Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas are a wonderful thing. Slowly braised Boston Butt tender and succulent on the inside with a nice caramelized crunch on the outside. The principle is simple, cut up a Boston Butt into about 2 inch strips and add just enough water to cover the meat and then slowly simmer until the water is gone. Once the water has simmered away you will be left with the pork and the rendered collagen cooking away to form the caramelized crunchy exterior. The whole process will probably take 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Mine didn't quite turn out as well as I had hoped as I started stirring the meat too much once the water had evaporated and shredded quite a bit of the meat. I used a large cast iron wok but a dutch oven would work very well. The next time I'll be a little more gentle turning the meat once the water has evaporated. Oh and you should never touch the meat during the braising process. Anyway if you want to see it done the right way check out The Homesick Texans version.
I decided to make tacos with Salsa Verde, onions and cilantro on flour tortillas. I served these with baked pablano peppers filled with refried black beans, queso Chihuahua and Mexican sour cream.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hot Dogs Chicago and WV Style

I never “got” Chicago style hot dogs looking at pictures of them or seeing them on television. I was like “That’s no hot dog, there’s way too much stuff on them!” Some of them were topped with huge amounts of toppings that would presumably take a knife and fork to eat. It just didn’t make sense to me until one day I went to a Chicago style dog place and had one and it clicked. These are great man!. I can’t believe I never had one of these before. Notice I said Chicago style dog as I have never been to Chicago. I do feel there is a reasonable amount of topping to put on one though even if I were in Chicago. I’m sure I’ll be lambasted for that as well as not using poppy seed rolls.

The pickle wedge is in there trust me

I cook my dogs in a cast iron skillet over medium heat with about 1/2 cup of water or more. After the water simmers away the dogs will be left to cook in the rendered fat.

Traditional Chicago style hot dog toppings. Tomato, relish preferably neon green), minced onion, Sport peppers, yellow mustard, Kosher dill pickle, celery seed and optional cucumber on a poppy seed roll.

My all time favorite though is the West Virginia Slaw dog with chili sauce, minced onion, yellow mustard and sweet slaw on a steamed roll. Again I’ll probably be lambasted for using wheat rolls here but I liked them.