I was gifted a copy of Sunday Supper's by Suzanne Goin some 15 years ago. In that time I have probably prepared a handful of recipes which is more a reflection of the involvement the book requires. Broken up be Seasons, you would be wise to stick to the one you are currently in and have access to a good Farmer's Market. True to the chef's resumé and accolades, this book is not for the novice cook nor a busy weeknight.
But my God is this Sunday Supper's Brisket worth the effort. It has become my new night before Christmas Eve dinner tradition. And when you make it, it might become yours as well . . .
So McRib is back and I got excited. I mean, it's the McRib . . . the only sandwich at McDonald's thats as McDonalds as the freaking Big Mac. Now it has been more than a minute since I have had one and I just couldn't eat a McRib and post about it.
I had to make it better.
So here it is, My McRib hack, which I swear to whatever higher power you believe in, is worth the minimal time to make. Take my advice and find yourself a local Carniceria/Mexican Grocery store for all the ingredients listed futher down. And fasten your seatbelts, because this McRib is gonna take you south of the border.
the spot: In-N-Out Burger tested in Austin TX + locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and soon Idaho
the eats: The "Ali" (unofficial name)
the bucks: approx $6
the full nelson: the ultimate internet burger hack
My first In-N-Out burger experience was . . . underwhelming. Like many, I didn't get the hype. Being reared in the Midwest off Steak 'n Shake in the 90s, thin stackable griddled patties were not a new phenomenon to me. I thought the meat was lacking compared to a my go to triple Steakburger from Steak 'n Shake.
But time marches on. Gold standards falter. And nostalgia evolves as does life. In no small part due to the secret menu and reddit, I have to say that now In-N-Out is my favorite drive thru burger, which in Covid-19 times takes on whole new meaning. But you gotta order it right. Years past I wrote about a number of ways one can navigate the secret menu at In-N-Out. Well now it's 2020 and I have a new move at In-N-Out. You gotta order "the Ali".
Yes . . . I have an unofficial named burger at In-N-Out. And when you test drive this triple burger with a double hit of cheese and a bevy of toppings . . . you too will become part of the In-N-Out indoctrinated.
In-N-Out's best attribute is actually dangerously misleading. Read the menu and you would think the burger maxes out with the above: a double double animal style. While it's good to keep the focus on burgers, it's awesome to have options to make your burger customizable.
Enter, the secret menu. After that, you need to focus on personal palate responsibility. Do you crave a big fat messy burger? Add more meat, cheese and toppings. Crave simplicity? Try the cheeseburger with only ketchup, pickle and grilled onions. For the record, that's the cheeseburger that should be in the Happy Meal.
Me? I like a burger you need two hands to eat. I like ratio of meat to bun to toppings that favors the meat. And I freaking love Thousand Island. Real talk: In-N-Out has the best pink sauce in the game.
This is the "Ali" out of the wrapper. A 3x2 which is three burger patties and two slices of cheese. I got it "Animal style" which means mustard is smeared on the patties while it cooks, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions and extra spread. But that's not the whole story.
The Ali with a 90 degree turn will reveal more. I ordered the lettuce "light" and all credit for that is due to reddit. One grievance I have with In-N-Out is not that they use Iceberg lettuce, but that they will include the stem. Yes, that bland fibrous cousin to celery does not need to be on my burger or any burger for that matter.
Also included in here is raw onion, in addition to the grilled onion. This is critical. I've said in the past that "the onion is the truffle of the poor". Folks, onions define the beefy flavor at In-N-Out.
And now, the backside.
In addition to the aforementioned, I also added chopped chilis to my In-N-Out burger. Also a credit to reddit, the addition of In-N-Out's pickled Cascabella peppers is clutch. I know when life long Los Angelenos were hitting me up declaring "I've been doing it wrong my whole life" that I struck a nerve. Cascabella peppers are similar to banana peppers and pepperocinis but I find they pack more heat.
Oh, in case you were wondering, this is the side you want to start with. Take that wrapper off and go to town on the side soaked with all that burger goodness. And for God's sake, ask for extra napkins.
The same principle for the "Ali" work on the fries too. Yeah, the fries at In-N-Out aren't great but the animal fries are pretty tasty. That being said, I rarely order them because it's overkill at it's finest. I'd like to see my kid grow up.
At the end of the day, this is the burger that has made eat In-N-Out more than ever before. I love burgers with thick patties cooked medium rare and true smashed burgers beat In-N-Out patties all day. I could even make the case that Shake Shack makes a better quality burger.
But In-N-Out is a better burger experience. Cheap, fast and ultimately a reminder that a great hamburger is the sum of its parts. The toppings are just a wee bit more important to the beef. And for the record, this works with 2 or 4 patties though the latter requires the mandibles of a UFC heavyweight.
For those in the know, add this to your In-N-Out repertoire. And for the In-N-Out haters, consider this burger before your next diss. At around $6, you got nothing to lose.
It's 47 degrees outside, football is in full swing and it's high time I figured out a real deal Texas chili recipe. Spoiler alert: I used tomatoes. Yeah, I did. And I used ground beef, albeit coarse ground aka chili grind from a butcher shop called Longhorn Meats. No beans though, and that deep hue of red was from making my own chili powder. I even have two versions for you and my inspiration came from an award winning recipe from the Terlingua International Chili Championship.
I told you it was real deal.
the spot: Sandy's Hamburgers 603 Barton Springs road Austin TX 78704
the eats: cheap burgers
the bucks: cheeseburgers for $5, a double will run $6.40
the full nelson: a nostalgic burger experience fueled by freezer to table fare
Sandy's Hamburgers puts their frozen custard out there front and center. Sure it's on the signage but if you do a little digging you might find more skeptical critics throw their weight to getting the custard vs the savory fare. I would do the same but I doubt I'll ever go back here again.
But I still think you should. At least once. And here's why.
the spot: Red Rocket Weiner Wagon a pop up in Austin TX
the eats: Serious Hot Dogs
the bucks: $10.50 for the classic, $13.50 with brisket chili
the full nelson: Craft BBQ queens elevate a hot dog from stadium food after thought to premium tailgate food
Red Rocket Dogs just might be the breakthrough the hot dog world needs. Changing the game on what a premium hot dog experience means, much like the chef driven burger of the early 2000s, this is a hot dog I would gladly drop over $10 for. And finally, I can agree with that controversial debate on Twitter that a hot dog is a sandwich.
Because this one totally is.
the spot: Terry Black's Barbecue tested in Austin TX + location in Dallas TX
the eats: Beef rib, brisket, spare ribs, sausage, turkey and whatever sides you feel
the bucks: plan on $15 person
the full nelson: easy access, top tier Austin BBQ with an Old school Texas vibe
Terry Black's Barbecue most definitely makes the 10 best list of Austin BBQ round ups. In casual conversation, Terry Black's may get drowned out by names like Franklin BBQ or La Barbecue, which can add cookbooks, TV shows and a cult like following to their names. But that's not to say Terry Black's doesn't deserve a cookbook or a feature on a show like Best Thing I Ever Ate.
You ask me, they got the best darn classic Texas sausage link in town.
It's a hearty, comforting Mexican icon. Superb in tacos, burritos, over rice or even just in a damn bowl, Pork Chile Verde is a staple on both sides of the border. Thanks to one of Food & Wine's Best of the Best cookbooks from years back, I stumbled upon a Rick Bayless version where chunks of pork shoulder are braised slowly in an oven along with tomatillos, cilantro and pickled jalapeños. Despite countless versions of Pork Chile Verde out there, I have yet to steer from this one. And my cookbook has the stains to prove it.
Here is how you make it.
the spot: DeSano Pizza tested in Austin TX + locations in Nashville, Los Angeles and Charelston SC
the eats: Neapolitan Pizza
the bucks: small pies for $12, large pies for $21, plan on $15 person
the full nelson: Real Deal Neapolitan pizza that can satisfy the non pizza elites
There are two kinds of pizzas in this world. One is the kind you crave at 2am, ideally by the slice at a place like Joe's Pizza in NYC. The other kind of pizza is the one you might have had to make reservations for, perhaps a week or six in advance. DeSano Pizza tastes like the latter though far more accessible and kinda satisfies that 2am vibe as well.