Melissa Cookston Celebrates National Pork Month

Saturday 19th, October 2019 / 12:07 Written by
Melissa Cookston Celebrates National Pork Month

Shake Up Your Favorite, Go-To Pork Recipes with BBQ Hall of Famer Melissa Cookston during Pork Month

October is the most flavorful time of the year, or as we’ve coined it – Porktober! That’s right! October is National Pork Month, and who else better to shake up your audience’s favorite, go-to pork recipes than the Winningest Woman in BBQ, Melissa Cookston!

Grilled Pork T-Bones with BBQ Butter

Peppered Pork Tenderloin with Hoecakes and Mississippi Caviar

Pork Loin Purse with Spinach, Pear and Goat Cheese

Taken from Cookston’s cookbook, “Smoking in the Boys’ Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South,” the below award-winning recipes for grilled pork T-bones with BBQ butter, peppered pork tenderloin with hoecakes and Mississippi caviar, and pork loin purse with spinach, pear and goat cheese will help you indulge during National Pork Month so that you can be king of pork this October!

“Just like beef T-bones, pork T-bones contain a lower piece of the loin (the strip loin section of a beef T-bone) and a section of the tenderloin (the filet of the pig). I treat this simply: well-seasoned, grilled to medium, and then topped with a thick pat of my BBQ Butter. Delish! The BBQ Butter can be made ahead and frozen. Just pull out a portion a couple of hours before needed. I also love to use it to top steaks, chops, and even breads for a nifty treat.”


Melissa Cookston pork month

Photo & recipe credit: Melissa Cookston

BBQ Butter

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Basic BBQ Rub
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Pork T-Bones

  • 4 pork T-bones, each 1 ½ inches thick (porkchops of similar thickness may be substituted)
  • ¼ cup Grill Seasoning
  1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining butter ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low-medium for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the bowl a couple of times, until well incorporated. Divide into 4 portions, lay each on an 8-inch square of parchment paper, and roll up into a log shape. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm. The butter will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  2. Prepare a medium-hot grill and oil the grates. Season the T-bones with about 2 tablespoons of the grill seasoning each, then place on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until medium. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then serve with a pat of butter on each.

“Pork tenderloin is one of the most versatile cuts of meats available. It serves as a wonderful palette for any number of flavors, from Mexican to Asian and all places in between. This version has the snap of cracked black pepper set off against a jalapeno hoecake and cooling Mississippi caviar. Hoecakes are basically corn bread pancakes. They get their name from field workers who would cook them on the flat metal of the hoe over a fire. They’re a wonderful quick bread that you can make while grilling your entrée. In fact, if you prepare the caviar in advance and heat your griddle while the tenderloin is grilling, you can cook the hoecakes while the meat rests and serve dinner in 20 minutes.”


Melissa Cookston pork month

Melissa Cookston

Mississippi Caviar

  • 2 cups drained cooked black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup fresh whole-kernel corn
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin


  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


  • 2 cups self-rising white cornmeal
  • ¾ cup self-rising flour
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced pickled jalapeno
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, or as needed
  1. To make the caviar, combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, mix well, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving and up to overnight.
  2. For the pork, prepare a medium-hot grill. Combine the pepper, thyme, salt, and granulated garlic in a small bowl and mix well. Cut each tenderloin in half crosswise, massage them with mustard, then lightly sprinkle with the tenderloin pieces on the grates and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so, until the internal temperature reaches 140-degree Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer. Remove from the grill, cover with aluminum foil, and rest for 5 to 7 minutes while you cook the hoecakes.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, onion, jalapeno, salt, eggs, and buttermilk. Place a griddle on the grill, add the oil, and heat. Using a large spoon, drop about ¼ cup of the batter onto the griddle and allow to form a pancake shape. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, flip, and cook for 2 minutes longer or until golden and cooked through. As the hoecakes will absorb the oil, you may need to add more to the griddle after each batch. Repeat with the remaining batter until you have at least 8 hoecakes.
  4. To serve, place 2 hoecakes on each plate. Slice the tenderloin approximately ½ inch thick on a basis and arrange in a shingle pattern across the hoecakes. Top with 1 tablespoon of caviar and serve.

“This is easily prepared and a makes a beautiful presentation to set on the dinner table before slicing. The stuffing is a favorite of mine as the creaminess of the goat cheese complements the pork quite well. However, any number of different things such as a fresh seasonal fruit or different cheese will be great in this recipe.”


Melissa Cookston pork month

Photo & recipe credit: Melissa Cookston

  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) piece pork loin
  • 1 tablespoon Basic “Memphis-Style” BBQ Rub
  • ¼ medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh spinach
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  1. Preheat a smoker or grill for indirect heat to cook at 275-degree Fahrenheit. Rinse the pork loin and pat dry. Beginning about ¾ inch from one end and continuing to ¾ inch from other end, cut a slit in the pork loin, about three-quarters of the way into the loin. At the bottom of the cut, make small slices to make a “T” or a pocket. Season the outside of the pork loin with the rub as well as inside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the onion, tarragon, garlic, pear, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and toss to mix. Stuff the spinach into the pork loin, then pack with the onion-tarragon mixture. Place in the smoker for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the meat temperature nears 140-degree Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the stuffing and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from smoker and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing 1 inch thick.

About Melissa Cookston

Cookston is a 7-time world barbecue champion; owner of restaurants Steak by Melissa in Southaven, Mississippi and Memphis BBQ Company, a successful barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Dunwoody, Georgia; an author of two cookbooks, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South;” and a celebrated southern Delta chef who is sponsored by Prairie Fresh.

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