Where there’s smoke, there’s barbecue

4-H Outdoor Cookery is on N.C. State University’s Court of NC this year

Lindsey Bryant of Henderson County isn’t from Serbia. In fact, until she chose a recipe for Serbian Stuffed Pork Loin for the 4-H pork cookery competition, she didn’t really know much about the country.

On Saturday, there was 11-year-old Lindsey in traditional Serbian dress, preparing her stuffed pork loin and sour cream cucumber salad for the judges. And the effort paid off, bringing Lindsey a gold medal for her pork loin.

This year’s outdoor cookery competitions, which include grilling pork, beef, chicken and turkey, were held on N.C. State University’s Court of North Carolina, right in the middle of main campus and just a stone’s throw from the university’s bell tower.

Saturday morning, residents of neighborhoods near Hillsborough Street must have been puzzled by the smoke and amazing aromas rising from that part of campus. Like Lindsey, many families arrived in Raleigh on Friday, ready to start up their grills early Saturday morning.

Lindsey prepares food
Lindsey Bryant, dressed in Serbian costume, prepares her pork loin and cucumber salad.

Across the court’s grass-covered lawn were canopies, grills and food preparation tables. A little closer to Carter-Finley Stadium, it could have been a great football tailgate party.

Reviews of the new location were generally good, though some pointed out some difficulty in hauling grills, canopies, coolers and more from campus parking into the Court of North Carolina.

After judges had visited competitors and tasted their creations, the 4-H’ers opened their tables to public sampling. Eager carnivores roamed up through the tent city tasting morsels of meat on toothpicks.

-N. Hampton

See more photos from 4-H Outdoor Cookery.



Lindsey’s recipe for Serbian Stuffed Pork Loin

3 oz. thick-cut smoky country-style bacon
3 oz. thinly sliced smoked ham
2 oz. piquant cheese (Gouda or Provolone)
1 piece of center cut pork loin
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
¾ c. Kajmak, clotted cream, marscapone or sour cream (optional) for serving
Butcher’s string

Cook bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until lightly browned and just beginning to crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the bacon on paper towels and set aside.

Butterfly the pork loin: Place the pork loin on a cutting board. As they do in Serbia, start at the narrow end and holding the knife blade parallel to the cutting board, cut the pork loin almost in have to the other end. Open the pork between two pieces of plastic wrap and using a mallet, scaloppini pounder or the other side of a heave cleaver, pound both loin halves into a flat sheet about ½ inch thick. Remove and discard the plastic wrap.

Generously season the inside of the pork loin with salt and pepper and spread the mustard over it. Arrange the bacon over the bottom half of the open pork loin. Place the slices of ham on top, followed by the cheese. Fold the top half of the loin with salt and pepper. Secure the meat with butcher’s string.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and pre-heat to medium-high.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the stuffed pork loin on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Grill the pork loin until well browned and cooked to medium, (the cheese should be melted and sizzling) 6-8 minutes per side. If desired, give the loin a quarter turn after 4 minutes on each side to create a handsome crosshatch pattern. The internal temperature should be about 160F. Transfer the grilled pork loin to a platter and remove the string. Cut the loin crosswise and top each serving with a spoonful of Kajmak and Cucumber Salad.

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