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Bar-B-Q Center: Pork and Chicken with a Penchant for Dairy

Bar-B-Q Center: Pork and Chicken with a Penchant for Dairy

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Pork and Chicken with a Penchant for Dairy

You’ll definitely want to sample the chicken at this Lexington gastronomic pillar.

We recently took a trip to Lexington, North Carolina to experience some of what the “Barbecue Capital of the World” has to offer. The first place we visited was Bar-B-Q Center, located at the northern end of the town’s Main Street.

North Carolina takes barbecue very seriously, but all the eateries we visited were low-key and casual, and Bar-B-Q Center follows suit. The kitchen is where the magic happens, as the pork shoulders are smoked for 10 or 11 hours before being finely chopped and gently doused in “dip,” which is the local term for the sauce that is applied only after the meat has been taken off the grill and is ready to be served. Although the pig portion of their menu is smoky and satisfying, be sure to order a combo platter, as you will definitely want to sample their amazingly tender and flavorful chicken, which is grilled in the same manner as the pork. Make sure to leave room for dessert, as although the eatery has been serving smoked meat since 1961, it originally opened as a dairy center in 1955, and the restaurant has not forgotten its humble beginnings. Their gigantic banana splits are so popular with locals, says owner Cecil Conrad, they go through 120 pounds of the fruit on an average week. Between the pork, the chicken, and the amazing ice cream, it’s safe to say Bar-B-Q Center is a culinary triple threat.

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.

Chinese BBQ Pork

Skip the take-out and make this delicious dish at home!

Our delicious Chinese BBQ Pork can be eaten as is, or added to so many delicious Asian recipes.

Chinese BBQ Pork can be served as a delicious appetizer, or diced into small pieces and added to many dishes including Egg Foo Young (our recipe is coming on Friday!), Pork Fried Rice, Pork Lo Mein, and so many more.

Also known as Char Siu – which means “fork burn” (or “fork roast”) — Chinese BBQ Pork is often served at Chinese-American restaurants in skewered strips that are then roasted over a small pot of burning charcoal to achieve almost-burnt, caramelized edges.

  1. Place the pork chops in the Instant pot with a tablespoon of oil. Turn on the sauté setting and brown on both sides.
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Make sure all pork chops are browned. You can skip this step but they look prettier when you brown them first.
  4. Hit cancel to stop the sauté setting.
  5. Pour the BBQ sauce and the water over the pork.
  6. Place the lid on and make sure the valve is set to sealing.
  7. Push the manual button and set to 5-10 minutes based on the thickness of the pork chops.
  8. Allow it to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes and then do a quick release to remove the rest of the pressure.
  9. Once cooked, serve.
  10. You can even spoon the delicious BBQ sauce over the pork chops and over your veggies or even potatoes when serving.

  • 6 pork chops
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch

Turn the instant pot on the sauté setting and add the olive oil to the instant pot for a few minutes to heat up the olive oil.

Place the pork chops in the instant pot, season with the garlic salt and pepper. Brown the pork chops on each side (3-4 minutes). You may have to work in batches if all the pork chops do not fit at one time. I did 3 at a time and move the pork chops to a separate plate while browning the second batch.

Turn the instant pot off the sauté setting by hitting the cancel button. Add the pork chops, 1 cup of the water and barbecue sauce to the instant pot.

Place the lid on and make sure the valve is set to sealing position.

Push the manual button and cook on high pressure for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your pork chops (if you have thin 1/4" pork chops cook for 5 minutes and thicker 1" pork chops cook for 10 minutes).

Allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes and then do a quick release to remove the rest of the pressure.

Remove the pork chops from the instant pot. Switch the instant pot back to the sauté setting. Stir the cornstarch into the remaining water (1/4 cup) and then whisk this cornstarch slurry into the instant pot. Heat for 3-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Serve the pork chops topped with the sauce from the instant pot and enjoy!

Use your favorite type of barbecue sauce to change up the flavor of this easy pork chop recipe.

What I love is that you do not have to sear the meat before cooking. Plus, you don't have to cut off fat from the pork tenderloin.

I highly recommend slicing off the silver skin which is a tough, shiny membrane of connective tissue. When you don't remove it, you'll have a few slightly unpleasant bites of tough, chewy meat because silver skin does not break down. I like to use kitchen scissors to remove the silver skin because I find it easier than using a knife. But you can easily slice it off using a knife.

Also, I like to flip the pork about an hour before it is done cooking. I think this helps the spice mixture distribute more evenly throughout the pork and infuses the gravy with extra flavor.

About the Gravy

Because the sauce is made up of wine and water with only a little cornstarch sprinkled over the pork, you will find that makes a rather thin gravy. I personally like this.

However, if you'd like a thicker gravy, when the pork is done, whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water until no lumps remain.

  • For a slightly thicker gravy, stir the mixture into the slow cooker and cover. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. The gravy will be a little thicker.
  • For a very thick gravy, remove the pork from the slow cooker and pour the gravy into a small-medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low and stir the cornstarch mixture into the hot liquid. Whisk until combined and it slightly thickens. Then serve this over the pork tenderloin.


Ingredient Options

  • Wine: Make sure you use a wine that you enjoy drinking because you will absolutely taste the wine.
    • If you do not drink red wine, skip the wine and use an equal amount of unsalted broth. Chicken, beef, mushroom, and vegetable broth would all work. Try adding a splash of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar after cooking for more flavor.
    • Note that I tested this recipe using chicken broth and found it to be not nearly as flavorful as the pork made with wine. Therefore, I highly suggest adding a little extra salt and seasoning when cooking the pork if you are not using wine.
    • Something else to note is that when I tested with chicken broth, I had to strain the gravy to remove the fat rendered from slow cooking. For whatever reason, when I cook this in wine, it doesn't need to be strained.
    • another option is substituting onion powder in place of dried onion flakes, but use only 2 teaspoons of onion powder in place of the 2 tablespoons onion flakes.

    If you aren't a fan of red wine, garlic and/or onions, I do not recommend this recipe. Try my other delicious pork recipes like Pork Tenderloin with Vegetable Sauce, Crock Pot Pulled Pork, Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Pork, and Pork Chops, Apples, and Onions.

    How to Make Allergy Friendly

    This recipe is dairy free, egg free, and nut free. If you use a gluten free Worcestershire sauce, it is gluten free. And if you use a soy free Worcestershire sauce, it is soy free.

    Alternative Prep & Cooking Methods

    I have not tried this in the Instant Pot, but I assume it would work well. I would follow the directions except using a pressure cooker. Then cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, and let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes and serve.

    What to do if you make a mistake

    • Used too much wine or water: If you use more liquid than the recipe calls for, your gravy will be a little thinner. You can follow the instructions for thickening the gravy using the suggestions above (and watch the video in the recipe below to see how).
    • Not removing the silver skin: You can easily cut the silver skin off after cooking. You can also eat it it will just be a little chewy and have a different texture than the meat.
    • Cooked too long: The only problem with cooking the pork for too long is that is will be even more tender (and harder to slice) plus it can get a little dry. If you cook it too long, make sure to serve it with ample gravy. I like to shred the overcooked pork over a bowl of mashed potatoes and cover in the gravy. Delicious mistake!

    Make Ahead Ideas

    There isn't much prep time. However, if you want to prepare ahead of time, you can stir together the spices and chop the garlic (keep covered in the fridge) up to 24 hours in advance.

    You can also put everything into the slow cooker and refrigerate until ready to cook. However, be sure that you take the slow cooker out of the refrigerator at least 60 minutes before cooking, so the slow cooker doesn't go from cold to hold too soon. This could cause the slow cooker to crack.

    Storage Suggestions

    After cooking, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze this in an airtight container for up to one month. I like the freeze it sliced in single sized containers, so I can defrost only what I need.

    • To reheat from frozen, add to a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% power in 90 second intervals until defrosted and warmed through.
    • To reheat from the fridge, add to a microwave safe bowl and heat at 75% power at 60 second intervals until warmed through.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you double this Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin recipe?

    If you want to double this recipe, you can double all the ingredients except the liquid and onions. I found that it was too much onion when I doubled all the ingredients.

    • Double all the ingredients except the wine, water, dried minced onion and onion powder
    • Use only 1 cup water, 1 cup wine, 2 tablespoons onion flakes, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

    For the amount of time when you double the recipe, add about 1 to 2 hours on LOW if you are using a 2+ pound pork tenderloin. For two (1 pound) pork tenderloins, I'd only add 30-60 minutes. Since slow cookers vary, I recommend using a meat thermometer to check to see if the internal temperature of 145°F.

    Can you use pork loin in this recipe?

    Technically, you can make this slow cooker pork tenderloin recipe using pork loin, but I have only tested it using pork tenderloin. A pork loin is usually larger and it's an entirely different cut of meat, so be sure to look for a 1-2 pound pork loin if you use it in this recipe.

    How long to cook pork tenderloin in crock pot?

    It takes about 4 hours on LOW to cook crock pot pork tenderloin or 2 hours on HIGH in a slow cooker.

    What size slow cooker do you use for pork tenderloin?

    My slow cooker is 6 quarts, and I think it is a good size. I've also tried it in an 8 quart slow cooker with good results. This doesn't fill up the slow cooker much, so I think you could go with a 4 quart slow cooker and be ok as well.

    Nutrition Benefits of Recipe

    This crock pot pork tenderloin is quite nutritious. Pork tenderloin is a great protein choice with many vitamins and minerals your body needs [see below].

    Because you are not using an onion soup mix packet (which is an ingredient in similar recipes), you are able to control the amount of sodium and other ingredients that goes in this recipe. Compared to the recipe I based this off of, this has only 400mg sodium while the other has 918mg.

    Paired with carbohydrates (like mashed potatoes) and a veggie, you get a hearty, satisfying and healthy meal your family will love. And it's one that you will love feeding to them!

    Is pork tenderloin healthy?

    Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of pork and typically has very little visible fat. This makes it an easy choice when you're preparing this meal since you don't have to bother cutting off any fat.

    Plus, pork tenderloin is a great change from your typical chicken dish. I feel like people always eat chicken because it's familiar and lean and whatever. But pork is so underrated and it's nutritious.

    According to the Pork Checkoff website, pork is an excellent source (more than 20% of the recommended daily value) of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus and protein. It's a good source (meaning it has between 10% and 19% of the recommended daily value) of riboflavin, zinc and potassium.

    What to serve with Pork Tenderloin in a Crockpot

    In the pictures, you can see that I served it with these sautéed green beans and mashed potatoes. I've also served with roasted potatoes. To be honest, I've made this countless times and serve it with a multitude of sides.

    Simply add a veggie and a carbohydrate -- preferably one that can soak up the gravy -- with this crockpot pork tenderloin, and you're all set for a delicious, filling meal.

    Final thoughts:

    This is the most popular recipe on my blog for good reason. It is simple and delicious. 10/10 would recommend!

    Bonus: if you have leftovers, you can always make BBQ Pork and Beans or Pork Fried Rice. Yay for saving money on tasty and nourishing food!


      • 12 ounces, thin dried Chinese egg noodles
      • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
    1. sauce
      • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
      • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
      • 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger
      • 3 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
      • 4 or 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
      • 1/2 pound Chinese barbecued pork, store-bought or homemade, cut into small, bite-sized pieces

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    John Rivers Originals

    John Rivers Originals. *Pricing and menu item availability vary by location.

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    First, season the pork chops.

    Use your favorite seasoning, or combine the honey BBQ glaze ingredients in a bowl.

    Coat the pork chops on both sides with the glaze. If possible, you can leave the pork chops to marinade in the sauce for up to 8 hours.

    Preheat the air fryer to 200°C / 395°F. Add the pork chops, and make sure to leave some space between each chop. If you have a smaller air fryer, you might have to fry them in several batches.

    Air fry the pork chops until they start to turn golden, then flip and cook on the other side. They are done when they have reached an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C. Depending on the size of the pork chops, this usually takes 8-12 minutes.

    How to Tenderize Pork

    This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards.

    There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

    wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 84% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

    This article has been viewed 579,285 times.

    Pork is one of the most versatile meats available, pairing well with both bright, acidic ingredients as well as full-flavored seasonings and accompaniments. However, unlike chicken, which is naturally tender, and beef, which can be kept tender by cooking to rare or medium rare, pork can be quite tough and, according to conventional wisdom, must be cooked through (though this has recently come into question). [1] X Research source Learning how to tenderize pork will allow you to prepare flavorful, tender dishes with this versatile meat. See Step 1 below to start cooking!

    Crock-Pot Barbecue Lime Chicken

    I am in love with this recipe and my kids were begging for seconds! This recipe is so simple yet, the addition of fresh lime juice and zest adds a lovely zip to the slow cooked chicken and your favorite bottled barbecue sauce.

    This recipe only has three ingredients but it is packed full of flavor. We served our pulled BBQ chicken on hamburger buns with a side of oven baked waffle fries for a kid friendly dinner. There was just a little bit of the zippy chicken leftover after dinner and I warmed it up in the microwave the next day, wrapped it up in a tortilla and topped it off with some shredded lettuce and a little shredded cheddar cheese for an amazing wrap for lunch the next day.

    Another perk of this flavorful recipe is that is a super easy slow cooker freezer meal. The full freezer meal instructions can be found in the notes section of the recipe below, but basically you dump the chicken, BBQ sauce and lime juice and zest in a freezer bag and freeze it. Thaw or partially thaw when you are ready to cook. Easy peasy!

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