Tag Archives: cooking

Single Guy Chef: Kalua Pork

Kalua Pork (or pig) is one of my favorite Hawaiian dishes. It’s a smokey, salty pulled pork dish served over white rice, with optional katsu sauce.1 When I found out how you make it, I was stunned at how easy it is.2 It takes a long time to cook, and there’s some work involved, but it requires no skilled labor, much less murdering a pig with a knife while sobbing. In fact, I thought it was some half-assed way to make it, but a friend who is very wise in the ways of Hawaiian cooking told me nope, that’s the way everyone makes it on the island.3 And after making it, I can honestly say it matches the one at my favorite Hawaiian restaurant. Kick ass!
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  1. Thanks to Agent Doubledeuce for the tip. []
  2. But don’t worry, I’ll still explain it to you like you were held back a few times. []
  3. Not counting those supermen who actually dig a hole, add fire, and roast the whole pig all at once. []

Single Guy Chef: Tri-tip Burritos

I saw that tri-tip is about $2/lb. so I thought I’d try my hand at that. Turns out it’s very easy. I’d made it on the grill before and the oven is about the same, minus the good smokey flavor and slightly easier cleanup.

First, get a 3-4 lb. tri-tip roast. Remove the fat. If you’re lazy or short on time you can buy pre-trimmed roasts, but at double the price. $4 a pound??? We’re not Trump here. Once again, the fat removed was about the size of my fist.

Next, preheat the oven to 325. My oven has Bake and Convection Bake settings, but you preheat a lot faster if you start with Bake.

While the oven is preheating you season the meat, which is ridiculously easy. Get yourself some Old World Steak seasoning, which is made by Fire Roasted Creations. OK, it’s not always easy to find. I got mine at Barbeques Galore and you can order it online here. Yes, it’s definitely worth the effort of tracking it down. If you absolutely don’t have time to obtain it, you can substitute McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning. It’s more peppery and the flavor is less complex, but it will do in a pinch. Just sprinkle it over the meat, then tap it in with the back of the tongs or a metal spoon. Flip it and repeat. Do this about 10 minutes before baking.

Place the roast on that broiler pan that came with your oven. It might be in that drawer underneath that you never knew existed. You can use a roasting pan, but only if you’re NOT convection baking. Convection baking, which cooks food faster and seals in juices better, requires a very shallow pan so the air can circulate better.

Since this is a roast, you’re shooting for medium, or 145F. Since roasts continue to cook after you’ve removed the heat, you stop when your meat thermometer reads about 140F. To obtain this ideal temperature, put the roast in the oven and set the timer to some random number. I say this because my Viking manual says a 3-4 lb. roast should be done in 30 minutes on convection bake or 35 minutes on bake, and that wasn’t even close. After 30 minutes it read 121F, or mooooo. Another 10 minutes brought it to 131, and another 15 after that brought it to 150. This is at the thickest part of the roast, so it was between medium and medium well, which is a little more done than I’d like it, but good enough.

OK, so the timer should be set for 40 minutes if convection baking and 50 for normal baking, assuming you’re using my oven.

When the desired temperature is reached let the roast sit for 20 minutes. Again, the temperature continues to rise 5-10 degrees while the juices move from the center outward, resulting in more uniformly juicy slices. Slice it thin.

Since meat alone isn’t very filling, I made simple burritos with Spanish rice. All you need to pick up is a box of Zatarains Spanish Rice mix, a 14.5oz can of crushed tomatoes, and some “I Can’t Believe This Shit Ain’t Butter!” or any butter-like substance that isn’t found in your bathroom. Follow the directions on the box – it’s dead simple.

Pick up a pack of Guerrero-brand burrito tortillas or whatever your local tortilleria sells. Before filling, preheat a large skillet to medium, then heat one side for 15 seconds and the other for 10. Fill with the rice and meat and roll like the Mexican ladies at Chipotle. If the meat is on the dry side (or even if it isn’t), you can add sour cream and/or shredded cheese.

Once again, you’ve got dinner for the week! Just remember that the tortillas have to be refrigerated, too.

Single Guy Chef: Italian Beef

Single guys like eating, but generally don’t like cooking. If they do cook, it’s usually on the grill where cleanup is as easy as turning the grill on high and brushing off the cinders. Unfortunately at my new place the grill sucks, and since I quit my job I’m cooking more. So I’m going to share some of the wisdom and experience I get in this new venture. You’ll find the directions are explicit, made for other single guys who have zero cooking experience. Of course, this means the recipes will be much longer than usual, so don’t be scared. The prep and cleanup are easy.

Italian Beef
My friend Jonathan turned me on to Portillo’s, a Chicago chain originally famous for hot dogs. I asked him what to get and he suggested the combo sandwich, which is a combination of Italian beef and sausage. I’ve since gone back many times and never wavered from this selection – just don’t forget to add cheese fries.

So I found a recipe on allrecipes.com (which appears to be the best recipe site out there) for Italian beef, citing a certain Chicago chain as the inspiration. Was this, perhaps, Portillo’s??? No. Not even close. Don’t get your hopes up. But it is a damn good beef sandwich, an Italian version of the French dip, and it’s dead simple to make. It requires a crock pot, but I’m finding this is an essential single guy kitchen appliance. So get one if you don’t have one – they’re cheap.
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