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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Complete Meal on the Fly: Grilled Pork with Beer Onions

So if you're like me, you might keep a bit of beer on hand in the case of guests, casual evenings, and cooking needs. In our house we tend to overbuy since none of us are heavy drinkers. I like using beer to cook with since it lends a tasty flavor to all kinds of dishes, and nothing tastes quite so good as the smooth undertones of it in this recipe.

This is what I like to call a 'meal on the fly'. There is no measuring, no thinking. Just toss and go. Gather the items below in the amounts that you need to feed your family:

Pork Chops or Pork Steaks
One or two large onions, I use yellow or white, but feel free to use what you have on hand
Boxed Mac & Cheese
Canned baked beans

The rest of the ingredients below are things you need to have on hand to add to the recipe:

Garlic Powder
Dill Weed (if you don't have dill weed you can use a different herb that you think will go well)
Olive Oil
Worcestershire (A-1 Sauce works well too)
Milk & Butter (for the Mac & Cheese)

Prepare a marinade for the pork chops by adding together one beer, about a quarter cup mayo, some mustard to give it zip (I like to just squirt a few circles of it in), some garlic powder and dill weed, a tablespoon of salt and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Mix it together and toss your chops in. Cover and let sit in the fridge for one to two hours.

My marinade with my pork steaks soaking in it.

During the last twenty minutes your pork is marinating, prepare for making dinner by chopping an onion into slivers, preheating your grill, and getting your pans ready on the stove. You'll need a pot to boil the macaroni & cheese, a skillet to cook the beans in, and a wok (or something similar) to cook the onions in.

This is a wok. If you don't have one, a skillet will work, just be sure to stir often so the onions don't burn.

When the pork is done marinating, pour about a half cup of the marinade into the wok and set it on high. Put another quarter to half cup of marinade into the skillet you are going to cook your beans in. Open the baked beans and toss them into the skillet with the marinade and turn the burner on low. Turn the burner under the wok on med-high and turn the burner under the pot of water on high. Add a bit of salt to make it boil faster. I also like to add some olive oil to the water so that the noodles don't stick together when I add them in.

While you are waiting for things to heat, head out to your grill and put the chops on. If you aren't sure how to grill pork chops, go ahead and click here. I didn't include directions in this recipe since the thickness you buy depends on how you grill it, and this is a meal on the fly - meant to be easily adapted to what you have on hand.

While those are cooking, head back to the stove and check on all your dishes. The marinade in the wok should be boiling by now, toss in the onions and stir them to coat. You can use the same spoon to stir the beans and place a lid over them to keep moisture in during cooking. If your water isn't boiling yet, put a lid on it as well to help speed it along, just be sure to check on it frequently so that it doesn't boil over.

Remember to check on your pork in-between cooking on the stovetop. You don't want to have perfect baked beans at the sake of burning your main course! When the onions start to turn a light golden brown color like the picture below, add a bit of olive oil and a spoonful of worcestershire sauce, stir, and lower the heat slightly.

By this time, the water should be boiling enough to toss in the macaroni noodles. Stir the beans before checking on your pork again.

In a few minutes, your onions should be looking a nice browned color, and your pork should be nearly done. If you aren't sure how long to cook your macaroni noodles, fish one out with a fork and bite into it after it has cooled. If it still tastes chewy, let it boil a while longer.

Once the pork has finished, complete making your macaroni & cheese according to the box instructions and turn the heat off on the baked beans and the onions.

I like to have everyone serve themselves in the kitchen if possible since I have less work to do later on. The onions go great smothered on top of the pork or mixed in with the beans. This meal is delicious and easy to make, and since there isn't any measuring (I just go by sight & guesswork) there are very few dishes to clean up afterwards. This meal takes about 20 minutes worth of cooking, less if I'm not interupted or my husband helps!

And best of all, no one will know this meal was a quick "toss-together". It all comes out so perfect, they'll think you found it in a gourmet cookbook!


  1. This looks delicious! I should hire you for my daughter's birthday party lol

    1. If you lived nearby, I'd be more than happy to!

  2. Oh my goodness. This looks amazing. I'm going to try this. Thanks for sharing.