Mike’s Borracho Beans


The Spanish word borracho literally means drunken. This is a recipe based on a signature dish served at Joe’s Texas BBQ in Green Bay Wisconsin. At Joe’s, they use their home-prepared smoked sausage and a small amount of burnt-ends, which I don’t have access to. I improvised and used chorizo and a ham shank on bone, using the water it simmers in as a savory reduction broth. Negra Modelo beer is also added. This is a really great recipe but you have to allow enough time for it to cook – it cannot be rushed or the results will be for naught.

Go easy on the salt!  The ham and chorizo are loaded with it.  Enjoy-

Ingredients:

1 ham shank on bone
Cold water
2 links spicy chorizo sausage
3 cups dry pinto beans
1 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup strong black coffee
1 12 oz. bottle Negra Modelo beer
32 oz. beef stock
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled, and minced
1 flame-peeled poblano pepper, diced
1 tbs. ground chipotle, to taste
1 tbs. ground cumin, toasted from seed
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1/2 tbs. ground ancho chili powder
2 dry bay leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves – washed and stemmed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs. rendered bacon fat
Dash of fresh-squeezed lime juice

Preparation:

Wash the dry pinto beans in a colander and cover in cold water overnight.
When ready, heat the smoked pork ham shank in a 5-qt cast-iron dutch oven, partially covered,  with enough water to just cover the shank. Simmer on medium-low for about 2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone.
Rotate occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Remove from heat and place aside in a dish to cool. SAVE  the water the ham shank was simmered in.
De-bone the shank and trim meat of all fat – cutting into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bone,  and place the meat back into the pot with the reserved water. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the can of whole peeled tomatoes and crush with a potato masher. Add the coffee and beer. Rinse the beans and add to the pot.

In a separate heavy pan, sautee the onion and garlic on medium-low heat in 2 tbs. rendered bacon fat until translucent – about 15 minutes. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Add to the pot with the dry spices and bay leaves.

Brown the chorizo sausage in a separate pan – cut into 1/2″ chunks and add to the pot.
Using a propane torch or a burner, blacken the poblano – peel and dice. Add to the pot.

Add the beef stock and simmer uncovered on low for about 4 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir before serving.

NOTE: The consistency is not supposed to resemble baked beans. There should be a nice, rich broth. Add more beef stock or a bit of water if it becomes too thick.

Serves 6-8
Makes about 4 quarts

Simmered Ham Shank Boned and Cubed Ham Shank Chorizo Sausage Mike's Borracho Beans

Advertisements

Grilled Beer Can Chicken


Grilled Beer Can Chicken

Note the disposable pie pan that acts as a heat shield to prevent flare-ups. Coals are moved to either side for indirect grilling. Cover the chicken with the vents fully open and grill for about 1 hour until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees F.

The art of grilling a whole chicken with a can of beer stuck up its butt originated in southeast Texas. It is pure genius, because the added moisture from the beer ensures the juiciest chicken you will ever have.

I spent a fair amount of time reviewing recipes, before I came up with this variation using many of the key spices based on my signature pulled pork rub. I use a 22″ Weber® kettle grill. If going this route, ensure that the bird you choose is small enough to fit under the domed lid, when closed. And don’t make your fire too hot. Slow and low is the way to go.

I can definitively say there isn’t a better bird. The skin will crisp to perfection due to the alcohol in the beer, and the infused flavor is simply amazing.

Rub Ingredients:

2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbs. onion powder
2 tbs. smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. thyme, ground in a mortar
1 tbs. ancho chili powder
2 tbs. packed brown sugar

For the Chicken:

1 whole fryer chicken with giblets removed
1 12-oz. can of beer
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, mashed
2 tbs canola oil
1/2 small potato or onion
Mesquite wood chips (about two handfuls) soaked in water for at least three hours
Disposable aluminum pie pan
Steel “beer can chicken” support trivet (available at many specialty cooking stores)
1/4 cup water

Directions:

Prepare the dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside. You’ll use most of it for this recipe.

Thoroughly rinse the chicken in cold water, including the chest cavity. Pat dry and let stand to warm up in a baking dish so that it is not ice cold before you throw it on the grill. Rub 2 tbs. canola oil over the skin of the bird, ensuring it is completely coated. Next, apply the rub to the skin and chest cavity.

Prepare your grill with enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When ready to grill, divide and move the white-hot coals to either side of the coal grate, leaving the center clear for indirect heat.
Pop the can of beer and pour off or drink half (I wholeheartedly recommend drinking it.)  Add 1 clove crushed garlic and the juice of 1/2 lemon to the can.

Place the pie pan on the center of the grilling grate. Quickly place the can of beer in the support trivet and slide the bird’s cavity over the can ensuring it is seated evenly on the trivet. Place the bird and trivet on the pie pan in the center of the grilling grate. Place 1/2 onion or small potato in the neck opening to seal it off. Next add 1/4 cup water to the pie pan (this will help prevent flare-ups) and cover with the kettle cover (leave it vented half way.)  And here’s the challenge – if your bird is small enough, it will allow the cover to seat properly with just enough clearance for grilling. If not – well you’ve got a big ol’ mess because it’s either going to tip over, or you’ll have to proceed to Plan B and use your oven.

Grill covered for about 1 hour, adding mesquite chips to the coals after 1/2 hour, until the skin is crispy golden-brown and the internal temperature of the breast measures 165° F.
Carefully remove the bird with a long grilling fork (spear it under the breast bone) and transfer to a covered roaster pan. Let stand for ten minutes before serving.

Notes:
Recipe cooking time shown is for a 22″ Weber® kettle grill. Your cooking time will vary. Experimentation is mandatory – on some grills the time will be closer to 1.5 hours at 375° F.

Ensure you wash your hands and disinfect your counter top after handling poultry.  Enjoy!

Wisconsin Beer Cheese Dip


You can only get away with this in Wisconsin – we offer no apologies. And I must say this recipe is fantastic (thanks Jen.) I suggest using Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss for the brew.

Ingredients:

2 8-oz. bricks of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup of beer (hey, you want to have some left over to drink…)
1 package Ranch dressing mix (or Lipton onion soup mix)

1 cup fresh grated parmesan
Pretzels

Preparation:

Put everything except for the parmesan cheese in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a serving dish and top with the grated parmesan. Serve immediately with pretzels.

Serves 4-6

Wisconsin Beer Batter for Fish


This is a great recipe for true Wisconsin-style battered fish. This recipe will work well for two pounds of fish – whether it be fresh-caught bluegills or walleye pike. You can also double the recipe, but make sure to mix in TWO separate bowls (don’t combine in one bowl) or it will not come out right. My choice for beer — Leinenkugel’s Red Lager.

Don’t forget to let the batter sit for one hour before using.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fish – your choice
1/2 cup flour
seasoned salt to taste
1 tbs. melted butter
2 eggs, beaten well
1/2 cup Wisconsin beer

Preparation:

Sift the flour and salt, add the butter and egg; add the beer gradually, stirring only until smooth.

Let stand for one hour at room temperature.

Dip fish in batter and fry in hot oil. Larger cuts of fish can be quartered into 2″ chunks for even cooking.

Beer-Battered Cod & Chips


If you’ve never lived in Wisconsin, you’ve missed out on a perennial favorite… the venerable “Friday Fish Fry.” Nobody outside of this state will know what the hell you are talking about if you ask for one. A seasonal favorite served on Fridays before Easter. This recipe also works well with haddock.

Ingredients:

4 large russet potatoes
3 quarts vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tsp. salt, divided
2 tsp. pepper, divided
2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
10 ounce ice cold English ale or club soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless cod or haddock fillets cut into 2 inch bite size pieces
Malt vinegar
Lemon wedges

Preparation:

Cut peeled potatoes in half lengthwise; cut each half lengthwise again into 1/2″ thick wedges, placing potatoes into ice water as you work. Soak 20 minutes to an hour and then drain and blot dry with paper towels. This removes the starch.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and pepper, and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Add the ale and mix until smooth. Fold in the beaten eggs. Set aside for 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are soaking, fill a deep fat fryer or 6 quart, heavy saucepan with oil to a depth of 5-6 inches. Using a frying thermometer, slowly heat oil to a temperature of 325F.

Fry half of the potatoes until they just begin to turn golden around the edges, about 4-5 minutes. Remove chips with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels in a single layer until cool to the touch; repeat with the remaining wedges, allowing oil temperature to return to 325F before adding more. Raise oil temperature to 360F and preheat oven to 250F.

Re-fry potatoes in 3-4 batches (this keeps the oil from cooling too much) moving them constantly until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Allow oil to return to 360F between batches. Remove from oil and drain; transfer to paper to drain again, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and keep warm in the preheated oven.

Season 5 to 6 pieces of fish with salt and pepper, dredge in seasoned flour (using remaining 1 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic powder) and dip into the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off and then slip carefully into the hot oil. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp, deeply golden brown and cooked through with a moist interior. Remove from oil, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Keep warm while frying remaining fish in batches.

Serve with salt, lemon and malt vinegar.

Serves: 4