Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buffalo Wing Chicken with Blue Cheese-Sausage! ;-)

Burke's Fine Meats Buffalo Wing sausages
  • 5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 lbs boneless  chicken thighs
  • 2 lbs Applewood smoked bacon (Preferably from Burke's Fine Meats)
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 4 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs fresh marjoram(Or 1 Tbsp good fresh dried)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp abscorbic acid
  • 2 cups Franks Hot sauce 
  • 1 cup Tapatio Hot sauce
  • 5 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbs Kosher salt
  • 2-4 oz Blue cheese depending on how much you like it
  • Hog casings (Larger 32-34mm ones... The collagen ones don't seem to like the butter)
    Semi freeze meats and grind through medium plate. Use a little ice with the bacon so it doesn't smear in the grinder. Mix in blue cheese. Refrigerate. Mix all other ingredients together. Pour over meat, mix well in meat mixer or with gloved hand.... KEEP COLD! Refrigerate for 12 hours. Stuff and link to 6". They grill pretty well, but tend to flame up from the butter. I usually simmer them on the side burner of the grill for 10 minutes, then finish them on the grill for marks and color. Serve them up with some nice potato flour or other soft rolls. They are also pretty good chopped up and tossed with some Penne pasta and some fresh Basil.  Good stuff.

    BTW: These are available for order if you want some... Email me for now... Working on setting up an online and brick-and-mortar store!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    baconMANia Truck.

    I was given the opportunity to help a friend of mine with his Food truck the other day... His second night out.

    I arrived around 2:00pm and we eventually got everything prepped and fairly ready to head out... The planned stop for the night was the OC Fairgrounds for a pre-launch/presell for their New Years Eve party. After a crazy ride through the backstreets of Santa Ana, we arrived at our venue...

    There were about 14-15 other trucks there and we fell into our place and got everything going... The vibe was pretty good, and the crowd/customers all seemed excited about being there... These people were DEFINITELY there to EAT!

    The menu consisted of bacon chili, an incredible bacon grilled cheese loaded with goodies like mushrooms, jalapenos and green apple slices with a tomato soup dip, a trio of bacon balls, filled with bacon-mac-cheese, beef tenderloin with blue cheese, and a PBJ, all rolled up in a slice of bacon and deep fried, bacon cheese crisps, and bacon candy. 

    Crowd response was excellent, and we ran out of food early, but managed to come up with enough to make most people happy. All in all a good time and made me long for cooking for crowds again... If you are into this sort of thing, love bacon, or just want a great sandwich, hunt them down.

    It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun... And I never knew how much I'd like shots of Jack with bacon grease... A LOT of Jack...  Oh... and I got a shirt. Now to sell them our Burke's Fine Meats BACON!!

    Reviews are HERE:



    Beef tamales with Turnip puree and roasted red sauce (Part 4 of 4) The conclusion.

    So. Been way too long since I've updated here... Lots going on and I need to catch up. Didn't get a good pic of the tamales, but, here's how to throw it all together...

    On a warmed plate, put 1/2" of Turnip puree on an 8-10" circle. Fry up and brown in butter for 2-3 minutes a side two beef tamales. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the red sauce... Garnish with some licorice basil in a fine chiffonade, or some toasted husked pignolia's.  I'm sorry I don't have any pix... But trust me, they are absolutely amazing.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Beef tamales with Turnip puree and roasted red sauce (Part3 of 4) The turnip puree...

    This stuff is amazing. Great by itself, but even better with the tamales and red sauce... We are getting there... Tamale post tomorrow!

    • Four Turnips about baseball sized
    • Four Russet potatoes
    • 8 Tbs. Butter
    • 2 Cups Buttermilk
    • Salt
    • White pepper

    Peel and cut up Turnips in 1" cubes and potatoes in 2" cubes (Turnips are 'denser' and seem to take longer to cook). Boil in salted water (I make mine as salty as seawater) until done... About 25-30 mins. Add butter and buttermilk... Use stick blender to reduce to a soft 'mash'. Season to taste. Voila!

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Beef tamales with Turnip puree and roasted red sauce (Part 2 of 4) The red sauce...

    Sorry for the delay in getting this posted... Life is needy these days.

    In installment two we are going to create the red sauce, which needs to sit a day in the fridge to develop flavor. This makes a shitload of sauce, however once you taste it, you'll be happy... Lasts a few months if you do it right too...

    • 15-20 Dried Chile Guajillo, stems removed and most seeds taken out... Try and leave the ribs though
    • 2 Dried Pasilla Chile, stems removed and most seeds taken out... Try and leave the ribs though
    • 1 Dried Ancho Chile, stems removed and most seeds taken out... Try and leave the ribs though
    • 2 Tbs huaje seeds (Toasted) (They look kinda like a tamarind but skinnier. You just want the seeds... Meximart will have them fresh in the produce area)
    • 2 Tbs Hulled Pumpkin seeds (Toasted)
    • 1 Brown Onion, quartered
    • 4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded
    • 4 Cloves Garlic
    • 1 Tbs Ground Cumin
    • 2 cloves
    • 6 cups Beef broth
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • Juice from one lemon
    • 1 Tbs Flour
    • 1 Tbs Lard (Fresh pork lard if you have it)
    • 1 Tbs Black pepper
    • 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
    • 1 Tbs. Brown Sugar

    Lightly toast all chilies in a dry skillet. Put Chiles, Tomatoes, Garlic and Onion in saucepan and add vinegar and 6 cups beef broth. Simmer for one hour. Ladle to half fill blender and add all other ingredients. Put towel over blender top (It tries to go all over due to it being hot) and blend till smooth. Continue until all is blended, stir well. Check for salt balance and add if needed. Strain through a course screen strainer and simmer for another hour... Add liquid as needed to get to proper consistency. Refrigerate at least 12 hours.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Beef tamales with Turnip puree and roasted red sauce (Part 1 of 4)

    This is a beef shank. If you are a sheltered white-boy like me you've never seen one. They are DIRT cheap, and have beef flavor from the Gods. And you get to go to the Meximart-Carniceria to buy them!

    This is like about the best thing ever. Takes a few days to make, the turnips make no sense, but put it all together and oh. Shit. Wow.

    Ingredients for the Beef:

    • 5-6 lbs Beef Shank. You are not making soup here, so more beef and less bone is desirable
    • 5 Celery stalks, chopped finely
    • 5 Carrots, chopped finely
    • 2 Brown Onions, chopped finely
    • 2-3 Dried Chile Guajillo
    • 5-8 Garlic Cloves
    • 2 Jalapenos, Stemmed, seeded, diced fine
    • 4 Roma tomatoes
    • 16 Tbs butter
    • Bay leaves
    • Flour
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    Melt 8 Tbs butter in LARGE oven proof dutch oven. Add Celery, Carrots, Onions. Cook 3-4 minutes till translucent. Add Dried chilies, Bay leaves, Tomatoes, Garlic, Jalapenos, and about 6 cups water.... Simmer.

    Melt 8 Tbs. Butter in skillet over Medium... Dry off beef shank, coat in flour salt and pepper, sear to brown... A few minutes a side... Put into Dutch oven with the Veggies.

    After they are all browned and in the Dutch oven... Add enough water to cover. Bring up to a simmer, and cover. After one hour, put into oven at 275º. Remove 12 hours later.

    Remove bones and any large fat pieces. Let sit to cool. Remove beef 'fat' on top. Stir together and refrigerate for tomorrow... Step 2!

    Grilled Chicken breasts with ham and blue cheese

    • 4 Boneless Chicken breasts
    • 4 oz. Blue cheese
    • 16 Ham slices, THIN!
    • 1/2 Cup Salt
    • 1/2 Cup Brown sugar
    • Garlic
    • Black pepper
    • Elastic netting or Butchers twine
    • Paprika
    Butterfly breasts and split. Hammer out to even up and consistent 1/4-3/8" inch thinckness. Brine in salt, sugar and garlic water for 4 hours. Rinse well. Dry WELL! Lay two pieces of ham, and 1/2 oz. of Blue cheese in middle. Roll up tight like you are making a Cheech & Chong Labrador joint, and either stuff in netting (Easy) or fuck with it for a few hours and a couple extra sets of hands and tie it up. Sprinke with pepper and paprika.

    To Smoke:

    Let sit out and pellicle (Get sticky) for about 30 minutes. If in a hurry, put a fan on them. Smoke lightly with Hickory or Applewood at 190º for two hours. You should get  a reading of 165-170º internal. Let cool and slice.

    To Grill:

    Preheat half of grill on High. Lightly brush chickens with olive oil. Grill and turn on High for 5-7 minutes. Remove to 'indirect' side of grill and let cook for 45-1 hour. 


    Was craving some good, homemade Pepperoni to make some pizza in the coming weeks... Came up with this.

    • 3 lbs. Pork Cushion
    • 2 lbs. Beef Chuck
    • 1.5 lbs. Pork Fat (No skin)
    • 1/2 Cup Non-fat Milk (Can use dry, I usually do, just was out)
    • 3 Tbs. Kosher salt
    • 1/2 Cup Malbec or other good dry Spanish wine
    • 4 Tbs. Hungarian HOT Paprika (I get it from
    • 1 Tbs. Dextrose
    • 1 Tbs. Binder (You could do without this, I just like how it holds the meat together in the slicer)
    • 4 Tsp. Anise seeds (GET FRESH!)
    • 1 tsp. Fennel seeds (GET FRESH!)
    • 1 Tbs. Black Mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp. Cure #2
    • 1 Tbs. Cayenne pepper (Or, for better heat, crush up 3 Tbs. dried Chili Pequin)
    • 2 Cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1/2 tsp. Starter Culture (I used Bactoferm F-LC for this, as it has quick acidification and works well in smoker)

    Semi-Freeze Pork and Beef. Grind though 1/4 plate. Run FROZEN Pork fat through Grinder alternating with a little crushed ice to prevent smearing. Toss in fridge. Add starter culture and a pinch of dextrose to  1/4 cup of bottled water (Tap water Chlorine will hamper the starter).  Grind Seeds coarsely. Mix all dry ingredients together... Put wine and milk if liquid over meat... sprinkle garlic over dispersing well. Add dry ingredients and mix well for 4-5 minutes, or until you can no longer feel your gloved hand. (Note to all reading... I WANT A MEAT MIXER!) Add started culture and mix two more minutes.

    I used air-dried hog casing to stuff into this time, however you could also use beef middles (stink!), LARGE 38-40 Hog casings, OR, Edible collagen. I stuffed the air-dried casings into netting to help with supporting them, and because they looked cool.

    Hang at 70-80º for 24 hours. Humidity not SUPER important yet, but I wouldn't do it during Santa Ana winds...

    Put in smoker at 130º, light smoke (I used some cabernet-hickory) for 5 hours. At this time I put a pobe in the middle one, and set it for 160º. Bring smoker up to 175-180º (Any higher you will melt the fat)... Takes about another 2-3 hours...

    Remove and immerse in an ice bath for 3-5 minutes. Hang for 3-5 days, 60-70 degrees, 40-50% humidity...

    Freeze for an hour before slicing for best results... Or vacuum seal and fridge for a few months. Good stuff.

    Mangalitsa Pork Bellies

    Sorry this post is so long in coming... Been a busy month! THIS is the Mangalitsa BELLY! 4" THICK!

    The flavor... Amazing. Just started some for a cure... Not sure if my normal 7 days will be enough... I don't want to inject or 'cheat'... So I think this may be a 12-14 day dry cure.... Save a little of the trim for some lardo and some braised belly sliders.... I will post more soon!

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Jackfruit-Jerk Tacos

    So... Post troubled-heart goodness, I have chose to take a break from the pork fat and salt and make something healthy now and then. This concept was stolen from the Seabirds food truck, however you can make them easily at home EDIT:(I have now met Stephanie from Seabirds and NO, she is  NOT a Patchouli-reeking hippie. Pretty cool actually) without having to hang out with tree-hugger hippies and stinking of patchouli. 
    Oh, and I add some chicken-broth so you don't accuse me of going vegan.

    Jackfruit is a God awful football-sized plus looking fruit that has pineapple like skin and big seeds inside. It's sticky, tough, and you must oil your knives for each cut through its hide. Buy canned. In brine, not syrup and save yourself a day of frustration, a few stitches and a mess. Ranch 99 markets and most towel&dot Indian/Sri Lankan markets carry it... You need a 24 oz. can for this recipe.


    24 oz. Jackfruit. Fresh, cut up into 1-2" pieces or canned and rinsed.
    1 Tbs. Olive oil
    1 White onion.
    1 Sprigs cilantro.
    1 Chilaca chile, or Pasilla, roasted and skin removed.
    2 Tbs. Sweet Hungarian Paprika.
    2 Tbs. Garlic powder.
    1/2 Tbs. Allspice.
    1 tsp. Nutmeg (Fresh if possible).
    1-1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper (Vary to your preference of heat).
    2 tsp. Kosher salt.
    1 tsp. Ground black pepper.
    Small corn tortillas.
    Queso Cotija to garnish.

    10 Medium sized tomatillos, husked and rinsed.
    1 cup Chicken broth
    2 Cloves garlic, chopped finely.
    1 Sprig cilantro, chopped finely.
    2 tsp. Kosher salt.
    1 tsp. Ground cumin.

    To prepare salsa, add tomatillos in medium saucepan on medium high heat... stir often as they start to turn brown.... if they stick, add a little water from time to time.. Within 7-10 minutes, they should have become a green soupy consistency... lower heat to simmer, add all other ingredients, simmer and stir for 15 minutes, then let cool. Can be made ahead.

    For the Jerk,
    Add olive oil to a large skillet on medium heat... Add one half of the diced onion, and the diced chile... Stir for 2-3 minutes, and add jackfruit and spices... If jackfruit seems dry, add a 1/4 cup of chicken broth at a time to keep moist... On medium low heat... cook for 45 minutes-1 hour. Add remaining onion and cilantro, cook two more minutes.

    To serve, place 2-3Tbs of jackfruit mixture in warmed tortilla, drizzle with salsa verde and cotija cheese.

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Bacon-wrapped Smoked Pork Loin

    Best. Pork. Ever.
    As one knows, I love Bacon. And as much as I enjoy a good Pork Loin, unless you butterfly it and fill it with a horde of unnatural ingredients, it is a dry treat at best. Here is where our good friends bacon & butter help us out.

    Here is how:

    3 1/2-4 lb. Boneless Pork Loin
    1/4 cup Mortons TenderQuick
    1 lb Crimini Mushrooms
    3 Tbs Dijon Mustard
    2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
    2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
    4 Cloves Garlic
    8 Tbs. Melted butter
    1 1/2 lbs. Thick cut bacon

    Dry Pork loin well and rub with TenderQuick. Wrap in a few layers of Plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    Remove Pork and rinse WELL. Let dry on rack.

    In food processor, combine mushrooms, mustard, rosemary, thyme, garlic and 2 Tbs of the melted butter. Pulse to a course 'paste'. Season.

    Using Meat injector, randomly inject pork with remaining melted butter into centers.

    Pat mushroom/herb 'paste' onto all sides of pork loin

    Lay down plastic wrap and weave bacon into a 'sheet' and set pork on top. Pull up on sides, and then flip over so seam is on bottom as shown.

    Transfer to rack and let sit for an hour to 'pellicle'

    Smoke @225 degrees for 3.5-4 hours until you reach 150 internal temp. I use Mesquite and Hickory, as it can stand up to some pretty strong flavor.

    Spanish Longaniza

    Waiting for Smoker
    Nothing better on crackers with some good Spanish cheese and Malbec.

    I've made this a few variations and have finally settled on this recipe. The key to it is GOOD Paprika. I use La Chinata brand that I get from .  I use a mix of sweet and hot together.

    Here's how I do it:

    • 5 lbs Pork cushion or shoulder.
    • 1 lb Pork Belly/Belly fat.
    • 1/2 cup blended Paprika.
    • 3 Tbs. Dextrose.
    • 1 head Garlic. Peeled.
    • 2 Tbs Course Kosher salt.
    • 1 cup Dry Sherry
    • 2 tsp Course Black Pepper
    • 1.5 tsp. Cure #1
    • Medium Hog Casings

    Remove skin from Belly. Cut Belly and Pork into 1" cubes. Freeze to 40 degrees and run through grinder with course plate. Alternate Fat/Garlic/Pork into grinder. Sprinkle dry ingredients over meat mixture and sprinkle Sherry over the top. With gloved hands, mix all ingredients together until fully integrated. If fat starts to 'smear' Put back in freezer for a bit and then remix. Yes, it's cold!

    Place back in freezer and prepare hog middles (32-34mm size). I also freeze my sausage stuffer and piston as it keeps meat from smearing and keeps the fat/meat definition clean. Stuff, tying off with raffia or butcher twine every 4-5".

    Hang in refrigerator overnight, and then smoke at 150-180 for 4 hours. remove and hang in refrigerator again for 3-5 days. Should see it shrink about 25-30%.

    Enjoy! NOTE: PIX to follow


    Out of the smoker. Firming up before Slicing
    Bacon is my absolute favoritest thing in the world.  Home cured, smoked and thickly sliced bacon is simply amazing. On the grill, or baked at 400 degrees it is the most complex yet tasty thing on the planet.

    Here's how I make mine:

    • 40 lbs. Pork Belly. Quality and source DO matter here, HOWEVER... The first batch I ever made came from bellies procured through a local Latin Meat Market and were still amazing.
    • 2 cups Kosher salt (I use Morton's)
    • 2 cups Brown Turbinado Sugar (I use one package of Trader Joe's brand)
    • 2 Tbs. Cure#1 (I buy mine from Butcher-Packer. Email me if you need some or a source)
    • 1/4 cup Pickling spice.
    • Crapload o' black pepper. If you want that!

    Mix all dry ingredients together well. Trim up Bellies into nice 12"x12"ish squares. I use a Rubbermaid container I bought at Target that fits perfectly into my fridge... Liberally coat/rub the bellies with the dry ingredients and stack into container. Refrigerate.

    Daily, for one week, Rotate and turn, putting bottom ones on top and flipping. You will find about 2-3 inches of liquid on the bottom by now. Normal and good.

    After one week. Remove from Brine, wash THOROUGHLY and clean off/trim any loose fat and pieces. Set on wire racks and allow to come to room temperature, dry up a bit and develop a 'pellicle' (It will become sort of dull, and upon touch a little tacky). Should take about three-four hours. 

    I use an electric smoker at 225 degrees... And use a combo of applewood chunks and hickory sawdust. I soak the wood mixture in apple juice about 30 minutes before I start the smoker up.

    I coat one half of the bellies in a mixture of REAL Maple Sugar and a stick of melted butter mixed with a 1/2 cup brown sugar. I use a cheap 4" paintbrush and it works great, right out of the pan. Apply to meat/fat side and edges. Put back on rack. After 30 minutes apply a second 'coat'.

    The other half of the bellies I roll in a mixture of medium grind black pepper and a little red pepper flakes. I buy the big bulk pepper at Smart & Final for this and it works great. Put about 2 cups of the pepper mixture in cookie sheet or Pyrex dish, and roll the bellies liberally in it, Pushing it in and coating all the sides and back, not the skin.

    I do not have 'Bacon hanger' hooks for my smoker, so I merely spray Pam on the racks, and load up the bacon. Stack all the pepper ones on one side, Maple on the other so they don't drip on one another and contaminate. 

    I smoke under heavy smoke for one hour at 225 degrees, then drop to 180 for three more hours. After that. Remove, Immediately, with a sharp boning knife, remove the skin, leaving as much bacon and fat as possible. Apply maple on the one, black pepper on the other, let sit out on the racks to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

    I freeze it for about 20 minutes just before slicing to keep the fat from smearing in the slicer, then vacuum pack in 8-10oz. packages.

    There ya' go. Best Bacon Ever.

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Welcome to my Burke Fine Meats - Purveyors of Quality Meats & Foods

    The launch of Burke Fine Meats - Purveyors of Quality Meats & Foods.

    So a few years late to this, but hell, I had internet access when most of you were still ingesting the tasty lead chips off your cribs. I hope to use this to chronicle the projects I take on... The meals I make... And I hope to share, learn, and expose(Food). I am partial to charcuterie, Cheese making, grilling, smoking, fresh pastas, Mexican and South American cuisine, and gardening and foraging. And eating. I have started the process to get my first food truck going, and from here hopefully a small retail space to feed the drunk and the humorous.