Chef Steve Zanini: Pairing Food with Beer

by / Monday, 29 December 2014 / Published in Recipes

Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina are turning into quite the hotbed for craft breweries! Beltline Brew Tours is now offering a second tour to these great locations. Our South Wake Tour 2 offering starts at 1pm at Brueprint Brewing Company located in Apex, NC. From there, we travel to Bombshell Beer Company, located in the heart of downtown Holly Springs. We sample and chat with the owners over some of their delicious libations. The third brewery stop is Aviator Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina. Our South Wake Tour 2 will allow you to get an different look at some of the newer breweries popping up just outside the Raleigh limits.

Chef Steve Zanini of Cary’s Jimmy V’s Steak House and Tavern is no stranger to the Triangle’s restaurant and craft beer scene. Jimmy V’s menu draws influences from North Carolina ingredients and serves delicious options ranging from locally caught seafood to steak.


Chef Steve has shared a recipe for Ham and Cheese Stuffed Smoked Pork Chops. He enjoys using Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork, which is a local farmer based in Seven Springs, N.C. He suggests pairing this dish with Bombshell Beer Company‘s Holly Daze Spice Ale. This NC beer is a spiced Holiday ale showcasing ginger, cinnamon and sweet orange peel on the front and finishes with subtle chocolate from the Carafa2 grain and spice notes from the Pacific Jade hops. The delicious spice and fruit notes will complement the smoke and apple flavors of the pork chops. The Holly Daze Spice Ale is especially delicious when served with a cinnamon sugar rim!

Holly Daze Spice Ale by Bombshell Beer Company

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Smoked Pork Chops


4 Cheshire Pork Loin Chops (bone in)
2-3 ounces Manchego cheese
4 slices Prosciutto
Salt, pepper, and roasted garlic powder or regular garlic powder to taste

2 Granny Smith Apples
1 lemon
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup sugar
11/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
5 Cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Coriander
1/2 tsp. Cardamom (optional)

2 cups Apple-wood chips

Directions from Chef Steve Zanini
Smoking the pork chops is what we do at Jimmy V’s Steak House and Tavern. At home, if you have the means to try this, it adds the smokiness that really makes the dish. We try and keep the pork as far as possible from the heat of the smoke so as to not cook the pork while smoking but just to add the smoke flavor.

We use a cast iron skillet and turn the flame on the range top up all the way to heat the pan as hot as possible. At home you can do the same or out by your grill. Put your wood chips in a sturdy vessel to get the chips to catch fire. You do not need your grill on for this. You may try some lighter fluid if need be. We use a torch and a hot pan to get the chips to fire. The grill is just your smoking vessel. We use an old oven with the pork on the top rack and the smoldering chips on the bottom. Tip: Have a lid of some sort to put out the flames of the chips! We are smoking and not cooking.

Take your four pork chops and using a small knife, cut a hole in the side of each pork chop working the knife up to down but not piercing the other side. You are trying to make a pocket in each chop to hold the Prosciutto and Manchego. The pockets should have a hole the size of a finger or two. You do not want to slice the whole side open. Once you have your pockets, season each chop on both sides with a light dusting of salt, garlic powder and pepper. If you have a rack to hold your chops on that will fit in your grill, use that along with a pan underneath. We spray a rack and put that on a sheet pan to hold the pork so that not drippings will fall into the chips. If using your grill and have no rack, it is fine to set the chops on a pan.

Place your chops in the pan in the grill, have your pan with wood chips on fire also in the grill. Once the chips are burning quite well and are starting to blacken, cover the chips to put out the flame, remove the cover immediately and close your grill. You are now smoking pork. After about 20 minutes you should have smoky raw pork chops. Remove your chops and allow to cool.

While your chops are cooling, take your spices for your sauce and blend in a spice blender or your home blender. Once they are a powder, set aside in a bowl. Peel your Granny Smith apples, dice them and put in a container just covering them with cold water and the juice of a lemon. In a sauce pan, add your apples, lemon water, red wine, spice blend and sugar, and turn the heat on a medium high heat. Once they begin to boil, reduce the heat to a medium low.

Dice the cheese and cut the ham up into small pieces. Using your fingers, force the cheese and ham interchangeably inside the pork chops. Once finished, spray a baking dish and place the chops inside. A foiled pan may be better for leakage. Bake in a preheated oven at 380 degrees F for 13 minutes. Pull out and let sit for 5 minutes.

Check your sauce periodically. The consistency should be like a syrup. If it is still loose, you can turn up the heat and add a little more sugar.

Once the pork is done and the sauce is a loose syrup consistency, plate the pork and pour the sauce over the chops.
We serve our pork with a bubbling four cheese mac-n-cheese at Jimmy V’s Steak House and Tavern.

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