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.