Sunday, November 27, 2011

Evergreen Chili Pork Stew

Today, we decided to start some Shaffer Family Christmas Traditions. It started with a drive out to the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, where we cut down our own tree (with my fingers crossed that I'm not allergic SPOILER ALERT: I'm not). We got the tree set up, then paused the decorating to get dinner started.

I hammered out a quick chicken stock. While it was simmering, I browned off some cubed pork shoulder roast and tossed it into the crockpot. Then browned off some onions and garlic, added masa flour and got that nice and toasty. All the while I had some Hatch chilies (saved in the freezer since late summer) roasting in the oven with a couple of jalapeños. I then deglazed the onion/masa mix with some stock and added that to the pork. The chilies got stemmed and seeded and pureed and added to the crockpot. Simmer.

Back to the tree. I've never strung popcorn and hung it on a tree before, so I decided to do that. For about 30 minutes. It's quite a task, but it did make it on to the tree along with plenty of orange and white ornaments. While we trimmed the ol tenenbaum, we fired up "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" - classic! You can head over to my facebook page to see how the tree turned out. Just the right amount of school pride, class, and tinsel if you ask me!

Right about the time we finished that, the stew was done!

Garnished with pepper jack, tortilla strips and fresh cilantro, it was quite nice. There was a decent heat that built as you ate it. The pork could have gone just a little longer. SOLUTION: It's now back in the crockpot on low until I wake up tomorrow. Should be almost disintegrated into the broth by morning. Yum.

So "Shaffer Tree Day" has now been cemented into our book o traditions. Cut down a real tree, decorate it, simmer a green chili pork stew, and watch a Christmas movie. Gitty up jingle horse, pick up your feet!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tastedbuds Got Runover by an Antelope

I learned two things today. 1: Do not try to coordinate 12 people from 2 cities to eat at 1 restaurant on South Congress (especially when 10 of those people have never been to said restaurant (especially when said restaurant has a less than conventional style of seating and taking your order)). 2: Antelope is delicious.

My pops and stepmom were heading back to Prosper (North of Dallas) today from SA and I thought I'd be a good little food tour guide and have them meet us (me and the Mrs. + Seth and Lucy) at Hopdoddy for a burger. Six people would not have been a challenge. I get the call when they're half way up, that they are bringing 6 more people. Woohoo. In the end, it worked out and we got tables near each other and everyone had a spectacular time and loved the food. So that's all that matters.

Now to the subject at hand - Broken Spoke Antelope

Antelope patty with an ancho chili mocha spice rub, roasted garlic aioli, tobacco onion strings, tomato, spinach, and cherry-rosemary chutney (ordered it on the side and promptly slathered my burger in it).

This thing was absolutely killer. The antelope had a slight game tinge to it (which I like) and all of the flavors were complimentary. The spice rub was not overpowering, the onions added a nice texture, and the chutney had a nice sweetness/earthiness thing going. Overall, probably my second favorite burger that I've had there. I mean, how can you top the "Terlingua"? It's a Frito pie on top of a burger!!!!

I can't wait to go back and continue my quest to conquer their whole menu - excluding of course the turkey, veggie, and seafood options - those ain't burgers ;)

ALSO - stay tuned for the upcoming venison blog. My brother-in-law Tobes McGobes shot TWO doe yesterday and they are currently being processed for backstrap, ground, jerky, and 1 hind quarter. Those will make some tasty viddles, y'all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Triumphant Return

My my my. Hello there, old friends. Since we last got together, I've gotten married, graduated culinary school, been promoted to Sous Chef of Haddington's, left Haddington's, and become the Concept Chef of a fast casual concept on campus called VERTS.

Enough about me though, I've been thinking about returning for quite some time, but I didn't want to return with a simple steak dinner or a shrimp pasta. I wanted to come back big. Now what could be big enough to bring a man back from an 8 month hiatus?


You remember Operation from when you were a kid, right? The red light, the crazy hair? Well Greg replaced that poor sick man with a pig! SIX preparations of pork from different parts of the pig were necessary to pull this off. And what better event than the last tailgate of the season? The feast was plentiful and grand!

Let's start from the business end:
Comes from the butt end of the pig. (BONUS FACT: Pork butt is not from the actual butt of the pig, it's the shoulder!) Generally cured and smoked and turned into a spiral cut holiday favorite, or little Timmy's lunch. We went the latter route. Mini ham and swiss sandwiches on country white bread served with your choice of mayo or country style Dijon.

They come from the rib area of the pig ;) and when properly prepared, they are delicious! Even Hungry Todd Rungy agrees!

Here it is. The moment you've been waiting for. Luke's Famous Rib Recipe is about to be released into the world. Better copy this down, because I may rethink this and delete it. I drizzled these baby back beauties with blackstrap molasses, then rubbed em down with dark brown sugar, salt and pepper. Smoked em for 2 hours, then wrapped em in foil and smoked em for 3 more hours. Dericious.


This is the front leg shoulder of the pig and, as you can see, it goes by many names. The particular style I used was a bone-in picnic. This comes with skin on it - which I happily removed, and froze to later make chicharones with (pork rinds). The end game with this bad boy was tacos with pickled red onions, cilantro and lime, so I went slightly South-of-the-border withe the rub: Adobo seasoning, chili powder, and cumin. Now this little fella (8 pounder) made it's way onto the smoker at 7am. And it sat there until 330pm when I wrapped it in foil. That's not quite a thousand words, so here's this:

Now, I was expecting to feed about 25 people, which turned into about 45-50 people. So when feeding that many people, I had to go with wafer thin chops. A pig sin, I know, but I fixed that real quick. Brown sugar bourbon butter. (which, btw, can be put on steaks, chicken, ice cream, pancakes, waffles, bananas, whatever)

The tenderloin can be a fickle beast. It's super easy to dry out. That's why it's most commonly found marinated. I went with a rub. I rubbed it the night before to let the flavors soak in. And what, pray tell, did I rub it with? How about coffee (Cafe Du Monde), pecans, salt, and pepper? Oh yea. Tasty. Hungry Todd Rungy proudly displays the 1.5 hour smoked beauty right here:

I feel like I may be forgetting something...... hmmmmmm........ what could it be........... mmmmmmmBACON?
Oh sweet, smoky, salty, delicious bacon. I procured from Central Market a couple pieces of pork belly. Now, they were not the most super awesomest choice cuts of belly I'd ever seen, but they did just fine. I rubbed these babies down with basic dry cure - Kosher salt, sugar, and pink salt - plus honey and minced jalapeños and placed them in a gallon ziploc. I flipped them every other day for a week. Then, on game day, smoked them to 155º, chilled them, sliced them, and grilled them. Faaaaannnnnnntastic!!!!

Overall, thanks to Greg's hard work, and that magical animal, your friend and mine, the Grand Ol Swine, the tailgate was a hit! Now, the game didn't exactly go our way, but the sooners lost, so the day ended with a bright spot.

We even got HookEm to join in on the fun!

In addition to Greg, I'd like to thank Hungry Todd Rungy for stopping by, and Josh for the great pics! This should be the beginning of my return to blogging. Stay tuned!