Sweet fruit, crab meat or even bacon? It’s in there …

BBQ Stuffed Turkey, pork loin stuffed with boudin and cream cheese, swineapple

I declare barbecue season open for business. This is the time of year when friends and family spend time together in the great outdoors and/or their backyards centered around fun summer activities and their desired cooking apparatus. Many folks incorporate some sort of mixture of meat and fire into their meals during the season. Several of my friends prefer to grill while others prefer to smoke, but there is seldom a void of savory delicacies to be found. 

Some pitmasters even use seasonal fruits and vegetables.

I recently tried a recipe for “swineapple” that I saw on social media. It involved hollowing out and stuffing a fresh pineapple with strips of pork, wrapping it in seasoned bacon and smoking it for several hours on the pit. Pork and sweet flavors go well together (think honey ham, ribs with sticky barbecue sauce or maple bacon). Once finished, I couldn’t wait to dive in. The warm pineapple was bursting with juice, and the bacon provided a nice salty and savory element. The pork in the middle really broke down and, texturally, was slightly off, but the flavor was phenomenal. I am looking forward to tweaking this recipe for future backyard cooks.

One of the great things about barbecue is it does not matter if you are cooking USDA prime meat or something from a big box store — barbecue is communal and helps bring folks together. In my neighborhood, if someone has a grill fired up, it is not unusual for several families to cook their dinner over the same fire. It is a great opportunity to visit with neighbors and to enjoy a variety of delicacies.

I have been stuffing birds with various types of stuffing for years, but I have recently been working on stuffing meat and have had good results. My first attempt was to stuff a pork loin with a mixture of boudin and cream cheese. I used a southwestern seasoning blend for the pork and smoked it for about four hours until it got to the proper internal temperature. It was my inaugural use of butcher’s twine, and I can say that my skills need much work. It stayed together but there was string everywhere and it took me an extra 10 minutes to make certain it was all removed. The pork was moist, and the stuffing was delicious. I will certainly incorporate this one into my repertoire. Next I tried stuffing a beef tenderloin for my wedding anniversary. Since it was a very nice piece of meat, I only used salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil for seasoning. I then had a Cajun friend make up some crab stuffing that was excellent on its own but even better inside the beef. I cooked the end pieces to a nice medium, and the middle was a perfect medium rare. All I can say is, “Wowsers.” I hope to have the opportunity to repeat this meal in the future.

Assuming I can get my string work to improve, this is a method I am certainly going to use more often in the future. It looks impressive and is a wonderful way to impart new flavors into an old favorite. Not to mention my wife says I never make sides, and this technique has a side dish already in it. 

I would love to hear of some new recipes or techniques I have yet to try. Good luck with all your cooks and I look forward to a long and delicious barbecue season.