Problem: I want to impress the family or friends for dinner, but I don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen
Solution: Try my Pork Chop Lollipops with Prickly Pear BBQ Sauce! That’s right, the star of this dinner will be these pork chops, and you merely have to steward them towards their starring role. Ok, you’ll do a bit more, but it’s still very easy to have an amazing dinner. These aren’t really lollipops of course, but I use a frenched bone-in pork loin and a bright red bbq sauce for the glaze to give a resemblance to a lollipop. By cooking the loin whole, you’ll end up with amazingly juicy, delectable pork chop.
Getting a Bone-in Pork Loin
This isn’t the most popular cut in your neighborhood market, but they are available. They become fairly common around the holiday season. Here’s a life hack- make friends with a local meat market manager, you’ll be super happy you did. Even when they aren’t commonly in stores, bone-in pork loins can be easily ordered to a meat market. Loins can be either frenched or not. For a nod towards sophistication, ask for a frenched loin. For a massive plate presence, get the full loin. Prairie Fresh Pork has amazing bone-in loins, which is what I’m using in these pictures.
BBQ Rub and Prickly Pear BBQ Sauce
Prickly pear, or cactus pear, syrup is sweet and very, very red. It will add sweetness and a beautiful hue to the pork loin. You can sometimes find at specialty grocers, but I usually order online. For the BBQ Sauce, I am using my Classic BBQ Sauce blended with some syrup. For the seasoning, I am simply using my Classic BBQ Rub. You can use whatever you have available and still have an amazing dinner. I served this recipe at the James Beard House , so you know I think it’s absolutely great. Try it out and only you and I will know how easy it is!
- Smoker, or grill set up to smoke
For the Pork Lollipops
- 1 Bone-in, frenched, pork loin
- 2 TBS Olive oil
- 3 TBS Melissa's Classic BBQ Rub or your favorite
For the Cactus Pear Sauce
- 2 cups Melissa's Classic BBQ Sauce or your favorite
- 2/3 cup Prickly Pear syrup
For the Sauce
- In a bowl, mix BBQ Sauce and Prickly Pear Syrup. Remove 1.5 cups of sauce to serve along side of pork chops, reserving rest for glazing
For the Pork Loin
- Prepare a smoker to run at 275 degrees with apple or pecan wood. For a whole loin, you'll need a decent amount of space on the smoker or grill. If you don't have enough space, you may need to cut loin into more manageable pieces.
- Trim pork loin of any extraneous fat and/or silverskin. Ensure bones are cleanly frenched. Lightly oil Pork Loin meat with olive oil, then sprinkle thoroughly with BBQ Rub. Rub seasoning into the meat, and allow to sit out for 30 minutes, lightly covered, before adding to the smoker. Cover frenched bones with aluminum foil.
- Place loin on smoker for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking the internal temperature (an oven meat thermometer is best for this.). As the internal temp reaches 140 degrees, glaze with sauce. Allow sauce to "set" on the pork loin, then remove to a large pan, cover, and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Turn loin so the back of the loin is to you. Using a sharp, slicing knife, slice down between bones, avoiding the small nodule near the base of the bones. Glaze each chop with glaze, and plate.