This blog I created to share personal experiences, inspiration and things that make me happy. So it will vary on subject, eventually it will include my travels log when I finally head overseas, and one of my favourite things to write about it food and food experiences. Being a chef I like to make food apart of my journey and make a big deal about it. When I was planning my America road trip with my friends for early last year we were discussing places to go, New Orleans came up and we all agreed we wanted to head that way from Austin, mainly for that sweet jazz and antics on Bourborn Street. On the lead up to heading over to the states, all I could talk about was finding the best Gumbo in New Orleans and did intensive research. On our first day of exploring it was a mission to find the place with the best Gumbo, that place was The Gumbo Shop. I was in heaven!
Now a lot of people I talk to about my travels to America, both the times I went, they ask where my favourite place was, its not where you expect…
“I bet New York was your favourite”
“Las Vegas would have been my favourite”
“Was LA your favourite? You know the Cali lifestyle”
No, no and hell no! New York was great, but with only spending 4 days both times I visited there you always seem to end up in Times Square. New York deserves a good 2 weeks of discovery… outside of Manhattan. On my bucket list! When I went to Vegas I was 18 which sucked as I wasn’t able to drink or gamble, which is the main reason people go to Vegas. Although the big hotels and the novelty of the city is amazing to see, Vegas wouldn’t be a favourite, HOWEVER, whilst I was there we took a tour to the Grand Canyon, which is actually the most magical moments in my life. On my last trip to America, LA turned out to be our last destination due to a mishap in Mexico and lack of funds for our original California/Nevada road trip. We stayed in a backpackers in Inglewood, which isn’t a very friendly place, for a week with no money and no energy to do anything. As much as I regretted not exploring more of LA, I still don’t think it would have made top place in my favourite places. A day down Venice Beach was nice, yet not favouritism worthy. No, in fact, which came to my surprise as well, my favourite place in America, and so far in the world, is Texas, and that is anywhere in Texas.
Texas was full of the friendliest people I have come across, even the homeless man that sat outside a convenient store in Dallas was wishing us a great day! Although I was a little disappointed on the lack of people in cowboy hats, Texas didn’t disappoint as a whole. One of the best things in Texas is their love for BBQ and meat on meat goodness. The day we arrived at our Air BnB house we asked the man whom we stayed with, his name slips my mind, where the best BBQ was. He says Dallas has the best BBQ in Texas (note, if you ask someone in Houston or San Antonio the same question they will swear their hometown has the best BBQ in Texas). He told us to head down to the Dallas Farmers Market in Downtown Dallas and go to The Pecan House,
“the line is worth it”
He stated, and boy he was not wrong! We waited around half hour, forty-five minutes before we ordered and tasted heaven! Brisket, pulled pork and sticky ribs with a side of baked beans and mac and cheese will be the best meal you will have in your whole life.
Last weekend I was at work and one of the other chefs was talking about putting ribs on the menu. I stood there and reminisced, my mouth watering and craving the smokey, hot kick of Texan BBQ. So yesterday, being my day off as well as everyone else’s day off, I decided to get some slow cooked, smokey BBQ happening with a side of beer. I went shopping and stocked up on spices and meat, headed to my old share house where my mates live, and got some meat cooking. I went in search for some wood chips for a stove top smoking device but was unsuccessful. Slightly disappointed I wouldn’t make my meat smokey I went to plan B… build my own backyard campfire BBQ. I felt like a real man! After 5 hours of slow cooking, and an IMAX screening of Mad Max, the fire was burning and the meat was ready to char over the flames. The end result was AMAZING! I hate to toot my own horn but my gosh I make great BBQ, and so does everyone else.
So, I have decided to share my recipe for my pulled pork and pork belly (it’s for pork ribs but I was unable to find any on a Sunday so used pork belly instead)
Flame Grilled Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce
- 1/4 cup Chili Powder
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 3 tbsp ground mustard
- 3 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
In a bowl mix all ingredients thoroughly.
You can use 1.5kg of either pork shoulder or pork leg, both pull apart beautifully. Cut into three pieces and cover with rub adn place in deep dish. Put excess rub on the top, giving it a nice coat. Drizzle a little oil on top, cover with foil and put in a pre-heated oven of 130 degrees celsius. When fully cooked, will take around 4-5 hours, place on rack over a flame and char grill the outsides, the burnt spices is what gives the pork that amazing BBQ flavour.
- 1 Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 1/2 cups Ketchup
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Tomate Paste
- 2 tbsp Mustard
- 100 mL Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tbsp Chili Powder
In a pot brown fine diced onion and garlic with a little oil. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add ketchup, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add mustard, worcestershire and chili. Let simmer for 20 minutes to infuse flavours and thicken a little.
Pull pork and put in rolls, drizzle BBQ sauce on top and enjoy!
Pork Belly (or Ribs)
- 1 Orange, zest
- 1 Apple, grated
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Salt
- 3 tbsp Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, except brown sugar and cinnamon stick. Place pork belly, or ribs, on rack in a deep tray. Coat the top side with rub, don’t be shy, the more rub, more flavour. Sprinkle brown sugar over rub and crush cinnamon sticks. Place in pre-heated oven of 130 degrees celsius and cook for 4-5 hours.
Basting Sauce/Dipping Sauce
This sauce is to bast the ribs whilst over the flames, but since I used belly I was unable to flame grill the meat as it was very soft and was falling apart, so we used this sauce as a dipping sauce, and can be bottled up and used on chips, steak or anything else.
- 1/4-1/2 cup Pan drippings (juices in the bottom of the dish the pork was sitting in)
- 1 Onion, diced
- 3 cups Ketchup
- 1 cup Water
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Once the belly/ribs are out, in a pan brown the onions in the pan drippings. Add ketchup and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar and cayenne, simmer for a further 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. If you are using ribs, put ribs on flame and brush on sauce numerous times, until ribs are generously coated and sticky. If you want to use this as a dipping sauce you can leave it on the stove to simmer longer, until thick.
Hope you enjoy these and get the chance to make these. Great for Sunday hangs with beer or camping, simply cook the meat at home then take with you to finish off at camp.