Friday, May 13, 2011

I Dream of Mexico City and Vertically-Spinning Pork

Yes, I do. I dream of Mexico City, walking down the streets, drinking cervezas and tequila and margaritas on ice, eating from taco stands and street vendors. The one type of place though that highlights the dream is a taqueria that has a rotisserie in a big window and spinning on the rotisserie is a big body of pork.

The rotisserie is vertically set and a hot flame sears and cooks the pork as it slowly rotates. Set atop of the rotisserie is pineapple, the heat of the flames releases the juices of the pineapple and it leaks down onto the pork flavoring it with its sweet taste. The taquero, the guy who makes the tacos, thinly shaves the pork from the spit and into his tortilla-covered palm, cilantro and onions are added and you have Taco al Pastor.

These types of taquerias are found all over the states of Mexico and in the US as well. The recipe for al Pastor has been a kept secret. Chefs do not share it, the recipe remains in the family. You can find versions on the internet and all have different seasonings etc...In its most basic form, al Pastor is pork, pineapple, and dried peppers.

This particular recipe, coming from a grilling expert Steven Raichlen and his book Planet Barbecue, and from a fantastic blog Denver on a Spit: Tacos al Pastor at Home, I've tried several times and is without a doubt, the best taco al pastors I've had. I haven't been to Mexico City or any other Mexican state so I am no expert, but my taste buds aren't lying to me, this is some good sh*t!

Most people, if not all home cooks, don't have space or the daily need for a vertical, flaming spit. Raichlen suggested grilling the pork and pineapple on a hot grill. But first, you need to marinade that pork. You'll need:

3lb pork loin
4 ounces guajillo chiles, seeded, deveined, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
1 cup of chile-soaking liquid
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tomatillos
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon anise
1 teaspoon dried thyme

After the chiles are done soaking, chop and add to a blender with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth. After a few runs on this recipe, I cut back on the chile liquid to a half cup. I wanted more of a paste texture instead of a watery texture.

Raichlen suggests cutting the pork into thin strips. This is a hard task to do. First, I had freezing the pork for 30 minutes to make slicing easier but that didn't turn out so well. This time I just decided to cut half inch steaks to ensure even grilling on the pork. Cover the pork in the marinade and set in fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight.

The guajillo peppers really give it a vibrant red color as you can obviously see. I stuck my nose damn right in the bowl, closed my eyes, and took a big sniff. Ahh! I knew I'd be eating well soon.

Meanwhile, prep your grill and get the coals nice and hot. Slice your pineapple, white onions, and cilantro. Set aside.

I grilled the pork loin steaks for about 4-5 minutes a side over direct heat. It smelled awesome!

Let the pork rest a few minutes and grill the pineapple slices and warm up the tortillas. Pineapples can grill for about 3-5 minutes a side based on temp of grill.

You can make salsa or guacamole to add to taco but I opted not to. I wanted to taste the pepper, the seasoning, and sweetness of the pineapple. And yes, it was fantastic. I chopped the pork into strips instead of a thin slice like the taquiera. To me, it snuggles into the tortilla well and it is easy to handle.

I garnished the taco with cilantro, onion, and queso frecso. Oh mamacita was it good. Yes, it has a different appearence from the way a taquero would make it but for city house in Milwaukee, I'll take it.

The sweetness of the grilled pineapple, the crunch of the onion, and the guajillo pepper marinade makes it al Pastor and it made it muy delisiouso. The sweetness did not over-power the salted-spiced up pork, it was just perfect. The marinade was the real winner though. All the ingredients combined together, allowed to sit overnight, flavors melding together and forming, really turned the pork loin into something amazing. I understand why cooks and families in Mexico have guarded their al Pastor recipe.

Again, this is what I love about Mexican food, it is simple yet the flavors slap you in the face. This recipe will remain in my collection forever and I will continue to make Tacos al Pastor forever. It is a simple recipie but it will take time and effort to perfect it. Steven Raichlen provided a big first step in that effort and that empty space in the corner of my kitchen may provide the second step, housing a vertical rotisserie! No, I'm kidding but wouldn't that be awesome?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Enchiladas esta Noche!

Enchilada literally means in chile, the enchiladas are dipped into a red chile sauce to concentrate the chile flavor into the tortilla. The tortillas are not baked in the oven, they are lowered into hot oil to make them pliable, then dipped into the sauce, the fillings are layered, and then the enchilada is rolled up and served right away. This is the Mexican way of making enchiladas!

The weather has been a real downer of late here in Milwaukee so I thought preparing and eating Mexican, food I typically over-indulge in, the summer, would lift my spirits. I've always had enchiladas at Mexican restaurants but have only made them once before. I got inspiration from the latest edition of Saveur magazine and their article on Mexican cooking. Making enchiladas won't bring the sun out but it at least puts my mind at ease.

I headed to the southside of Milwaukee to El Rey Supermercado to buy quality Mexican ingredients. You will need:

8 dried New Mexico chiles
1 ounce Mexican chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 saltine crackers or 2 1/2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1 whole clove

To make the red chile sauce, start out by heating up the dried chiles on a skillet. Cook until fragrent. This should take about 4-5 minutes. It deepens the flavor of the sauce.

Add the chiles to a blender along with chocolate, oregano, cinnamon, garlic, clove, bread crumbs, and 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Let the ingredients steep for 5 minutes and then puree until smooth.

I love putting my face right above the blender and smell in the hot fumes of the sauce, all the separate ingredients hit my nose. I can pick out each one. Oh yes!

Drain the sauce into a bowl through a fine sieve.

Add the sauce to a pot and add a tablespoon of oil and cook over medium heat, constantly stirring until the sauce thickens. Set aside.

What better filling for an enchilada than pork right? There are many ways you can cook the pork to add as a filling and many types of cuts of pork but my favorite is to slow-cook pork shoulder. I cooked a 3 lb pork shoulder, seasoned with salt - pepper - garlic powder - Mexican spice for 8 hours. The pulled pork fits well in the cigar-shaped rolled up tortilla. Damn, look at that bowl of pork!

Instead of dipping the tortillas in hot oil, I opted for a healthier method. I cooked the tortillas on a skillet until pliable and set aside. Too much oil tastes too greasy for me. Make sure you get good tortillas. I got store-bought rather than make my own and the tortillas weren't the great of quality, they tended to tear when rolled. I really hate when that happens.

Dip the tortillas into the red sauce until coated and transfer to a plate, add pork filling and roll up like a cigar. Sprinkle queso fresco on top of enchiladas and add sliced onions.

You can add different types of filling along with the pork if you want, cheese, onions, cilantro, etc...I went for a simple version. Yes, the enchiladas were very tasty. The red chile sauce adds a lot of depth to the dish. You can really notice the hints of cinnamon and clove. I'm not the biggest fan of the taste of clove but I'm getting more used to it. It is a staple ingredient when making moles and sauces so I wanted to include it. The Ibarra chocolate is there too although more subtle than the other ingredients.

The pork was a real winner and the queso fresco always makes a dish better. My only problem were the tortillas. Perhaps I bought an old batch, one that was sitting on the shelves too long. I would recommend making your own if you have the time.

Last note:  These aren't Gringo enchiladas, they are packed with real Mexican flavor. Go get 'em!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Iowa - Fried Pork Tenderloin

If you ever find yourself at a truck stop in Iowa, you'll most definitely find fried, breaded pork tenderloin. It tastes as good as it is easy to make. Like most popular foods from a certain area, there are controversies on what is the correct way to make it, season it, bread it, so on and so on. The tenderloin lends itself to be experimented on but anyway you make it, you will be in for a delicious ride.

The cut of pork brings up a heated conversation too. Traditionally, pork tenderloin is used but it can also be created using boneless pork chops. But the main thing you want to do, is bang that pork silly and pound it out thin. I butterflied a section of pork tenderloin, placed it between sheets of plastic film and walloped it with a small cast-iron skillet.

I pounded the tenderloins to about a half inch thick but you certainly can pound it thinner. Make sure to achieve even thinness for equal cooking.

Another debatable topic is the breading of the tenderloins. Some use mashed-up crackers, others use cornmeal. I like the crunch of yellow cornmeal so I used that to bread the tenderloin. Soak the pork in milk and coat it with cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper.

Get a cast-iron skillet nice and hot and add oil. You can also deep fry it but I fried it is some shallow oil, three minutes on each side until it gets nice and brown and crispy.

Toppings for the breaded tenderloin is also up for much experimentation but I went with what seems to be the traditional route, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, topped with pickles.

Get a nice, soft bun and stack it, starting on the bottom: tenderloin - tomato - lettuce - pickles - mayo.

Since the breading adds a layer to the pork, I see I could have pounded the tenderloin thinner. You will see in Iowa that the pork can be two to three times the size of the bun! So feel free to make it any size you want.

In Iowa, they don't call this a sandwich, they simply call it Tenderloin because everyone knows what you are talking about. But damn, this sandwich is real tasty and very satisfying. Crispy breading on the outside, succulent pork on the inside, oh baby! The tomato and lettuce adds that garden freshness and the tang from the mayo and the vinager bit from the pickles pulls the flavor all together. You'll be banging tenderloins all day because people will not want to stop eating them, I'm serious.

The fried pork tenderloin is so easy to make and yet the taste is so big. I've been thinking about sandwiches since I saw the latest edition of Savuer Magazine, the sandwich issue. Check it out if you haven't. It has a ton of mouth-watering photos on sandwiches from everywhere. The Iowa fried, breaded pork tenderloin can easily match up with the sandwiches you see in that magazine.

I'm going to have another one! Thanks Iowa.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baseball Brats - Usinger's vs Johnsonville - Milwaukee Style

Major League Baseball is here and underway. I've been watching a lot of Brewers games and reading boxscores. Great weekend series win by the Crew over the Cubs was made sweeter by indulging into my favorite baseball pastime, grilling brats.

Yes, this is my third post on bratwurst but I like to share my love for them. In Wisconsin, two bratwurst-making companies stand tall, Johnsonville and Usinger's. Both are great, both are fabulous and while listening to Bob Uecker and the Brewers on the radio, I decided to decide which brat is better. Truely a tough call.

It began in 1945, when Ralph and Alice Stayer opened up a butcher shop named after their hometown of Johnsonville. Today, Johnsonville is one of the most popular sausages and is available all over the U.S. and in 30 countries.

Usinger's have been making sausages for 125 years. It is located on Milwaukee's Old World Third St, the original site of the store. Usinger's slogan states it all, "America's Finest Sausage."

Both sausages are made with pork and seasoned with fine spices. While Usinger's sausages are a little longer than Johnsonville's, Johnsonville brats contain a great juicy flavor.

These brats are delicious enough to eat without condiments but sausages are perfect hostesses to adding mustard, sauce, or sliced vegatables. For me, I'm combining sauerkraut with Secret Stadium sauce and Koops' spicy brown mustard and Koops' Dusseldorf mustard.

To achieve the juiciest brats, I am grilling them low and slow on the indirect side of the grill. No flare ups, no bursting of the casing, just slow cooking while I listen to the game on the radio. The brats took about 45-50 minutes on the indirect grill.

To height the pleasure factor of this test, I choose to include Pretzel Buns from Miller Bakery in Milwaukee. Those buns just look oh so perfect.

The brats are done, the kraut is resting, the Brewers are winning, lets eat!

For the Usinger's brat, I placed it on the pretzel bun, added the sauerkraut, and squeezed some Dusseldorf mustard on it. 
The spicy brown mustard is a perfect match for the Johnsonville. Secret sauce-flavored kraut also is must add to the bun.

The verdict of the Baseball brats:

The Usinger's brat was a juice explosion. Yes, the chin was covered in runny, juicy brat goodness. Cooking it a low temp held in all the flavor. The seasoning of the ground pork gives it that old world flavor. The brats are sold fresh so it leaves the shop within days. It is not frozen and that quality really comes out.

The Johnsonville is a shorter brat but packed full of bratwurst power. Snappy, crunchy texture from the casing combined with the tender, fatty pork lends iself for an amazing bite. The spice of the horseradish in the brown mustard also highlights the seasoning of the sausage.

Both wursts are top notch and it is hard to pick a winner. I tried each bratwurst sans bun and condiments and Usinger's had better flavor but the Johnsonville brat really shined with my additions. The sentimental favorite goes to Johnsonville as I grew up eating them. I learned how to grill brats by grilling Johnsonvilles. I love them brats. But this test is about taste and quality. I chose Johnsonville in a slim margin.

What won me over was the total package. Quality pork, great seasoning, juicy inside, snappy outside, great on its own or with condiments, it really is "heaven on a bun."

Decide for yourself, go the store and fire up some bratwurst, taste Wisconsin at its finest.

Buy Johnsonville.
Buy Usinger's.

Love them brats!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly (Thit Heo Kho Tau)

Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly with Egg, Fried Tofu and Coconut Juice

Vietnamese food, for me, is a new thing but I've loved everything that I've had. I hope I represented this dish well as I don't want to disrespect it. I need more practice making Vietnamese food and I'm not the best braiser of meats in the world either but I gave it a go anyway.

Start out with:

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2 shallots, chopped fine
green bell pepper
fried tofu, quartered

For the braising liquid:
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 star anise
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons of palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 can of coconut juice
1.5 cups of water

Brown the pork belly on all sides and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, hot enough to fry the aromatics and caramalize the sugar. Add the shallots, garlic, pepper and star anise. Cook until fragrant. Add the sugar and stir for a few minutes. Add the fish sauce, water, coconut juice, soy sauces, as well as the pork belly and fried tofu.

Braise for a few hours until the pork belly is tender. I braised for about 1.5 hours with the lid partially covering the pan.

Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan. Poke holes into the hard-boiled eggs with a toothpick to prevent any blowups when you fry the eggs. Pan-fry, not deep fry, the eggs on all sides. Be careful of hot oil splashes. Set aside when done.

When the pork belly is done braising, let it rest on a board to cool. Cut the belly into slices and arrange on a plate or bowl. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve with cilantro, chopped green onion, and steamed Jasmine rice.

The dish definitely had a lot of flavor. The star anise was not over-bearing at all but you could not ignore its presence. But I think that is a good thing. I loved the hard-boiled fried eggs. I will be cooking these a lot more now. They added a creamy, pillowy texture to the dish. The tofu soaked up all the good sauces and paired well the green peppers. I've never combined tofu and hard-boiled eggs and pork together before but it really works.

I will admit that I over-cooked the pork belly a bit. It was drier than I would have liked. The pork wasn't super tender and buttery but it still worked for me. Need to practice more braising!

All in all, I really enjoyed the Vietnamese-inspired braised pork belly.It had different flavors and combinations I haven't tried before. I will give it a professional try when I see it on a menu next time I'm in a Vietnamese restaurant.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pad Ped Moo - Thai stir fry

Pad means stir fry and any type of Pad Thai is perfect for the grab-and-go. You can find pad thai sizzling in woks on the streets on Thailand. Cooked very hot and very fast, it is a popular food for street food vendors.

It has been a busy March (sorry, no posts.) so a quick yet satisfying dish was needed. Pad Ped Moo is made with belly pork, Thais tend to use many parts of the pig and the fatty part of pork belly makes the dish. The hot wok will sear the pork and render the fat quickly, cooking the pork in its own fat. You know that sounds tasty.

Many types of vegatables can be used to accompany the pork belly. I went with peppers and beans. Feel free to use Thai peppers but I stayed away from using them. They are great peppers but I had a situation once where I ate a whole one in one bite and due to the extreme hotness, I basically passed out for 20 minutes. I'm sure the beers aided in me taking a little nap but I couldn't take the heat.

1 lb pork belly, small dice (freeze for a bit to make dicing easier)

2 cups of Chinese long green beans, cut into bits
1/2 cup green bell peppers, sliced
1/2 cup Thai red peppers, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons red curry paste
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt and pepper

Add pork belly to the hot wok and sear until the pork turns brown. Add the red curry pastes and mix.

Then add the fish sauce, garlic, sugar, chilis/pepper.

Stir fry for a few minutes to combine flavors.

Garnish with chopped green onions and coriander and serve over streamed Jasmine rice.

The dish had really great flavor. It would taste very different if another type of pork was used. I'm a big fan of pork belly, nice layer of fat, meat, and skin. Cooked right and you will get crispy skin and moist, fatty meat. Combine it with snappy pepper and beans and you have a great pad ped moo.

I love the flavors of Thai food and though it doesn't take much to cook and prepare this dish, it doesn't disappoint in any way. Any time I get roasted meats combined with rice, I am a happy man. More Thai food on the way.....

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.