enough trying to understand Yankee
talk, but these Chinese people took the cake. I couldn’t tell if they were actually trying to talk or suck air between
their teeth. The market places looked filthy to me, all that food hanging everywhere. It seemed like absolute
bedlam everywhere you looked. The one thing that really caught my eye was chicken feet with something
wrapped around it. When asked what it was? The reply was, “Chicken feet wrapped in gut. It’s considered a
delicacy”. I almost gave them a little present…..my breakfast. The Bowery? I don’t even want to go there.
While there I also learned how not to order a hot dog. Down south, when you order a hot dog without, they hold
the onions, up north, you’re damn lucky to get a bun.
Now you’re ready to cook em whole or cut them up. I ain’t suppose to be talking about chickens yet. Where’s
my pork chops?
Over the years, I’ve learned to prepare pork chops a lot of different ways. Grilling is certainly one of my
favorites now. Of course the variety of cuts available greatly enhance the opportunities to experiment. When I
was a boy, hogs were different. Pork was much, much fatter with 1,2 to 3 “ of fat, sometimes more on the meat.
Now it’s down to almost nothing. the meat is very lean leaving very little to no trimming to be done. Now with me
and pork chops, the thicker the better. 2” is just about right for me. I know, that sounds kinda thick. The Holland
grill offers such a wonderful opportunity to grill without burning those luscious thick chops. Because of the indirect
heating method, some purists say, “That ain’t grilling.” Maybe its not, but it works for me. I love the instructions
that comes with it. “If you’re looking, you’re not cooking”. Like recipes, I can’t leave well enough alone. I just
had to modify my Holland. Drilling a hole in the cover, I installed a thermometer (they come with one now), and of
course at times I totally ignore the one setting only valve. If I’m trying to imitate a “pig cooker”, I hold the
temperature down around 250 to 275 degrees F. In the wide open setting, pedal to the metal, she holds around
360 to 375 degrees, we’re still Fahrenheit, there ain’t nowhere in this book that we’ll be talking about them other
scales. You won’t see no “C’s” here. I got enough of them in high school to last me a lifetime. Even dropped
below that once in the sixth grade. In fact got a couple of those “big bad babies, that’s right, the big “D’s”. By the
time my teacher; Mrs. Hazel Ruth Kornegay and my parents got through with me, you can bet your bottom that
never happened again. Mine got heated up pretty good. Kornegay? I just gotta share this one with you. One of
the seventh grade teachers was Miss Bessie Kornegay, the other one, mine, was Mrs. Lorena Vestal, anyway,
Miss Bessie; an old maid that lived in the Teacheridge (No I ain’t real sure that’s a word but that’s what we called
the house that the single teacher’s lived in) beside the school was well known for being very strict and would pull
your ear or put the paddle to the meat in a heartbeat. One day during recess, (I was in the sixth grade then) Billy
Ray had created some distraction causing Miss Bessie to lecture him sternly. What followed was wild, Sensing his
utter dislike for her, she looked him in the eye and said; “You’d really like to hit me wouldn’t you? Well, wouldn’t
you? Go ahead, hit me. Well, hit me!” Billy Ray clobbered her and flew. I don’t remember him ever coming
back to school. I certainly don’t remember her offering anyone else the chance to take a shot at her either.
On real windy days, it will drop down to 340 to 350. In my way of cooking, that ain’t near hot enough for steaks.
With my other grill using radiant heat, my steak cooker, If you ain’t looking, call McDonalds, cause what you
thought you were cooking is burned to a crisp. I pour a little Canola oil on the chops and spread it over their entire
surface. Then I generously sprinkle a mixture of Seasoned salt, dried sweet basil, and coarsely ground black
pepper on all surfaces. Then its easy. 20 minutes to bring the Holland to temperature and 30 minutes (20 minutes
for 1” chops) on each side, a quick check with the pocket thermometer and you’re ready to enjoy those luscious
chunks of heaven. Remember, when you check the temperature, they’ll continue to cook after you take them up,
plus you ain’t gotta kill em anymore. They’ll be more juicy than any you’ve ever seen. Served with wild rice or
plain along with a fruit salad and you’re there. I can hardly wait.
On those special occasions, brown those thick chops on the stove top and then transfer them to the grill. In the
last twenty minutes of the cooking cycle, pour off any remaining fat in the pan you browned them in leaving all those
luscious caramelized bits in the bottom. Add a can of Cream of Mushroom soup, no, that isn’t poured in concrete,
it can just as easily be broccoli, celery or whatever you’ve got, a can of mushrooms, chopped red, yellow and
green bell pepper, yes, it can all be one color, just remember, you eat with your eyes first, onions, seasoned salt,
pepper, and a cup of white wine. Stir well to blend and continue to stir while it reduces over medium heat. Just
before you’re ready to serve it, add a tablespoon of Soy Sauce and quarter stick of real butter to give it that
special shine. Maybe a little sugar to taste if necessary. Serve those wonderfully luscious, juicy chops over a bed
of rice with a generous helping of the sauce spread on top. Sprinkle chives, fresh or dried, along with dried or
freshly chopped parsley over the plate for presentation. Excuse me, I gotta go check the grill. God, I’m hungry
Frying Pan containing the caramelized bits ( with the fat poured off) left over from browning the chops.
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Mushrooms or 2 cups of fresh button mushrooms
¼ cup each of green, yellow and red bell (sweet) peppers
1 cup of white wine (Chablis works great)
½ teaspoon of Seasoned salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper (or to taste)
¼ stick of real butter, no substitutes here.
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce.
Add sugar to taste, (optional)
Careful, don’t let it get too thick. If it does, add a little more wine. This sauce works wonderfully well with grilled
chicken breasts too. With slight modifications, you’ll see it again later in the book.
I got hooked on wine in my cooking years ago watching Justin Wilson. I had the opportunity to see and hear him
in person in 1984 or 85. He was the main speaker at the annual North Carolina School Food Service convention
held in Raleigh, NC He arrived from the airport around two that afternoon and immediately held court in the mall
area just outside the Raddison. First things first. Where’s the wine. After getting a bottle, what kind? Made no
difference to him, “You drink what you like” and he liked whatever was in front of him, he talked, joked and
signed autographs for a couple of hours. That night at the banquet, he addressed the audience. I was with Donna
Ware (Pitt County Schools Child Nutrition Director) and her staff seated about 15 feet from the slightly raised
speaker’s table. He’d polished off another bottle of wine and was feeling good. After about 5 minutes of warming
the audience up, he looked around and said,
“I guess you Ladies and Gentlemens are all wondering who this good looking sexy gal is up here on the stage with
Of course I’d wondered. She was one fine looking lady. Appeared to be about 30 with all the bricks in the right
place. “ This is my wife, Jeannie, stand up and take a bow.” That settled it in my mind. All the bricks were in the
right place. From then on, I figured if wine did that for him, it certainly couldn’t hurt me.
Now understand, I ain’t no connoisseur. Being raised in eastern North Carolina, the homemade wines were dark
and very sweet. Rarely, never in my home as a kid, was it served at the table. Hey, we were right in the middle of
the “Bible Belt” and surrounded by Baptists. They didn’t drink in public. The way I heard it, they’d go into the
bedroom, pull the shades or blinds, get into the closet and take a drink. So, what can I tell you? We, and the
other Protestant groups, excepting the Mormons, I guess they’re Protestant, all they’d drink was water, they
wouldn’t even drink Pepsi’s, would drink wine sitting under the shadetree or at tobacco tyings or some such like
nipping on some while fishing or hunting. The first time I drank any “store bought”, it was a very, very dry white
one, Chianti, I bought it because of the bottle and after one sip, I knew it was bad and poured the rest out. I really
just wanted the bottle anyway.
A year after seeing Justin, I got introduced to Sutters Home White Zinfandel. The lite slightly sweet taste was
perfect for someone trying to acquire a taste for wine. Its still my favorite today. I know, I know, I told you that I
wasn’t a connoisseur. I keep a few bottles of other stuff around so guests will think I have some class. A
customer and wonderful friend of mine from Nash General Hospital in Rocky Mount, NC, Gustavo Carlos
Muzzolon, offered a very small list of wines I should stock. He’s the Dietary Director and his past credentials
indicates that he should and does know foods and wines. Originally from Argentina, he spent 7 years with the
cruise lines that offered an excellent opportunity to expand his horizons in the food and beverage fields and he
certainly has done that. Southern Living did an article on him and “Machaven” a private club, now the Rocky
Mount City Club, describing some the very exclusive catering’s Gus was in charge of.
I use Rose’ and Chablis in my cooking. Sometimes mixing the two together for something to sip on while cooking.
No cooking wines here, just the real stuff.
Hey, pork chops, let’s get back to the pork. If you’re cooking for a party, the best way is using the whole loin. I
prefer “bone in” even though its a bit more messy and more difficult for your guest. Rarely will you see any of them
pick up a bone and gnaw on it. Both knee caps would be trashed before the first bite followed by a look from
their wives that would bring down a stealth fighter. Depending on the taste I’m looking for, I’ll lightly cover the
entire roast with Canola oil and then sprinkle the entire surface with a mixture of Kosher salt and coarsely ground
black pepper, then lightly sprinkle it with seasoned salt and dried sweet basil. At other times, after coating with
oil, I’ll sprinkle rosemary and thyme, careful with the rosemary, that’s strong stuff, on the roast and rub them in
followed by a light coating of seasoned salt and garlic. On the Holland, an eight pound roast, at around 350 to 360
F. takes about 2 ½ hours, turning once in the last 1/3 of the cooking cycle. A quick check with your trusty pocket
thermometer will confirm its ready. Remember, if you’re not serving immediately, allow for that continued cooking
before plating. 10 degrees usually works for me. Remember to hide the end pieces for yourself. They’re got all
the goodies on them. Of course, if you’ve invited your banker over trying to warm him up a little before the big
loan request you ain’t mentioned yet, give em up. In my case, Mr. Luther would take the whole thing and the rest
of us would have to go to Carraway’s in Kinston, NC.
Pork Loin on the Grill
1 4 pound pork loin, bone in
1 tbsp. Canola oil
3 tbsp. Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp. Seasoned salt
1 4 pound pork loin, bone in
1 tbsp. Canola oil
¼ tsp. Rosemary, coarsely ground, careful, that’s strong stuff.
1 tsp. Thyme, coarsely ground
1 tbsp. Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
If you’re using either and want to dress the portions with a sauce, try this.
2 cans or Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 ½ cups of white wine
1 tbsp. of Cajun jumbalyia seasoning
1 tbsp. of dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp. of seasoned salt
¼ tsp. of all spice
Bring to a slow boil, stirring to mix well. Allow to reduce by one third or to desired consistency, stirring
occasionally, adding one half stick of “real butter” at the end. Ladle over each serving, sprinkling Chopped parsley
and chives over each plate for presentation.
I like sweet potatoes with pork chops. One of the best ways I’ve found to prepare them is to cut them in half,
long ways, coat the entire surface, don’t peel them, with Canola oil and generously sprinkle the all the surfaces with
a mixture of Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Lay them cut side down on a baking sheet, I cover
the pan with tin foil and coat the entire cooking surface with a generous layer of the same oil making clean-up a
snap. Place in a pre-heated, 400 degree F. oven for 50 minutes. The bottoms will have just begun to caramelize
making them delicious.
I like to use pork chops, boned or bone in, I prefer bone in to get all the flavor, in a sauce for spaghetti. In a
deep sauté pan, I brown the chops in a little oil. Removing them, I Pour off most of the excess oil and retain the
caramelized bits left in the bottom, I add chopped up onions, red, green and yellow bell pepper, cooking until the
onions take on a little color. Then I add a couple of cloves of fresh minced garlic, DON’T BURN THE GARLIC!
Then I put the chops back in adding enough liquid to cover. Half white wine and one half water works just fine.
Bring to a boil and then add a can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and mushrooms. Season with a tablespoon
of Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning, one teaspoon of Seasoned Salt and a ½ teaspoon of coarsely ground black
pepper. Reduce on medium heat for thirty minutes. Add sugar to taste, a tablespoon of soy sauce and one half
stick of butter five minutes before serving. Serve on a bed of spaghetti, or any other noodle you like, one chop per
plate with plenty of sauce. Sprinkle fresh chopped chives and parsley over the plate for presentation.
“PORK CHOPS AND SAUCE ON A BED OF NOODLES”
4 ea. Center Cut Chops, bone in or out. Try bone in, you’ll like it.
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup ea. finely chopped; green, red, yellow bell pepper. Not too fine.
2 cloves fresh crushed garlic
1 can mushrooms
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup white wine
1 cup water or to cover
1 tbsp. Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
½ tsp. Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
½ stick Real Butter
Sugar to taste
freshly chopped parsley and chives for presentation. Sure dried will work. Use what you’ve got. I don’t mean
something like dill. Not on this dish.
NOTE: The other white meat works great here too. Boned and skinless chicken breast or tenders are
fantastic. I like serving the breast half just as I would pork chops. I do at times cube the breast just to give a
different texture to the dish. If I’m in a big hurry, I’ll doctor up a jar of that store-bought stuff and use it.
Marinating 2” thick pork chops will light up your life. Take those beautiful chunks of heaven and cover them with
teriyaki sauce along with a heavy sprinkling of Spicy Steak Seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at
least 24 hours. Cooked either in the oven, 375 degrees F. for 30 to 45 minutes or on the Holland for 30 minutes
on each side deliver something that won’t soon be forgotten. Don’t try this on charcoal or open flame radiants,
they’ll burn, you’ll be sick and your guests will have something that looks like murder in their eyes when you offer
them a hot dog.
Anytime time I talk about pork chops, sooner or later it will ultimately lead to talking about the whole hog.
Cooking the whole hog where I come from is called Bar-be-que, pronounced Bobby-Q and spelled a bunch of
different ways like; Barbecue, Bar-B-Q, Bar-Be-Cue, Bar-B-Q, BBQ or even just Q. Now I’ll be the first to
admit that depending on where you live, that Bar-be-que means many different things. Here, I’ll be discussing the
end product when you cook a pig over some kind of heat; real hardwood coals made from green oak, hickory,
walnut or even pecan, or, real hardwood coals like those just described mixed with charcoal briquettes, or, all
charcoal, or, gas burners, what have I left out, I’m sure there’s something and I’ll hear about it. To me, it ain’t
Barbeque til there’s sauce added. Whoa, Hold it! Write your own book. Down in eastern North Carolina, the
sauce is added when the pig is turned over. Pig? Yeah, the whole thing, at least most of it, discarding the head, tail
and feet. You wanta just cook the hams and shoulders, that’s your business, I ain’t doing this for business, I’m
cookin fer friends and if Mr. Luther didn’t have the streak of lean to pull from, I probably wouldn’t be able to
borrow no more money from him. Did I mention that he’s been my banker for over 35 years at the local First
Citizens Bank in Pink Hill? Well, he has and dammit, as of July 31st. 1999, he’s gonna retire on me. I sho nuff
don’t look forward to that cause I can’t quit yet. Margaret Williams, the ball is in your court now. Back to my
BBQ, When you turn that pig over, you s’pose to douse it with plenty of sauce and make dem tenderloins
disappear. You’ve done committed sacrilege if those luscious pieces of sauced down meat are shared with anyone
that won’t there during the whole or most of the cooking time, OR, the honey that jest happened to walk up and
stand in front of you wearing those short/shorts and halter, wanting “jest a little taste.” The question would always
come up about how you knew when the pig was done. When the thermometer reads 170 degrees F. you’re close,
BUT, it ain’t done til you can take hold of the bone sticking out of the ham and with the slightest twist and pull, it
comes out easily. Now it’s done and not until then. Hey, you can put a whole ham or shoulder on the grill and
cook it at 275 - 300 degrees F. for 3 or 4 hours and the thermometer will read 170 plus degrees F. Try pulling
the bone out. That’s why cooking 10 to 12 hours is what’s needed to have real Bar-Be-Cue.
I guess I broke one of the cardinal rules when I cut the pig completely in two. The reason still escapes me why
you’d leave it whole making it a hundred times more difficult to turn over. I’ve stood by over the years and
watched pigs that were cooked just right, be ruined (in appearance only) when it would fall all to pieces at turning
time. I cut that sucker completely in two and got on with the process. Best reason I was ever given for leaving it
whole was because it’s always been done that way. Does that mean that just because we didn’t have electricity in
the past, mean we ain’t s’pose to have it now? No gas cookers either?
Even in North Carolina, there at least three sauces involved and many more cooking methods. Growing up in the
late forties and fifties my introduction to Bobby-Q was under a tobacco barn shelter on the last day of barning for
the season. Jim Grady, I learned so much from that old Black Man, would dig a shallow pit and stretch a piece of
“hog wire” over it. About midnight he’d build a fire from just cut “green” oak and hickory wood. The wood had
to be green or there’d be no coals. When he had a nice bed of coals, he’d fire the pit taking shovel fulls of the
embers and line each side and ends of the pit. He’d leave the middle bare so when the pig starting dripping, the
grease wouldn’t catch fire. When the pit was ready, he’d lay the just killed pig, skin side up, on the wire. Then he’
d cover it with pieces of “V” crimp tin. Jim would then sit back, take a couple of nips from that ever present jar of
moonshine, fire up a cigarette, and began the long night’s vigil. He could lay his hand on the tin and tell if the pit
needed firing. As he explained it to me. if you could lay your hand, palm down on the tin and count past five, it
was time to fire the pit. Anything less, leave it alone. Another thing he told me was to use tobacco sticks, they
were about 5 feet long and 1 “ square, to lay across the pit to support the wire and pig. It the fire got hot enough
to burn the sticks, you’d burned the pig. Firing usually ran about every thirty minutes giving plenty of time for
stories and jokes. I relished each opportunity to “stay up” all night to keep Jim company. He’d even let me take a
nip once in a while. Next day about eleven, it was time to turn the pig over. This took real care. The pig was
already done and was extremely easy to pull apart. It usually took two men, one on each end, wrapping the feet
with towels and after being sure it wasn’t stuck to the wire, on the count of three, turn it over. Folks took real
pride in being able to do that without tearing it all to pieces. I never could figure out why they didn’t cut the pig into
2 pieces. As I’ve said, later, when I started cooking them, I did. Once over, there came a good dousing with the
sauce. Die hard, Eastern Carolina sauce is; apple cider vinegar, salt, and crushed cayenne pepper. Nothing else.
The longer the sauce sat before it was used dictated how hot it would be. Jim would take a big butcher knife and
cut large slits in the hams, shoulders and ribs allowing the sauce to penetrate the meat. At this point, the
tenderloins were eaten. Jim and some of the others would eat the tongue and brains. Not me, ain’t no way. I’d
had brains and eggs at the table because Daddy liked them and with enough salt and pepper to disguise them, I’d
throw them down. Jim would fire the pig hotter then to “crisp” the skin. After another thirty to forty five minutes, it
was time to chop it up. We’d tear the pig apart and pull the bones out, putting the meat into large tubs waiting for
the cleaver. Jim would chop all the meat plus some of the crisp skin adding generous amounts of the sauce.
Served with vinegar based slaw and cornbread, there was nothing like it. It never failed that I, along with several
others would always get sick from just plain eating too much.