Turkey & Chorizo Chili

So, last weekend, I christened our new 7.25 quart Le Creuset Dutch (French??) Oven by making some chili.  I scored a screaming deal on eBay for a new with tags pot at $100 under what the shops down the road are charging.

Anyhow, back to the chili.  I shameless ripped this off from Food Network, and (gasp) Rachel Ray.  Yeah, she’s annoying (EVOO! Yumm-o! Shoot me now!), but every now & then, she really gets one right.  This was very tasty and not hard to prepare at all.  The recipe calls for chorizo.  Make sure you’re buying the Mexican stuff, and not Spanish.  Spanish is more like salami, where Mexican is more like a sausage, similar in texture to Italian sausage, but with different flavors.

Lay hands on all of the following:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola/olive oil
  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo, out of the casings – If you can get loose sausage, even better.
  • 1 lb cooked turkey breast, cut into 1cm cubes – I went to the deli, got the store-roasted turkey breast cut into 1cm slices – took 3 or 4 slices to get a pound.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped – I went for the Spanish yellow onion here for some sweetness
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • A 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo – I just dumped the whole can into the blender
  • 1.5-2 cups chicken stock (she called for 2-3 – I did 2 and needed to reduce for longer than she called for)
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal, quick-cooking polenta or even masa
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Heat up your dutch oven on the stovetop on medium-high heat, put the oil in.  Add the chorizo.  Break that stuff up and cook until it’s browned, and you’ve got that lovely orange grease in the bottom of the pot.  Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until they’re soft (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer it low for 45-60 minutes.

The original suggestion was to serve with lime wedges and top with Fritos.  I did the Fritos, and it was good, but I also put some shredded sharp cheddar cheese in before the Fritos.  This was absolutely delicious, and the leftovers kept nicely for about 7 days, when I ate the last bit of it.

I don’t usually do chili without beans, but after my recent surgery, I was on a slightly restricted diet (low fiber, low residue).  I’ve since been cleared for beans.  Were I to make this again, I’d probably add a small can of rinsed black beans to round it out.  But without the beans, it was delicious.  The recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are.  For us, it was enough for the 4 of us (the kids didn’t eat much of it), and we had 2 mug/bowls left over.

Also, highly recommended for fall/winter soup/chili leftovers, are the Corningware mugs with lids (relax, it’s not an affiliate link, I promise). I just checked, and they’re even cheaper in Target ($7.59 at the time I wrote this).

An evening with the guys, steaks, and good times.

Monday’s a big day for me.  I’ll be going in for some surgery.  Nothing major, I swear.  But, it will involve a couple of days in residence in the hospital.  So, with my wife out of town with the girls for the weekend, it seemed like a perfect night to have the guys over.  The kids went to one of the other houses, where we shared a babysitter, and the night began..

Earlier that day, I hit the Rastelli’s Market just down the road.  I was pleased to find some gorgeous USDA Prime NY Strips at a pretty reasonable price.  If you’re a South Jersey person, Rastelli’s really has a great selection of all sorts of stuff.  The prepared foods are quite good as well.  Behind the butcher counter, I met years of experience, and a willingness to get everything just right to afford us the perfect evening.  Not long after, I left with 7 of those Prime NY Strips, cut 1.5″ thick.  We paired the steaks up with some roasted baby red potatoes and sautéed haricots verts.  My friend John brought some fantastic bread too.  On to the recipes & methods.

Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

These are quite possibly the easiest potatoes in the world to make.  Impossible to screw this up.  This serves 8 people.

  • 3 pounds of baby red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (be sure to get the stuff made from real virgins)
  • 6 cloves of finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper – just eyeball it, put in as much as you feel comfortable with
  • Leaves from one sprig of rosemary

Cut the spuds in half, or quarters if you’ve got some big babies in there.. Put everything in a large bowl and toss.  Or do as I did – put the lid on and shake it like crazy.  Dump this out onto a sheet pan (or again, as I did – a foil-lined sheet pan) and chuck it in a 400F oven for an hour.  The potatoes were done early, so I just hit the warming button and left them in the oven.  You could use pretty much any small, thin-skinned potato as well, but I like the flavor of the red potato here.  Like I said, this is impossible to screw up.

Sautéed Haricots Verts

Again, ridiculously easy.  This will also serve 6-8 people.

  • 1 pound Haricots Verts, stem side trimmed, washed, etc.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes

Boil some water.  Salt the water generously.  Prepare a big bowl with salted ice water nearby.  Par-cook the beans for about 90 seconds, then rescue them from the boiling water (I used a frying spider like this to do the job), depositing them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  When the beans are cooled, extract them from the cold water.  I did this step a few hours ahead, so I put them in a sealed bowl in the fridge.  If you’re doing it right then, just put them aside.

Get your sauté pan ready.  Coat the bottom in the EVOO.  Add the garlic, some salt and a pinch of the red pepper flakes.  Very slowly and gently, heat up that oil to infuse the flavors of the garlic and red pepper.  Turn up the heat to medium, add the beans and finish them off.  How long?  Do you like your beans crunchy or like baby food?  It’s all up to you.

Grilled NY Strips – Reverse Sear Method

This was the part that drew shock & awe from the guys.  Conventional wisdom says you sear a steak and finish it over indirect heat, like in the oven.  This flips that model upside-down.  Why?  Science.  That’s why.  Think about what happens when you do a roast in the oven.  You cook that roast to medium-rare or medium, and when you cut into it, it’s pretty much top-to-bottom pink, right?  Think about the last time you had a steak cooked by conventional means.  You had a crust on the outside, and a ring of well-done just underneath, followed by your center that’s medium-rare or medium.  What if you could get rid of most or all of the ring of well-done meat?  That’s what the reverse sear is all about.  Want to read more?  Go check out /r/steak on Reddit.  Lots of reverse searers and sous-viders there.

So, on to how to do this.  I put the steaks on a rack, holding them above a sheet pan.  I salted each side very generously with Kosher salt.  I left them out on the counter like this for an hour.  An hour?  In the creepy-crawly bacterial danger zone?  Relax, skippy.  You’re going to blast these things with fire in a little while.  Bacteria growth, if any, will be on the surface, and will be quite handily eradicated after you introduce them to some fire.

I did our steaks on the grill.  We’ve got a Weber Genesis E-330, LP model.  I switched on the far right burner, and deposited our steaks on the far left of the grill and closed the lid.  How high should the burner be?  Depends on how cold it is outside.  Last night, it was about 45F, so I did medium-high.  You want the ambient temp inside the grill around 200-250F.  Relax, this will be a while.  If you’ve got a probe thermometer, probe the meat and set the alarm for 115F (assuming you want medium-rare).  Basically, you’re going to pull about 10-15F below where you want to finish.  For me, this took about 45 minutes to reach this temp.  I pulled the steaks, and covered them in foil, and took them inside to rest for 10 minutes.

During that rest, I cranked up all of the burners to high and kept the lid down.  By the time the rest was over, the grill was about 650F.  During the summer, I can get it to well over 700F.  Steaks go back on and get flipped every 30 seconds until you’re happy.  To impress, add a turn, giving you nice cross-hatch grill marks.  The steaks got about 4 minutes total sear time, roughly 2 minutes per side, leaving them at 125-130F, perfect medium-rare.  Off the grill, onto the plates.

Because you’ve already rested the meat, they won’t bleed out the moment you cut them, so you can dig right in.  Be warned on a couple of points here…

  1. You need thicker steaks to pull this off.  If you go with the standard ¾ inch type steaks you generally see in the market, the method doesn’t work.  Why?  During the sear, you’ll overcook the middle.  Minimum of 1 inch.  1 ½ or more is better for this method.
  2. Be prepared for horrified looks from your guests.  When you pull the steaks to rest them, they will look like sad little lumps of meat.  That’s ok.  Just tell your diners to relax and believe.  Last night, I had 6 skeptics that thought I’d ruined good steak, only to completely reverse that opinion mere minutes later. :-)

My sole regret was forgetting to get a picture of the completed steaks.  What can I say?  We were hungry.  We paired the above with a bottle of Phantom, from Bogle Vineyards.  Rastelli’s was doing tastings the other day, and it caught me by surprise, so I bought 2 bottles.  At $18 each, they were better than lots of $50 bottles I’ve had.

Grilled Meatloaf – Yum.

My wife & I were pondering options for lunch today.  On the weekends, we tend to eat the larger meal for lunch and a smaller dinner.  Today, we settled on meatloaf, garlic mashed red potatoes and peas.  Rather than our usual broil & bake process, I decided to do the meatloaf on the grill, as it was a lovely day outside.

We shamelessly lifted this recipe from the nice folks at Cooks Country, and re-adapted this slightly.  Ordinarily, we make this as described below, using very lean ground beef with ground pork.  Today, we just had beef on hand, so we went all beef, but used higher-fat content on the ground beef to make up for the lack of pork.

Make the glaze first…

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, whatever you like)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce

Put all that in a small saucepan.  Mix, and heat to combine & thicken over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Put some glaze to the side to use while cooking.  You should be fine reserving about ¼ cup to glaze with.  What hot sauce?  Whatever you want.  You can’t go wrong with Frank’s RedHot.  This time, I used the Tobasco Chipotle sauce for a slight amount of heat, and more smokey flavor.  I’ve also read tales of people using Sriracha as well.  I also used dark brown sugar today, and really liked the overall flavor.

On to the meatloaf…

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup Saltine crackers, crushed (about 17 crackers)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound 90/10 ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

Put the oil in the pan, heat it up over medium heat, add the onion.  In about 8 minutes, you’ll have nice, golden brown & delicious onions.  Add the garlic, keep it on the heat for another 30 seconds.  Done?  Into a large bowl with that veg.

Dump your crackers and milk in the food processor and unleash the blades upon them until it’s a smooth mixture.  Add the meat and pulse to combine nicely.. That should be about 10 1-second pulses.  Dump the resulting meat-goo into the bowl with the veggies.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all up.  Get in there with your hands and work that meatloaf.  Get everything nice & combined, but don’t over-work too badly, ok?

Here’s where we diverge from Bridget Lancaster’s officially sanctioned cooking method..  Instead of forming a single loaf on a foil-lined sheet pan, we’re going to cut the mix in half, making two smaller loaves.  This cooking method is similar to the also popular Weber recipe for grilled meatloaf.

Setup the grill for indirect cooking.  You want to get that grill stable at about 350F. For me, I’m cooking on a Weber Genesis E-330, and I’ve got the optional smoker box kit installed.  So, I kick on the right and center burners, and keep them just about 1/3 of the way between low & medium on the dials.  For a bit of extra flavor, I dropped in a wood chunk.  Today, I went for Hickory, since it pairs so nicely with beef.  Before long, the grill was ready, and blue smoke was rising from the smoker box.  Success was mine for the taking.  I lightly oiled up the grill and with a couple of spatulas, I deposited the meatloaves on the far left side, where the burner was completely turned off.  Down went the cover, and I set a timer for 30 minutes to check on progress.  At the 30 minute mark, we were at an internal temp of 120F.  I was looking for 155F, so we carried on.  While I had the grill open, I applied a coating of the glaze that I’d reserved earlier.  At the 45 minute mark, they were at 155F, and it was time to pull them.  It would have probably only been 40 minutes, but I don’t currently have a probe thermometer, and was relying on our instant-read, so I had to keep popping the top to get a reading.

As an aside, if any of the super nice people over at iDevices happen to be reading this, I’d sing of your glory and valor forever if you’d send me an iGrill2. :-)  I’d love to get my hands on one with 3 probes and an ambient temp probe as well.  But I digress, and that’s enough begging for today.

After pulling the loaves at 155F, I put them on a foil-lined sheet pan, applied another coat of the glaze, and then it was off to the broiler.  I put the spurs to them for about 5 minutes, to make a nicely caramelized and delicious crust on top.  We pulled, rested a bit, sliced and served with the remaining glaze.  I think next time I would broil first without the glaze on, then go to the grill.  But, that’s just a minor difference, really.

It was absolutely delicious.  I could see making meatloaf sandwiches out of this recipe too. Yum part two, revenge of the taste buds…

Remembrance.

Watching my friend John’s Daily Vlog from yesterday got me thinking about this.

It was a Tuesday morning, just like any other before it.  It’s not a day I talk about very much.  It’s a day that I really gained an understanding of my own mortality, and how quickly and easily it could slip away, had circumstances been the tiniest bit different.

Back in 2001, I was working for a network equipment manufacturer, covering ISPs and Telcos.  Sometimes, I did meetings direct with these carriers, trying to convince them to buy, other times, I’d do a ride-along to go with them to visit their customers, since after all, when their customers would buy, it meant my customer had to buy from me.

I had a meeting on my calendar already for Tuesday, September 11, 2001, but it was right near home in NJ.  Late in the previous week, I got a call from one of my customers, who wanted me to come along to a meeting at a new account he was trying to crack.  The meeting was to be at the customer’s offices, on the 90-something-th floor of 1WTC (that’s the “North Tower” for those who don’t know).  His plan was for us to meet up around 9 up in the cafeteria off the 44th floor Sky Lobby, chat for a bit, then do a 10 am meeting, which would culminate in a ride back down to the ground, and then back up in the express elevator to 106, where we’d take the customer to Windows on the World for lunch.  As much as I loved getting up to that place, I was already booked, so I turned down the meeting, and we’d agreed to reschedule.

Since my meeting was near home, and not until later in the morning, I took the opportunity to sleep in a bit, and take my time getting ready.  Around 8:45 am, my phone rang.  It was a guy I’d done some work with in the past, who knew I was a regular in the NYC area.  He told me that he’d just seen the news, and asked if I’d seen anything.  Not knowing what he was talking about, I flipped on the news, and of course, we were all confused, wondering what was going on.  We hung up, and I kept on watching the news.  As the details began to unfold, it slowly dawned on me that had I accepted that meeting, I’d either be in line at the 1WTC visitor desk, or 44 floors up in the building that American’s Flight 11 had just flown into.  Had the meeting been an hour earlier, I’d have been right around where it impacted.  Just as I’d come to this realization, United Flight 175 flew into 2WTC as I was watching the news live.

Instantly, we all flipped from confused and sad about an accident to the stark realization of what was going on.  This was not an accident.  Moments later, my phone started blowing up.  Friends and family were calling me to see if I was alright.  I was completely freaked out.  I changed my VM message to say I was at home, not in the city and was fine.  I shut my phone off for the better part of a day, and just stayed glued to the news.  Then we all walked around in kind of a fog for days, maybe weeks.

Several of my co-workers were in the city that day, and happily, they all are fine.  One guy was sitting in traffic on the Pulaski Skyway, headed for the Holland Tunnel, and saw the whole thing happen start to finish.  A few were in the office we had on Broad Street. One was on the PATH train that turned around and left the WTC.  It turned out that it was the last PATH out of town that day.  The folks in the office described the sound of the buildings coming down as the loudest noises they’d ever heard, followed moments later by a cloud of dust, 25 stories tall rolling down Broad Street.

Eventually, services got restored, and people were allowed back into the city.  I volunteered with the Red Cross one day, handing out water to people who were digging.  I’m convinced I saw part of someone’s arm or leg.  Pretty damn unsettling stuff.  Years later, the PATH started to run downtown to the WTC site again.  It still freaks me out a bit to come back through those tubes into the bottom of what used to be a thriving concourse with shops and people everywhere, and is now, 13 years later, still a huge construction site.

Occasionally, I ponder how different my life could have been had I taken that meeting.  I may have never met my wife, gotten married, become a father, any number of things.  Each day is a gift.  We would all do well to remember that, myself included.

Today’s Lunch, Pork Tenderloin

On the weekends, we usually cook for lunch, and then do smaller, leftover-ish things later in the day if we get hungry again.  So, it’s another lovely day, and we’re off to the grill.  Today?  Pork tenderloin.  It’s just the 4 of us, so I only did one of the two tenderloins that came in the pack we bought.  The other is in the freezer.

I made up a little mojo/marinade type thing using a rub that I’ve had hanging around a while.  It’s the “Jack’s Old South” rub from Food Network.  Here’s the recipe for the rub…

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

I was originally going to make a paste using apple juice and smear it on, much like a rub, but decided to give the pork a bath in it, so I added a bit more apple juice.  Just mix it up until it looks right to you. You’ll need about 4-6 ounces of liquid In there to do an adequate job. Trim up the tenderloin, put it in a gallon sealable plastic bag, and add the mixture.  Smoosh it around to coat, remove as much air as you possibly can and seal it up.  Minimum bath in this stuff should be 4 hours.  24 would be better.  Put it in the fridge for this time.  About 30 minutes before you throw it on the fire, pull it out of the fridge.

Don’t like the rub I mentioned above? Use whatever rub you like. I might try this next time with the rub my butcher makes.

Charcoal grill?  Setup for 2-zone cooking. Gas? Turn on all the burners and heat your grill up to medium high heat.  Cook it for about 2 minutes on each of the 4 sides, then shut off the burner that’s under the pork, or move to a part of a charcoal grill that doesn’t have direct heat going.  Close the lid, and check it every few minutes.  In 8-10 minutes, you should be all done.  Remember, trichinosis is at an all-time low for all of known history.  You do not need to cook your pork until it’s a crispy, dry mess, crying uncle.  140-145F is plenty good enough.

We served this up with a pasta salad, and leftover corn from yesterday’s tacos, and it was good.

Would I change anything? While I found it nicely spiced, as did my wife, the kids thought the spice level was a bit high. They’re a little wimpy with that stuff, so next time, I might do a bit less rub in the mixture.

Chile-Lime Skirt Steak Tacos

We were going to make Friday night Taco Night, but then realized that Alex had his gymnastics class, so it had to wait for Saturday’s lunch.  Glad we waited, the extra time in the marinade was good…  Sorry, no pictures this time.  It’s still good.  Go make this.

So, tacos.  Brown up some ground beef, toss in that seasoning packet you bought in the supermarket with some water, wait, and then stuff a sort-of-not-too-nasty hard shell with meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, & the kitchen sink, take a bite and need to change your shirt.  Right?  You couldn’t be more wrong.  That’s a terribly over-Americanized version of the taco, humble street food of Latin America.  We will not be doing that today.

Buy 1 ½ lbs of skirt steak.  You can use flank too if you’ve got that on hand, or can’t find skirt.  I’ve got a butcher down the road from us, and they rule.  Hi Jeff & Terry.  While I was there, I ordered up a brisket to be BBQ’d and ready for us to consume during an upcoming gathering of friends & family.  Yum in advance.

Prepare your steak.  Sometimes, skirt will still have a membrane on it.  Get rid of as much of it as you can.  While you’re at it, trim the skirt a bit too.  Leave some fat on there – fat will melt and is flavor.  But, you probably aren’t interested in having a giant hunk of fat hanging around either..  Now might also be a good time to cut it into manageable lengths to fit your grill, since you’re getting all knifey with the steak already.

Make yourself a marinade.  The only thing you may have trouble with is the chile powders.  In your average American supermarket, you can get “chili powder”, and it’s a hodgepodge of stuff that’s not just ground up chiles.  Get thee to thine nearest Mexican grocery for some ancho and chipotle chile powders.  Here comes the marinade.  Throw all this stuff in the nearest bowl and mix it up with a whisk until it’s all combined.

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Done whisking?  Put the skirt steak in a sealable plastic bag.  Dump the marinade in on top of the steak.  Remove as much air as you can from the bag and seal it up.  Smoosh it all around in there a bit to coat the steak with all that chile-infused goodness.  Don’t freak out – this isn’t spicy.  Yes, you’ve got a fair bit of chile powder in there, but when you’re done cooking, it’s going to be nicely spiced, and not hot & overpowering.  Trust me here.  Even if you’re not into spicy, put all of that stuff in there.  How long do you marinade for?  That’s up to you.  Some people like to go an hour, but I ended up going for about 18.  I put this all together at about 6pm Friday, and cooked it up a bit before Noon on Saturday.  Some marinades overpower when you go that long, but this one did not.  If you’re doing a short marinade, do it outside the fridge.  I did mine in the fridge.  Either way, for about an hour before you’re cooking, get that thing out of the cold.  Don’t worry, you won’t die.  You’re about to put this steak above 500+F heat.  That will slay anything that manages to grow in an hour.

Go and make a fire in your usual way.  You want to setup your grill for direct grilling with high heat.  Skirt likes to cook fast, so you want to hit it with a thermonuclear blast of heat for a short time.

Got your grill all prepped, cleaned, oiled and up to about 500-600F?  You’re ready.  Pull the steak out of the marinade and unroll it onto a baking sheet or something big & flat.  After you get the steak on, hand this to someone to wash and bring back to you, or have a second one ready for the cooked meat.  For my grill, I got it up to 600F and then did 2.5 minutes on each side before pulling it.  At 500F, it’s probably more like 3.  If you’re Alton Brown or just love his methods, well, just do what he does.  Not having charcoal (I know, sacrilege, right? It’s ok, I’ve got a smoker try built into our Weber gas grill), I just keep it all up top on the grates.

Done cooking?  Now it’s rest time for that meat, so that carry-over will finish the job, leaving you with nicely cooked beef.  How do you cut skirt so it’s tender and not all stringy/chewy?  Against the grain, so the fibers are nice & short.  Basically, cut the steak into smaller pieces, then cut it sideways.  Go watch the AB video above if you think I’m speaking Latin right now.  He shows it very nicely.  I did 3-inch sections that I sliced into 4 pieces each.  That’s a good size for tacos.

While that meat is resting, warm up your tortillas.  Soft tacos for this guy, please.  Corn or flour, whatever you like.  Some people warm up tortillas by wrapping them in plastic and nuking them for a bit.  I don’t like this method, as it leaves you with gummy, funky tortillas.  You’ve already got a nice hot grill, and you’re kind of standing around while the steak rests, so throw the tortillas on the grill a few at a time.  Watch until they just start to puff up, flip, and then stack on a plate.  You can do easily a dozen tortillas in the time your steak rests.

And now, assemble as you wish.  For me, it was a tortilla, 2-3 pieces of steak, some cheese and a bit of hot salsa or a couple of squirts of Tabasco’s Chipotle Sauce.  Want to chop up some cilantro or dice up a few tomatoes and add them? Go for it.  Perhaps a little pico de gallo instead?  Have at it, but don’t overload the taco there, bub.

We served this with some rice and corn as the side dishes.  It was fantastic.

Pork & Chorizo Burgers – Like Heaven on a Bun

Last year, I had a burger that was probably my favorite burger of all time.  It was at Brown’s, a pub chain in the UK.  Their Wild Boar & Chorizo burger.  It was divine.  Now that I’m not doing much international travel for work, I decided to go my own way and make my own version.  Today was the day.

Mere bog standard ketchup is unworthy of this fine burger.  To that end, I used some leftover meatloaf glaze, from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.  It’s a fantastic slightly kicked up ketchup.  Here’s the sauce…

  • 1 cup ketchup (I like good old Heinz for this)
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon hot sauce (Pete’s, Tabasco, Sriracha, whatever you like)

Whisk it all together in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until thickened.  That should take about 5 minutes.

Moving on to the burgers..  There is no shortage of recipes out there for burgers like this.  50-50 mixes, 75-25 mixes, ones that have all sorts of other stuff tossed in the burgers too.  I like to keep it simple.  So here’s the recipe…  The recipe yields 4 burgers.

  • 1 1/3  pounds of ground pork (I’d take wild boar if you can get it though!)
  • 2/3 pound of Mexican chorizo (this is important – you don’t want Spanish, you want Mexican, as it’s an uncooked sausage – for me, this was two links)
  • 4 Brioche Buns
  • Sliced Manchego Cheeze (or grated if you don’t have sliced handy!)
  • Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles as you like

Unwrap those links, slice the casings lengthwise, and remove the sausage from the casing (if you can get bulk ground chorizo, even better!).  Cut the sausage into 1 inch sections and toss in the food processor.  Pulse until the chorizo is crumbly.  In a bowl, combine the chorizo with the ground pork.  Get in there with your hands and combine the meats, but don’t over-work the mixture.  You’ve got 2 pounds of meat here, so divide that up into four 8-ounce balls, and form patties.  I like to use the divot in the middle of the patty trick to keep them from swelling up too much when you’re cooking them.  Season the patties with just a bit of kosher salt and black pepper, and apply the fire!

Cook the burgers to 145 F, keeping them juicy, and allowing carry-over to make sure they’re properly cooked.  Top with a slice or some grated manchego cheese.  Split, butter and toast those buns, assemble and prepare yourself for a mouth full of good burger.

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