Pork Pibil

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

It all started with some Robert Rodriguez research for my fantasy film-making career.  Rodriguez’s recipe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrw5FkLutWk) was/is excellent, if  replicated exactly.

Just like Depp’s character’s pursuit in “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, I’ve been hunting a perfected Pibil of my own.  I’ve made 2 good ones, and 3 horrible ones (seems to be a theme on this site).   This is incredible food, and I have to say it, a perfect hunting camp recipe (one pot, one meat).

Things NOT to do:  Don’t use pork tenderloin ever for slow-roasting. Don’t skip/forget the vinegar.  Don’t get carried away adding spices like Cumin, Cinnamon, or Tarragon(?).

Things to Try:  Le Creuset pot instead (in the oven or over a campfire), vegetables, or wild game.

Recipe is as follows (basically):

1 Whole Pork Butt, 2″ cubes (no exceptions, no other cut of meat works quite as well), throw into crockpot

1 Onion sliced,  throw into crockpot

Season all lightly with SeasonAll

Marinade:

1 Cup Orange Juice

1 Cup Vinegar (type doesn’t seem to make a difference, why not, ehhh, half cider and half white?)

1 Cup 100% Agave Tequila

1 Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Pour marinade over meat the night before, leave in fridge, set for 12 hours slow cook the next morning.

I ended up making enchiladas out of these, too (basically shred the meat, roll up in pan-fried tortillas with monterey jack cheese.  Sauce

The dog waits for the Pibil.

is 1/2 El Paso Mild Enchilada Sauce, 1/2 juice from the Pibil, cooked on low with some flour to thicken, cover whole thing with cheese).

Soundtrack for this recipe: Turnpike Troubadours “Down on Washington”,  followed by the entire “Mambo Sinuendo” album by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban

Gumbo: An “end of the season” recipe..

Monday, August 9th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

Throw it all in... (Special thanks to Mike W. for his contribution of this recipe and support of The Sportsman Dispatch)

Anyone who hunts has found themselves with a hodgepodge of freezer bags of last year’s harvest.  Whether it is that lone pheasant, that package with three quail in it, or those last two links of deer sausage,  nobody wants to throw out game.  A few years ago my wife came across this recipe while playing Bunco one night.

I have found it to work well with just about any kind of meat you can think of.  Deer, shrimp, sausage, chicken, pheasant, rabbit, beef, quail, dove, squirrel.  I usually have at least three different meats in the pot.  On the smaller things like dove I cook them in a pressure cooker first and peel the meat off the bone.  This meal can be eaten like a stew or it can be eaten like a gumbo served over rice.

I call it a gumbo even though it does not have okra or a roux like traditional gumbo.  A large pot of this concoction is just the right thing for a house full of people on a cold winter day watching football.  I hope you enjoy it!

Gumbo

Use a big pot (really big)

2 sticks of butter

1 can cream of celery soup

2 large onions

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 complete stalk of celery sliced (the whole bunch)

1 can french onion soup

3 small cans of mushrooms

2 8-ounce tomato sauce

5 cups of water  (probably more)

1/3 cup Konriko Creole seasoning

Meat

Potatoes (cubed into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes)

Carrots

Simmer butter, onions, celery, and all spices until soft.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Add Meat*.  Cook on low heat until meat is tender, 30 minutes – 2 hours depending on meat.  Add carrots, potatoes, jalapenos (if you want).  Be careful with the jalapenos.  This is already pretty spicy.   Serve over rice or as a stew.

*Use any meat you want.  If you use dove or quail, you can boil them in a pressure cooker for about 3-5 minutes and the meat falls off the bone.  Use chicken, sausage, shrimp, dove, quail, venison, beef, pheasant, pork, squirrel, etc….. Chicken, sausage, shrimp, pheasant, quail do not take long at all to cook.  Beef, pork, venison take longer.  Pressure cooked meat will be very done.  If you cook it too long in the pot it will start to disintegrate into pieces.  Add it at the last.

Seasons other than Konriko work but none give it as good a flavor.

The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen / Texas BBQ Religion Part 1.5

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

From the Hello Kitchen Design Blog

My buddy has been looking to build an outdoor kitchen in the backyard of his new house in Houston, and being a BBQ/cooking nut, I started to help him plan it.

There’s a few ways you can go with planning any project/product, you can do it simple/basic, or highly idealistic/almost-unattainable.. we chose the latter.  This is why it makes it to The Sportsman Dispatch, anyway.

So, if you’re going to build an outdoor kitchen, what do you incorporate? From a high-level perspective, I started thinking about my my favorite cooking methods, even idealistic ones I want to try, ALL built into one:

1.) A REAL smoker pit.  See Smitty’s in Lockhart, Texas.   If you read Texas BBQ Religion Part 1 on sportsmandispatch.com last edition, you’ll know what wavelength I’m on here.  I’m talking brick and mortar, ground-level firebrick smoke “box” (even open top, maybe), and rectangular cook-box.  Plywood lid.  “OK, Colin, we can make it something more appealing, sure”.
2.) Tuscan-style or other Wood-fire grill – simple flat grill area to make wood (or charcoal) fires for direct heat grilling.  Pecan Burgers, Mesquite Fajitas, “Asador” (see article) South American Style Meats, or Tuscan-style grilling, whatever that is.
3.) Gas Grill – lets be honest, this is easy and convenient and makes excellent food.  You don’t always have time to burn down a 1/4 cord of oak for a couple burgers.
4.) Gas Burners – stir-fry, crawfish boilers, stinky/herby stuff you don’t want to stink the house up with.  Plus, its always more fun to spill stuff everywhere outside cause you know cleanup is not that big a deal.
5.) Flat-top grill – this is a greasy-spoon secret, and can be used to cook damn near anything.  Plus you can entertain your friends by pretending you’re a Japanese grill chef right up until you light your hair on fire with rice wine.

I’m going to try to bring in some “experts” on this one too – friends who take cooking/grilling seriously and know what it takes to make the perfect food.  I’ve got a crawfish man (who is a writer on the site) that I’m gonna ask about the gas-burner section of the kitchen.

One very important reference here:  Hello Kitchen Design, out of Austin, TX, featured the design of a similar outdoor kitchen in a blog post titled “Primitive Outdoor Kitchen… on a Tiny Urban Half-Lot?” (seen here – http://www.hellokitchen.net/blog/dream-kitchen-series/).  This excellent article (including the photographs and planning drawings) both helped to further inspire this idea, and reassure me that there ARE others out there who share this vision.

More to come.. ideas for now..

Random Meats, Part 2: Beef “Bourguignon”

Friday, May 7th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

This series, fully titled “Buying Random Meats, and Putting them into Pots”, was inspired by the realization that great meals can be cooked by simply browning any meat in a pot, adding some vegetables and juice, and waiting several hours.  This has excellent applicability in expedition, camping, hunting and fishing cooking, where simplicity is ideal.

In this image: Zwilling/J.A.Henckels Professional "S" series knives, Boos Block cutting board.

As a follow-up and continuation of the promised aforementioned series in last month’s article “Last Minute Cast Iron Supper”, I decided to buy some more meat for the cast iron pot.  This time, it was inspired by an episode of “Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations”, which, I’ll admit, will be a large influence on many of the cooking articles on this site for awhile.  In this episode, Bourdain claims that every American should know how to make a stew, and showed a simple 5-ingredient Beef Bourguignon.

Burgundy, I presume..

So I went to the store and bought the best non-leaky-package pot roast I could find, an onion, carrots, and a handle of $7 Burgundy (a necessity in this dish according to Bourdain) Wine.  That’s cheap wine, but it was the only Burgundy I could find.  The recipe?  As usual, season and brown the meat, set it aside, season and saute the vegetables, add liquid (wine), add back the meat, and wait. (more…)

Texas BBQ Religion (Part 1)

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 | Posted in Cooking

Explaining the Passion

It all starts with a guy staring at a plate of gray, dry, catering-style brisket. “We’ve lost it, along the way, somewhere”.

This gut-feeling, in contrast with any lucky experience with one of the last great places to find truly legitimate smoked BBQ (either someone’s home cooked, a BBQ cook-off sample, or only a handful of restaurants), can start a trueblood Texan on a journey to honor the craft and his state in the process.

The Good Old Pit

Someone has to carry on a tradition of un-compromised quality and devotion to perfection, in whatever sport, craft, or hobby.  Or, at least, the ones who do will keep that small wavering flame going for the ones who cared then, now, and will care in the future. (more…)

Last Minute Cast Iron Supper

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 | Posted in Cooking

I got back late yesterday evening to my cold and empty Houston swamphouse.   About to park it on the couch and let the plasma trance begin, I spotted my clean and oiled cast iron pot sitting on the stove.   I felt like doing something productive, and had been hearing alot about braising/roasting..

I’m not really one for recipes, I read alot of them and try to remember ingredients but I never want to follow one when I get that kind of inspiration.  Here’s my recipe:

If its a little too late to be cooking dinner, cold outside, and you’re already wearing your evening pants, put on a hat and go to Kroger.  Buy two split chicken breasts, an onion, green onion, carrots, garlic, and chicken stock.  After seasoning the chicken by a quick spastic rummage through your cabinet, brown it in oil, and set it aside.  Then chop up the vegetables throw them into the spicy oil with some garlic.   When that gets carmelized, or starts to fill the kitchen with smoke, put the chicken on top, pour in some chicken stock, bring to a boil, back down to a simmer, and cover for 30 minutes.

 Late Chicken Stew

Late Chicken Stew

This was a great experiment and is an excellent method for outdoor/expedition cooking.  I can’t believe this is so easy, an its bound to be one of my favorites.   Stay tuned for monthly updates in a series titled Buying Random Meats, and Putting them into Pots.

Thanksgiving Notes for 2010

Thursday, November 26th, 2009 | Posted in Cooking, Hunting

Food HuntingSomewhere I heard of a Thanksgiving tradition of the man of the house going out and shooting something, I guess preferably a turkey, on Thanksgiving day.  I could go look up the source, but I’d rather just envy the idea and plan a trip for next year. 

Next Thanksgiving, I’d like to take the Belgian 12ga SxS out to some land (that I aint bought, the first predicament this publication is in), with 10 rounds of assorted shotgun shells: buckshot, no4′s and no8′s.  I’ll assemble a crew of guns, maybe, and we’ll all head out before daylight to see what we can’t shoot.  Then, we’ll come back to the house, clean up whatever we have, and try to make a meal out of it (the cooking part of the challenge).

For some reason, I get the feeling that we’ll end up eating assorted rodents under this plan, so I’ll have to get creative.