Goodbye 2018! We hardly knew ya! Hello 2019! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!
Every year we dust off the blog with intentions of keeping it crackling with recipes, food pics and interesting articles. However, come February, our food blog is usually left lonely and desolate with tumbleweeds blowing around it’s deserted corner of the internet. This year…this year will be different. I am setting the bar low. Really low. I’m not making any promises. No grandiose resolutions. If you check back here on a regular basis, you might find the occasional nice looking food pic accompanied by a thoughtful recipe…and you might not. We’ll just see what happens.
That being said, let’s start 2019 with…a trip to the past. Here’s a handful of our favorite things we cooked last year. When we get around to making them again, we’ll give it our every effort to post a recipe.
Shrimp Caeser Salad – Shrimp is Neptune’s gift to the backyard griller. Within minutes of hitting the flame these crustacean culinary delights are cooked through and ready-made to pile on your favorite greens. This classic salad features homemade sourdough croutons and a scratch-made Caesar dressing.
Green Chile Gouda Shrimp & Grits – This dish was probably the star of 2018 for us. We made it several times including at a charity event where it went over big. We fold shredded gouda cheese, chopped fresh green chile and plenty of Green Chile Rub into creamy grits. Fresh tomatoes & green chiles are stewed together to create a spicy sauce and then ladled over the grits. Shrimp seasoned with Green Chile Rub are pan sautéed in butter and olive oil and piled on top. This dish was my personal favorite, hands down.
Tacos al Pastor – Adapted from a Rick Bayless’ recipe, we played around with this a lot in 2018 sharing it with friends and trying to spread the word on just how good it was. It starts with a spicy bright red marinade made from achiote paste slathered on pork. The sauce is seriously money and great on everything it touches…pork, chicken, rice. You name it. We also attempted to create an avocado crema using the Ninja Bullet and accidentally ended up with the avocado butter shown in the picture. Talk about happy accidents. Avocado butter is the bomb!
Smoked Meatballs – Meatballs are more finesse than you might think. Densely packed and you end up with a hard flavorless hunk of meat. Kirk’s recipe includes pork, beef, plenty of eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, herbs (fresh and dried) and lots of Casa Seasoning. These ingredients get hand mixed just until they come together and then scooped into a large disher to form very loose but uniform balls. A gentle seer on the Big Green Egg and then a long bath in a simple tomato sauce and they are good to go. Probably the best I’ve ever had.
Green Chile & Cheese Smashed Burger – We’ve been smashing burgers for years, but in 2018 it seemed to be all the burger rage on the internet. This technique completely transforms the meat and produces a tasty, almost crispy patty due to the Maillard Reaction. We amped up our game over the summer and came up with an over-the-top triple patty version stacked high with layers of meat, American cheese, our homemade Kirky Burger Sauce, bacon and green chile on a scratch-made burger bun.
Cold Oil Fries – A crazy technique shared with Kirk by a coworker. We decided it was our mission to put this unusual method to the test. The handcut fries do not get any special treatment. No rinsing, no soaking in water, no double fry, nothing. Just cut up a bunch of Russets into fry size strips and throw them into room temp oil. We used canola. Then let the fries and oil come up to temp (about 370º) together. From there, give them the occasional stir and pull them out when they’re crispy and golden. The whole process takes about 30-45 minutes, the perfect amount of time to chat with dinner guests and get those burgers and dogs going.
Sourdough Pizzas on the Big Green Egg – The perfect food? Pizza. Don’t argue with me. It’s definitely pizza. Ours starts with a scratch-made sourdough crust that proofs overnight ensuring excellent flavor and chew while maintaining an impossibly crispy bottom. We usually set up a smorgasbord assembly line of toppings and let guests build their pizza their way. We pop these pies into the Pizza Porta, a clever insert that turns our BGE into a pizza oven. It hits the high heat and maintains that temp so our pizza mirrors those found in the best pizza places.
Bo Ssam Pork Wraps – We found a New York Times article online featuring this most excellent recipe from Chef David Chang’s cookbook Momofuko. We have since purchased this cookbook because we’ve made this recipe several times and it only seems right. Plus it’s a great cookbook. The pork receives a humble treatment of a salt and sugar dry brine. We decide to smoke it on the BGE as opposed to roasting it in the oven. The final step is to top it with brown sugar and cook it at high heat. The sugar forms a dark, crispy, lacquer on the pork and the final shred works those sweet barky bits throughout the meat. Also included…a recipe for Ssam Sauce and a Ginger Scallion sauce. Both are delicious and would be good on anything!
Fired Chicken Biscuit – OOF! Let me tell you about this biscuit sandwich! We brine chicken thighs in buttermilk, then pat them completely dry (this is key), dredging them in eggs, then flour seasoned liberally with our Anchonero Hot Rub and fry them in the Disc-It. We gave this one a home on a scratch-made mile high biscuit where it lived out the rest of its life in peace and comfort. Until I ate it.
Chicharron Tacos – This taco starts with pork belly end pieces fried in the Disc-It Grill. Towards the end of the process, we toss in a can of evaporated milk. The milk foams up and a caramelization reaction takes place on the meat creating a crispy, crunchy texture on the exterior while preserving a tender, creamy interior. This technique was shared with us by the owner of Disc-It Grills and it is on point. We combine these tasty morsels with refried beans and pickled red cabbage and pile everything into a warm homemade tortilla. Taco Tuesday will never be the same.
Roast Chicken Over Potatoes – There is nothing better than a perfectly roasted chicken. The skin is savory and crisp and the meat is tender with delicious juices throughout. An episode of the PBS series The Mind of a Chef featuring Gabrielle Hamilton sparked an idea. We roast the chicken on the BGE using a makeshift rack and slide a cast iron pan of cubed Yukon Golds underneath. The chicken fat drips down into the pan bathing each potato in rich flavorful chicken fat. Luscious and extravagant, the potatoes end up crispy and creamy at the same time.
Green Chile Stew with Smoked Pork – It doesn’t get much better than green chile stew. We start with smoked pork cushion seasoned with AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub and combine it with locally grown and roasted, fresh hot Sandia chile. We combine chopped onions, minced garlic, fresh green chile, chicken stock, a bay leaf, and salt & pepper with that smoky pork and let it hang out for awhile. Later in the process we throw in cubed gold potatoes to absorb some of that heat. Excellent the first day, even better the next.
There you have it. Our favorite 12 dishes of 2018. We’ll be making these on repeat throughout the year, so I’ll try to get recipes posted at some point. Pop in next week and I’ll share my Bacon Fat Flour Tortilla recipe with you. Thanks for hanging out and remember, you can find our AlbuKirky Seasonings products by clicking our logo under “Shop Now”. Have a delicious week!