Welcome to today's episode of Cigars and the Man-Grill. Today we make some wonderful twice-cooked pork shoulder roast burritos with a corn, peppers, onion, and tomato salsa. The burritos and the filling are colorful, attractive, summery and spicy, full of excellent vegetable matter, and use what's leftover from the pork picnic roast, and best of all, made entirely on the Man-Grill.
Notes for the food-sensitive: pork, salt, alcohol, and peanut oil are used in this dish.
Let's start with a few definitions. A Man-Grill is an outdoor cooking device with a bed for heat generation and suspended grates for a cooking surface. The device uses a metal or porcelain bed to contain and focus the heat energy produced by the fuel. A Man-Grill uses propane, charcoal, or wood for fuel. Men use this device for a variety of cooking and social purposes. In fact, nearly anything can be cooked on the Man-Grill. A Man-Grill is particularly attractive to men because of its outdoor location and large metal implements. Additionally, most foods cooked on the Man-Grill tend to be finger-foods, and we men like to play with our food.
A pork shoulder picnic roast is taken from the lower part of the shoulder of the domestic pig (sus scrofa). It can be used for hams, pulled pork, and in our case, just roasted.
A burrito (taco de harina) is a food item made from wrapping hot flour tortillas around almost anything edible and eaten by hand. Buy the expensive tortillas from the cooler, or make your own, they are easy to make.
The Man of the Man-Grill will need the following hardware:
- fuel for the Man-Grill
- Man-Grill, clean, in good condition
- appropriate libation
- metal or silicon tongs
- wooden spoon
- serving bowls
- sharp knives
- cutting boards
- timer - never cook without a timer
- heating device for tortillas. I use a metal colander suspended over boiling water
- storage device for vegetable cuttings - I put them in an enclosed compost heap
and the following software:
Corn on the cob is a delicious summer treat. We tend to use white corn instead of yellow corn because of the slightly sweeter flavor profile of white corn. Corn on the cob (with husks intact) works very well on the Man-Grill. Soak in the husks for 30 minutes in ice-water prior to cooking.
We only partly cook a pork roast the first time around because we use it for different types of recipes and finish cooking it as part of the final recipe. This is a useful technique that ensures that the pork is not overcooked.
Chili peppers are literally a matter of taste. The uber-hot peppers like the habanero and the Scotch bonnet tend to dominate a dish with their tremendous heat. Poblanos, jalapenos, serranos, and finger-hots have great flavor but they don't wreck your taste buds with a the equivalent of a phaser-shot of heat. Hence, I almost always cook with one or more of the less hot versions, and I use several of each in this recipe.
Tomatoes of practically any variety will work in this recipe, as long as they are red and ripe. Cherry tomatoes yield a crunchier burrito than fresh garden tomatoes. The real key to choosing is: which ones look the best in the grocery store or on the vine?
Bell peppers (capsicum annuum) are "sweet" peppers that develop from peppercorns of the cultivar. They come in green, red, and yellow. I use all three colors in this recipe, chiefly for the color they add.
Allium cepa (onion), is a garden bulb. I don't care what color or cultivar they are, they are all good, and practically any variety will work in this recipe. Today's episode uses white onions because they looked best in the grocery store. If you choose scallions, use 10-12 for volume.
Garlic (allium sativuum) is also a type of onion, with a powerful odor and taste. One can never have enough fresh garlic.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is the leaves of the coriander, an annual herb with a very distinctive flavor and aroma.
Limes are a wonderful sour citrus fruit. Lime juice is used to kick up the fresh taste of this recipe.
Avocados are a soapy, waxy fruit. Optional.
Cholula sauce is a brand of pepper sauce of which I am particularly fond. Optional.
Pace Triple Pepper Salsa is a commercial salsa made from habaneros, green chilis, and anchos. Optional.
Tequila is an alcoholic libation made in Mexico from blue agave. If you use tequila, use a good tequila like Hornitos Reposado. In fact, never skimp on any ingredients, no matter what the ingredient. Spend more and use less. Make sure you taste the tequila before using it to cook with - don't want to use any sour tequila. That's a joke.
Red pepper flakes can be bought in the grocery store, but I make my own from cayenne and jalapenos I grow in the front yard every year. I only grow about 12-15 plants per year and that produces enough pepper for an entire year of cooking. Pick the peppers, and either dry them the oven or Man-Grill them, grind up what's left in a coffee-grinder (I have several coffee-grinders, only one of which is used for coffee, the rest are used for tasks not requiring the full-on food processor), and save in a glass jar with a cork stopper.
Olive oil: don't skimp goes double here. Buy only the absolute best extra virgin olive oil. It will be expensive, but the cook does not use that much of it. Hint: you will not find the really good olive oil in the grocery store, unless it is a specialty store or gourmet store. Keep a supply of regular, garden variety olive oil for lubrication of pans and skillets and such, and save the uber-good extra virgin oil for flavoring. Peanut oil is also an excellent lubricant, and has a very high smoke point and very little flavor. Peanut oil with its high smoke point is ideal for indoor use.
Always, always keep Kosher salt around for cooking. Kosher salt is salt with a large grain. Note that Kosher salt typically does not contain any additives like iodine - not that iodine in salt is a bad thing, I'm just sayin'. Kosher is a relative term here. Some brands of "kosher" salt contain items that are not kosher.
Pepper Mill. Locked and loaded with good peppercorns. Always use fresh cracked pepper. Life's too short for anger, bad wine and pre-ground pepper. Again, buy the best peppercorns in small quantities.
Let's get started. Pre-heat a Man-Grill as hot as you can get it, 500-600 degrees F is excellent - about 15 minutes should do the trick. You'll need 15 minutes to husk the corn and do the slicing and dicing.
Take the corn out of the ice-water and husk it - remember to put the husks in the compost heap. Cut the kernels off the cob and save in a bowl. The ice-water bath made the kernels easy to shave, and will help with moisture retention later. Slice all those wonderful chili peppers and add them to the corn bowl. Slice the bell peppers into bite-sized pieces, add to corn bowl. Slice the onion into bite-sized pieces and add to corn bowl.
Slice cherry tomatoes in half, or slice fresh garden tomatos into bite-size pieces and save in another bowl (use a large bowl or your final large serving bowl) separate from the corn, onion, and peppers. Punch up the garlic and add to the tomatoes. Sprinkle Kosher salt and pepper (not too much of either) on the tomatoes and garlic. Add sliced avocados if you want.
The corn bowl should now contain corn, chili peppers, onions, and bell peppers. There is a another bowl with tomatoes and garlic.
Shave the pork into slices large enough to put on the Man-Grill without falling through the grates - we'll cut it into bite-size pieces later.
Grab your favorite libation, a cigar, the corn and pork bowls and head out to the hot Man-Grill staging area. I use a cast-iron skillet for the corn mixture. Season the skillet with peanut oil (or olive oil, note that the more olive oil you use will affect the taste of everything later) and pour the corn, chili peppers, bell peppers, and onion mixture into the skillet. Season with a little bit of Kosher salt, and a lot of fresh cracked pepper. You can grind away with the pepper mill at this point, but go easy on the salt. Cut one of the limes in half and squeeze the juice into the skillet on top of the corn mixture. If you are using tequila, add about a half-cup to the corn skillet (pull the skillet away from any flames first) - if you are a hot-dog like me you will impress your friends with a little flame-in-the-skillet action at this point. The corn mixture will cook on an extremely hot Man-Grill in about 7 minutes.
After 5 minutes have elapsed, place the pork - remember it's not fully cooked - on the grill. If you are using fully cooked pork, do not place it on the Man-Grill. The heat will turn your fine pork into shoe leather. After 1 minute, pull the pork off the Man-Grill and slice into bite-size pieces and add to the tomatoes and garlic. You'll have one minute to do this before the 7 minutes expire. Start heating the tortillas at the same time.
After the full 7 minutes has expired, add the corn/onion/peppers mixture to the bowl with tomatoes, garlic and pork and toss well. Ladle into big flour tortillas and serve hot with Cholula and Pace Triple Pepper Salsa on the side. For a touch of class, microwave some wet napkins and place them in tea-towels on the table. Those who need or want them will be impressed, not thinking that Man-Grilling can have such a note of thoughtfulness.
A short note about today's wine. I've chose the Liberty School 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Inasmuch as I tend toward the best inexpensive wines I can find - inexpensive meaning less than $50 a bottle - Liberty School suits me well. It is not a first-class wine, nor does it possess a multitude of the defining characteristics of a Cabernet Sauvignon. However, it is perfectly satisfactory for an evening with a couple of glasses if you don't expect too much. For a more definitive inexpensive Cabernet, try a Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Artemis.
Today's cigar: Fonseca Serie F Robusto. A powerful, robust, manly robusto. One of the best non-Cubans around. This cigar is not for the faint of heart and packs a tremendous punch, is full of flavor and might be the best cigar under $10 on the market in this man's opinion.
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