On the Grill: Stuffed Pork Roulade with Grilled Mac and Cheese

By PAUL SIDORIAK

So many of my dinners stem from one of two things: Either I get a whim to try something I am craving or interested in making, or I take advantage of random ingredients I happen to have. This week’s dish was completely random, but I plan on making it again and again.

I had a couple of pork cutlets in the fridge that needed to be cooked. They were remnants of a family-sized package, which had been used a few different ways already. Keeping the pork interesting and creative on its third application was going to be a challenge.

Looking deep into the fridge, I saw some vegetables that were prepped from earlier in the week; I was wondering how I could use both the veggies and pork in a way that had some pizzazz. Instead of cooking and serving them separately, I thought that trying a roulade or making the meat into a roll might be a fun way of tackling the trite ingredients.

I started by sautéing the veggies to break them down and soften them up a bit. Onion, broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms sizzled in the skillet. I used my standard go-to spices to enhance the flavor: Salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, and minced garlic. As they softened from raw to al dente, I crushed them a bit with a wooden spoon. While they cooked down, I took a mallet to the pork.

Pounding out meat is a great way to make it cook evenly. In this instance, my pork cutlet was about the size of a deck of cards and twice as tall. By pounding it, the meat flattened and spread out to be about the size of the bottom of my coffee pot.

I seasoned the pork with a grilling rub and went back to the veggies. They had softened nicely and were full of flavor. I found a box of pork stuffing in my pantry and added about half of the mix to the veggies with some water. The stuffing quickly rehydrated and took in the flavor from the sautéed veggies. The mixture cooled as I prepared the pork for stuffing.

I lined up three pieces of fancy bacon on the cutting board like little soldiers. I put the seasoned pork cutlet on the left edge of the bacon. I spooned the stuffing onto the pork and compacted it with my hand so it looked like a dowel of goodness. Starting at the bottom of the pork cutlet, I rolled the pork up like a cigar, holding onto the bacon and making sure it wrapped the porky package like a birthday gift.

The more I rolled, I had to make sure that the bacon came along by coaxing it from left to right until the pork cigar was completed. I was surprised that it actually rolled up so tightly and compactly. I was not so lucky with my second attempt. It took me a few tries to get the second one rolled up and looking good, so don’t get discouraged if your pork has other ideas for what shape it wants to take. You really do want to try to have this as tightly rolled up as possible. It would not be out of the question to use butcher’s twine to tie the roll, but ideally, the bacon will work to keep the bundle cohesive.

Be very careful when going back and forth from the stuffing to pork that you don’t cross-contaminate any of your ingredients. I put my stuffing in a small bowl and know that it has interacted with raw pork, so it stays quarantined from other ingredients in my kitchen.

The pork went on my grill at about 300 degrees. I added a generous handful of apple wood chips for smoke and had the meat high on the grate so it would roast more than sear.

This gave me a chance to prep the mac and cheese. I boiled off some small pasta shells and set them aside. I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter and added an equal amount of flour to the pan, letting them both cook down into a roux. This will eventually thicken the sauce and add some flavor.

We had a mystery bag of cheese pieces in our fridge, so if a piece looked and smelled good, I added it to the roux with a little milk to help it melt. I seasoned the slurry with salt, pepper, garlic, and Sriracha until it tasted like it would be a good fit on pasta. I put the mix in a greased disposable 9-by-9-inch pan and sprinkled the leftover stuffing mix on top to give it a crunchy topping. It all went on the smoky grill for about the last 20 minutes of cooking.

When the mac and cheese was a cavalry of roaring, cheesy bubbles, I knew it was done. The smoke had permeated both the pasta and the pork and left a sweet, complex taste in each of them. Although this started out as an experiment to jazz up a few bland ingredients, it turned into a dish that I am proud of and can’t wait to serve again.

 

Veggies ready for sauté
Veggies ready for sa...
Veggies & pork stuffing
Veggies & pork s...
Pork cutlet pounded out with stuffing and ready for a bacon wrapping
Pork cutlet pounded ...
Hand rolled pork cigar
Hand rolled pork cigar
Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Pork ready for the grill
Stuffed Bacon Wrappe...
Smoked with apple wood
Smoked with apple wood
Smoked with apple wood
Smoked with apple wood
Mac & Cheese melted nicely on the grill
Mac & Cheese mel...
Mac & cheese took on a smoky grilled flavor
Mac & cheese too...
Cut on the bias and biased toward huge flavor
Cut on the bias and ...
Stuffed Pork with Homemade Mac & Cheese on the grill
Stuffed Pork with Ho...

 

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Check out Paul’s other tasty summer grilling recipes, Gourmet Grilled Nachos, The Best Burger Grill-Off Competition, and Carne Asada Fajitas with Grilled Veggies, and stay tuned for more delicious grilling recipes all summer long!

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Paul Sidoriak, grill masterPaul moved to Montana in 1996 with about a dozen friends from Lyndon State College in Vermont. He is still reluctantly paying his student loans and has carved out a career working as a supplier representative for various food and beverage products.

Paul enjoys grilling after a day on the water or an afternoon in the garden, where he has been known to grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers out of spite. Often cooking for extended family and friends, he takes a whimsical approach to cooking simple, seasonal dishes, while not taking it too seriously.

You can read more of Paul’s grilling recipes at his blog site, Montana Mise en Place.