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Fetishizing Fried Chicken

Two Piece Basket at Hill Country Chicken in NYC

The fried chicken at Hill Country Chicken in Manhattan was pretty good, so were the french fries and cole slaw. The chicken was fried to perfection, it would have been really great if they hadn’t sprinkled so much salty seasoning on it at the end. And I like a lot of salt.
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Hallal Pepperoni?

I thought this was a hallal pizzeria, what’s with the pepperoni?” I asked the Mexican-American pizza maker.

“It’s hallal pepperoni–it’s made out of beef,” he replied.
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Underbelly and El Real

Chris Shepherd

Chef Chris Shepherd’s new restaurant, Underbelly, will be next door to the Hay Merchant Craft Beer Bar in the old Chances building–across the street from our very own Tex-Mex joint, El Real! I ran into Shepherd at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. Alison Cook had just reported the news. Underbelly will […]

Tyler Turkey

The Greenberg Smoked Turkey

My family consumed two Greenberg Smoked Turkeys and a turducken over the Thanksgiving holiday. (There were 26 of us.) I didn’t know the fascinating story of the Greenberg Smoked Turkey until I read about it in my friend John T. Edge’s column in his New York Times. The Tyler, Texas turkey smoking operation turns out some 200,000 birds every holiday season and they’ve been at it for decades. As soon as I heard about it, I had to try one.
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The Real Chappell Hlll Sausage

“Wurst BBQ in Texas” was the title of the talk I gave at the Texas Dance Hall Symposium in Round Top on Saturday. I passed out samples of German sausage from Burton’s and Polish sausage from Chappell Hill Meat Market. The Chappell Hill Meat Market and Cafe was founded by the Kopycinski family in 1939. The original business was located closer to downtown Chappell Hill, but when Highway 290 was rerouted in the 1970s, the business moved to its current location at the 290 stoplight in Chappell Hill. I had a sausage sandwich at the cafe while I was picking up my sample links. Don’t mistake the Kopycinski’s sausage for the packaged products made by the Chappell Hill Sausage Company, a latter-day copycat that makes the commercial style Chappell Hill Sausage found in grocery stores.

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Chili and Sauerkraut? Now That's Czech-Mex!

Texas chili con carne and barrel fermented sauerkraut are two of my favorite things. But I never thought of eating them together. In fact, they sound like two foods that should never ever be combined. So imagine my amazement when a request for a hot dog “all the way” at Janak’s Country Market in Halletsville yielded a fabulous Janak homemade Czech sausage on a bun spread with mustard and topped with both chili and Janak’s own housemade sauerkraut. Now that’s what I call Czech-Mex!

On first examining the sandwich, I wrapped it back up in aluminum foil and put it in the back of the car.

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Holy Posole: It's Green Chile Time

Around this time of year in New Mexico and West Texas, green chile lovers buy a bag of chiles and get them roasted. The roasted chiles are then stored in the freezer for the rest of the year. Central Market has brought that quaintly picante custom to its stores in Texas. They are selling a case of roasted chiles for $28. That’s a lot more than they go for in New Mexico, but think of all the gas you’ll save.

Here’s a short history of the green chile and a recipe:

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Revival Red Chile Chorizo

When I visit Revival Meats at the Farmer’s Market, I always get a pound of ground pork. Morgan Weber told me that a lot of his customers ask him what to do with the stuff. I told him I use it to make chorizo, among other things. If you have ever read the ingredients list on the typical package of Mexican chorizo, you might have noticed that the first item listed is “salivary glands.”

Now I like offal as much as the next guy, but I prefer chorizo made of actual meat. Here’s my recipe:

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Morgan's Little Piggies

If you shop at the Farmer’s Market on Richmond, you have probably met Morgan Weber at the Revival Meats booth. Last week, Morgan took me to visit his pig farm in Yoakum. The American pork industry produces very inexpensive meat in its factory farms. But some consumers and many chefs would rather pay higher prices for premium pork grown locally with more fat, more flavor, and sustainable agricultural methods.

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Texas Lardo

Chef Ryan Pera at The Grove has a talent for charcuterie. Morgan Weber is a cutting-edge pig farmer. Talk about a match made in heaven. Pera is making salami and lardo with Weber’s mangalitsa pigs. Lardo is Mario Batali’s favorite form of salumi and it’s just what it sounds like–pure pig fat. It’s cured with spices for a couple of months and then…

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