I really like pineapple upside-down cake. It’s probably one of my favorite desserts. This isn’t a recipe for pineapple upside-down cake, though.
It’s a recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Pork.
Pineapple Upside-Down Pork
3 thick pork chops (mine were 1.5 lbs total)
1 can pineapple rings
1/2 stick salted butter
dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 365 degrees.
Open the can of pineapple rings, pour the juice into a glass, and set aside. Line the bottom of a glass baking dish with the rings. If you’re using a 13×9 pan and a standard can of pineapple rings, you should have exactly one left over. Eat it. It’s tasty.
Remove the stems from several maraschino cherries, and place one in the center of each pineapple ring. You’re also allowed to snack on these.
Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and spoon 5-6 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar into a bowl with the melted butter. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add in a few shakes of garlic powder, onion salt, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce – start with well under 1 tsp of each and modify to taste. Pour half of the pineapple juice into this mixture, stir until all of the sugar and spices are dissolved and the consistency is similar to maple syrup. Taste-test it: it should be part sweet (the pineapple and sugar), part savory, and just a bit tangy (the spices and Worcestershire). Pour this sauce over the pineapple rings and cherries.
Trim the fat from the pork chops, then cut each chop in half so that you have two pieces with the same dimensions as the original chop, but half the thickness. If you started with 3 chops, you’ll end up with 6 slices of pork.
In a small bowl, mix about 1 tsp each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion salt. Rub a pinch of this blend into each piece of pork – it should be a very light coating because there are 6 pieces of pork and only a few tsp of spices. Arrange the pork on top of the pineapple rings.
Put the baking dish in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, quickly flip the pork over (the side now facing the top should have a light coating of the brown sugar sauce) and pour the remaining pineapple juice into the pan. Set the oven timer for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure that the pork is cooked all the way through (return to the oven for a few more minutes if the meat thermometer doesn’t read at least 160 degrees when stuck in the center of the thickest piece of pork) and set aside to cool for five minutes.
With pineapple upside-down cake, the most fun part is flipping over the pan to reveal the pineapples and cherries on the bottom (now top) of the cake. I strongly suggest that you do NOT try this with the pork. I suspect that you would spill sauce all over the place, and possibly burn yourself. A safer idea might be to use a fork or spatula to put the pork onto a plate, layer the pineapple and cherry on top of the pork, and spoon the sauce over top to recreate the upside-down cake look.
I was worried at first that this would end up being extraordinarily sweet, but the garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce do a great job of balancing out the sweetness of the pineapples, sugar, and cherries. I encourage constant taste-testing to achieve this balance – except for the uncooked pork, of course. When I made this dish, the sauce was sweet enough to resemble the dessert that inspired the dish, but not overwhelmingly so. In the same vein, the spices and Worcestershire sauces are not meant to be applied as generously as I might encourage with other recipes; the garlic powder, onion salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce were added gradually in small (< 1/2 tsp at a time) amounts until I reached a blend of sweet and savory.
I’m no sommelier, but I thoroughly reccomend serving this dish with Invisible Cherry Kool-Aid.