Posts tagged ‘pork’

Bratwurst Burgers

This past weekend, I was cleaning out the freezer and found some home made bratwurst (using this recipe) hiding in the back. This package of brats was in bulk form (ie wasn’t stuffed into casings) and I thought it would be perfect to make some burgers.  Now, if you don’t happen to have fresh, home made bratwurst in your freezer (I do feel sorry for you), then you can always grab some links from your grocery store, slice open the casings and form them into your own burgers. I happened to have a pound of bratwurst which was perfect to make 3 patties as I like my burgers around 1/3 lb each. Feel free to make your patties to whatever size makes you happy.

Bratwurst patties on the grill

Bratwurst patties on the grill

I set up my Egg for a direct cook around 500F. The bratwurst burgers were grilled for about 2 minutes, then turned 90 degrees, grilled another 2 minutes, then flipped and repeated on the other side. Grill until the temp reaches 160F (carryover will take it to 165F). Even though the FDA says pork is safe at 145F, with ground pork (ie sausage), I like to play it on the safe side, especially if I didn’t grind it myself and it’s store bought.

Bratwurst burgers on pretzel buns

Bratwurst burgers on pretzel buns

I know pretzel buns are probably “so last year”, but while at the store getting some other things, I spotted them at my bakery for the first time. I’m not always the first to jump on every food bandwagon. Often times, I just watch it pass by and shake my head. Some of them make no sense to me, but pretzel buns with bratwurst burgers? Seemed like they were made for each other. Made me take a short trip down memory lane. Sitting at a biergarten in Germany. Drinking beer and snacking on pretzels and sausages.  Good times. Sorry. My minds started to wander there for a bit.

So how to top these bratwurst burgers? I decided to keep it simple. Some spicy, brown mustard and a bit of sauerkraut. And why not some more pretzels on the side and a cold beer to wash it down (not pictured)?

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Taking a food that is normally eaten as a link and serving it in a burger form was different, to say the least. I mean I knew on a mental level what to expect it to taste like, but picking it up, it was like some kind of mental muscle memory kicked in and I almost expected it to taste like a burger. Like the eyes and sense of taste and mind just weren’t meshing up. It’s hard to explain. I think I had the same experience when we made King Ranch Mac and Cheese. I expected that to taste like Mac and Cheese, but then got all the flavors of King Ranch Chicken. Weird what the brain can do to you sometimes. Regardless, it was a pretty tasty burger/bratwurst burger. The only thing I think it was missing was some kind of cheese. What kind of cheese would you serve on a bratwurst burger?

Barbecue Pork and Pepper Jack Twice-Baked Potatoes

Pulled Pork Twice-Baked Potato

Pulled Pork Twice-Baked Potato

     So, you smoked too much pulled pork? I don’t call that bad planning. Hell, I call that good planning!! You went through all that effort and time to cook the perfect pulled pork, who wouldn’t want some for leftovers? Truth be told, if I’m going through all that effort to cook a pork butt, I’ll go ahead and cook two. It doesn’t take anymore time, effort or charcoal and it freezes beautifully.

     What to do with all that extra pulled pork? We’ve covered Pulled Pork Nachos before.  You could always do Pulled Pork Tacos or Pulled Pork Quesadillas. But we were looking for something a bit different for last night’s dinner.

The lowly potato.

The lowly potato, often overlooked and underestimated.

     So we were sitting around brainstorming, when Mrs. G ran across a recipe for Twice-Baked Potatoes Four Ways in the November 2013 issue of Southern Living. Pulled pork? Pepper jack cheese? Sounded like a winner to me.

Potato Filling

Potato Filling

Barbecue Pork and Pepper Jack Twice Baked Potatoes

(adapted from Southern Living, November 2013, p.126, serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 4 oz 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, cubed and softened (1/2 of an 8 oz package)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups chopped barbecue pork (about 1/2 lb)
  • 6 oz pepper jack cheese + 2 oz for garnish
  • 1/3 cup minced green onions + more for garnish
  • 3 tsp Ranch Dressing Mix
  • your favorite barbecue sauce (we used Stubb’s BBQ Sauce)
Ready For The Oven

Ready For The Oven

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line the bottom rack of your oven with aluminum foil. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork. Rub potatoes with canola oil and sprinkle on coarse sea salt. 
  2. Bake directly on oven rack 1 hour or until potatoes reach 210F. (Baking directly on the rack keeps skins crisp and firm to hold the filling.) Cool 10 minutes.
  3. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; carefully scoop pulp into a large bowl, leaving shells intact.
  4. Mash together potato pulp, cream cheese, milk, chopped barbecue pork, 6 oz pepper jack cheese (1.5 cups), green onions and Ranch dressing mix.
  5. Spoon mixture into potato shells, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Top with remaining pepper jack cheese (.5 cup).
  6. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.
  7. Top with your favorite barbecue sauce and green onions if desired.
After baking 15-20 minutes

After baking 15-20 minutes

     Did you know that 210 is the perfect temperature for baked potatoes with a crisp and golden skin and light and fluffy on the inside? I had heard that before, but never paid much attention to it. I’ve just always baked my potatoes as 400F for an hour. A few weeks ago, Mrs. G went out with some of her girlfriends and I stayed in and grilled a steak and baked a potato. Now, I know that my oven temperature is a little off on the low side, but I figured an hour would be fine. Not so much it turns out. The potato was way undercooked. Last night, I used a thermometer and one hour was not long enough. Two potatoes took an hour and ten minutes and two of them took an hour and fifteen minutes. I always say cook meat to temperature, not time. I guess I should start applying that to other foods as well.

When finished, drizzle a little barbecue sauce on top and garnish with green onions.

When finished, drizzle a little barbecue sauce on top and garnish with green onions.

 Twice-baked potatoes of any kind are a wonderful side. And one of the great things is that they can be made ahead of time. Just prepare the potatoes through Step 5 and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them for the second time. Or you can freeze them for later. Just place in the freezer for one hour until firm and then place in a Zip-lock bag or vacuum seal them. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when you are ready to eat them. Then bake at 45 minutes at 350F or until hot.

Could be served as a side, but we made them as our entree.

Could be served as a side, but we made them as our entrée.

     As I said, these could be served as a side, but with the chopped pork they made a perfectly filling entrée for us. They were smooth and creamy and had a subtle hint of smoke from the pork shoulder. The sweetness of the pork was offset nicely by the faint heat from the pepper jack cheese. And the tang from the bbq sauce was a nice addition to the taters. what else can I say but these twice baked potatoes were out of this world good. The next time you cook too much pulled pork and are looking for something to do with it, I hope you remember these twice baked potatoes and give them a try and let me know what you think.

     Don’t think you have to stick to this exact recipe either. I’ve already got ideas running through my mind about how to incorporate leftover barbecue chicken or chopped beef into the next batch of twice baked potatoes. Maybe some different cheeses? Maybe adding in some vegetables? The sky is the limit with what you can do with these babies..

Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham

HEB Spiral Sliced Ham

HEB Spiral Sliced Ham

     Not much of a recipe today, more of a technique for how to smoke a ham. Now, I don’t no why we don’t cook hams more often, but for whatever reason, we don’t. And as far as I can recall, this is the first one we’ve ever done on the Egg. It’s not like they are hard. And they don’t take too long. I guess we don’t do them often because we don’t have enough people to eat on them.

Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham

Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham

     This past week, Mrs. G mentioned that she didn’t want traditional BBQ type food for the Texas Oklahoma game. No traditional meats, no bbq sauces and especially no potato salad or cole slaw. So we started brainstorming and she decided she wanted a ham. I wanted a plain, smoked ham (aka naked ham which we might cover later this year), but Mrs. G wanted a spiral sliced honey cured ham from HEB. What Mrs. G wants, Mrs. G gets. Happy wife, happy life. If you aren’t from Texas and don’t have an HEB or Central Market near you, just go with whatever brand your store carries.

Spiral sliced ham

That is one pretty ham, don’t ‘cha think?

     These hams are already pre-cooked, so in reality, you aren’t cooking them. You are simply warming them up. So why bother to warm them up on the Egg or smoker? To introduce more smoke, of course! When you are ready to smoke your ham, set up your smoker for an indirect cook and stabilize it at 300F. We used the Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill Store with the large oval stone (wrapped in foil for easier clean up) on the bottom level and the oval grate on the third level. If using the Big Green Egg plate setter, I would use it legs up with the original grate setting on top of that. For smoke, we decided to go with two small chunks of cherry wood and a handful of hickory.

Excuse the blurry picture.

Excuse the blurry picture.

     Allow the ham to warm up to 145F. Let me say once again, that the ham is already pre-cooked. You are just introducing smoke to it and warming it up. Once it reaches 145F, it is done. Our ham weighed in somewhere between 9 and 10 lbs and took about 2.5 to 3 hours to cook. If you are done early (which we were), simply wrap the ham in aluminum foil. Get a small cooler and line it with old towels (not the ones that are for guest or you will end up sleeping on the couch), place the ham in the cooler and place a few more towels on top of it. This will give you time to finish up your sides, or sit down and enjoy a cold beverage and hopefully watch your team whip up on their opponents. Two hours later, the ham will still be too hot to handle with bare hands, believe me.

     Once you are ready to eat, feel free to use the included glaze or make one of your own up if you are so inclined. Mrs. G took one bite of the ham and told me to forget about glazing it, that it was that good by itself. Happy wife, happy life.

     If you are looking for sides, nothing goes better with a ham than black eye peas, cornbread and maybe some scalloped potatoes and greens. That would be for another post, however.

     And once you are done eating and all the dishes are taken care of, feel free to pat yourself on the back, pour another cold one and enjoy what’s left of you day. You’ve earned it.

I love this time of year. Football and cool weather. Does it get any better?

I love this time of year. Football and cool weather. Does it get any better?

     Hopefully, you didn’t invite to many people over and there will be plenty leftover for sandwiches the next day. I know we have pleny leftover. I wonder what we could do with that this week? Hmmm….

Annual Guy’s Dove Hunting Trip

…and some Smokey Pork Tenderloin Sliders

This past weekend, I headed down to our family’s ranch, The Dos Locos,  outside of Goliad, Texas for our annual Guy’s Dove Hunting Trip. Although this post does not really contain a recipe, I thought I’d share some pictures anyway (there is a link to the recipe for the  Smokey Pork Tenderloin Slider’s that I got from NibbleMeThis. You should really check out his blog.).

You may or may not know that I went to Baylor and am a huge fan. Hard to snap a picture while flying down I-35, but here’s the new stadium they are building right on the Brazos river. It will be sad to see Floyd Casey Stadium go, but its way past time that we got a new one. It should be ready for the 2014 season.

Baylor's New Football Stadium

Baylor’s New Football Stadium

The wife asked me to stop and get her a new Baylor shirt for the upcoming Homecoming game. While I was there, I spotted this. If anybody is looking for ideas for a Christmas present for me…

Chili Pot

Chili Pot

After hunting Thursday night (I got 2 dove, they weren’t really flying), it was time to pull out Old Faithful, my offset that retired down to the ranch after getting the Egg. On the menu was just some simple wings.

Old Faithful (Brinkman Pitmaster or something like that)

Ole Faithful (Brinkman Pitmaster or something like that)

It felt odd using charcoal briquettes. I haven’t used them since…ummm…I guess since the last time I was at the ranch. Felt good to fire the old lady up once again, though.

Chicken Wings indirect on the old offset with hickory for a touch of smoke.

Chicken Wings indirect on the old offset with hickory for a touch of smoke.

Maybe it was the ambiance, being down at the ranch all by myself, no distractions, just a cold bourbon and coke in one hand and a book (actually a Kindle) in the other, or maybe I did something right, but these were the best wings I have put out in a long time. It wasn’t the recipe as I did them the way I always do. Just plain ole Buffalo Wings. The skin came out extra crispy, yet they were till moist and tender on the inside. Might sound sacrilegious, but better than any I’ve done on the Egg in a long time. I really don’t have any excuse as to  why I forgot to take a final picture. You’ve seen wings before, though, so I’m sure you will forgive me. Regardless, it was a good, quiet first night before everybody was scheduled to come in on Friday.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon. I wanted to cook up something for lunch that would hold us through the evening hunt until we could get back, start a fire and grill steaks for dinner. Awhile back, I saw Chris of NibbleMeThis do some Smokey Pork Tenderloin Sliders on his blog and I knew it would be perfect (check out his blog for the full recipe). 

I started off with 4 yellow onions (he used Vidalia, but I couldn’t find them), sliced thin for carmelized onions. He did his on the grill and I was planning to as well, but at the last minute, just did them on the stove.

4 yellow onions, sliced and ready to be carmelized

4 yellow onions, sliced and ready to be carmelized

Next up was the tenderloins.

I added in an extra step that was not on the original recipe. A quick brine. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add in 1/2 cup of salt, 1/8 cup of suagar, 8-10 peppercorns, a tsp or two of the rub you will using, a dash of sriracha and a few by leaves. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add two cups of cold water and allow to cool. Place your tenderloins in a gallon Zip-lock bag and pour the brine in. Place in the refrigerator for 2 to 5 hours. Before smoking the tenderloins, drain the brine and rinse the tenderloins, before adding the rub. I used Salt Lick rub in lieu of what the orifginal recipe called for. Good, but it was a bit peppery. Would probably use a different rub next time.

Pork Tenderloins on the smoker

Pork Tenderloins on the smoker

He glazed his with a bacon honey mustard sauce. I was planning on doing that, but there was no honey to be found at the ranch, so mine got a glaze of bacon mustard sauce right at the end. Pulled at 140F. Sliced super thin, as thin as you can get it. Either use a really sharp knife, an electric knife or a kitchen slicer if you have access to one.

Slicing up the pork tenderloins.

Slicing up the pork tenderloins.

My plate up picture wasn’t the best, because I wasn’t sure I was even going to post anything about it, but at the last minute I figured what the hell. Served up on King’s Hawaiian Roll sliders, pork tenderloin, coleslaw, carmelized onions and bacon mustard sauce. This stuff was the bomb. Off the hook and the chain both. No, seriously…it was really freakin’ good.

Smokey Pork Tenderloins served up on the finest paper plates. Who wants to do dishes while on a hunting trip?

Smokey Pork Tenderloins served up on the finest paper plates. Who wants to do dishes while on a hunting trip?

So good, I’ll probably serve it at the next Eggfest I attend. Or tailgate party. Heck, there’s still a bit leftover and I’m having it for lunch today and I’m still excited about it.

And just in case you wanted some proof that we did do some hunting, here’s a few I got. Ended up only getting 8 total. I’m telling you, they really weren’t flying, but I did take my oldest and best friend and saw him shoot his first dove. He was super excited and now I think he is hooked so it was all worth it. That about wraps it up for another successful Annual Guy’s Dove Hunting trip.

Two of my hall. Look for them in an upcoming post.

Two of my haul. Look for them in an upcoming post.

Mediterraneanish: A First Look

New from Dizzy Pig...Mediterraneanish!! Coming soon to a store near you...I hope.

New from Dizzy Pig…Mediterraneanish!! Coming soon to a store near you…I hope.

     If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a huge fan of Dizzy Pig. If you looked in my spice cabinet, you would find a whole shelf almost completely devoted to them. The all purpose Dizzy Dust (both fine and coarse), Swamp Venom, Cow Lick, Red Eye Express and the list goes on. In fact, the only ones I have not tried are Shakin’ the Tree and Pineapple Head, which I have heard great things about.

DP compared to Italian Seasoning and Greek Seasoning

DP compared to Italian Seasoning and Greek Seasoning

     So when I went to check my mail Saturday, it was a pleasant surprise to find a sample packet of their newest offering Mediterraneanish, a blend that captures the essence of Italy and Greece. Unfortunately, Mrs. G had just returned home from the store with fixings to make chili. :( I love chili, but I really wanted to try this new rub. Alas, it was not to be.

Pork Tenderloin rubbed with Mediterraneanish

Pork Tenderloin rubbed with Mediterraneanish

     Fast forward to last night. We had a pork tenderloin that we had to use and use quick before it went bad. I had been planning on saving the Mediterraneanish to try first on something like lamb or fish, but why not a pork tenderloin? Dizzy Pig said in their note that they tried it on pork. Good enough for me.

     The pork tenderloin got a quick brine for two hours (recipe at end of post) before being rinsed, dried and rubbed with DP’s newest spice. Then, it went on the Mini Big Green Egg because it seems to light faster, uses less charcoal and really just because I feel like it’s been neglected recently. The Egg was set up at 400F. I thought about using some wood chips for smoke, but in the end, decided that I didn’t want anything competing with the flavors of the new rub. I wanted to taste it by itself to get a feel for it.

Just about done, cruising on up to 135ish.

Just about done, cruising on up to 140ish.

     I didn’t really pay attention to how long the tenderloin took to cook. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on doing a blog about it, but let me tell you…the aroma wafting out the top of the Egg and tantalizing our taste buds was making my mouth water. This stuff smelled amazing and it was all I could do to keep from licking the tongs after turning the tenderloin. That would not have been very sanitary, now would it? The tenderloin cooked somewhere between 15-20 minutes, but remember, time is not important, temperature is! I will continue to stress that. And if you haven’t heard, the USDA did lower the safe temperature of pork to 145F…way back in May of 2011!! So we pulled the pork from the grill at about 138-140ish and let it rest for 10 minutes knowing that the internal temperature would continue to cruise on up to 145F.

Sliced and ready to eat.

Sliced and ready to eat.

     I’ve got to hand it to Dizzy Pig, they’ve done it again. Another winner for sure. I don’t know what all is in this rub, but it was fantastic. Very herbaceous, definitely tones of rosemary and oregano. Just the right amount of salt for my tastes. Perfectly balanced and it does make you think of the Mediterranean. I think this could be added to any Greek or Italian dish and really give it a boost of flavor. I’ve not attempted lamb yet on the blog, but upon taking the first bite or two, I know I am going to have to try this on lamb for sure.

     The day I discovered Dizzy Pig’s Swamp Venom was the day I quit buying Tony Chachere’s or any other Cajun/Creole seasoning. I won’t go so far as to say that I will stop buying Italian Seasoning as Mrs. G uses it in quite a few recipes, but I will add some of this spice to see how it works for sure. And that Cavender’s Greek Seasoning? Yeah…won’t be buying that anymore. Mediterraneanish for me from now on. That’s how good this stuff is. I can’t wait to try it on something else. I’m not sure on when their planned release date is to the public, but keep your eyes and ears open and I’ll try and let you know if I hear something. I’ll be waiting because I know that this small sample I have won’t last long.

Brine Recipe: Bring two cups of water to a boil along with 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/8 cup of sugar, 2-3 bay leaves, 8-10 peppercorns and a pinch of cumin and Mediterraneanish. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and add two cups of cold water and allow to cool before adding to pork. Allow to brine for 2-4 hours in refrigerator. Rinse pork, pat dry and apply Mediterraneanish rub and then grill.

***And just so you know, I am in no way affiliated, paid by or endorsed by Dizzy Pig. I have no ties with the company and no money has switched hands. I, along with many other Eggheads, grillers and barbecuers were offered a free sample and asked our opinions of the product. I do not receive free bottles of rubs from them except for the free small sample bags when they released Mediterraneanish, Fajita-ish and Bombay Curry-ish and this ends my disclaimer.

Pork Medallions with a Garlic Mustard Compound Butter

Pork Medallions with Garlic Mustard Butter

Pork Medallions with Garlic Mustard Butter

     I think of pork tenderloins as the often overlooked portion of the pig. Which when you think about it is really a shame. It’s the same cut that is used to make filet mignon, just from a pig, not a cow. It’s a very lean cut of meat and since it is not weight bearing, it contains less connective tissue and is extremely tender when cooked right. In the barbecue world, however, most of the attention goes to ribs and butts and even pork belly. Granted, you do not want to cook a tenderloin low and slow, but it’s still a wonderful cut of meat when grilled over high heat.

Preparing the Garlic Mustard Butter

Preparing the Garlic Mustard Butter

     Last night, I wanted to do something other than just grill a whole tenderloin. I looked for recipes, but most contain fruit of some kind. Nothing wrong with that, but if you’ve ever met Mrs. G, you would know that wouldn’t fly in our house. Somewhere along the line, my ADHD kicked in and I found myself looking up compound butters, don’t ask me how that happened. Then it hit me…why not treat the tenderloin like individual steaks and top it with a compound butter? And since a pork tenderloin is the same cut as a beef tenderloin, why not wrap it in bacon and treat it like a filet mignon? (I know this isn’t rocket science and it’s not something new under the sun, I’m just explaining how my thought process works)

Pork wrapped in pork!!

Pork wrapped in pork!!

Ingredients

  • one pork tenderloin (Yes, I know they usually come two to a bag. I need to figure out what to do with the other one)
  • 7 or 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of your favorite BBQ rub + more to season the medallions (we used Salt Lick)

Directions

  1. Combine butter, mustard, garlic and 1 tsp BBQ rub in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll tightly into a cylinder. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Lay one slice of bacon on a cutting board. Using the bacon as a guide, slice your tenderloin into 7 or 8 medallions the same width as the strip of bacon. (The amount will vary depending on the size of the tenderloin and you may not even want to bother with the 8th one as one size of the tenderloin will taper down on the end. You can see at the top left of the picture above, that my 7th and 8th one are much smaller)
  3. Wrap each medallion with a slice of bacon until it just overlaps and then cut off the remainder of the bacon (save remaining bacon for some later use. You’re smart, I know you’ll figure something out). Use a toothpick to secure the bacon.
  4. Lightly dust your medallions with your favorite BBQ rub and place in the refrigerator until ready to grill.
  5. Set up your grill for a direct cook and pre-heat to 400F.
  6. Grill medallions for 3 minutes per side, then stand on end to crisp up the bacon. “Roll” the medallions every minute or two to crisp up each side. Cook until 135-140 depending on how rare you like your pork, about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes loosely tented with foil. Remove compound butter from refrigerator at this time.
  8. After 5 minutes, top each pork medallion with a slice of the compound butter.
Onto the grill at 400F

Onto the grill at 400F with red oak chips for smoke. Can you think of anything better than meat over fire?

     I really like how the above picture turned out. Shooting pictures of fire is not an easy task, especially when it’s dark out (we got a really late start on dinner) and you have minimal outdoor lighting. Not the best pic in the world, but I still like it.

Don't forget to rest your meat after you grill it.

Don’t forget to rest your meat after you grill it.

     Resting your meat after cooking it allows the muscle fibers in the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you slice into your meat right after it comes off the grill, you will end up with a puddle of juice and a dry hunk of meat. That is no bueno.  By allowing the meat to cool, the muscle fibers will relax and when you slice into it, the juices will stay right where you want them, in the meat and not on your plate. Five to ten minutes is good for a steak, longer is better for a roast or large piece of meat. So endeth today’s science lesson.

Dinner is served!!

Dinner is served!!

     Tonight’s dinner was served up with a simple salad and roasted cauliflower. As you can see from the above picture, when the pork was sliced on the plate, we did not end up with a puddle of juices. Although that piece might have cooked a bit more than I would have liked, it was still tender and juicy. The bacon added a salty flavor while the Salt Lick rub added a bit of peppery heat. The garlic mustard compound butter placed on top and allowed to melt down onto the pork added a rich depth to the tenderloins. It might not be healthy, but it sure tasted good and was a step up from grilling a plain, whole tenderloin. One last thing before I let you go…don’t forget to remove those toothpicks. ;)

Hatch Chile Pork Stew

Hatch Pork Chile Stew

Hatch Pork Chile Stew

     We did Hatch Chile Salsa and Hatch Chile Lime Wings which were sort of out of the box, so I decided that I would try something a little more traditional for my third cook involving these chilies. What’s more traditional than green-chile pork? No really…that wasn’t a rhetorical question. I’m really looking for answers. I’ve been to New Mexico a time or two, but in all honesty, I can’t seem to recall if I’ve had green-chile pork. I assume I must have, but I’ve got no memory of it, so if this varies from traditional, I apologize in advance, but I am NOT going to apologize for how tasty this turned out.

Roasting the Hatch Chiles

Roasting the Hatch Chiles

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, majority of fat trimmed and cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 10 Hatch Chilies (we used 5 mild and 5 hot, adjust to your tastes)
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 1.5 lbs tomatillos, husk removed
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano (Mexican if you can find it)
  • canola or vegetable oil
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream, cheese, limes, cilantro, tortilla strips and tortillas
Browning the pork

Browning the pork

Directions

Roasting the Hatch Chilies and Serranos

  1. Preheat your grill (or broiler) to 500F
  2. Roast Hatch chilies and serrano peppers until blackened on all sides (10-15 minutes)
  3. Remove peppers from the grill and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to cool. This process with help steam the peppers and make peeling the skins off easier.
  4. Once the chilies have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins, cut off the stems, slice open and lay flat. Using a knife, scrape out the seeds and veins and discard. Dice the chilies and set aside.
  5. For the serranos, do not bother to remove the skins, but cut off the stem and remove the veins and seeds. Roughly chop and add to a food processor
Sauteeing the onions

sauteing the onions

Making the Stew

  1. Bring one quart of water and one bouillon cube to boil.
  2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos.
  3. Add the tomatillos and boil for 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Drain the tomatillos, reserving 1.5 cups of the water. Add tomatillos to the food processor, along with the reserved water, the Serrano peppers and the leaves from one bunch of cilantro, discarding stems (reserving some of the cilantro for garnish)
  5. Pulse the mixture until your desired consistency is met. Set aside for later.
  6. Season the cubed pork shoulder with salt and pepper.
  7. Heat a large dutch oven on medium high and add a thin layer of canola or vegetable oil until almost smoking.
  8. Add a small batch of the pork and sear for a few minutes to brown. Stir and sear on all sides. Remove and continue until all the pork has been browned.
  9. Add the diced onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the minced garlic and cook 2 more minutes or until the onions are tender.
  10. Return the pork to the dutch oven as well as the diced chilies and the pureed mixture. Bring to a boil.
  11. From here, you have three options, the way I see it.  A) Take your dutch oven and place it on your smoker or grill at 350 and allow to cook. This will infuse a small amount of smoke to your stew. If using a Kamado style grill, you want to cook it indirectly. You can use a place setter legs up and then set the dutch oven on top of spacers on top of the pate setter. If you have an Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill store, place it on your Egg with the ceramic stone on the bottom level and then set the dutch oven on top of spacers on top the stone (this was the method I used) or B) You could place it in your oven at 350 or C) you could reduce the heat on your stove to a simmer.
  12. Every recipe I read, varied on how long to allow the stew to simmer. Anywhere from 20 minutes (that one used pork loin, not shoulder) to an hour and all the way up to three hours. I say cook it until the pork is tender. I think an hour would probably have been fine. I let mine simmer for an hour and forty minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid. If it appears to be drying out, add more water or chicken broth or even some Mexican beer if you have some on hand.
  13. When ready, garnish with cilantro and serve with slices of lime, sour cream, tortilla strips and/or tortillas.
Everybody into the pool!

Everybody into the pool!

     You maybe wondering why I wasn’t very specific on how long it took to simmer. Honestly, Mrs. G went out of town this weekend and I was waiting on her to get home. So I just let it continue to simmer.  It was probably ready to eat after an hour, but the longer it was on the Egg, the more the flavors would meld and it would absorb some of the mesquite smoke from the wood chunks I added. Just one more added dimension of flavor for this stew.

Onto the Egg at 350 with mesquite chips for smoke

Onto the Egg at 350 with mesquite chips for smoke

     Not to mention, it was a wonderful evening to sit outside. The weather was not too hot. Perfect for sipping on a cold beverage and watching the dogs protect our yard from those pesky squirrels.

Hatch Chile Pork Stew with a cold Negra Modelo

Hatch Chile Pork Stew with an ice cold beer

     While the stew is simmering along, if you’ve got the energy and some corn tortillas lying around, cut them into strips and quickly fry them up. They make a great accompaniment to the stew. And if you need help choosing a beverage, might I suggest an ice cold Negra Modelo? It pairs well with this spiciness of this dish. I recommend you drink it out of a glass and not in the bottle.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lime and tortilla strips if desired

Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lime and tortilla strips if desired

     Of the three dishes I have now prepared with Hatch Chilies, I’ve got to say that this is my favorite. Or the wings. Let’s call it a tie, but if you are looking for what I imagine to be a more traditional use, then this is the one you want. The pork was extremely tender and the stew was bursting full of flavors from the  chilies and peppers and tomatillos. I thought it had a nice level of heat to it, but let me tell you that the next day when I had some for leftovers, it had really ramped up. That’s not a problem for me, but I don’t know how you tolerate heat. Just beware that it gets hotter the longer it sits. I think Mrs. G would have been happier had I left out one or two of the serranos.

     As far as traditional goes, I don’t know if it was or was not. I saw a bunch of recipes that included things like potatoes, tomatoes, corn and/or hominy, among other things. I tried to keep it simple in order to let the flavor of the chilies stand out and I think that I accomplished that with this recipe. But hey…feel free to add whatever other ingredients your heart so desires. I’m fine with that.

     One of the employees said that they are winding down Hatch Chile season. Tomorrow will be the last day, so this will probably be my last Hatch Chile post for a while. I did buy about three pounds yesterday, and I’ll roast them today, clean them and freeze them to use throughout the year, but I’ll be moving on to other things…unless I have one more in me. We’ll just have to wait and see. ;)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,783 other followers

%d bloggers like this: