Monday, May 25, 2015

Popcorn of the Sea or Ojingeo-tonggui or Korean Spicy Grilled Squid

Starting the BBQ season with squid is like toasting the opening of a new wine store with overflowing glasses of milk. And while MeatHunx showing up to your BBQ with a 'nice bright salad' is a little 'off-brand' to say the least, I have a defense: this recipe is rad, I'm on a Korean roll here, my mounting data is slowly beginning to indicate that Koreans have the best BBQ style, and counterbalancing a bunch of goons cooking crumbly burgers with something a touch more elegant is comparable to Bond entering the Turkey's Nest to order a martini…then beating everyone up. So I'm the over-aggressive Bond of BBQ, it's decided, thank you, and goodnight.

Spicy Grilled Squid is a party dish. You have it around the table while you're slamming beers or soju with your pals. Note: after trying to make this post-consuming a considerable amount of rosee, I have to say better to begin drinking once you're at least finished with prep.

Here's what you need:

- 1 large squid (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2  teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
- 3 tablespoons rice syrup or corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 green onions, chopped
- salt for cleaning the squid
- vegetable oil

If you're brave/a moron (like me), you've bought the squid whole. There's a wide sargasso sea's-worth of directions online, so won't go too deep into this. BUT, a couple make sures: when scraping the innards out, be careful not to burst the ink sacs, and remove the clear plastic-looking backbones/beak + the eyes, and use salt on your hands for extra grip when removing the skin. Now that you feel like a cut-throat monster, it's time for the fun(nner) part.

Clean the squid, place it on a chopping board lengthwise in between two chopsticks and cut almost all the way through.

Now for the sauce: combine the garlic, ginger, hot pepper paste, rice syrup, mustard, and soy sauce in a bowl, then mix er up.

Next, get the grill running at medium-high, and throw the squid on - 1 minute for first side, 2 minutes for the second. You know it's done when you try and straighten their bodies out, and they curl back a little once you let go. Then, drop them in the sauce, throw them back on the Q and boom, you're all set.

Place them on top of a bed of greens. Then sprinkle chopped onions and sesame seeds, finishing with a liberal drizzle of sesame oil. Once done, cut the body into rings so drinkers don't have to think about how to eat it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chuseok!: Gui-ing L.A.-Style Bulgalbi

Meat Hunx can't resist slightly catchy but for the most part nonsensical titles. So let's inject a little clarity here. And what better place to start than terminology.

Deinition 1 - Chuseok: Korean Thanksgiving Day! Tell an American about Chuseok, and, bewildered, they'll ask what Koreans are giving thanks for as if it's unthinkable that there are plants you can harvest and eat in other parts of the world. Usually, the holiday is 3 days long; but due to some fortuitous scheduling, it's 5 days this year. In addition to eating and hanging with the fam, Koreans get up to all sorts of wild things, preferably under a full moon. Activities include, ancestral grave visits, Ganggangsullae (an insanely badass circle dance), sandpit wrestling, and rice liquor drinking. 

Lunar gazing? Circle dances? Life and death? It's time to break out the motherfucking BIG GREEN EGG!! Gather round and behold the the treasures from it's roaring hot taste barrier-breaking halo!

Definition 2 - Gui: Now, don't get all up arms that this entry's title might seem like a slightly insensitive mispronunciation of the word 'grilling'. Quite the opposite in fact- gui translates to grill. 

Definition 3 - LA-Style: There are two cut styles for Korean beef short ribs. The first is the more traditional Wang Galbi (means King Ribs). It entails cutting the ribs into 2 to 5 inch segments, and filleting in layers away from the bone. The second, slightly more slick-sounding cut is L.A. Style, and entails cutting the meat in thin slices across the bone. This style allows the marinade to penetrate the meat faster. I asked two legitimately rad Korean pals what to cook for Chuseok, they both said Galbi, and they're both West Coast destroyers. So L.A. Style it is. 

Definition 4 - Bulgalbi: Adding bul to galbi indicates there's some grilling going on; slightly redundant above as I've already mentioned we're gui-ing. But all these new terms are making Meat Hunx feel authoritative. 

Ok, so here's how it's done…

Go to an Asian grocery store and ask for short ribs. I like New York Mart in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There, a conscientious butcher will ask you how thin you want your beef cut by doing that Kids in the Hall 'I Crush' thing with their fingers. Go with thin for marinade penetration as well as grill time. In addition to five pounds of beef short rib, you'll need the following:

- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
- 1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated (I went with a Xinjian fragrant pear)
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Rub the brown sugar over all the meat, and let it sit for 10 mins or until they hit room temp. While your Galbi dudes are taking a time-out, whisk the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Split the meat into two gallon-sized ziplock bags and pour half the marinade into each. Mix it up a bit, and drop those future taste bombs in the fridge for four hours. 

I suggest spending this intermediary time drinking rice wine and listing to traditional Korean music. But it's your world, bro. 

At the four hour mark, crank the egg to 300 - 400 degrees. I served my Bulgalbi with grilled baby bok choi and Ja Mushrooms seasoned in salt, pepper and fennel seed powder, plus some olive oil and lemon. Get these on first, as they'll take longer.

Then drop those bulgalbi on the grill directly above the coals, 4 minutes per side. And bam, it's over, you've won. 

기지도 못하면서 뛰려고 한다,
Meat Hunx

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Boston 2 Brooklyn Jerk Chicken Rolls

The nefarious looking gentleman to your left is Nicholas Cox. He's been credited with many things, but perhaps none so immediately crucial as fanning the flames of the summer's first Meat Hunx post! In addition to our guest writer, we've also been joined by guest photographer and all-around badass Jake Burghart. 

On a holiday Monday afternoon, while this great nation laid about, Nick took matters into his own hands, commandeering a 30-person feast, bestowing upon a rudimentary grill and Rosee-rinsed palettes outsized tastes and outrageously good vibes. Nick handily traversed across multiple dishes, a feat that would leave most burned out. That's apparently when this dude shines. Nick broke out a jerk chicken that would earn a triangle salute from fellow grill renegades at Boston Jerk City

Here's how it goes:
Procure 15 pieces of thigh meat, trimmed of fat. Don't waste your time with Purdue and the like. Additionally try to buy air-chilled chicken. For those of you unfamiliar, most chickens are dunked in iced, chlorinated water to bring their temperature down after slaughter. Air-chilled is a slightly different process: evisceration, sprayed with chlorinated water inside and out, and rapidly cooled in air chambers to reduce bacteria. Most, if not all in the know, will tell you the result tastes way better.

For the cure, pull together the following: 
- 16floz extra virgin olive oil 
- 4floz white distilled vinegar
- 3floz smooth Dijon style mustard
- 6floz Worcestershire sauce
- 6floz soy sauce
- 1lb Spanish onion
- 1oz parsley (whole)
- 2tbsp red chile flakes
- 1tbsp allspice
- 3tbsp turmeric
- 1tbsp black pepper
- 2tbsp cumin
- 2tbsp coriander
- 2tbsp salt
- 4-9pc scotch bonnet/habanero chiles. (Depending on preference. This is supposed to be a spicy cure). If you can't find these you may use red bird's eye chiles.

Next up:
- Grind all spices, add to blender
- Rough chop onion and parsley, add to blender
- Add all ingredients except for the oil. Purée until smooth.
- Slowly pour the oil in a steady thin stream to emulsify
- Add protein to the jerk and let sit at least 24hrs
- Grill over a low heat 

The chicken was served in two forms: in mini potato rolls with mayonnaise ("jalapeño mango if you wanna get fancy") and kosher dill pickles, or the markedly less elegant but respectably uninhibited grill-to-fork-mouth. I'll let the photos do Nick's work justice. 

The island tastes marked a turning point in the evening that left little room for revisionism. Sitting here now, in a much more lucid state, I'd be remiss not to point out some tried tested and true Jamaican jerk customs that were disregarded here. The most prominent of these is that no pimento wood was used in the making of this masterpiece. Recently, the wood has cleared international boundaries and is now available at Pimento Wood (.com). And while ordering a 'One Click Jerk Kit' seems a bit rich, if it means getting some pimento smoke in the mix, so buy it!

PS. If you get a chance, look up the history of jerk. It's a wild ride. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pesto Spiraled Steak Pucks

Recently back from a trip to Londonville, or whatever they call it. BBQ is getting HUGE out there. It's like the nation's collective taste for grilled fare has been locked up in a 'char'stity belt. And with that pent up energy let loose, BBQ is meat marketing it up, out on the town, looking for the fight of its life. 

There wasn't time for a tour-de-force grill crawl. However, I was lucky enough to spend a delightful afternoon at Eyre Brothers in Shoreditch. While not strictly a BBQ spot, the menu reassuringly and discerningly proclaims, "we grill over lumpwood charcoal from sustainable resources." Some of their dishes include: Catalan blood sausage, rare-grilled pigeon breast, Porto marinated duck foie gras and Iberico pork cheeks. Presented with all these elegant options, I couldn't help but ponder the going association that BBQ maintains in the popular consciousness with volume of food, gluttony. I've been thinking more and more about how to put the Big Green Egg to use for more nimble offerings, and this London afternoon experience served to strengthen my resolve.

The spark plug fired on this direction when I came upon a recipe for Rolled Flank Steak with Pesto in a great 2012 book, Canal House Cooks. This is very much their recipe, Big Green Egg styles.

Here's what you need:
- 2 Loosely packed cups basil leaves
- 2 Loosely packed cups of parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/2 cup green pitted olives
- 3 anchovy filets
- 1/4 cup of your best olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano
- One 2-pound flank steak
- S and P

First, the pesto: drop the basil, parsley, garlic, pitted olives, anchovies, and olive oil into a blender, and puree. Next, sprinkle in the parm and pulse a couple times to make sure it's spread throughout. At this point, your pesto is gonna smell like a dream. Get it into a small bowl, wrap and refrigerate. 

For the steak, and this gets a little intricate: unroll, and lay it out flat on a clean surface, with it's grain point directly towards you. With an outstandingly sharp knife, butterfly it along one edge, essentially splitting it's thickness in half. Do this patiently, stopping two inches before you cut the steak in two. At this point, you'll be able to open it like a meat book. 

Get your pesto out and spread it evenly across the entire top surface area of the flank. Leave half-an-inch of space around the circumference. 

Then, rotate the flank so that the grain is traveling from left to right, like a set of marble horizons. Slip 5 to 6 sets of string underneath the slab, at even intervals. Once done, begin rolling from the edge closest to you, ensuring it's as tight as possible. Once you're all rolled up, fasten the strings tightly and knot. Wrap it with plastic and refrigerate until your fire is set.

Get the BGE up to about 275/300 F. Some folks might recommend higher, but I didn't want to sear as much heat carefully to the core, ensuring the pesto had a chance to make it's presence known within the fibers of the flank. Throw it on for about 20 minutes, turning until browned on all sides. After that, shift it to the side for about 12 - 14 minutes, away from the direct heat. 

Lastly, slice the rolled flank at inch-long intervals, ensuring your spirals don't unravel. 

My accomplice in this mission had just had dinner. But after one of these guys, all he could say was, "just one more meat puck, just one more." 

Note: I've eaten three of these while writing this, a day after it all went down. It's quality as a left-over speaks volumes. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Deeeaammn Lamb Wraps (with Owney's Rum)

I'm all for a cold winter. But it's posing a few unexpected brick walls. Number one on the 'c'mon, really?' list: the Big Green Egg is frozen shut. The fall-out: having to cook using a normal oven, which induces similar feelings to missing the last train out of Anchorage to Miami on a Friday night. My first idea was to create a seasonally-adjusted Meat Hunx sister site called Soup Slutz. But an avalanche-esque craving for lamb made me think otherwise. So I'm defying my BBQ-negating geo-position with some motherfucking lamb wraps. The Meat is On! Let's do this!
First up, the lamb. Here's what ya need:
- 2 lbs of lamb
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- S and P to taste
- And Berbere

EEER, educational moment and command 1! You gotta get Berbere mix in the mix. It's a spice combo made up of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, kararima, rue, ajwain, nigelia and fenugreek. It's a West-African fundamental. Get on it!

Next up:
- Blend the onion, garlic, cilantro, oil, lemon and spices
- Rub the marinade all over the lamb then wrap with string
- Throw the lamb in an air-tight whatever and refrigerate for two hours
- Remove and let the meat come to room temp
- Sprinkle with Berbere, salt and pepper
- Then crank the ovs to 450F and pop your roasting-pan borne foil-covered lamb in
- Dial back to 325F and cook for 2.5 hours
- The lamb is ready to party when it's falling off the bone

Lay your party-dudes out on the warmed wraps and garnish with cilantro, parsley, green onions, salsa and sour cream. And as a wise man once said: "BANGO!"

Educational alert moment and command 2: A pal of mine has adorned the already-rich history of Brooklyn Rum-runners with a new gem: Owneys. It's not the same old rum the world is used to, and I strongly urge you to check out their operation here, if only to increase your chances of enjoying the shit out of Meathunx-inspired Deeeaammn Lamb Wraps. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Intriguingly Spotty Story of the Jalapeño Popper and a Recipe

Perhaps the result of a Canadian upbringing, but my context for encountering the Jalapeño Popper phenomenon has almost invariably been the greasy laminated pages of generic sports bars. Despite they're uninspired setting, the Jalapeño Popper seems to possess a very tenacious power of memory eradication. You eat, you burn, you sweat, you swear off, then months later, you do it again. This induced amnesia is perhaps a human pain coping mechanism, or maybe it's an adaptive measure taken by the plant and all it's lineage, to ensure continued growth and cultivation.

But that is the Jalapeño proper, I am not Michael Pollan, and we're here  to talk about the Jalapeño Poppers.

It's suspected that Jalapeño Poppers are an Americanized version of the Mexican chile relleno. The name popped up in a big way when Anchor Food Products of Appleton, WI used the term for a brand of cheese-stuffed Jalapeños. The company formally applied for the trademark "Poppers" in 1992, only to be rebuffed by the Poppers Supply Company of Portland, OR (they made popcorn). In 1993, Poppers Supply Co. successfully maintained the "Poppers" trademark for "coated and breaded vegetable pieces," only to transfer it to Anchor Food Products on September 12th, 2001. Not 13 days thereafter, HJ Heinz announced the acquisition of the Poppers brand, while Canadian giant McCain Foods acquired Anchor's production facilities, including plants in Pecos, TX and Cuauhtemoc, Mexico. To this day, McCain encourages you to, "Get Your Party Started" with Anchor Poppers. Whatever.

So why the fuck did did so many people care about the popper?  Simple answer: demand. By 2000, Anchor had annual sales of $503MM USD and production facilities ready to maintain that growth. Complicated answer: there is something deceptively addictive about the heat of a Jalapeño Popper, so powerful, it brought millions shaking, sweating and falling mercifully to their knees, arms outstretched, collective wallet spilling forth cash for just one more taste.

So without further adieu, a recipe!

The Crew
- 10 - 12 Jalapeños
- Cream Cheese
- Fresh Mozzarella
- 1 Shallot, Minced
- Tootkpicks

Ready the ships
Cut the stems of the Jalapeño without interrupting the top surface area. Then, halve the Jalapeños down the middle, length-wise. Be sure you keep each resulting half with it's partner, as you'll be putting them back together again shortly.

Abolish all Mutineers
Take a spoon and remove the entire inside membrane, including all seeds. God help you if you leave seeds in there.

Steady the Men
Fill one side of the split Jalapeño with cream cheese and minced shallots, and the other side with fresh mozzarella. Then close the two sides down on each other and secure with a toothpick. Step and repeat til you've made it through all 12.

Set Sail
Get the grill going at 325 direct heat, and put those poppers on down. Flip after 20 to make sure both sides get a good singe, and keep it going for another 20 - 25. When the cheese starts to ooze out the sides, you know you're done.

We took the poppers inside and stared at them apprehensively. Then I went for it while the others looked on nervously. It was a disaster. What felt like clear sailing turned into fricking Charybdis and the Sirens together on steroids. First my eyes watered, then I started sweating, then I closed my eyes, and just saw wild swirling patterns. I was indeed tripping on Jalapeño Poppers. And before you call me out, know I lived with an Indian roommate for 1 year, and a Texan for 2; so I ain't no slouch. Nevertheless, the only way I could continue was to put on some traditional Mexican garb and start drinking Mezcal as briskly as possible.

So have fun with your poppers, wear a costume if you have to and know that no matter how bad it gets, you'll keep coming back for more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mr. Samuel Kim's Magic Mushrooms

The sad part about buying foods close to nature is that it reminds you how sad the selection and quality of produce is in the city. I had this revelation yet again, after meeting Samuel Kim in Occidental, California. It made me sad for myself, for those moments when I buy mushrooms from the local grocery store: 'Would you like your mushrooms rubbery? or perhaps rubbery…" the saran-wrapped little characters inquire. 

Samuel Kim has been farming mushrooms in Northern, California for 25 years. His stand-offish vibe is explained away quickly by his preoccupation for his product.

We bought four different mushrooms: trumpet, shitake, oyster and some roots, which he insisted were not only edible but delightful.

We brought em home and gave them the following treatment...

- 1 lb mushrooms
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp of your favorite barbecue sauce (optional)

Next up:
Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth but don't slice them. Only remove the stem if you're planning on making portobello burgers.

Place all ingredients, including mushrooms, in a container and stir together. Let them marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Keep in mind that mushrooms contain a lot of water, and they'll shrink considerably while cooking. Grill them directly on the grate. Cook smaller mushrooms on skewers to avoid losses to the grate.

Grill em for 5 minutes, then flip em over and grill for another 5 minutes. Baste with any leftover marinade while grilling to keep the flavor strong. If you don't have a grill, a skillet will work fine too.

Then sit back with a skirt steak and the love of your life and acknowledge what Samuel and many others have too - that mushrooms of all kinds are kind of the best thing you could possibly eat.

PS - if you're looking for other things to do with our woodland friends, check out this episode we did on some innovative folks turning mushrooms into product packaging.