Pork chops

This molasses-brined pork chop number is the main breakfast course for guest at Mark Reichle, and his wife, Nancy Miller, at the Southmoreland on the Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. (Allison Long/Kansas City Star/MCT)

Some fans say anytime is a good time for barbecue.

But 7 a.m.?

On a recent Saturday morning, birds were chirping, people were sleeping and the sun was still rising over the Country Club Plaza. But Mark Reichle was bathed in sweet smoke as he began to prepare his signature morning meal: molasses-brined pork chops and croissant French toast stuffed with fresh grilled peaches.

Move over Wheaties. There's a new breakfast of champions.

It's barbecue for breakfast!

Reichle and his wife, Nancy Miller, owners of Southmoreland on the Plaza--An Urban Inn, have served the mighty meal to guests on Saturday mornings during warm months for more than a decade.

They've even gotten national recognition for it, having appeared twice on the Food Network. And now, with the return of warmer weather, they're back outside on their large wooden deck, barbecuing breakfasts on their hand-built limestone grill.

The barbecued breakfasts have been a huge hit. But not everyone warms immediately to the concept.

"We had a bunch of folks visiting one time from New York," Reichle said. "They were high school friends of Nancy's, and they were kind of health nuts. They just wanted fruit for breakfast. We were so disappointed! Well, one person said they would have the pork chop. Then everybody started to taste the pork chop and the French toast, and they all changed their minds. We were scrambling to get everybody breakfast."

This morning no one staying in the 13-room colonial revival-style bed-and-breakfast had to be convinced. Sitting on the deck under burgundy umbrellas, several said they could smell the meal wafting in through their bedroom windows.

"Nice way to wake up," one said.

At first the words "barbecue" and "breakfast" may not seem to go together. That's because most people associate barbecue with meat and sauce. But check out the word's definition.

"To roast or broil on a rack or revolving spit over or before a source of heat."

In other words, anything that can be cooked can be barbecued.

Reichle has many barbecued breakfast recipes. He has taken frying pans out to his grill and made eggs. He has smoked salmon and added it to the eggs for his version of eggs Benedict.

He has thrown chive corn muffins on the grill, as well as ham, pineapple and cardamom sugar plums. At Christmas -- unless there's 2 feet of snow -- he toasts gingerbread and pears on the grill, and tops it with hot caramel sauce.

But, after being featured on the Food Network about four years ago, it's the pork chop, croissant French toast and grilled peaches that guests expect on a Saturday morning. Reichle is happy to oblige.

After halving the peaches and grilling them flesh side down, he cut them into chunks and flavored them with maple syrup and lemon juice.

As Miller tended to the bubbling pot of bourbon-pecan maple syrup, Reichle cooked the brined pork chops, then dipped croissant halves in a French toast batter and arranged them carefully on the grill. He put the chops on plates, added the toasted croissants, which he had stuffed full of glistening grilled peaches, topped them with the syrup and garnished them with a sprig of fresh mint.