Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sonoran Hot Dogs

Today, the Sonoran hot dog can be found in Tucson, Arizona. Everywhere to taco stands/trucks/carts to popular places like El Guero Canelo. But it originally comes from Tucson's neighboring state, Sonora, Mexico. "Tex Mex" food made its way across the border in the 1940s when that style of cuisine was popping up in bordering cities. From there, the Sonoran hot dog took form.

Obviously, hot dogs are made differently in large cities across the US. The prepartion of the hot dog symbolizes and characterizes a town. Chicago-style dogs, piled high with relish, sport peppers, sliced tomato, Coney Dogs in Detroit, featuring bean-less, meat-filled chili with onions and yellow mustard. In Arizona, the Sonoran dog reigns supreme.

Perhaps you have seen food television shows like Man vs. Food and Food Wars that have showcased the hot dog. The Sonoran looked so good I had to try it. Hopefully, one day I can make it to the streets of Tucson to try one.

A common trait for all Sonoran hot dogs is the bacon. Bacon is wrapped around the dog and sauted until crispy and crunchy.

They use mesquite-smoked bacon in Arizona but any type will do if mesquite-smoked bacon is not available.

The variations come from the types of condiments. The Sonoran packs a lot of condiments into the bun but all work well together and complete the Tex-Mex profile.
Condiments include:
  • Pinto beans
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onion
  • shredded cheese
  • yellow mustard
  • mayo
  • jalapeno/green chile sauce
  • bolillo bun
Make an insert into the bolillo bun and scrape out some of the bread.. It should look like a canoe. Layer the ingredients in this order:
  • bacon-wrapped hot dog
  • beans
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • cheese
  • stripes of mustard, chile sauce, mayo
Wow, what a hot dog. So many flavors all working amazing together. Fresh ingredients from the tomatoes and onions make it seem healthy while the mustard-mayo-chile sauce work with the cheese to create a creamy top. Then you make it down to the smoky, salty crunch of the bacon....oh, it all just comes together.

It is a somewhat messy hot dog with toppings falling off but come on, its a hot dog. Get messy and don't wipe your face until you are done. This hot dog needs a full delivery to your face. Ha!

Next time I will look for a more quality bolillo bun. This particular bun was not as fresh as I would liked. It was a little on the hard side. A more fresh, pillowy bolillo would have taken this hot dog to new levels.

I love me some Chicago-style dogs but this dog is tough to top.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good Rockin' Tonight - After Bar Burger

Hamburgers are a staple in this country as all Americans know but more and more 'gourmet' burgers or 'non-traditional' burgers are becoming popular. You see them displayed on food shows, piled high with unlikely ingredients that seem to work. You see shows that promote burger challenges, and you see television commericals advertising McDonald's or Burger King all the time.

I rarely make burgers, I'm not sure why, maybe because they are readily available anywhere, anytime, anyhow. But I like a burger that is 'non-conformist, countercultural' if you will. In my recent trips to Las Vegas, they have been burger bars that have opened up offer these type of burgers. Far from your sliced pickle and melted cheese. I'm a fan of a California burger, sliced avocado or guacamole on top of a grilled burger as well as inventive stuffed burgers. I've made jalapeno popper stuffed burgers to jumbo shrimp burgers to salsa stuffed burgers before much to people's delight. So when I first read about this burger, I had to try it.

The article came from the most unlikely of sources. I was coming home from Las Vegas and purchased Runner's World for the plane ride. A writer wrote about a post-run meal he had in Boston Mass. It was a sloppy, sluggy, drunk food type of burger but it got my attention. I had to try it. One historic and iconic celebrity/musician was a big fan of this type of sandwich/burger, Elvis Presley. I love me some Elvis, hip-shaking rockabilly and fat, diamond-studded Vegas Elvis. He loved his banana-bacon beef sandwich.

It is a total after bar, "I'm wasted, need food" endeavor. It emcompasses saltiness, nuttiness, smoky-ness, beefy-ness (spelling?), overall GOODNESS, a total meal with a beer or aiding in soaking up many beers. HA! I removed the banana and prepared what the writer of a Runner's World editorial was so in love with....Peanut Butter Bacon Burger!

Ah yes, soak it up, think about it, it makes perfect sense, stoner's food delight! Hits on all nasty levels, throw out the diet for one self-indulgent meal. Yes, that's what it is. Tell Grandma you love her because after this, everything is different, nothing will ever be the same. (A little over-dramatic, don't you think?)

Adjust your recipe to how you like it or want it (after those beers).
  • Crispy bacon, I used strips but if you can get slab bacon for bigger cuts, go for it
  • heaping pile of peanut butter, soften it up in microwave for 30 seconds
  • ground beef to make burger, I used mixed ground beef and pork, seasoned of course
  • mayo, optional, for the spread on the bottom of the bun
  • grilled bun, need that crunchy, crispy bread
  • more beer, if you aren't too drunk all ready, "Please, don't drink and drive."
Since it is winter and subzero outside and that I winterized my grill (sadness), I cooked the burger on a grill pan. Toast your bun then add peanut butter to top of burger, pile bacon on top of peanut butter, slather mayo on the bottom bun, put it all together and take note. Elvis was doing this back in the 50s. Elvis loved his banana, bacon burger. God Bless the King!

The bun was toasted in the bacon fat. Damn, I could just eat the bun alone. So nice....

The burger was so right on all levels. Perhaps at first sight or first read, peanut butter with bacon and beef may not seem fantastic, but it seriously works real well. The mayo in addition to the peanut butter provides creaminess but doesn't distract from the overall flavor. It could be omitted if you don't fancy mayo but I think it adds to the burger.

The peanut butter gives it a nutty flavor but it isn't as prominent as you would think. It takes on the role of ketchup or mayo, a supporting actor in comparison, important to the film but doesn't take the lead. I've had peanut butter sauces in dishes before and this works the same way, you notice the flavor but it doesn't overpower or complicate the main ingredient.

I slightly over-cooked the bacon to my liking but it added my necessary crunch to a plate, the salty/smokiness of the bacon complemented the other flavors.

I like my burger medium rare to rare as I cooked it 3 minutes a side on the grill pan. It was quite juicy so the juicy, peanut buttery, salty goodness was dripping down my chin.

Obvious note....this is not the most healthy meal but when you need some grub after a night of drinking or hanging at the pub with your friends, healthy foods may not cut it. A juciy burger will definitely suffice. Add some interesting ingredients and it will nourish your spinning mind.

Elvis certainly knew good music, after having this burger, I can't question his appetite.

This was also a great way to celebrate the Pork Drunk blog's two year Anniversary!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Champs!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dublin Coddle

Coddle is a traditional Irish dinner dish that dates back three hundred years. It is a staple meat and potato, one-pot meal. The name of the dish comes from a French word caudle which means to "boil gently or stew." But with the Irish, coddle is about cooking at a low temperature for a long time. Throw it in a pot, in the oven, head to the pub, have some pints, return home hours later for warm meal.

The dish is comprised of simple ingredients: pork sausages, bacon, onions, and potatoes. The only seasonings are salt, pepper, and parsley. Water or a ham stock is added to the pot to braise and stem the ingredients over time, it also creates a gravy.

Irish bacon is different from American bacon. The bacon comes from the back of a pig, not from the pork belly. It is often called back bacon. Mostly the bacon is boiled and does not take on a crispy texture. If you can't obtain Irish bacon, use bacon that is not sweetened by maple or sugar. The best is to use bacon ends or trimmings from the pork belly.

Due to lack of seasonings, spices, I would recommend browning the bacon and pork sausages adding color and additional flavors to the pot.

Instead of using strips of bacon, chop up the bacon ends or get some slab bacon and cut into chunks. Good, quality pork sausage is also important too.

Baking potatoes work well for coddle. Cut them into big chunks as well. I decided to cut my onions into rings. Finely chop the parsley.
Start by browning the bacon ends and then follow with the pork sausages. During this time, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Layer the onions down first then the bacon.
Top the onion and bacon with the pork sausages and then the potatoes. Pour in the 2 cups of boiling water, bring to a boil and then remove from stovetop.

For each new layer, salt/pepper and parsley should be added.
Cover the pot with a heavy lid and chuck it into the oven. Cook for a long time. I choose to cook for three and a half hours.

Oh did the kitchen smell awesome, full of bacon and sausage. I lift that lid and stuck my face in the pot and waifed it all in. Thank you Ireland.

The fat rendered out from the bacon and sausage and potatoes soaked up all of that flavor. The sausage was buttery smooth while the bacon gave the dish a salty, smoky touch. The onions melted down nicely which added to the flavor the broth.

I am not an Irish man but I enjoy a pint of Guinness whenever possible and it washed down the coddle impeccably. I'm glad I chose to not include the Irish soda bread because the meal was quite filling. It would be a great addition to the meal though as the bread could sop up all the juices and gravy.

Those Irish people know how to drink and they know how to eat as well.