May 032010

It’s a pretty safe bet that you love a nice meatball sandwich. Why? Because everyone loves a nice meatball sandwich, that’s why. Unless you a vegan or something, in which case you are totally on the wrong web site anyway.

With that in mind, my current project it so make insanely good meatballs specifically for sandwiches. This is the recipe as it stands so far – in a break from the tradition here I am posting the “work in progress” before deeming it 100% complete. If you were so inclined, feel free to give it a whirl and dump in some feedback before I commit this to its final form. This weekend I will repost this with any changes and with the requisite silly pictures. If you want to have your say, do it before then.

Quick and dirty instructions after the jump!

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Feb 042010

This started out as a quest for a dipping sauce for chicken, and ended with a super simple bit of liquid love that you can dip damn near anything into with delicious results. The name, if you were wondering, is a reference to the old T-Rex song “Get It On” (the original, please, not that defective Power Station remake) and specifically the line “you’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah.” This sauce is dirty and sweet at the same time – it’s as sweet as your grade 9 girlfriend and it’s as dirty and skanky as that nasty Kate Gosselin chick.

If you were wondering, no, you don’t have to play the song while you cook this. But it doesn’t hurt, either. Marc Bolan was a genius.

So – you may not know that “dipped” is a classic way to serve fried or roasted chicken. And I don’t mean dipped in little fork-bites at the table (a la Swiss Pigeon), i mean dipped as whole pieces in sauce when those pieces are just hot out of the oil or the oven. If you have never had chicken this way – a method that was inspiration for the first “buffalo wings” – then you are missing out on one of the great taste explosions of our time. But don’t stop there – and don’t shy away from making this if you aren’t planning on piece-cooked chicken. I have been dunking and/or exposing all sorts of things to this little concoction, and when push comes to shove you can pair this with pretty much any meat that is served hot and has any sort of salt in it’s seasoning profile.

Best of all, this is super simple. It has a a mere four ingredients (if you are like me and count this as one ingredient) and takes 5 minutes to make. Full details, some ideas on use, and random ranting after the jump.

Let’s get saucy!

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Sep 012009

After some fiddling, some cursing, some serious head-scratching, and a couple of dozen dogs down the hatch … I think I have a valid starting point for a workable Detroit-style coney sauce. It is by no means perfect and I still have a sneaking suspicion that the memories I am working from are less-than-razor-sharp, but the result was tasty, enjoyable, and – for now, anyway – tasted like what I think I remember a coney dog should taste like.

The full recipe is after the jump if you want to indulge on your own (see note below) but if you just want the highlights and keys, here is a quick rundown:

  1. You can’t make Detroit-style coney sauce without using beef heart. Period. There is no other way to get that slightly gamey and verging-on-too-rich taste.
  2. Get your butcher to grind the meat as fine as he can, triple-grind if you can talk him into it.
  3. You can’t screw around with half-measures for the rendering of the meat, you have to use lard.
  4. Adding the roux after simmering down the stock is the trick to getting a passably-wet texture.

Where this first attempt comes up short is in the texture. Detroit-style sauce is very wet – it is more of a “sauce flavoured with meat” than it is a “meat sauce”. This sauce was wet, but not wet enough, even after the final step of pureeing some of the sauce into a kind of a “meat juice” and adding it back in to the main show. Also, while the flavour is in the ball park, I think I am missing at least one crucial ingredient. One of the hallmarks of a great Coney Dog is the need to head to the can for a Truly Atrocious Dump about 2 hours after eating. My “dog-to-dump” time was about 24 hours, which makes me thing that something is definitely amiss. On the other hand, the dumps were pretty atrocious, so it could just be that the ingredients are all there and just out of balance. There is hope.

If you grew up with Coney Dogs and you are missing them as badly as I, try this mix and let me know what you think. If you have never tried a Coney before and are feeling brave, feel free to jump on the bandwagon. But do it on a day when you can open your windows – if you aren’t used to the aroma, it can be a bit … er … repellent.

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Jun 132009

One more recipe to get you going here. While the vast majority of barbeque spice comes from rubs instead of saucing – the cooking process is so long that most sauces end up burning or hardening – there is still a place for sauces, usually in either finishing or serving. You will find that most serious barbeque cooks have a different sauce for each kind of meat – like rubs, there are different flavour points that tend to work best with different textures and tastes – but I have been experimenting with a single “top level” sauce that you can then finish in different ways for whatever meat you happen to be thinking about using it with. Unlike rubs, where you just mix ’em and put them on a shelf somewhere, a sauce usually means you need to invest some cooking time and you need to store the finished product in the fridge. Having a single sauce that you can then drive off in different directions give maximum return on these requirements.

This mix is for a single load, about two full mason jars worth. If you are having a big cook or have the fridge space to spare, just double everything for a bigger batch.

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Jun 102009

This is my “utility” rub – while I did mix it specifically for ribs and pork butt, it works on almost anything. If I am out of another rub or just starting to work out a new recipe, this is the rub I go to as a fill-in or baseline. If you only want to mix up one rub, then use this one, and you can use it for chicken, beef, or vegetables as needed. And of course it is spectacular on pork.

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