Monday, December 2, 2013

The Process: Part II

Two years ago, I blogged the process for roasting whole pigs.  It was a lot of work and takes a lot of prep (setting up, waiting, cooking, serving) but the end result is all worth the headache. Once that full pig is revealed to the masses present, everyone knows they are in for some good looking cooking.
     The whole pig roast was in jeopardy this year without the McDonald house as the place to cook.  With no definite location to host the usual grill set up, I traveled to J&J Packaging in Brookshire, Texas to place the order for a head, ribs, and shoulder.  Wouldn't you know a customer was passing a suckling pig into his car as I was arriving!  As I approached the door into their facilities, the urge to roast my own babe grew.  My usual Mexican friend was ready to greet me when I entered. "One cabeza" I started (clever Spanish I thought to myself)  "Two ribs and a shoulder," I continued.  Quickly, he explained they were out of ribs.  Feeling dejected, I threw a shot in the dark.  "Do you have any whole pigs?"  "Whole pigs? For roasting?" (You usually need to order whole pigs a week in advance.....) "yeah I have some," he says.  He brings me the smallest one they had, weighing in at 23 pounds.  The perfect pig! 
 ...Now, how to cook it......
     This year, with the help of a friend, I wanted to add some flare to the process.  It would be great if we could create something to allow us to cook a whole pig on the parade grounds where we tailgate for the LSU vs Arkansas game.  We figured a "new" grill is just what we needed.
     Enter my friend, Barton.  The guy is a modern MacGyver.  He had some things around his house to weld together to create our new "Grill Monster."  

After a lot of fandangling and nearly 5 hours on Thanksgiving night, the grill was complete.  It even tried to eat him!    
     Now back to the process, the pig needed to be seasoned and kept cold for a couple of days while we transported it to Baton Rouge, LA.  Thankfully the temperature never got above 50 degrees, so with some ice packs and bags, the pig stayed fresh!  I used my grandmother's recipe of adobo sauce from Puerto Rico (garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and olive oil) and I added some cayenne pepper.  This creates a thick paste to spread onto our meat.

The longer this can marinate, the better.  Ours soaked up the sauce for a couple of days, and boy could we tell!  We arrived at our spot around 6:00am to get the pig on the grill by 6:30.  Grill Monster was one of the few grills (if not the only one) rolling this early on campus! The parade grounds looked like a frozen tundra with temperatures in the mid 20's.

We cooked the pig for 6 and a half hours at a temperature of about 325.  After the initial searing of the meat, we wrapped it in foil to prevent further "burning."  Once the cooking was complete, we let the pig rest for a little while.  (It was tired after all this)  The meat literally fell off the bones and was delicious.  Best pig yet.
The weather was beautiful and the game was exciting (a little more exciting than it probably should have been).  Talk about happy plates.  And happy LSU fans.

And a Happy Grill Monster.

Until the grill monster feeds again....

Happy Happy Happy Plates!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cold Days, Bacon Nights.

Cold days, bacon nights.
     Recently spent some time making bacon stuff for our junior high students.  We had some chicken wrapped bacon, bacon, and the ever popular chicken bacon weave.  Everything is easy to make in the oven. 

Too. Much. Bacon.

Serve the chicken wrapped bacon with some won't be dissapionted!

The weave post oven looked like this.  Slice this bad boy into thin strips for everyone to enjoy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Morcilla de la Muerte!


     What better way to resurrect the food blog than morcilla? A mixture of blood, rice, and herbs, morcilla was something I thought of making for a while, but finally worked up the courage to try it out.  It is not for the faint of heart!
Pork blood in the fridge freaked my mom out.  It certainly was a little different than what we're used to.  
    My grandparents are visiting from Reno, NV (HBD NV!) so they encouraged me to make this morcilla.  My grandmother is from Puerto Rico and reminisced about her mother making it when she was younger.  
     The general process is simple but takes a patient hand to stuff hog casing without one of those fancy sausage stuffers.  Mix seasonings with prepared rice,  then pour in pigs blood.  Stuff the links to whatever size you like, then drop them in almost boiling water.  Think long poach.  After they have solidified, place on a paper towel to dry.

culantro, garlic, cayenne peppers

The morcilla will turn black.  This is normal.  In Puerto Rico, the common way to eat morcilla is fried with a piece of fresh french bread.  My nephew helped me fry up some to serve with our gumbo for Halloween.  

before the fry
post fry
it will be better next time, but it was still pretty good.

Isabel finding out what is in it

Don't forget to take out the trash...

I hope you had a Happy Halloween!  Did you cook anything scary?

Happy Plates!