Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Smoked Cougar Sausages

I'm not one for hunting safaris; all that walking and killing. But a good questionably-endangered wild cat meat product, purchasable from the safety of my local first world market, is almost impossible not to notice.

Walking by the The Meat Hook butcher display case the other day, they had probably the most phenomenally titled sausages- Cougar! I stopped, but my mind was moving approximately 50 mph (actual cougar speed). I imagine this is what hunters experience when they finally set eyes on their prey. As it turns out, the sausages were made from pork, bacon, ginger and scallions (and exactly zero cougar). But I'd been won over.

I brought the cougs home, and dressed them in a delightful number consisting of garlic, rosemary, kosher salt, olive oil and pepper. Then I brought the bbq up to about 250 and let them smoke for approximately 30 minutes.

The combination of ginger and bacon is something you need to get on immediately. While downing the cougs, I had a chance to look up whether authentic cougar sausages actually exist. Dean M, frequent forum contributor at, had this to say on the matter: "I ate Cougar sausage ONCE, Tasted like what wet dog hide smells like!!! Cat is Cat, if the lord wanted us to eat them, he would have named them COWGAR!!!"

Right on Dean. Right on.

PS Don't eat endangered animals. Not mentioning any names, DEAN.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winston Smith - Eat the Meatles

I had the amazing chance to meet and interview the artist Winston Smith in San Francisco last week. He's primarily a collage artist, who everyone knows from doing Dead Kennedy's album covers. But his career spans decades of incredible work, influence and yields a labyrinth of stories he tells with great attention to detail.

Anyhow, at some point we got to talking Meat Hunx. He mentioned that he comes across faded off-color meat adverts for the likes of Spam etc all the time, and would set some aside for my "Meat File". He then informed me of the numbers of solders that were killed during World War II by the Armor Meat Company's rations, and the inevitable ad campaign to clean up their tarnished image.

Today, out of nowhere, he emailed me this work he did in 1995, with the ok to post it. So here that is. He describes the collage accordingly, "I was thinking of the old "Meet the Beatles!" album and this was the natural upshot of that meditation." An honor to have it grace the site.

There should be more Winston Smith's on this earth.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thoroughly Rubbed Loins (Wow)

Picked up a Pork Loin from Key Foods today. Admittedly not the besstt selection of meat ever over at KF. But $7.95? For a 3 lb loin? Come on!

What I didn't invest into the meat quality, I more than made up for with the...

- 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 1/2 teaspoons onion salt
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (cayenne)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Stir together brown sugar, sugar, black pepper, salt, ginger, garlic powder, onion salt, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, ground red pepper, cumin, paprika and thyme in small bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the brown sugar mixture evenly on all sides of the pork roast; use your fingers to rub into pork.

Next: throw 4 pieces of flavored wood chunks in cold water for 30 minutes.

While the wood is soaking, get the bbq up to 225 indirect heat, and shift the rubbed loin on to the grill. Leave it there, no matter what, for 6 hours.

At even intervals, drop the soaked wood chips on to the charcoal. You want the meat ensconced in smoke particles as dense as possible.

You can take the meat out at an internal temperature of 140 at the lowest and 165 at the highest. This is a tricky conundrum though- at 135, trichinosis is just eliminated, but past 145, and you're compromising the fall-apartedness of the meat. Your call; but I hope it's clear where I stand (close to trichinosis).

<<-- You're welcome New York!

To complement the pork loin, I threw some Bunashimeji (beech) mushrooms in a pan with olive oil. Over a ten minute period I added an almost nonsensical mixture:

- Onion powder
- Balsamic vinegar
- White truffle oil
- Argentinian Malbec
- White pepper

Once the mushrooms are sauteed through, squeeze a quarter of a lemon over the pan, and leave on low heat until serving time.

I'm very serious when I say, this rub is a prize-winner, the recipient of which will be yours truly, once I figure out a way to economically bring the ingredients in from India. I know a guy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brandon Jew's Left-handed Breakfast

We're shooting a Munchies in San Francisco with Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole and Brett Cooper of Outerlands. They are stellar dudes with off-the-charts good vibes. We had so much fun two nights ago, we had to postpone interviews the next day.

Showed up at Agricole today for the sit-downs and realized I hadn't had breakfast. Brandon kindly offered to make me something, a near-impossible offer to turn down. I mumbled something like, "Do you have any granola or perhaps a hard-boiled egg?" He disappeared, and in 15 minutes returned with a breakfast. Keep in mind that he did this all with one hand (kitchen accident a week ago).

- Avocado with some fleur de sel
- roasted and refrigerated pork loin
- soft boiled egg
- roasted beets
- bread and butter

If I ate this every day, I'd be a far better person. It's going to be a good day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

BBQ Beet Salad

Ahh, Beta Vulgaris, the bully of the vegetable kingdom. I haven't cooked with beets a ton. My experience is usually at restaurants ordering purple beets drenched in olive oil and topped with walnuts and goat cheese.

I found a few pink-and-white striated Chiogga beets from upstate New York at The Meat Hook the other day, so bought them with the goal of figuring out how best to treat them to a Meat Hunx evening. Here's how.

Slice the beets down into thin discs (bout 1/2 inch thick). I used a butcher's knife as it's the hardiest and sharpest in my arsenal. My trick was to saw a shallow notch then pound the top of the knife through the rest of the vegetable.

Once they're all sliced up, mix the following:
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp savory
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp marjoram

Toss the beets into a bowl to marinate in the above for at least an hour. Towards the end of the soak, get the BBQ up to about 250 degrees of indirect heat.

Next wrap the beets in a big piece of tin foil and place on the grill. Pour the rest of the marinade into the tinfoil and leave em for about 25 minutes, or until they're soft. Lastly, take them out of the tin foil and grill them direct for 2 minutes per side.

As a nod to the beet's Mediterranean birthplace, I kept the salad light and cold. Slice the beets into slivers, and mix with arugula, hot house tomatoes, diced red onions, some fresh parmesan, a little salt and pepper annnd whammy!, you've tricked yourself into eating something that won't kill you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Decidedly Unsaucy Chicken Wings

Over-saucing chicken wings is for lunatics, a growing heathen mass crouching in this nation's LCD-ridden sports bars, unwittingly exposing the natural flavors of meat to the unpredictability of vinegar ratios. If you're properly barbecuing a chicken wing, all you need is a good rub. Jamaicans have got it right, as usual.

We pulled about 30 wings from Chinatown's Hong Kong Super Market out of the freezer and thawed them for a couple hours. Next, we rubbed every available part of the wings with the following-

Rub Ingredients

3 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6 teaspoons Paprika
3 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (start small and add more if you like spice)

Get the Big Green Egg up to about 300 degrees. Once there, we dropped 2 Mesquite-flavored wood chunks on to the coals, and covered the pit with the Big Green Egg Ceramic Plate Setter. The plate setter sits in between the flaming coals and the grill, encouraging heat to circulate evenly throughout the interior, not directly on to the bottom of your food.

Cook the wings at between 300 and 315 degrees for 45 minutes.

Lastly, remove them from the grill, bring the temperature up to 400, then toss them back on again for 2 minutes to achieve a nice crisp exterior.

I'm not a man with much, but if this doesn't produce the best wing you've ever made, I will fork over the Meat Hunx fortune tomorrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Johnny O's Ribs

A recipe here from honorary Meat Hunx member Johnny O. The man in charge here grew up cooking and eating right. He cares about good ingredients more than most. The other night we had a bunch of people over. Johnny showed up, uncharacteristically late, but still in time for the denouement of the evening's BBQ phase. He was so excited about his ribs, that he kind of forgot he'd brought a date who didn't know anyone. She sat on the couch visibly concerned about the combination of strangers, smoke and cold while Johnny ripped around the apartment preparing for imminent success. A little awkward, but totally worth it (for everyone else).

This recipe feeds four people.  Do not listen to the butcher if they tell you you need two racks of ribs to feed four.  That is a lie: four giants maybe.  Not four regular people. They would never tell you that at Florence Prime Meat Market, where these hunx were picked-up.

First, the marinade, combine in a blender:
- 8-10 garlic coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup water


Second, the rub:
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sweet paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all of these in a heavy plastic bag and then shake it up.

Third, the sauce:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- Salt
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Siracha)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and a large pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rum and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, black pepper, allspice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, water, ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar and hot sauce and simmer over moderate heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a large food processor and puree. Season the sauce with salt. You can make the sauce a few days ahead.  It will keep for 2 weeks or so.

Fourth, the ribs:
- Marinate the ribs for at least a couple hours, preferably overnight.
- Dry off the ribs using paper towel.
- Add the rub by placing the ribs in a heavy plastic bag with the rub and shaking it
- Cook the ribs for 2-3 hours under low heat, brushing with bbq sauce at regular intervals.  If you have a BBQ, when the ribs are getting close, add a final slather of BBQ sauce and turn the heat up high.  This will create a delicious crispy-ish sealant, if you're into that sorta thing (If you're not, why are you even reading this?).  Whether you're using an oven or a bbq, the main thing is that they need to be cooked under low heat, like 250 degrees, for several hours. You can also split up the cooking duties between your stove and your bbq. But latter is naturally for more taste-dominant than the former.

You've outdone yourself once again Johnny O. Literally well done. Being the gentleman that he is, I found the jarred sauce left-overs in my fridge the next morning.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tom Mylan's Bacon iPad App

Met with Tom Mylan of The Meat Hook and Jon Feldman of Open Air Publishing a couple weeks back. They've developed an iPad App all about motherfucking bacon! Yes dudes! It's called The Better Bacon Book.

They took us through the app and it blew my mind. I've held out on the iPad forever based entirely on my slow-to-the-gamedness. But after seeing this thing in action, I found myself muttering, "Wow, I really need to get one of these devices."

The app combines video, interactive illustrations/recipes and Meat Hunx-worthy photography, all elegantly designed to trick you into learning everything ever about bacon. Five minutes after playing with this thing, and I'd learned the history of bacon, how to build a smoker with a metal garbage can, and the true difference between slab, face, Canadian, Guanciale and Pancetta bacon. Not too shabby.

Meat Hunx likes the way you think Tom Mylan. We salute you!

Get the app at Open Air. Now.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Halloumi Vegetable Skewers

In the EU, a skirmish has emerged between dairy producers and sheep/goat farmers over whether halloumi cheese will contain cow's milk or not, and at what ratios with sheep and goat's milk. The conflict has delayed it's registration as a PDO - Product Designation of Origin, a badge proudly warn by feta, parmesan, and 600 other products. A free-for-all in the cheese section! Here in the US, it's registered as a protected Cypriot product. So with a clean conscience, we put together these delightful little numbers.

Halloumi is fresh curd that has been heated, shaped, then placed in its own brine. This results in a harder texture and higher melting point than other cheeses, making it a resilient accomplice of any BBQ fiend. We cut the Mt. Vikos halloumi up into squares and staggered them with onions, mushrooms and red peppers. Next, we sprinkled the line-ups with kosher salt and fresh pepper, then drizzled on a healthy (read: possibly unhealthy) amount of olive oil.

We placed the skewers on the Big Green Egg grill over an indirect 225 degrees for 20 minutes. The result was a phenomenal mixture of fresh vegetables and melted product protected beauty.

When we opened the halloumi package, there was a mint leaf in there, which was promptly, and incorrectly, thrown out. It's there as a hold-over from a time when the cheese was preserved in mint wraps. Next time, we're going to chop up mint and sprinkle it over the skewers, as a nod to our pioneering Medieval pals responsible for the one and only halloumi.

Friday, March 2, 2012

NSFW Food Porn: Peter Gilmore - Reef Dish

Now this is how it's done! The video, produced by Natasha Subramaniam and Alisa Lapidus, takes you through Peter Gilmore's Reef Dish creation, and his wider philosophy on the resources and culture that make Australian cuisine so incredible: “I’m inspired by the natural world and diversity––and I seek a harmony and purity in my food through the use of texture, flavor and composition".

Yes buddy. He recently won Best Restaurant in Australia in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards for Quay on the Sydney Harbor. Adding to bucket list currently.

Not a clue how these go together, but here are his ingredients:

- Belly Tuna
- Sea Scallops
- White Fungi Mushroom
- Fruee (?)
- Abalone
- Egg white droplets
- Pink turnips
- Tapioca cooked in a smoked eel stock
- Octopus tentacles
- Fresh grated horseradish

Simple Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Doing this site has resulted in a number of realizations, two of which are: 1) all natural lump charcoal is expensive, and 2) a lot of my friends don't eat meat. Rather than get frustrated, I encourage them to push the boundaries of their comfort level, in order that they might bask in the magnificent glow of the Big Green Egg experience. My usual response to "what should I bring to the BBQ?" is "something weird."

A pal brought over two pristine ahi tuna steaks from Whole Foods (not as weird as I was hoping). But we went to town on them nonetheless. Here's what you need:

2 substantial tuna steaks
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 clove crushed garlic (for each steak)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
small amount of sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a shallow pan, over medium heat, pour that olive oil in there with the crushed garlic. As soon as its boiling, get it off the element, and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Once it's room temp-ish, dump it in a bag, where your tuna buddies should be waiting, eager to be transformed into motherfucking taste bombs. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile get your grill up to about 325. Rock them at approximately 2.563 minutes per side, or 3.5 - 4 minutes if they're substantial...and then bail hard.

I like my tuna simple. So I cut the tuna steaks into medallions and sprinkled them with chopped green onions.

Watching the group of vegetarians devour these ocean treasures yielded another realization: that they eventually will come understand the Meat Hunx way of life. It'll hit them when they least expect it. And then they can thank me profusely.