Marinated Double-Thick Pork Chop with Sweet Habanero Glaze

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons sweet onion
2 tablespoons garlic
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme picked off stems
Plastic resealable bag
6-8 pork chops
Paper towels
1 tablespoon Old Bay® seasoning
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Habanero Glaze:
1-2 Habanero chiles (substitute Serrano or jalapeño chiles for less heat), seeds removed and chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup water
1/2 cup very ripe, finely diced mango
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian
flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 can (21 ounces) BUSH’S® Texas Ranchero Grillin’ Beans®

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Mix and crush the ingredients with your hand,
directly or through the bag, squeezing them to release the maximum flavor. Put the chops in the marinade and let them absorb the flavors for 3 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Drain the chops and dry with paper towels. Combine Old Bay® seasoning, chipotle chili powder and freshly ground black pepper and coat the chops. Combine all the Habanero glaze ingredients in a large bowl. Brush the chops with the glaze while reserving some for the garnish. Put the chops on the well-oiled grill and cook until medium-well. Press the chops as needed throughout the cooking process. (An optional technique is to use a foil-wrapped brick or heavy frying pan to maintain grill contact.) Baste during the last minutes and flip the meat as needed. Continue to grill until the chops are nicely caramelized and charred on both sides, approximately 8 to 10 minutes per side total, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Garnish with chopped scallions and chives and drizzle with remaining glaze. Serve with one can (21 ounces) BUSH’S® Texas Ranchero Grillin’ Beans®.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Bush’s® Beans.

Project Planning: Outdoor Kitchens

The popularity of outdoor living spaces is on the rise – and with good reason! A well designed and installed outdoor living feature offers one of the highest return on investment for homeowners when remodeling. Homeowners and trade professionals across the country are asking about the Belgard Outdoor Kitchen Elements (by Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc.). This new product line creates a cohesive and seamless look as the elements are constructed with the same materials as your outdoor hardscape. They come with a warranty that is unmatched in the outdoor kitchen industry, and are available with MediumRare and OCS grills and accessories. The wood fired brick ovens feature an interior cooking dome constructed by Chicago Brick Oven. These pre-built modular kitchens can be ordered as individual cabinets or as pre-designed layouts. Other options such as wine cabinets, display niches, fireplaces, water features and much more are also available. The combination possibilities for custom layouts, colors and accents materials are endless.

We asked Joe Raboine, President of Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc. to share a few tips on creating a successful outdoor kitchen. He offered these items for consideration:

Initial Planning

  • How is the kitchen going to be incorporated into your existing outdoor living spaces? You want to ensure that it blends into the rest of the hardscape area.
  • Take time to consider the placement of your brick oven or grill. Prevailing winds may force the smoke into your house or exterior dining spaces – not a good situation and difficult to remedy.
  • How many people do you typically cook for – this will determine the grill size, work space, etc.
  • Do you want the kitchen to be fully functioning with a sink, natural gas, etc? If so, make sure you check codes and find a qualified installer who can coordinate those aspects.
  • Try to locate the kitchen near your house – preferably near your existing kitchen or family area. If located too far away, it will not be used often.
  • What type of materials do you want to use to build/face your outdoor kitchen? Make sure that whatever you chose blends in well with your home and hardscape.
  • When considering kits, site built, full mansonry, pre-built, etc. make sure that you are choosing a product that will hold up well for the long term in your climate. Extreme temperature swings can wreak havoc on outdoor structures if not designed, installed or planned properly.

Selecting Features

  • What features do you want most in your outdoor kitchen (ex. Grill, bar, refrigerator, etc)?
  • If you want to incorporate a bar, you may want to consider a sink, bar station, larger refrigerator, speed rail, ice chest and/or a keg cooler.
  • Have you considered a wood fired brick oven? They are extremely popular right now and provide an element that is both interesting and entertaining.
  • What type of countertop do you want? The standard Belgard top features an inlay of polished granite based concrete, but you can also have someone install a granite or concrete counter on-site.


Regulations & Safety

  • Make sure that your rear landings are large enough that when bringing food in and out of the house, you are safe.
  • Make sure to check local building codes for kitchens – especially setback requirements.
  • Make sure your kitchen comes with a warranty!

According to Belgard’s Vice President, Ken O’Neill, planning is the key to satisfaction. Ken says, “All projects that result in a happy customer start with good planning. Ensuring that the project’s budget and scope are well defined are important steps in the planning process. Selecting a good contractor also helps. A Belgard Authorized Contractor can help set the table for your design. They can provide design options using Belgard products and in some cases provide a 3D rendering of the design to allow the customer to visualize the completed project.”

Visit our website for inspirational outdoor kitchen photos or to locate a Belgard Authorized Contractor in your area.

Grilled Diver Scallops with Pistachio Crumble, Cucumber and Feta Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Serves 4

For grilled scallops:

8 large diver scallops

2 tbs pistachio oil*

1 tbs lemon

salt and pepper to taste

For cucumber salad:

2 English cucumbers

1/2 cup crumbled feta

2 tbs chopped red onion

1 tsp chopped oregano

1 cup olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

For pistachio crumbles:

1 cup shelled pistachios

1 tbs dry oregano

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tbs sesame seeds (toasted)

For roasted strawberries:

1/2 cup strawberries (quartered)

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tbs mint leaves (finely chopped)


For scallops:

Rub scallops with pistachio oil and season with salt and pepper. Put on grill fat side down and sear on one side on high heat (about 4 minutes). When charred, turn scallops and cook on low heat about 1 minute or until desired doneness.

For cucumber salad:

Toss all ingredients together in mixing bowl.

For pistachio crumbles:

In a food processor, combine all ingredients until a powder is achieved.

For roasted strawberries:

In a hot saute pan, add olive oil. Add strawberries. Saute 1-2 minutes or until somewhat soft. Add vinegar, turn off heat and add mint.

To Serve:

Dip warm scallops in crumble until well coated on seared side. Bake in hot oven or on hot grill to brown for about 1 minute. Arrange cucumber salad on plate with some additional crumble and crumbled feta. Drizzle with strawberry vinaigrette. Place scallops on salad and redress with fresh lemon and olive oil. Serve with toasted pita or crusty bread and a drizzle of olive oil.

*Pistachio Oil: In food processor, add 3/4 cup pistachios (shelled, preferably toasted) and 1 cup of light olive oil. Puree the mixture, until desired consistency is reached. Let it sit overnight or for several hours until the mixture settles. Skim off the oil which is now pistachio infused.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Western Pistachio Association

Creating A Modular Outdoor Living Area

For those ready to foray into the world of outdoor living, the experts at Belgard and Harmony offer the following advice when it comes to creating a modular outdoor living space.

Consultation is Key

Colors and design elements should complement both the architecture of the home and the lifestyle of the homeowner.  It’s important that the contractor know how the homeowner envisions using the space. Form should create function, not impede it.  Get to know your contractor so that your outdoor refuge reflects your personality.

Know Your Codes

Nothing is more frustrating than a design that cannot be implemented due to setback restrictions or a compromised foundation. Design elements like a kitchen bar or a fireplace often require additional foundation work, such as a thicker layer of gravel, or cement pads or footings. Knowing these details before you begin your design will save you a lot of time, headaches, and ultimately, money.

Choose Wisely

Choose a reputable product line that offers a variety of styles and options. Check to see if there is a local supplier with a showroom or spec sites.  A design may look good on paper but have a different feel in full-scale. Be sure to get full disclosure on all product warranties.

Get Creative

Just because you’re designing with modular units doesn’t mean each project needs to be a cookie cutter of the next. Don’t be afraid to vary your designs with texture, color, and dimension.  Mix complimentary elements, hues, curves and lines that work in harmony with the home’s environment.  Create focal points and use paver variations and design elements to create lines that lead to them. Consider using retaining walls or seat walls to define different areas and provide additional seating.  Remember to consider what the purpose and future usage of each space will be and to leave adequate room for walking, gathering, and furniture.

Phasing it Out

If you don’t have the budget to create your dream now, discuss the option of building the project in phases. If planned correctly, you can add an element at a time until the dream is complete. Once the site is excavated and leveled, have your contractor run lines for future plumbing and electrical. Most modular units are designed so that these elements can be added after the fact, but preplanned buried lines are much more aesthetically pleasing. And if you know ahead of time where the heavier elements will be, you can properly prepare the foundation to prevent sag.

Sample Design Project

A fire table with an elevated bar was placed adjacent to the dining area to provide an element of interest and additional seating. The table includes a beaded glass top, built-in natural gas burner, and wood box. In the background, the fireplace wall continues to define the perimeter of the space and is capped with a pillar unit with additional lighting.

Opposite the fireplace and flanking the rear of the home is a fire pit living area designed to create a separate cozy conversation area, yet still coordinate with the colors and textures of the other units and the exterior of the home.

The only element constructed on site can be the patio with buried plumbing and electrical lines. All other elements can be prefabricated in a factory setting, shipped on palettes, and placed on site using a Bobcat. Within hours, a patio can be transformed into a designer living space using modular units.

For more inspiration on building your backyard paradise, visit our Outdoor Living Gallery!

Grilled Chicken Rice Salad with Pineapple and Pistachios

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks (packed in juice), drained, 1/3 cup juice reserved

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, grilled and cut into cubes

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

4 large lettuce leaves

2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

To make the dressing: Reserve pineapple chunks for salad. In small bowl, stir 1/3 cup pineapple juice with oil, salt, and pepper.

To make salad: In medium bowl, combine reserved pineapple chunks, chicken, rice, bell pepper, and red onion. Add dressing and toss gently to mix.

Arrange lettuce leaves on 4 plates. Top with salad and sprinkle with pistachios.

Recipe and photo provided courtesy of Prevention.

Modular Design Makes Outdoor Living Easy

One of the fastest growing trends in the construction industry is the increased popularity of designer outdoor living spaces.  An outdoor kitchen or living room not only adds to the character, value, and functionality of a home, it increases the home’s useable square footage for considerably less cost than under-beam construction.

According to a recent nationwide survey of the top 10 “must haves” in new construction (conducted by AVID Ratings Co.), the outdoor living room ranks as number five.  In fact, the survey revealed that homeowners were willing to forgo a media room or a dining room in lieu of an outdoor living space.

When the trend first began to take shape, homeowners were limited due to cost restraints and a narrow number of contractors with the needed skill set and industry knowledge. However, recent innovations in prefabricated modular construction have eliminated some of those roadblocks and are paving the way for those ready to plunge into outdoor living.

One Plus One Equals Simplicity
Joint venture partnerships between supply manufacturers have greatly improved the ease and overall cost benefits of outdoor living construction. Belgard Hardscapes, manufacturer of concrete pavers and wall products, is one such company that has created these partnerships with a variety of other manufacturers, including purveyors of grills, fireplaces, fire pits, and brick ovens.

”We wanted to provide contractors a portfolio from which to create entire packages for their clients,” said Belgard Vice President Ken O’Neill. “Offering a one-stop-shop scenario plus color palettes that all work together makes designing each project so much easier.”

Belgard’s latest venture has taken this concept one step further by partnering with Harmony Outdoor Living to create prefabricated modules for outdoor kitchens and living rooms. These modules, or kits, are pre-assembled in Harmony’s factory, combining Harmony fireplaces, fire pits, and fire tables with Belgard pavers and wall products to make outdoor room construction a snap. Kitchen modules can even be ordered with grills, sinks, and stainless cabinetry included. These modules come shipped on a palette and are easily set in place with a Bobcat.

“Certain installations that once took days or weeks can now be done in minutes or hours once the foundation is ready,” says Joe Raboine, President of Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc.

The use of prefabricated modules also greatly reduces the incidence of buyer’s remorse. “There’s often a disconnect between the homeowner’s vision and the finish product,” says O’Neill. “But with the prefab modules, what you see is what you get. And because the fabrication is done in a controlled environment, you get a higher quality product that’s more resistant to settling and is covered under a warranty.”

An additional benefit to homeowners is the ability to phase out their dream design by adding one prefabricated element at a time. A homeowner can start with a patio and later add a kitchen, then a fireplace, then a seat wall, and so on.

Sample Design Project

The focal point of this outdoor dining room is the fireplace that was built using four modular units: fireplace, chimney, and two wine rack walls.  Ample patio space was allotted for additional gathering space and walking room. Incandescent lighting was added to the chimney to highlight the piece and provide additional exterior illumination.

Kitchen modules can be ordered with or without the grill, sink, and cabinetry, and depending on placement can include a bar extension for additional seating.  This particular kitchen was designed to flank the fireplace, define the dining space, and operate solely as a cooking and prep area. It includes three different patterns of wall and paving products to vary color and texture and coordinate with the patio pavers.

Check back next week for a step-by-step guide to creating a modular outdoor living area. In the meantime, visit the Belgard Backyard section of our website for more information!