Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

A Fair Tradition: Peterson’s Pork Chops

It’s that time of the year again. Late summer. The blooms have bloomed. The garden is thick. Football is on TV again. And the Minnesota State Fair is grillhappyunderway. I guess I could take or leave the fair, massing up with a million and a half of my closest friends, shoulder-to-shoulder in a sauna with the state’s largest pig, but I digress. One of the high privileges of the fair, of course, is the food there. The bigger the fair, the more choices of wonderful food you’ll find. The Minnesota State Fair is about as big a fair as there is. So we go there hungry, needless to say,  and primed for fat on a stick!

There are many things to try at the fair, from: deep-fried pickles, to bull bites (hmmm), deep-fried snickers bars, to the venerable funnel cake or elephant ear. We try to spread our calories with equal opportunity, with no gastronomic discrimination or bias, but the one place I must never miss, is Peterson’s Pork Chops. Man they’re good! Now the fair is a big place, vast acres of it in fact, but you can always find Peterson’s Pork Chops by following the smoke. The aroma trail from which the nose shall navigate unto a savory victory. And there you will find, and the terminus of a smokey rainbow, the spoils that which you have sought. Grilled to perfection. Juicy. Smokey. And without question, served on a stick. It’s a fair thing. We usually like to stroll the campus with our pork chops in hand, like meat lolly pops, and wander into the pig exhibit there, just because.  I know.

That’s all well and fine, POTP, you say, tell us all about your state fair’s marvelous pork chops, but what’s in it for us! We poor schmucks who can’t make it to Minnesota right now, just for a pork chop on a stick. Well, we’re glad you mentioned that! Turns out Peterson’s Pork Chops have the very same seasoning they use at the fair,  for sale also. And why not, I reckon. When you stand in line twenty and some minutes for a pork chop, they must be doing something right. So I picked up a bottle of it not too long ago, just because. Just in case my belly ever acquires the urge to reminisce with what is good and right about the fair. And such was the case tonight, under muggy, gray skies, and darting tweety birds. I wasn’t able to go to the fair, so this was the next best thing. So grab a lovely beverage and join us at the pit, and we’ll show you how it was and came to be, the premiere state fair pork chop, patron to the pit.



First on the pit, a little side order of red potatoes, rolled about in olive oil, and sprinkled with seasoning. The seasoning we used tonight, is Grill Happy Seasoning, from Peterson’s. Yes, the same seasoning we’ll use a little later for the chops. It says right on the bottle you can use it on vegetables too, so we did.  Good is good, after all. Places the spuds over direct heat, flipping occasionally at your pit master instincts. If you do them right, they will have a delightful crispness to the outer skin, and be fluffy hot inside, cordial to a pat of butter if you please.


Then the cold chops hit the hot iron grill, sizzling there like good meat does, whilst we dusted them over with Grill Happy Seasoning. The first dribbles of drool accumulated in my left lip pit. The smoke began to curl. And the cook was on. We did the chops opposite the hot coals the entire time, pampering them as good pork ought to be. Flipping once or twice for even cooking. I could not help nurturing the urge to impale a stick into these lovely chops, but alas, I resisted. Let’s not get ridiculous, after all.


An ode to the Peterson Pork Chop, courtesy of Grill Happy Seasoning, and patron to the pit. Succulent and savory, dripping with flavor, sided with a lovely bouquet of roasted red potatoes and lightly peppered corn. Man! So if you can’t make it to the Minnesota State Fair either, but would fancy a taste, this is how it’s done. Oh yes!



39 responses

  1. I love grilled pork chops but have such a hard time with them, they are either over done and dry or undercooked (not good either). I generally avoid crowds so the state fair sounds like it would be something I would most likely avoid. Love the seasoning and the pork chops look perfect.

    August 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    • Perhaps you ought to try a good pork brine with your next chops. A few hours in a brine before hand might help them along from the the overly dry fates.

      I hear you on the crowds. I can only take so much of that non sense too. The food I think is all that keeps me going back. And this particular chop, I can get pretty close at home. So that’s good.

      Take care

      August 22, 2014 at 2:54 pm

  2. Bruce Goodman

    You’ve just decided what we shall have for dinner! Just got to get some red potatoes, a few chops and a BBQ. And a summer! Oh – and shall probably have to make the “Grill Happy Seasoning” as I’ve never seen it here in New Zealand… Interesting post as always!

    August 22, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    • Thanks Bruce!! Yes, you’re in the midst of winter down there, aren’t you…Well good luck on your supper then, none the less. We rather aspire for the winter grilling thing up here. It’s shall we say, invigorating.

      You can order the grill happy seasoning online if you want. We stuck in some links.

      August 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      • Bruce Goodman

        I just might try ordering it, thanks. Won’t be here by tonight though! The other one I have to make, as it’s not available over here, is Old Bay Seasoning. It tastes better if it comes out of the old-fashioned tin!

        August 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

  3. Makes me want to run to the store for some pork chops! Yum!

    August 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    • Heck yes!!! Wait, YOU need to buy pork chops???? The keeper of much wild hog!!

      August 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      • It’s late in the season. We’re down to some ribs, ground meat and roasts. I’m ready for fall.

        August 22, 2014 at 8:16 pm

  4. Yumm, just those evil potatoes spoil the gorgeous image…
    Corn tolerable…, sort of;-)
    All the best:-)

    August 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm

  5. Just follow the smoke. I like that. There’s nothing like getting some good food at the show (Fair) it always tastes different, especially a big hot potato with sour cream in it. Great recipe again PotP. Say, did you get the files I sent with the mock recipe books? I sent them via your FB page and haven’t heard back.

    August 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    • Many thanks, Laurie. We did get your files. They were great. Much appreciated, Laurie. We also sent a fb message back to you, that same day, but I guess it messed up somewhere along the line. I’ll have to go back there and double check. But yes, thank you very much for the files. You’re the best, mate!


      August 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      • It must have gone missing along the way. All good, I was just a little worried that I may have overstepped the mark. Glad you liked them though. Oh I try. 🙂

        August 22, 2014 at 7:10 pm

  6. The kid and I are headed there tomorrow a.m. and by golly I’ve never tried them. But for you sir, I will add that to my culinary adventures of spiking cholesterol and food coma-osity. Cheese curds, mini-donuts, pronto pups, bucket-o-cookies, and a chocolate malt for the ride home. Did I leave anything off 🙂

    August 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  7. Oh geeze, come on now! I just drooled on my clean shirt!

    August 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

  8. gotta love pork chops on a stick! That’s the kind of thing that makes me happy. 🙂

    August 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

  9. I want them!

    August 23, 2014 at 11:29 am

    • Sorry, they’re gone. They reside now in the bottom of the sewer, in route for the Gulf of Mexico.

      August 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      • then i will wait till they hit the shores of the uk.. and end up in london table water!

        August 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      • Wow! Haha

        August 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      • well if its the only way huh?

        August 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

  10. Another way to avoid having the pork chops get too dry is to buy them un-cut or at least partially connected (like a roast). That is the way we get them down here in Ecuador (called chuletas) and they smoke up nice and juicy. It takes a bit longer to cook them through, but when they are done we just cut them into individual chops and they are flavorful and juicy all the way to the bone! Great post again, my friend!

    August 23, 2014 at 11:56 am

    • Great addition, John! Yeah, that’s the way to do it if you can. Can’t beat a big old roast slow cooked over a wood fire. Man!

      Thanks John!

      August 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  11. Looks so good! I love putting a little lemon juice on my pork chops in the Weber. With a nice barbeque salt sprinkled on it when it gets turned on the coals… now I am getting hungry again…

    August 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    • I know it. Hunger is the price of admission into this blog, I guess. I like your pork chop process too!

      Thank you, Sir!

      August 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm

  12. What a coinkydink! That’s what I’m making again tonight

    August 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

  13. Always with the making me hungry. I could slaughter that pork chop right now.

    August 24, 2014 at 4:52 am

  14. Ah huh the fares of the state fair. A lover of all things unhealthy’s paradise. That’s where I had my first donut burger and deep fried butter. Both were EXCELLENT. Few things in life can beat a proper seasoned, we’ll smoked pork chop.

    August 24, 2014 at 6:11 am

    • Donut burger…….all that is good and bad in the palm of your hand.

      Thanks Mr Dodd!

      August 24, 2014 at 10:52 am

  15. Liz

    but where is the stick? haha. Big fan of Minnesota State Fair. Already went with one daughter and the entire fam goes next week. Yet I have never had this chop-on-a-stick :-0 Am sure I’d love. Just seems too healthy for fair food 😉 I’ve been known to sample four or so different kinds of ice cream (honey, dairy bldg, food bldg, etc) and that pretty much fills me up. Did you buy the ssg at the fair? Good find!!

    August 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    • You’ve never had the pork chop ! What ever do you do with yourself there. Oh yes, ice cream. Worthy. We always swing in the dairy building for a malt of some kind. Can’t miss that either!

      No didn’t buy the ssg at the fair …. Haven’t been there yet. And here you’re going twice! I don’t think I like it that much. Mercy.

      Thanks Liz!

      August 25, 2014 at 9:30 pm

  16. I refuse to let summer end. Somehow to me the state fair is always the death knell for summer. Let’s hope for an extended warm fall, I’m not ready to give up those warm evening grill sessions and lingering al fresco meals just yet! May your tweety birds continue to tweet for just a few more months! And, as usual this is a great blog entry that I can get behind. Thanks for the entry! Great looking chop!

    August 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    • Here here Mr Quincho! Let us grab the sun by the tail and just hold it there a few months more. No hurries. No worries.

      August 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

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