armadillas


Nothing like it

I never liked sausage all that much. I didn’t care for hot dogs. I didn’t eat kielbasi. I hated brats. In fact, I remember the first time someone offered me a brat. I was at a barbecue and brats were the only thing on the grill. I remember they looked good. They smelled good. So I plopped one onto a bun, squeezed on some spicy mustard, took a bite…and tried my hardest not to spit it back out. It was terrible. I don’t know if it was the grill master or the brat itself, but I swore them off for a couple years, categorizing them with all the other sausage products I didn’t eat.

Of course, my tastes have expanded now. Kielbasi? Yes please! Italian sausages? I’ll have seconds! Brats, you say? Bring them to mama! Since that terrible brat moment, I’ve since learned that brats are my friend. Especially the beer brats. Mmm mmm mmm! Seriously, I could eat a whole pack by myself. There’s no such thing as leftovers. So I only make them when I know I’ll be sharing. Otherwise I’d surely go into a brat coma and never recover…

My preferred method of cooking brats? Well, as you all know I am a devoted advocate of the broiler. It’s December. I am not standing outside by the grill (though recently you would think it was May rather than December the weather’s been so nice). Besides, broiling is a pretty quick cooking method and now that I’m working that 9-6 schedule, quick dinners are something to be desired. And for brats, all you need is a pan and the meat and your good to go!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package beer brats (or any brat of your choosing. Or kielbasi. Or Italian sausage- the possibilities are endless)

This is so easy, I’m inclined to write it down in steps. A little change in pace if you will

Step 1– Preheat broiler. Mine is 500 degrees. Make sure your oven rack is about 7 inches below the broiler

Step 2– Pull out your broiler pan and line it with your sausages. If you want those pretty grill marks, lay them horizontally so you can tell everyone they’re hot from the grill

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Step 3– Place pan in oven. Cook for about 8 minutes. Throw some pierogies in the oven while you’re at it

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Step 4– When your timer goes off, flip those brats! See? Grill marks! Mission accomplished

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Step 5– Cook for another 8 minutes or so and Voila! All done. So go get your grub on. Wasn’t that easy? Dinner ready in under 20

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I don’t know about you guys, but I would totally cook these up for a quick breakfast, too. It’s sausage, right? Enjoy!

Tijuana


Whitetail

Well, dear friends, it seems my computer has taken a dive off the deep end. The poor guy has been struggling to keep chugging for over a year now, but I’m pretty sure hope is finally lost. He met the black screen sometime last night while I was at work. Seeing as computers are his specialty, the boyfriend tried to doctor him up to no avail. I’d like to say this is a sad, sad day, but honestly I hated that little bugger. Always giving me problems, never functioning properly- and I hadn’t even had it that long when it started rebelling against me (though that cause could have something to do with a litter of kittens I possessed at the time, which is another story unto itself) Anyway,updating my kitchen adventures has suddenly become exceedingly difficult. I’ve resorted to using Facebook as a kind of photo medium between my phone and my blog. Fortunately, a new hard drive is being shipped as we type and will have to suffice until I can afford a new computer in my post-grad state (ahem dirt poor).


But last night I did make some pulled pork! Not THE PULLED PORK (as seen above) , but what I did come up with wasn’t too shabby. You see, I’ve been cooking with a lot of Mojo recently, a citric marinade found in your Hispanic food aisle at the grocery. It was first introduced to me a few years ago by a Cuban friend. She made mepapas rellenas. It was fabulous. She used Mojo. Now I use Mojo. Anyway, I’ve mostly only used it as a marinade for chicken. This week I so happened to have a boneless pork butt in my freezer, so I defrosted it and put it in some Tupperware filled with Mojo and let it chill out for several hours while I was at work. When I came home, feet weary from standing for so long, I took a shower, made some dinner, and finally got the pork into the crock-pot around 1 am. Nothing like a crock-pot doing all the work for you overnight. By 8 am this morning, I had nice juicy, succulent pork. I’d say it was falling off the bone, except there was no bone. Still, you get my drift!

Of course, the pork stood alone on it’s own just fine, but being the southern belle that I am, pulled pork just is not the same without a good ol’ barbecue sauce. And I’m talking real barbecue sauce. For those of you unfamiliar with real, authentic bbq sauce, that would mean a true vinegar based sauce. None of that ketchup based shenanigans. Now, I could tell you some stories about vinegar. It’s practically revered in my family. Remember the Portokalos family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gus’ feelings toward Windex? That’s my family toward vinegar. It’s a cure-for-all-ailments, and besides that a great addition to many meals. I love vinegar. There’s just something about that tanginess that gets my mouth watering every time. Slrrp

(Yes, it’s this serious. Bulk, baby!)

Anyway, let’s move on to the sauce. Usually, I double my batch and let the pork slow cook with half of my yield. I also generally use a dry rub on my pork and let it sit overnight. But I eliminated those steps since we used the Mojo. After all, this is not THE PULLED PORK. No, today we made a sauce strictly for dipping- or dousing- for the already cooked pulled pork. This will let individuals choose their own sauciness. Boy, do I like being saucy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

This barbecue sauce is super easy! After today, you will hence forth make your own and always impress your guests. They’ll question if you’re indeed from the South. I like mine to have a little kick to it (mmm sweet, tangy, and spicy!), but you can always adjust to your own tastes. So…mix all the dry ingredients together!

Whisk your mixed up dry ingredients into the cider vinegar. Put sauce into jar/bottle/bowl and cover. Stick it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but take note- the longer it sits, the tastier it becomes. You could always make it the night before use to get those flavors flavorful!

All done! Yay! Now go get your grub on!

Hope you like it! Remember to feel free to experiment. Next time I make pork, I’ll share my traditional recipe 😉

Tijuana