Next Level of Funk!

Nice, riding the bull, feeling the flow…

Ok so….don’t act surprised…but…I don’t really remember how I got into BBQ and stuff like that.  My dad and his best friend would always be grilling in the summer and stuff so I grew up around it.  But it didn’t start out as a passion for me.  I do remember getting one of those Char-Griller barrel type BBQ’s in my late twenties as a birthday gift from my parents.  I didn’t even put it together myself.  My room mates did when I was gone one weekend.  Then a few months later my parents got me one of those side box things that you bolt onto the grill and you can use it for smoking.  I’m not handy and I’m not always self-motivated to turn a wrench so I think I put it on a few months after I received it.  I don’t even remember why I wanted to put it on.  It was some calling, like that dude in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where he makes that funky mountain out of mash potatoes.  I’m out there in the rain putting this thing together in a hypnotic state…just talking to myself like “this is important, this means something…”  Wife is inside looking at me thinking “oooh great, he’s cracked…”  After all that, it just kind of sat there for a year.  I would use my grill for BBQ chicken and stuff, but I never touched the side box and it never occurred to me to use it as a smoker.  Then one day I just kind of got the idea to smoke a pork shoulder.  I don’t even remember if it was good.  I just remember slicing it like a ham so it probably wasn’t the greatest.  But after a few attempts I got bitten by the BBQ bug and it has kind of become a mini-obsession for me.   I say mini because its more than a hobby but not quite compulsive-gambler-blow-my-paycheck-level obession…Eventually my parties grew bigger and I outgrew that Char-Griller and I needed more room to cook.  So I bought a Yoder Wichita and never looked back.  With the other one…I kind of did that thing where you put unwanted home goods out on the sidewalk with a “free” sign and walk away.  I don’t know if you guys have done that, but where I come from that’s how we do…couches, grills, lawn mowers, bikes, TV’s…you don’t want it?  Cool, sidewalk swap meet it is.  Worse case, you helped furnish a homeless dude’s shanty.          

All that was over 10 years ago.  Today I have this monster 1,000 pound plus Yoder Durango smoker that looks like a damn choo-choo train.  The thing takes 4 dudes and an insurance claim to move from one side of the yard to the other.  It can hold an 80 lb. pig and still smoke 4 slabs of ribs and 4 whole chickens.  Small children and dogs can sleep in it.  Probably not legally, but technically they can.  I love that monster and just need an excuse to be out there using it.  That’s why I was fully stoked when my friend asked me to cater a party she was throwing in honor of her dad’s birthday.  For those who don’t know, I have this menu I created and every so often I get requests to cook for people.  I do BBQ and other dishes with a Hawaiian/Latino style since that is what inspires me.  I find the two blend together well.  She requested Kalua Pig tacos with pineapple chipotle salsa, smoked tako poke, green papaya salad, and home made taro chips.  So here we go with a segment I’m calling “Holy crap!  I made all that!?”

Pig in a banana blanket with tortilla sheets

  • 9lb untrimmed pork shoulder bone in
  • BBQ rub
  • 1 Banana leaf
  • Jelly (I used a mango/guava)
  • 1 can beer
  • Tortillas (however many you need)
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 limes cut into wedges
  • Salsa (whatever kind you like)

Heat smoker to 250.  While this heats up put rub all over the pork shoulder.  When the smoker is ready, place pig in the smoker and cook at 250 degrees for 5 hours.  Remove, place in a shallow aluminum pan, pour in half the beer (drink the rest) and using a spoon rub jelly all over the pig.  Wrap in banana leaf and aluminum foil.  Smoke 4 more hours at 250.  Pull from smoker, let sit for 20-30 minutes, unwrap then using 2 forks, shred the meat.  Add salt or soy sauce if you like.  Don’t pull the pig out of the pan until you have shredded all the meat.  The rendered fat and jelly will help flavor the meat.  Place in tortilla and garnish with onion, cilantro, lime and salsa.

Octopus in a Poke

  • 9lbs Tako (octopus) tentacles
  • Banana leaf
  • 3-4 cans of cheap lager beer
  • ½ lb. of limu (seaweed)
  • 1 mango diced
  • 3 green onions diced
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil

Cut the tentacles into segments as big as your hand.  Place in a large pot add enough beer to cover the tentacles, cover with a lid and boil for an hour and a half.  Strain and cut into small chunks.  Place on a banana leaf lined with aluminum foil and smoke at 250 for 1 hour.  When that is done, place the tako in a large bowl, add the limu, mango, green onions, sesame oil and mix.  The tako should have enough naturally salty flavor to be fine.  If you want more, add sea salt or soy sauce to taste.  Serve with taro or tortilla chips.

Green with Papaya Envy

  • 1 large green papaya
  • 1 carrot
  • Dozen grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 4 sprigs of Thai basil leaves removed
  • Crushed peanuts
  • 1 ½ cups of Ngoc mam cham (sweet fish sauce)

Peel and shred papaya and carrot into julienne style strips.  Using a mortar and pestle bruise them up by giving it all a few good hard smacks.  Place into a large bowl and pour in ngoc mam cham.  Mix together.  Place into a large serving dish and top (in this order) with basil, tomato, and crushed peanuts.    

This was a really fun thing for me to do and I’m thankful for the opportunity to hook this up for my friend.  Now, it wasn’t just all me though.  My wife was a huge help in making the taro chips, cutting up all the stuff for the tacos, mixing the tako poke, and helping pack up all the stuff so she deserves a shout out as well.  All in all, this one was a lot of work, but I consider it a labor of love.  Nothing worth having is easy, that’s my motto.  Plus I got to drink a bunch of beers while doing this so it wasn’t all work and no play. 

Ok, so I don’t know how much of this you want to try at home, but if you decide to go for it, take your time, have fun and invite over friends cause this makes lot!  All right y’all that’s it for this one.  Until next time, be cool.

Taro chips are a 24 hour process but worth every minute!


circles of life!

Weren’t there supposed to be like 7 more of these?

I just love how fresh this looks.

From Alaska’s ocean to my pots!

Hey now I can say Banana leaf in Tagalog!

Bahon ng Saging!!

I normally have to travel to Hawai’i to get this stuff fresh.

Look kids!  Moon rocks!

Rub it on my belly like guava jelly (after reading this, go look up Guava Jelly by Eli Mac).

Bahon ng Saging!! Its so nice I says it twice!

Looks like a halo is shining here.

My friend took this shot, love the red plate.

If you can, get hold of these!

6 beers down and look, its Brad Pitt’s brother! Arm Pitt!!!

Now in honor of the Olympics, the friend I cooked for sent me these to share with you guys!  It is her and some friends taking in a friendly game of Curling.

Did you know that Curling started as a way for Canadians to move Pony Kegs across frozen lakes for weddings?

In the early 1800’s they called the beer kegs “Marriage Counselors.”

 In those days it was looked down upon to drink in public so they had to disguise the keg as a game. When the keg was empty they would push it back across to the local pub for a refill.

The broom was added so it looked like they were keeping the lake clean for the fish.  Also, none of this is true, but it should be!

This is the man of the hour, the patriarch for which the party was held.  Thanks for the opportunity!!!

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