Barbecue pork chops and sweet tea are perfect pairing |

Barbecue pork chops and sweet tea are perfect pairing

For The Associated Press

When indulging in traditional Southern-style barbecue, there is only one drink that goes with the finger-licking feast: Sweet tea.

This simple beverage is a popular tradition in the South, where the grill is referred to as the barbecue, the sauce is “dip,” and the meat of choice is pig.

In Lexington, N.C. ” the self-proclaimed barbecue capital of the world with 20 barbecue restaurants for 19,000 residents ” sweet tea tops the menu.

“A lot of barbecue is a smoky flavor over open coals,” says Cecil Conrad, whose family has owned the Barbecue Center in Lexington since the ’60s. “The sauce, or dip as we call it here, is made with vinegar, pepper and ketchup. … You want a drink to balance that, and sweet tea is the natural complement.”

Conrad makes his sweet tea using a traditional ratio of 1 pound of sugar for every gallon of unsweetened tea.




Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 6

Six 10-ounce bone-in pork rib or T-bone chops, at least 1 inch thick

For the sauce:

1⁄2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄4 teaspoon hot sauce

1⁄4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup water

For the pork rub:

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

11⁄2 teaspoons paprika

11⁄2 teaspoons light brown sugar

11⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon granulated onion

Pinch of cayenne

Canola oil

Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, hot sauce, garlic, pepper and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the rub, in a small bowl mix together the pepper, paprika, brown sugar, salt, mustard powder, garlic, onion and cayenne.

Lightly brush each chop on all sides with a bit of canola oil, then sprinkle them liberally with the rub, massaging the mixture into the meat. Set aside.

Oil the grill racks. Heat the grill using all burners set on high and with the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes.

Place the chops on the grill, close the lid and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the chops. Pour some of the sauce into a second bowl and use it to brush the chops. Cook for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until the chops are firm to the touch and an instant thermometer inserted at the center reads 155 F.

Remove the chops from the grill and let rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce.

Recipe adapted from Fred Thompson’s “Grillin’ with Gas,” The Taunton Press, 2009.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 483 calories; 240 calories from fat; 27 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 115 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 41 g protein; 1 g fiber; 1,017 mg sodium.