Pork with Molasses Brine, Sweet Potato, Charred Red
Onion, Spiced Pecan Relish, and Wilted Greens
Recipe courtesy of Felicia Suzanne Willett and Anne Kearney, 2016
Molasses Brine: Enough for 3# of meat
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup molasses
3 cups boiling water
4 cloves garlic, smashed
8 black peppercorns
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, bruised with the back of your chef knife
2 bay leaves
3 cups cold water
2 cups ice cubes
2 pork tenders, trimmed free of fat and sinew
Please the salt and molasses into a medium sized bowl. Pour the boiling water into
the bowl and whisk until the salt has dissolved. Add the garlic, peppercorns, thyme,
and bay leaves. Allow this to sit for 20 minutes then add the cold water and ice
cubes. Whisk all around and place into the refrigerator to thoroughly chill.
Once chilled, place the pork into the non-reactive pan or plastic storage container.
Pour the brine over the pork, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. After 8 hours pull the
pork from the brine (discard brine) and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place each
tender onto a rack lined tray and place in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 4
hours up to 12 hours.
Set your smoker up for a cold smoking effort. Follow the directions for your specific
smoker to create a cold smoking environment. Smoke for as long as you as usually
comfortable with the level of smoke, we are all different.
After the smoking has been done, pull and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
Sweet potato, charred red onion, spiced pecan relish:
Sweet potato– peeled and cut into perfect little dice (¼” x ¼” x ¼”) cooked until
tender in lightly salted water and 2 strip of orange peel (I use a peeler to remove my
strips). Drain and lay out onto a ½ sheet tray to cool. Once cool, toss with a shot of
olive oil and a pinch of salt; store until needed. OR toss with a shot of cane vinegar,
yum!! How could that hurt, huh??
Red onions- cut into thick slices (1/4”), doing your best to keep the rings all intact
with every slice. Turn the griddle to medium high or heat up your favorite saute pan,
drizzle oil (blend or canola) to just cover the surface. Season the griddle with kosher
salt and white pepper. Place the onion slices onto the surface. I like to press them
down as they are cooking to get the maximum color. Once the onions have good
color, flip them over, and allow them to cook for a few minutes (all the while getting a
little char on them). Once the onions begin to get tender I usually turn them over and
over getting them all tangled up as the y finished cooking. Pull and cool until you are
able to handle them. Chop into small pieces that will easily mix in with the pecans
and sweet potatoes.
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ tsp. granulated onion
¾ tsp. granulated garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 cups pecan halves (18 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, cayenne,
onion, garlic and brown sugar. Spread the pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet
and toast for 10 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large bowl and toss
with the butter. Add the spices and toss to coat. Return the pecans to the baking sheet
and toast for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until fragrant. Let cool.
I like to cut the halves into 3-4 pieces each making them much more likely to mix
nicely with the onions and sweet potatoes. Plus it is a great thing when the guest gets
a bite of each component with a piece of pork, YUMM!!!
Summer greens- your call- I use baby kale, spinach and arugula. All or either or
something else that is available and tasty. Gently wilt it with your favorite fat…butter,
olive oil, bacon fat….season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. I love this stuff!