Thursday, September 27, 2007

WFDW, Leftovers Version

One of the other major attractions to going to the track, aside from the riding of course, is the eats. Without fail, there is always lots and lots of good stuff for Saturday dinner which is thanks in no small part to our pals from Kansas with their trailer mounted smoker, nicknamed Hoppy.
I've told you about these friends before by way of their introducing and then gifting me the awesomely muti-purpose Kansas Cooker, otherwise known as the farm implement-turned-frying-pan, and these friends in their unfailingly generous style, have logged enough miles towing Hoppy to various tracks to circumnavigate the globe at least once or twice by now. And all in the name of a good after-party. So, when I learned Hoppy would be joining us last weekend, I immediately made plans to bring one of my favorite smoker appropriate items, Jerk Pork and trust me when I tell you that it all disappeared in the blink of an eye. So fast that I only got to have one little slice which left me all hot and bothered and wanting.

Anyway, the Jerk Pork recipe I'm about to tell you about doesn't call for the meat to be smoked but doing so adds a whole nuther dimension that is completely, addictively delicious so if you're lucky enough to have the means to do this, go for it. But never fear if you are without a smoker, because grilling or even oven baking will still get you a result that is delicious and succulent and flavorful and completely worth the effort.

Now, the Jerk sauce/marinade can be a bit labor intensive to put together as it has quite a few ingredients, so because of that and because I'm typically doing at least a six or seven pound pork loin to feed a crowd, I always double or triple the recipe to have plenty left over for use as a condiment on the finished dish. (I haven't tried freezing it but I'm sure this would work great.) Last weekends' batch was no exception...I tripled the recipe which gave me a generous amount for marinade with a couple of cups left for serving on the side and still a bit more to use on a small tenderloin for last nights dinner that helped get me over that hot and bothered and wanting I mentioned:

With some smashed potatos and some sauteed spinach and brocollini, our tummies could not have been happier.
As far as the actual Jerk recipe is concerned, I've tweaked it a bit of course. Most importantly, IT NEEDS SALT. I add about a teaspoon per batch and then still season the meat fairly heavily before dousing it with marinade where everything will dwell happily together for AT LEAST 24 hours, 48 if possible. I also add black pepper and a tablespoon or so of honey to give it a little better balance. And never fear the peppery heat, because it's nicely tempered by the acid and really makes the recipe what it is...if you've ever been to Jamaica you know that authentic Jamacian Jerk is so spicy yet so delicious that eating it is a little sadistic. This recipe is no where near that spicy as written, but if you're worried about the heat or your moral corruption, use jalapeno instead of habanero. The flavor won't be quite the same but it will be more midwesternly spiced and still tasty. Leave as much of the marinade stuck to the meat as you can when you put it to the heat and then spoon the leftovers atop after you carve because it's super, super yummy stuff. And another very important point: please, please DON'T OVER COOK THE PORK. This recipe is blatantly unforgiving when it comes to this. Get it close (say within 5 or 10 degrees) to 140 but never, EVER a degree more, and then let it rest for ten minutes before carving and it will be juicy and delicious just like it ought to be and your tummy will thank you.

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