Dr Pepper and Pecans: It’s a Southern Thang!

Dr Pepper and pecans! What says ‘the South’ better than Dr. Pepper or pecans?

 Welcome to the last stop on the She Writes Southern Writers ‘Eat my Valentine’ blog hop. (Many thanks to Zetta Brown for her organizing and coordinating this blog event!)

Dr Pepper is the oldest major manufacturer of soft drink concentrates and syrups in the US. Its origins date back to 1885, to the central Texas town of Waco. The Dr Pepper Museum states that this native Texan had its beginnings at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store. The museum’s web site states that Charles Alderton, a pharmacist working at the drug store, created a drink to replicate the mixed fruity syrup smells permeating the soda fountain area. Many reports circulate about the origin of the name. The period was dropped from the name in the 1950’s. But very few dispute that Dr Pepper is a beloved favorite beverage, especially in the South.

Another Southern favorite is pecans. It’s reported that in 1906, Texas Governor James Hogg requested that a pecan tree be planted at his grave instead of the traditional headstone. He asked that the seeds be distributed throughout Texas, to make it a “Land of Trees.” In 1919, the Texas Legislature made the pecan tree the state tree of Texas. Pecan festivals abound throughout the south, usually from September through November.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Southern twist, here are two recipes using these Southern favorites.

I’m sharing two recipes for Dr Pepper Pork Chops. The second recipe is delicious and uses the traditional baked in the oven method. But, it takes three hours baking in a low oven. With Valentine’s Day on a Thursday this year, if you have to work and then come home and cook, that will make for a really late dinner. So, a quicker crock pot method is also supplied, equally tasty with a similar, but slightly different, sauce flavor.

dr pepper pork chopsDr. Pepper Pork Chops (Crockpot method)

4-6 pork chops
1 can Dr. Pepper
12 oz ketchup or chili sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in the crock pot, and cook on low for 6 hours or until the pork chops are cooked through. Remove the chops and whisk in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (or flour) to thicken the sauce into a gravy. Serve over rice.
Compiled by Kim Conte for CafeMom Food & Party

Dr. Pepper Pork Chops Recipe (Oven baked method)
This dish goes together quickly, but it does take 3 hours to bake. It is well worth wait.

24 ounces Dr Pepper soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, sliced
6 center-cut pork chops

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a 9 x 13-inch pan, mix soda, brown sugar, garlic powder, cloves, ginger, pepper, salt, and onion. Cook 15 minutes; stir. Place pork chops in mixture, and cover pan with foil. Bake 3 hours
Recipe Source: Great Firehouse Cooks of Texas by Ron and Caryl McAdoo (Republic of Texas Press)
Reprinted with permission on about.com-home cooking.

To complement the Dr Pepper Pork Chops, here is a Pecan Broccoli recipe for a delicious (and nutritious) side dish.

pecan broccoliPecan Broccoli
2 lbs broccoli
Black pepper
Fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup pecans
4 TB unsalted butter
1 finely chopped garlic clove

Remove and discard large leaves and tough portions of stem from broccoli. Wash broccoli, drain and tie securely into bunches with cotton string. Cook, tightly covered, in small amount of water 15 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain. Remove string. Arrange broccoli on warm platter. Season with salt, pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Sauté pecans in butter until lightly brown. Add garlic. Sprinkle garlic butter and pecans over broccoli. Serve at once. Serves 6.  
From Taste of Texas Cookbook, edited by Joy Moffett Angel, Eakin Press

However you spend your Valentines Day, with a special someone, alone, or with friends, enjoy your day. And, Be a Pepper! It’s a Southern Thang!

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deedee
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 18:15:46

    oh this all looks so yummy thanks for sharing it…


  2. viveka
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 20:53:48

    Wow, a bit history … and a great recipe. We don’t have Mr Pepper – what can I use instead? Cola??? This going on file.


    • trishafaye
      Feb 12, 2013 @ 23:32:00

      WHAT? No Dr Pepper???
      Yes, Cola would work similarly. I’ve cooked ham with both Dr Pepper and Coke and they both turn out well. You can tell a slight difference in flavor, but not much.


      • viveka
        Feb 12, 2013 @ 23:33:47

        Thanks …. I will sure try out this dish. Don’t drink Cola, but I have no problem with use it for cooking. Really looking forwad to try this out. Will let you know.

  3. Patricia Neely-Dorsey
    Feb 12, 2013 @ 14:38:24

    Great Recipe and Post ! Thanks !


  4. Amy Neftzger
    Feb 12, 2013 @ 21:36:06

    I have about 8 lbs of pecans in my freezer – can’t wait to try the recipe with the broccoli!


    • trishafaye
      Feb 12, 2013 @ 23:34:47

      Wow! 8 lbs!!! You ARE a Southern gal, aren’t you?
      You must have some trees on your property. I have to wait to visit my aunt in East Texas to get some. Although … we did find a local cemetery on one of our cemetery hops that had some pecan trees. We talked about going back when they were ripe, but forgot. Next time I’ll have to tie a string around my finger.


  5. Zetta
    Feb 12, 2013 @ 22:34:38

    Mmmm….I love me some Dr Pepper! Put it with pork chops? Even better. In fact, i use it as part of my BBQ marinade.
    @Viveka – you could use Coke if you don’t have Dr Pepper. It’ll just taste a little different.


    • trishafaye
      Feb 12, 2013 @ 23:37:28

      Yes Zetta. I’ve cooked ham with it also & loooooove it. I haven’t tried making my own BBQ marinade. Maybe that’s next on my list.
      Thanks for putting the ‘Eat My Valentine’ blog hop together.
      Are you still in Scotland? Or have you made it back to the grand republic of Texas yet?


  6. Sally Whitney
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 18:45:23

    I can’t wait to try the Dr. Pepper pork chops recipes–both of them! And thanks for the Dr. Pepper history lesson. I had no idea Dr. Pepper is the oldest U.S. soft drink, although I knew by instinct that it had to have been created in the south.


    • trishafaye
      Feb 13, 2013 @ 23:50:21

      They are tasty Sally. (No charge for the biased opinion. I’ve bordered on the verge of eating vegetarian … but I just cannot give up my pork!) Fortunately, lots of southern eating includes oodles of veggies, beans and bread, so I stuff myself with those also.


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