Grilled pork belly tacos


Pork belly tacos.

This was smoky, grilly-meat-juicy deliciousness. I honestly feel that glowing coals are truly the way to make a piece of pig feel properly loved.

The pork belly was rubbed with sea salt and then cooked on the bottom level of the bullet smoker with no water pan at 350 F (180 C) for 3 hours. It was flipped and rotated every half hour so the crackle got a little love.

The pork was given the additional flavour boost of a chorizo sausage on the grill also, just because there’s not too many things in life that can’t be improved with a grilled chorizo sausage.

This was chopped up like a bag of Snoop Dogg’s finest sensimila and then scooped into the magical little edible plate that is the tortilla (I’m still thanking I-don’t-know-who for the invention of any kind of edible plate).

It was then pretty happy to receive a little cosmetic gratification in the way of some chopped onion, a little mango (because mango is a symbol of summer and summer is the time for Christmas in Australia and Christmas is all about the good times so mango is welcome at my house and can sleep with my sister anytime), charred jalapeno hot sauce and coriander.

This is the sort of thing that requires a bit of company and at least one beer to wash it down.

Get the eff on it.

Oh yeah, and happy Christmas and all that if I forget about all that stuff next week.

Grill that pork

Heat beads premium lump charcoal was my fuel of choice
Chop the pork belly and chorizo up together

Get that onto the table

GRILLED PORK TACOS

(serves 4)

800 g pork belly – maybe 500 g for tacos and then the rest for breakfast tomorrow
1 – 2 chorizo sausage
¼ brown, white or red onion, diced
1 mango, diced
1 handful coriander
1 – 2 limes, cut into wedges
Charred jalapeno hot sauce or whatever it is hot sauce that you love
16 soft tacos / tortillas

The words that are written above are the recipe.
Go now.
Cook and eat.

Wash it down with your favourite brew

Bad-ass many meat gumbo

gumbo
This is a beast of a meal that originated from a surplus of leftover cooked meats from weekend catering jobs that were loitering in my refrigerator that I needed/wanted to use… and I had a raging desire to get a bit of variety into the diet of the carnivorous dinosaur I keep as a pet under my back stairs.

It is quite simply the same as my recipe here (because we still have a shit load* of all sorts of varieties of kale taking over the place we once called a garden and they are now petitioning the parliament for cessation from the Commonwealth and acknowledgement of their new sovereign state; Kaleland… I really think they could’ve been a little more creative with the name of their new state but let’s just remember, kale is renowned for being really healthy and shit, not for it’s intellectual capabilities.), but instead of the whatever meat was in the original recipe I subbed in a pile of leftover roasted chicken legs and thighs, roasted lamb shoulder and roasted pork belly.

I am not so stupid that I don’t realise that it’s not every week that one has a few different types of leftover meat hanging around so just so you know what? It is very OK to go out and buy a bit of this meat and a bit of that meat until you feel the T-Rex you have living under the back stairwell will be satiated.

And before you eat it you should douse it with your favourite hot sauce.
gumbo

gumbo

gumbo
Get on it.
gumbo
*an actual measurement

Friendly Fire; Sushi

pork sushi
“ANOTHER SHARK ATTACK AT BYRON BAY” has been the headline news a little too often in the last few months.

Are there even more sharks or are we just looking a little harder for them now?

Who knows. Either way, the sharks have been hungry this year.

I think it’s possibly because we have been taking a lot of the food from their under water cafeteria. I could be wrong, I have certainly been wrong before, but it’s a theory I have. So, due to the seemingly insatiable appetite of sharks in the Byron Bay area I have opted out of using seafood for my “Friendly Fire Sushi Challenge” on this occasion and have instead headed to the hills and found myself some pork.

Pork is not generally the primary food source for sharks or for any other creature that has been remotely sensationalized and/or thrusted (yeah I just said thrusted) into peoples lives as being a ruthless killer so I feel that it is something that I may use today with out consequence nor burden to add to the weight of my already obese conscience.

I’m sure Dana got to use some kind of delicious seafood that she wasn’t stealing from the mouths of the wee sharky bairn and therefore forcing poppa shark to work a whole heap harder for his money and actually start walking onto the beach on his fins to steal a lone, unaware, overweight, sun glazed tourist and then drag said tourist back into the ocean to feed his family, thus resulting in the end of beach going as we know it today through fear of land walking sharks… The picture I created in my own head right there was probably far more amusing to me than it actually came across…

Brain images 1 – conveying funniness to wider community 0.

So to summarize I can and will tell you that statistically you have more chance of getting killed by falling out of bed or from eating a hotdog than you do from a shark attack, and there is a 100% chance that I shall be making a porky nori rolls for the sushi challenge today.

Epic food battles of history. Who wins? You decide…

See Dana’s (more informative and possibly just darn right better) creation right here.

Get it all together
Get it all together

Mmmm, pulled pork. This was really good and I will probably sort out a recipe for it really soon
Mmmm, pulled pork. This was really good and I will probably sort out a recipe for it really soon
Get a little rice down
Get a little rice down
Stack it up... Not too up though
Stack it up… Not too up though
And then roll it up. It's as easy as that... I'm too OG to even use a rolling mat, but I reckon Dana will be nice enough to tell you about that
And then roll it up. It’s as easy as that… I’m too OG to even use a rolling mat, but I reckon Dana will be nice enough to tell you about that
The pork belly and hoisin number
The pork belly and hoisin number

Chop them up so they fit in your mouth and then fit them into your mouth with a little extra QP and possibly some soy and wasabi if you're keen
Chop them up so they fit in your mouth and then fit them into your mouth with a little extra QP and possibly some soy and wasabi if you’re keen

PORKY SUSHI #1

Cooked brown rice (it’s a Northern Rivers thing)
200g cooked (steamed or roasted) pork belly
QP Japanese mayonnaise
Hoisin sauce
Bean sprouts
Coriander (cilantro)
Shallots
Nori sheets

PORKY SUSHI #2

Cooked brown rice
200g barbecue pulled pork
QP Japanese mayonnaise
Pickles
Slaw
Shallots
Nori sheets

Now you just sorta, um, well, maybe just look at the pictures and roll them up kinda like that. The thing is, when you are rolling nori rolls you just gotta think “teenage years” and remember your mad spliff rolling skills and get them back into play. Certainly not a very good lesson on sushi rolling technique but I think we can all agree it is some sound advice and gripping social commentary from you friends here at foodisthebestshitever.

Anyhow, the sushi; they were both damn tasty but the pulled pork number defo made my face smile the most!

That’s it.
pork sushi

Roasted Pork Belly with Vegetables From The Garden

roast pork belly
We here at foodisthebestshitever are venturing forward in a new direction, we shall go forth and expand our culinary vision and facilitate this vision through the exploration of contemporary cuisines previously unbeknownst to us. We shall visit regions previously deemed out of reach, in the spirit of searching out something totally new and different.

Yes folks, today we shall be exploring the wonderful work of… well… pork.

Ok, you got me. I’m not doing anything profound or original for this blog. I am merely cooking pork again and am trying to make myself feel better about my addiction. I use the local free-range pork if that’s any conciliation for the armchair activists out there.

Today I’m talking pork belly.

Pork belly is one of my favouritest pieces of meat of all time. If I were a gay man I still think pork belly would be at the top of my favourite meat list. There is not a whole heap I don’t like about pork belly; it is flavoursome, luscious, tasty, delicious, really good and a whole heap of other synonyms for the same word. It is a meal that I always want a little more of, and I always cook extra so I have leftovers for the next day… and mostly that extra pork even makes it to the next day. Actually, a lot of the time we eat it all on the night… well, most of the time. You see, Jennee brings her “we all know the crackling won’t be any good tomorrow” game to the table (what I like to call her A game) and generally manages to convince us that it’s OK to finish the lot now because it is a certainty the crackling will contract a disease rendering it flaccid and inedible, in turn contaminating the remaining pork and making it unfit for human consumption.
Well, this night I was going to take my chances with flaccid crackling and rancid meat, as I was already hella keen on pork belly for my dinner again tomorrow. Hella keen…

We have had a good harvest of heirloom carrots and kale so they featured heavily in the meal. This is truly my favourite eating; food that comes from our own garden or is grown by people close to us. Food that was cared for before it hit the pan. Food that, well, food that just doesn’t come from one of the big supermarkets really…

The belly didn't really fit into the pan but eventually it did after a bit of post coital shrinkage set in
The belly didn’t really fit into the pan but eventually it did after a bit of post coital shrinkage set in

Porky belly all cooked up
Porky belly all cooked up
Those roast vegetables were damn fine
Those roast vegetables were damn fine

Yes, those roast vegetables
Yes, those roast vegetables

ROASTED PORK BELLY with VEGETABLES FROM THE GARDEN (serves 4)

1.5 – 2kg pork belly. That should be enough for leftovers…
½ – 1 teaspoon garlic powder
A good pinch of salt and pepper
A selection of vegetables from the garden/fridge. We had potatoes, heirloom carrots, radish and onion
½ tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
A bit more seasoning
Olive oil
Sautéed curly kale and jagallo nero (a spindly awesome type of kale) with oyster sauce and carrot top salsa verde to serve

• Pre heat oven to 160C
• Season pork belly with salt, pepper and garlic powder
• Roast pork belly in oven for 2.5-3 hours until the smell causes you mouth to water and your loins to stir, and it is super tender
• While pork is cooking chop your assorted vegetables into fairly similar sized chunks. Put them into a separate oven dish, lube up with a splash of rendered fat from the pork belly, splash with the vinegar and season. After the pork has been cooking for 1.5 hours the vegetables can go into the oven too. Roast for one hour or until vegetables are just cooked, and then remove from oven until pork is ready. Once pork is ready turn the oven up to 180-200C and return the vegetables to the oven for a final five to ten minutes to get a bit of crispness, and that should do the job on the pork crackling for you too (if crackling is being a bit stubborn a few minutes under the grill (broiler) will sort it out)
• Carve the pork and serve with roast vegetables, carrot top salsa verde and sautéed greens… and try not to eat it all tonight…

One more look at that pork belly
One more look at that pork belly

Summer until you can summer no longer…

summer chicken pork kebab and vanilla bean pannacotta with marsala strawberries
It’s still pretty warm out here. Sure, the nights are a little chillier and already you can feel that the baby making season is quickly approaching, but we still have the sunny days and we shall be milking them for all they’re worth. We shall syphon every last bit of warmth that giant fiery orb (aka. the sun) is willing to release upon us and we shall barbecue until we can barbecue no longer. All that’s needed is three things.

Three things.

1. The Big Red Rub

Oh yes this is sexy
Oh yes this is sexy

Contrary to what you may initially believe, this does not involve a visit from a burly Scottish highlander who has just completed a 3 week course in the fine art of Thai massage. This is a dry rub for meats that is both red in colour and big in flavour. It was also created by me and through out these hills and hay stacks I am oft known by the name Big Red, so you could quite possibly see how I think I am being heaps clever.

Big, red and ready to get rubby
Big, red and ready to get rubby

THE BIG RED RUB

4 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon each smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ground chilli, dried oregano, dried thyme

• Mix it all together and you’re good to go
• Make heaps and give it to your friends or store in an air tight container in the cupboard for up to a month

2. The Chorken-kebab

All sorts of awesome
All sorts of awesome
Grilly grilly, turny turny
Grilly grilly, turny turny
Ooh la la
Ooh la la
Every piece of meat had a spit hole in it... funny that
Every piece of meat had a spit hole in it… funny that
Time to get the fuck into my belly
Time to get the fuck into my belly

This is quite simply a large chicken and pork kebab on a rotisserie spit. The chicken marylands and strips of pork belly were rubbed down sensually with a couple of handfuls of the Big Red Rub and then skewered onto the spit. This then spends three hours rolling around over the coals as it self bastes (masterbastes could work here) itself into a glorious big red awesome thing dappled with little hits of darkened charred glorious smoky bits and 100% made up of tasty, tasty chorken. You need a spit for the chorken-kebab and to look 100% more genius than if you cook it any other way but, you could also make yourself some mighty fine barbecued chicken and pork just by grilling the marinated meats over low coals for a few hours or you could even cook it in the oven for some kind of weak mans feeble not-even-a-barbecue. 180C for an hour or so should do the trick…

3. Pannacotta

Enamel is cool
Enamel is cool

Pannacotta is a dessert that oozes summer. Cool, sweet, sexy and a little bit jiggly, just like boobies, and as we all know summer is all about the boobies… and the beaches… well, beaches, boobies (boys also works well here if it’s boys you are into), barbecue and beverages… so summer is definitely about the “B” words at the very least. Anyway, when trying to syphon that last little bit of summer sunshine out of the barrel of seasons that we commonly know as the year, hold it upside down and shake it vigorously so as to dislodge every ounce of sunshine from it’s hold, use your “B” words and for goodness sakes make yourself (and a few other people) some pannacotta. This is me helping you look really good with minimal effort or smarts used by you… thank me later.

VANILLA BEAN PANNACOTTA with MARSALSA STRAWBERRIES and BASIL (for 6)

I told you enamel is cool
I told you enamel is cool

600ml thickened cream
600ml full cream milk
3 vanilla beans, scraped and pods reserved
200g castor sugar
4 gelatine sheets
2 punnets strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons marsala
1 tablespoon castor sugar
3 basil leaves, chiffonade

• Soak gelatin leaves in enough water to cover
• Combine cream, milk, vanilla and reserved pods and castor sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is the temperature of hot tap water. Remove from heat
• Remove gelatin leaves from water and stir into cream mixture until dissolved
• Divide mix into 6 glasses to set. Enamel still seems to be trending at the moment but I could also imagine a vegemite jar will put you right on point. Refrigerate overnight to set
• I hope you read the recipe before starting and you haven’t got to this point an hour before your dinner party is due to start
• An hour or two before serving, macerate strawberries in booze and extra sugar
• Remove the pannacottas from the fridge and check they are set. We’re looking for something similar to a booby wobble, something we in the kitchen know as “titty consistency”
• Serve your pannas with the strawberries and syrup, and a few slithers of chiffonade basil

So there you go; find the last few rays of summer warmth, wrangle them to the ground, get your barbecue and pannacotta on and pretend like you’re living that endless summer… at least until next week when the skies become darker, the evenings and mornings cooler and short skirts and bikinis shall be replaced with long clothing… long, thick, warm, minimal skin revealing clothing.

Night time fire shadows
Night time fire shadows

But on the upside barbecues and summer salads shall soon be yielding to rich wintery braises, soups and slow roasted goodies of all descriptions… come at me winter!

The Pork Taco Challenge

pork taco
Recently my friend Dana at I’ve Got Cake challenged me to a cook-off of an old school classic with a bit of new school flair. A bit of the old “take a dish everyone knows and loves and make it a little bit our own”. Well, at least that’s what I think we’re doing. I didn’t really understand (or even fully read) the brief… was there even a brief? I do recall the phrase “there are no rules” being in there somewhere… or maybe I just dreamt that one too. We are posting this at the same time, yes, that was definitely in the brief!

Dana had thrown the gauntlet. And by that I mean I goaded her into it like a little brother, running down the street and taunting her every second of the way until she finally submitted and said I could play with her Barbie dolls and Californian Vacation doll house. Pulling her hair and, in later pre-pubescencey, the strap of her trainer bra.

I seriously would’ve made a great younger brother. Seriously.

Sometimes I think Dana likes conversing with me because I am like a weird red-bearded, skinny assed, white boy, interweb version of the younger brother she never had… or maybe she does have a younger brother, I don’t know. She does swear at me and says she hates me a fair bit though…

So what could I do to the humble pork taco to make it my own? Make the special kind of love to it down by the fire? Marry it in a Las Vegas cathedral ceremony conducted by a fat gay man in sunglasses (or maybe it was Elvis?)? Or force a Street Fighter-esque three hit combo of my favourite pork products into my face via this little rolled corn edible plate?

I’m going for the three hit combo, don’t be doubting. And I shall cook it on the fire, eat myself fat enough to be the next Elvis and be very gay about the whole situation, with out so much as a fashionable jacket (or something else a girl would wear) on my person, but just damn happy (Happy is what gay used to mean, you know?). See what I did there?… I didn’t think so…

These things were good. Really good. I was caught a little off guard by my family’s sudden embracing of the blood sausage and their forth with consumption of a good percentage of it, as normally I get to eat the blood sausage around here and no, that is not code for anything – just a comment about a grown mans’ love for the black pud.

I would also recommend giving the home made tortillas a try. They’re well worth the effort!

PS if you want to have a look at what Dana came up with (you should because it’s going to be funny and delicious, I don’t mind telling you) you will be able you see that right here.

This is called fore-play around here. Pork belly, morcilla and chorizo, and tomato and onion charring up for the salsa
This is called fore-play around here. Pork belly, morcilla and chorizo, and tomato and onion charring up for the salsa
Damn sexy
Damn sexy
This was sooooo damn good
This was sooooo damn good
When you make you own tacos aint nobody going to deny you're the boss
When you make you own tacos aint nobody going to deny you’re the boss
I really wish I could take better photos. I really do
I really wish I could take better photos. I really do
Pretty grass
Pretty grass. I gaurentee Dana’s photos will be a heap better than this

PLENTY OF PORK TACOS (for 4)

400g pork belly, sliced into 3cm thick pieces
2 morcilla, black pudding or other kind of ethnic blood sausage
2 smoked chorizo sausage
1 chipotle chilli, if you like it hot, very finely chopped
tacos, salsa picante, cabbage & apple ‘slaw dressed with a little vinegar, radish, sheeps feta, coriander and lime wedges, to serve

• Cook the meats just as you would normally cook those meats. Just remember the pork belly is going to take a lot longer than the sausages are they are already cooked. That’s some quality free advice right there
• Once cooked to your liking chop it all up. Get two knives out and do it like a crazy Asian chef if that makes you feel good about yourself. Chuck the chipotle in there too
• That’s it
• Get it on the table and make sure you get yourself a good heap of the morcilla before your kids get to it!

SOFT TACOS (you best believe I made my own)

3 cups masa harina flour
400(ish) ml hot water

• In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is dry add more hot water
• Cover dough tightly with cling wrap (plastic film) and allow to stand for 30 minutes. If it dries out while resting, sprinkle with more water
• Preheat a frying pan to medium-high.
• Divide dough into 20 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of baking paper
• Place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more and then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Wrap tortillas with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.