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Posts Tagged ‘Nini’s Deli’

Tailgate Tuesday: Smoked beef empanadas

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017


Tailgate Tuesday is our weekly contribution from our resident pitmaster, Joe Pichey from GoBlueBBQ. Joe has limited time this season, so we will be tag-teaming the weekly recipes. These tailgate recipes will be posted each Tuesday throughout the football season and will feature a variety of appetizers, main courses, and sides to help you be the king of your next tailgate. Gentry’s BBQ, a Orlando, Fla. based BBQ and catering company, sponsors this season’s feature by providing their killer rubs and sauces for use in the recipes. Buy them here. In addition, Fogo Charcoal provides charcoal to use in each recipe. Buy it here.

PreviousGator kabobsSteak tacos nortenos with bacon fat flour tortillasBrisket burnt endsFried pork tenderloin sammy with fire roasted green chile jam and savory corn casseroleSmoked onion dipJalapeno ballsSous vide french dip cheesesteakWestern style chopped pork and red slaw; Carolina hush puppies
Recipe Archive

A few weeks ago I mentioned my favorite lunch spot in Chicago, Nini’s Deli. I can’t recommend this place enough if you’re ever in the Windy City. It has been featured on Chicago news and even on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise this year. It’s Cuban-Mexican fusion inspired by the owner, Juan’s parents, who are from Cuba and Mexico. My absolute favorite sandwich is the ropa vieja burrito, but you can’t go to Nini’s without getting an empanada or two. That’s what inspired this week’s recipe.

Ingredients
4-6 pound beef shoulder roast
3 onions
1 can diced green chiles
Monterey jack cheese
Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub
1 bottle dark beer
1 egg
2 TBSP milk
1/8 tsp salt
2.25 cups sifted flour
1.5 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
Directions

Start with your beef shoulder and rub it all over with your Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub. As its name suggests, this stuff is great on beef, delivering a nice salty and peppery flavor with hints of coffee and garlic. Fire up your smoker to 225-250 using your preferred type of wood. I like a mix of hickory and oak.

Pour a bottle of dark beer into a foil pan and fill it the rest of the way with water. You can use two bottles of beer if you want, or just drink one of them. Put the foil pan in the smoker underneath your meet to provide moisture during the smoke process. Depending on the size of your beef, it will cook for anywhere from five to eight hours, so plan accordingly.

About halfway through the smoke, you can start your empanada dough. First, whisk together one egg, two tablespoons of milk, and an eight teaspoon of salt. Set it aside. In a separate bowl, mix 2.25 cups of sifted flour and a teaspoon and a half of salt. Now chop a stick of butter into a few smaller chunks and put them into your flour mixture. Using clean bare hands, kneed it all together until the butter is well incorporated into your flour. It should resemble crumbs at this point. Now, pour your whisked egg into it along with a tablespoon of cider vinegar (white will work too) and a third-cup of cold water. Mix it all together.

Dump it out onto a floured surface and form it all together. No need to really kneed it at this point, just make sure it’s compact so you can wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until you’re ready for it.

When your beef reaches an internal temperature of between 195 and 205 degrees, it’s ready to be pulled. Remember, during the smoking process, it will hit a stall in the 150s and this is perfectly normal. Don’t panic if it takes a while to power through it. Just let the process work. You can also spritz with beer, cider vinegar, or water throughout the process if you want. When it’s done, pull it, wrap in foil, and set in a cooler for at least 30 minutes, up to a couple hours. This lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat. You could cut or shred it at this point, but trust me, it’s better to let it rest for a bit.

While it’s resting, slice up three onions and then sauté them with olive oil. Do this on a medium heat so they can sweat out instead of cooking quickly. Then toss in a can of diced green chiles and cook with your onions until heated through. Set aside. Your beef should be ready to shred at this point. I shredded and chopped mine out of preference.

Take your dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Get it nice and thin, but not too thin. Use your best judgment here. Take a cup, bowl, or any other circular shaped object with a crisp edge and cut out circles as small or big as you want your empanadas to be. If you want to make them as appetizers, a standard-size glass will do. I used a cereal bowl and wish I had done them a little bit bigger, but they turned out great.

Now, spoon some beef into the middle of each circle, then top with a spoonful of your onion and green chile mixture. Finally, top with some monterey jack cheese. When you are filling them, just be careful not to over fill them or it will be hard to do the next step, which is fold them over. Fold one side over the filling to connect to the other side. Press with your thumbs all around where they connect. Use a fork to press into them to seal the two sides together, or braid them over each other.

Heat up some vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and place a few of your empanadas in. After a couple minutes give them a turn so both sides can cook. Keep a close eye on these so they don’t burn. You want a nice golden brown color. Once they’re ready, remove from the oil and set on a paper towel to cool, then they’re ready to eat! These are fantastic dipped in a Mojo sauce. I suggest ordering a bottle of Mojo sauce from Habana Cafe in Gulfport, Fla. I had dinner there on a work trip a couple weeks ago and that stuff is like liquid crack.

These may not be a traditional tailgate menu item, but I can assure you that after you try them they’ll be a crowd pleaser and you’ll want to make them again.

Visit Gentry’s to purchase their great rubs and sauces. You can follow them on Twitter at @gentrysbbq and you can also follow our resident pitmaster Joe at @mmmgoblubbq.

Tailgate Tuesday: Sous vide french dip cheesesteak

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017


Tailgate Tuesday is our weekly contribution from our resident pitmaster, Joe Pichey from GoBlueBBQ. Joe has limited time this season, so we will be tag-teaming the weekly recipes. These tailgate recipes will be posted each Tuesday throughout the football season and will feature a variety of appetizers, main courses, and sides to help you be the king of your next tailgate. Gentry’s BBQ, a Orlando, Fla. based BBQ and catering company, sponsors this season’s feature by providing their killer rubs and sauces for use in the recipes. Buy them here. In addition, Fogo Charcoal provides charcoal to use in each recipe. Buy it here.

PreviousGator kabobsSteak tacos nortenos with bacon fat flour tortillasBrisket burnt endsFried pork tenderloin sammy with fire roasted green chile jam and savory corn casseroleSmoked onion dip; Jalapeno balls
Recipe Archive

One of my favorite lunch spots in Chicago is a small spot in between River West and West Town called Nini’s Deli. This place is awesome, and if you go in there tell him Justin sent you. My man Juan serves up Cuban-Mexican fusion cuisine inspired by his parents’ ethnic background. One of the items that isn’t on his regular menu, but makes an appearance every now and then is his sirloin tip cuban steak sandwich. That’s what semi-inspired my recipe this week. It’s not the same, but it gave me the vision to try out my own recipe and that became what I’m calling a french dip cheesesteak and it turned out great.

Ingredients
4-5 pound beef roast
2 Onions
1 Green pepper
French Rolls
Worcestershire sauce
American cheese slices
Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub
Directions

I was going to do this in the Big Green Egg, but Saturday turned out to be rainy, so I decided to toss it into the Sous Vide. If you don’t have one, I suggest getting one…you can get a good one for $100-150 these days. I used to think that using a Sous Vide was cheating on my smoker, but I’ve learned to consider it an essential tool in my BBQ tool belt if you will. It really is convenient — if you have the foresight to plan ahead — and produces some great results. It’s almost foolproof.

Start by trimming up your beef roast a little bit. I used an eye of round, a lean, inexpensive cut that works for roast beef. You can use pretty much any cut of beef for this, and if you want to turn it up a notch, use a brisket or top sirloin. But we’re going for economy here, so I chose a cheap cut. Give it a nice coating of your Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub, which is great on beef. It’s a salt and pepper based rub with hints of coffee and garlic and it’s perfect for any giving a nice bark.

If you have a Sous Vide, then I’d also suggest investing in a FoodSaver so you can vacuum seal the items you cook. It’s not mandatory (a Ziplock will work) but it’s fun. Put your rubbed roast into the bag along with a sliced onion and several shakes of Worcestershire sauce and vacuum seal it. Get your Sous Vide heated up to anywhere between 130 and 140 degrees, and once the water is to temp, submerge the bag completely. I did mine at 140, which is the bottom edge of medium, and in hindsight would have set it lower because by the time it finished cooking internally after removing and searing, it was well into the medium and probably approaching medium well.

You can let it go anywhere between eight hours and 24 hours. If it’s a nicer cut of meat, six or eight hours could be enough, but if it’s a cheaper cut, let it go longer to really get nice and tender. Mine was in for about 19 hours before I pulled it. Remove the bag from the water, carefully cut it open without spilling the meat juice everywhere, and sear all sides on a hot cast iron. Save your meat juice in a bowl.

Now sauté your second onion and a green pepper and put your french rolls into the oven to toast a little bit. Then it’s time to start building your sandwich. Slice the beef roast and place a nice heaping amount onto the bottom part of the french roll. Top it with some sautéed onions and peppers and then a couple slices of American cheese. Now, leaving the top bun off, put it under the broiler for 30-60 seconds to melt the cheese. Put the top bun on and you’re ready to eat.

You can use the reserved meat juice as your au jus and enjoy your combination between a French dip and a cheesesteak. Sure, the Sous Vide took a long time, but this recipe was pretty simple, and well worth the wait.

Visit Gentry’s to purchase their great rubs and sauces. You can follow them on Twitter at @gentrysbbq and you can also follow our resident pitmaster Joe at @mmmgoblubbq.