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Carne Adovada — A Taste of Heaven

September 24, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

My area of expertise in barbeque is building and maintaining a steady fire that will hold temp for extended periods of time. However, I would like to venture into the realm of recipes for this post. While recipes are not my forté, this is one recipe I developed that I must share.

About three years ago I helped a friend with a project and was taken out to dinner in repayment of the favor. She took me to a place here in Phoenix called Dick’s Hideaway, which is about the coolest restaurant in Phoenix (George W. Bush ate there a couple years ago when he was in town). They specialize in New Mexican cuisine and they do an amazing job with it.

I ordered Carne Adovada, which I had never even heard of before, and I was blown away – I had never in my life eaten anything this good — or this hot. Pork marinated for days in a chile marinade then smoked over a pecan wood fire, cut into cubes and simmered in a chile sauce then slathered with a layer of cheese that has melted down into the sauce — oh, man, that was good eatin’! But what really knocked my socks off was the perfect marriage of pecan wood smoke to the recipe. I truly believe that God created pecan trees just so they could be used to make Carne Adovada.

The next day I began my quest for a recipe. I found many versions of Carne Adovada but none even came close to what I had a Dick’s. So I pulled a little from here – a little from there – and corresponded with a lovely lady in New Mexico and came up with a recipe that not only was like Dick’s, but was actually better.

I have made this many times for many people and every single person has said that it was absolutely the best meal they’ve ever had. My niece said if she had a choice, Carne Adovada is the only thing she’d eat for the rest of her life. I was even invited on a Phoenix cooking show to prepare my recipe on television.Chili Ristra
This recipe calls for dried chilis – the kind you find in a ristra. The finets of these chilis are Hatch Valley chilis grown in Hatch Valley, New Mexico. While other chilis will work just fine – for the best final product use Hatch Valley chilis if you can find them. Typically these chilis are available in mild, medium and hot (medium can be hard to find outside the Southwest). Be sure you use the hot chilis.
The recipe:

 

CARNE ADOVADA

RED CHILE PUREE

1-2 cups water 8-10 dried red New Mexico chile pods

(Hot) – (get Hatch Valley if you can)

Tear tops off of chile pods and use knife or finger (use plastic food preparation gloves to protect your fingers as they will start to sting a bit — do not touch your eyes with your fingers until you’ve washed them) to clean out seeds and veins inside of each one. Place pods in medium sized pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling on high heat. Boil several minutes until pods are soft stirring occasionally to make sure they boil evenly. Place drained pods (save liquid) in blender container, then pour 1/2 of liquid into blender (keep the rest in the pot and add more water for the next batch) and blend until smooth, add 1-2 cloves garlic if desired. Add more water if needed, but keep in mind this is a puree, thicker than sauce or juice. When pureed, pour into a large stock pot. Sometimes you might need to pour thru a mesh sieve to remove any skins that did not blend up in the blender. NOTE: You will want to make several batches of puree.

CHILE COLORADO (Basic Red Chile Sauce)

2 T. butter

2 T. flour

2 C. red chile puree (see below)

2 C. chicken broth

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. garlic powder

Dash oregano (use Mexican oregano if you can get it)

Heat butter in medium-size saucepan on medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1minute. Add red chile puree and cook for about another minute. Gradually add broth and stir, making sure there are no lumps, a whisk works best. Add seasoning to sauce and simmer at low heat for 10-15 minutes.

THE MARINATED PORK:

4 cloves garlic

1 T. salt

1 T. oregano

2 recipes or more of the Red Chile Puree (above)

3-5 lbs. (approx.) pork tenderloin roast

Add garlic, salt and oregano to chile puree. Cut pork loin into four large pieces (slice in half once horizontally and once vertically) and put them in a large, glass baking dish (even better, a stainless steel stock pot) and pour chile puree over to cover — turn meat to cover completely. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours (36-72 hours or more is even better — I like to marinate mine for a week). It is a good idea to stir it around once a day or so to make sure that every part of the pork soaks in the marinade.

FINAL ASSEMBLY AND COOKING:

Place marinated pork pieces in smoker or barbeque and cook using the indirect method to keep the marinade from burning(for best results, use some pecan wood chunks or chips for smoke flavor — pecan smoke is incredible with this dish but be careful not to over smoke) and cook until internal temp reaches around 150 (use a meat thermometer).

Remove pork from smoker and cut into cubes ½” to 1″ square and put into baking pan/dish about 3″-4″ deep. Pour chili colorado over pork cubes (the pork should be “swimming in it”) and put baking pan/dish into smoker – crank up the temp to around 325 (you can do this part in the oven inside if you want) and let it simmer (for best results, seal tightly with foil so the sauce doesn’t boil off and get too thick) for at least an hour – 2 or even 3 hours would be even better (if you simmer longer than an hour you must seal with foil or the sauce will boil off).

About 5 minutes before removing from smoker, remove the foil and layer on top (fairly thickly) a good amount of pre-shredded Kraft Mexican blend cheese. When the cheese melts (about 5 minutes) remove from smoker, let it cool for 5 minutes or so and serve with rice and beans and warmed flour tortillas.

NOTE: This recipe can be cooked in a regular oven (use a baking pan) instead of a smoker – you lose the pecan wood flavor but it is still incredibly delicious.

Big Dan

 

 

 

 

BUILDING A FIRE USING THE MINION METHOD IN AN OFFSET SMOKER

August 15, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

Sometime back in 1999 or thereabouts Jim Minion was participating in a regional barbeque championship in the Pacific Northwest. His cooker of choice was a Weber Smokey Mountain.

However, following the manufacturer’s instructions on building a fire in this otherwise wonderful smoker proved useless as the fire would quickly shoot up to well over 325 degrees. What to do, what to do?

 Jim Minion, a fleet manager for an auto sales company, tried something different – he spread a layer of lighted briquettes over a pile of unlit briquettes and he found that he could maintain a steady fire for as long as 22 hours in his Weber Smokey Mountain. He took a first and a second in two categories that day and the Minion Method was born.

About that same time I was having incredible difficulty holding a steady temp for any decent length of time in my Hondo offset. I came across a description of the Minion Method on the Internet and decided to give it a try. I filled the firebox with Kingsford briquettes as recommended, lit a Weber chimney filled with briquettes, dumped them on top and for the very first time I held a rock steady 220 for four hours, but then the fire choked itself out from all the ash produced by the briquettes. But heck, that was a whole lot better than before.

My wife’s uncle, one of the most fun individuals I have every had the pleasure of knowing (he was one of those people who, from the moment they walk into the room you know you are about to have a great time), and a true lover of ‘que was visiting and he wanted me to fire up the barbeque. As an incentive he brought me a bag of lump charcoal. Not wanting to insult a guest, I fired up my Hondo using the Minion Method with the ump charcoal.

I fully expected a disaster as everything I read about the Minion Method said to use briquettes. Instead I was stunned – I quickly got the fire settled down to 220 and it stayed there – and held – and held – and 8 hours later the temp was still reading 220! By then I was done and removed the meat from the smoker

but it was another two hours before the temp dropped.

A convert was born! 

That was several years ago and I’ve learned a lot since then. Most important is that not all lump charcoals are the same. Some will only hold a steady fire for about 4 hours. The average lump will give you about 6 hours. The best lumps will hold 220 for shopping cart pricing provacyl site 10 Provacyl hours or more. Other things that will affect the burn time are outdoor weather conditions, the make/model of smoker you have, and the temp at which you are cooking. I have also learned that once you learn the individual quirks of your smoker you can “dial in” any temp you want by making small adjustments to the chimney damper and/or the air intake control.

For the longest, steadiest burn times I recommend you get the best quality hardwood lump charcoal you can find. Briquettes will work, however they produce so much ash that the fire chokes itself out within about 4 hours. High quality hardwood lump charcoal burns hotter produces very little ash resulting in a much longer burn time.

If you don’t use a charcoal basket, you need to find a way to keep the charcoal away from the air intake. Here is a good way;  firebox

Fill the firebox with charcoal all the way to the lip of the opening between the firebox and the cooking chamber then hollow out ever so slightly — about an inch or so — just enough to make the pile slightly concave — a small area in the middle by pushing the charcoal up around the sides a little. 

Fill a Weber chimney with charcoal and light it. When it is going real good (all coals glowing) then pour it all on top of the charcoal in the firebox, keeping it centered as much as possible.

Close the lids but leave all the vents (air intake and chimney) wide open. When the temp reaches 275 – 300 degrees, begin closing the air intake. Close the air intake half way then check the temp in 15 minutes. If it is too high, close the intake half way again and check in 15 minutes. If still too high, close the air intake all the way. Check again in 15 minutes. If the temp is still too high and ALL VISIBLE SMOKE DISAPPEARS, begin closing the chimney — you guessed it – half way. Check again in 15 minutes, etc. At some point the temp will stabilize — check the vents and remember where they were as that will be your starting point next time — in other words, after the initial temp has reached 275-300, then you can close the vents down to your starting point rather than repeating the entire procedure again. The fire will slowly burn down through the pile of charcoal providing a nice, long, steady burn.

So, all of us backyard pitmasters owe Jim Minion a huge thumbs up for daring to try something different and making top notch barbeque a breeze.

Til next time, keep on cookin’!

Big Dan

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