Keep your cool and serve pork this summer

There are a ton of ways to keep the tummies full and the house cool this summer. Keep the culinary juices flowing by using your slow cooker or grill to keep the heat down in your common household areas. Below are a couple of terrific ideas on how to pack the pork punches into your meals this month.

Cajun sausage jumbalaya

2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups rice, medium-grain white
2 yellow onions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hour
Servings: 8  
1 pound boneless pork loin roast 
   cut into 1/2-inch cubes, lean

12 ounces andouille sausage     cut into 1/4-inch slices
bell pepper (green, red, or both), chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Cooking Directions 

Mix all ingredients except green onions in slow 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Watch carefully during the last 1 hour (low) or 1/2 hour (high) of cooking to prevent rice from overcooking.


Just before serving garnish with green onions.


Fast off-the-grill chorizo quesadillas 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
3/4 pound pork chorizo
5 10-inch flour tortillas 
1 16-oz can black bean refried beans
1/2 pound Colby cheese, shredded
1 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed 
For brushing olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa     
Cooking Directions  

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Use a spatula to crumble the chorizo as you place it in the pan. Sauté the chorizo until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo from the skillet to a plate.


Arrange 5 tortillas on a work surface. Spread about 1/4 cup refried beans evenly over half of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Scatter about 1/3 cup cooked chorizo over beans. Scatter a generous 1/3 cup of cheese over top. Divide and arrange cilantro over top of cheese. Fold opposite half of tortilla over the filling. (The quesadillas can be assembled up to 1 hour before serving. Cover loosely with plastic wrap so they don't dry out, and set aside at room temperature.)


Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on medium. Brush outsides of tortillas with a small amount of oil. Using a wide spatula, transfer quesadillas to the grill. Grill on one side for about one minute, slide and turn quesadillas 90 degrees, grilling until nice cross-hatch grill marks appear. Slide spatula underneath to flip quesadillas and grill the second side. Transfer the quesadillas to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the quesadillas into 5 wedges. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately accompanied with the tomatillo salsa.

Becoming a hero
It is a humbling experience to meet a hero. During the okPORK and Oklahoma Blood Institute Pre-Memorial Day Blood Drive there are heroes pouring into the donation centers all day long. One such hero is William Steck. He began giving blood more than 20 years ago and during that time has donated more than 50 gallons of blood. 

"I began donating whole blood before the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building," Steck said. "After the bombing, they didn't need whole blood. That day plasma was needed. So then I began donating plasma. After a couple of years I began donating platelets."

Steck enjoyed his pulled pork sandwich while he had his photo taken. For the past eight years okPORK has provided pulled pork sandwiches and chips to each of the blood donation sites throughout the state for the blood drive held the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day weekend. In addition, they also supply a chance to win a picnic for 40 catered by okPORK.

OBI's president and CEO John Armitage wrote a letter after the 2013 blood drive explaining how important the partnership was. 

"Holiday weekend donations are always a challenge for OBI," Armitage said. However, once, again the dedication and support of the Oklahoma Pork Council made it possible to meet the medical needs of Oklahomans who required the blood to make it through the Memorial Day weekend."

To help spread the word about okPORK's partnership with OBI, okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey visited the Tulsa area donation center and took a moment to chat with the live remote from Fox 23 on Thursday. Friday, he spent a few minutes discussing the partnership on 93.3 KJKE or Jake FM.

Routine donors like Steck may not need the additional motivation okPORK helps provide during the partnership. Steck sees donating as a way to anonymously help cancer patients and make sure his health is staying in check which he believes makes donating worthwhile.

"It is an easy way to get a mini health check-up," Steck said. "I am glad okPORK is involved with OBI. They are good people and anyone who works with them must be good people too."

okPORK plans to continue the blood drive in the future. It is a wonderful way for okPORK to be involved in helping the communities across the state and sharing some love of pork at the same time. The ethical principles the pork industry stands on would expect nothing less. 

"God gave us this great and perfect body," Steck said. "I make sure I keep mine healthy and the little mini check-ups help. But it's not only that - it helps keep other bodies healthy too and that is a wonderful thing."
About Oklahoma Pork Council

The Oklahoma Pork Council, a producer organization consisting of Oklahoma pork producers, represents the interests of all pork producers. Partially funded by federally collected Pork Checkoff dollars, okPORK promotes pork and pork products, funds research, and educates consumers and producers about the pork industry. For more information about this or any other programs of the Oklahoma Pork Council visit or call 1.405.232.3781.

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