Lord A Dawgy we’re headed for the tales of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad, and a bizzlian other long tales to come!
I know it’s been a while (a week), but remember Larue’s Southwest Buttermilk Corn Bread?
Well, that corn bread is fine, fine stuff, but it’s WAY better with some of Larue’s Hard To Make Chili Verde!
Why hard to make? Cuz that’s what I do!
It’s from scratch, it takes time, and it’s a labor of love. I know many folks can’t love the labor of cooking in the timely and intense way I sometimes do. But for those of you who WOULD take some time to jump thru the kitchen crazed routines, and linger lovingly over this labor, I offer it for your consideration.
The rest of you folks can cheat, use shortcuts, and in general be happy any way you want! Heck, make the cornbread, open a can of chili with beans if you must, and slop some bottled or canned chili verde sauce on it to slop on the cornbread! It’s all good, sure, but MINE’S BETTER!
Ok, let’s get started! . . .
LARUE’S CHILI VERDE
Please consider that this is all a process more than it is a recipe, adjust ANYTHING to fit your needs as you go.
- I get a 12 lb. or so pork butt (shoulder).
- I trim off all the fat I can from the outside while it’s still a whole piece.
- I figure on about 30% shrinkage from the smoking/cooking process . . . .
- Adjust YOUR purchase to fit your needs.
- I cut it up into 1-2 lb. pieces, or what will fit on my bbq/smoker equipment. It also has to fit in my fridge, too, for days! And I trim more fat out if I need to as I break it down.
- Once cut to the sizes I need, I dry rub them, and leave them uncovered, in the fridge, for two days, turning them over and re-rubbing them once a day.Shortcut-Have your butcher do all the trimming and cutting!
Dry Rub Recipe Thoughts
I like to make my own from the following ingredients:
- Pan fry or roast or char over bbq flames a bunch of chili Serrano’s.
- Blister them, peel them, then roast them in the oven till somewhat dried out.
- I use three kinds of chili powders I buy at a local small market:
- Chili Passilla
- Chili Arbol.
- Ancho Chili’s dried.
- I also use dried chili passilla’s and dried chili arbol’s, which I grind up.
- Use what you like, for more or less heat, but, I like to combine dried chilis and chili powders.
- I use white onions, lots of them. I also tried using dried onion flakes, but, they are LOADED with sodium and other chem’s . . .
- Garlic, LOTS of it.
- Sea salt, fine ground.
- Ground black pepper.
- Coriander seeds, which I’ve pan toasted or oven toasted, just a tad.
- Basil, dried or fresh.
- Oregano, dried or fresh.
- Toasted cumin seeds.
- A bay leaf or two or more
- Dried or fresh thyme.
- McCormick’s Seasoning’s-Montreal Chicken or Montreal Steak, doesn’t much matter TOO much.
Take all that, into the food processor, and grind the heck outta it. Once it’s all ground up, I layer it out on a baking pan, and SLOWLY, at 160F or so, dry it out.
I do this due to the fresh herbs I’ve used, which are still a bit ‘wet’.
I turn it every 5-10 minutes, and keep a CLOSE eye on it, as it WILL burn real quick at some point. When it’s as dry as I can get it without burning it, I turn it into the food processor once again, and add more stuff that’s dry and grinds easy to absorb moisture and so I have a LOT of rub.
For 12# of pork, yer gonna need at LEAST a quart jar full of spice rub. After I’ve rubbed the pork, and let it sit in the fridge, per above, it’s time to marinate it in the wet stuff.
Shortcut-buy a rub. Add what you will to what you buy. But MINE’S BETTER!
Wet Marinade Thoughts
- White onions
- All the above ingredients in the rub.
- Balsamic Vinegar (or, white or red wine vinegar, some prefer rice wine vinegar, I like balsamic)
- Worcestershire sauce (I prefer white wine Worcestershire for chili verde, but, you can use the dark stuff, too)
- Tequila. Lots of tequila. Sample it, too!
- I also like to use the same amount of Cuervo margarita mix, to tequila.
- Fresh limes squeezed into this.
- Some folks like to add sugar, honey, or black strap molasses to the marinade, a matter of personal choice and preference . . .
- For a milder chili verde, I’d use molasses.
- For a hotter chili verde, use hotter peppers like the habanero’s instead of the serrano’s . . . just blister them dark before using (and don’t forget to wash hands REAL WELL before you go touching any of your or others body parts!)
- I boil this all down . . . bring it to a boil, then, simmer for half hour or an hour.
- Skim acids from the top.
- Cool it a bit, then into a blender or food processor (I have a hand held blender, LOVE IT NO SPLASH FROM HOT LIQUIDS!)
Let it cool. You’ll need a gallon of this marinade, to completely cover 12# of pork.
Get the pork into what ever pans yer gonna use (I empty the produce bins in my fridge, and put the pork into that, and pour the marinade over it). Saves room!!
Let THAT sit in the fridge for 3 days turning it once a day.
Shortcut-Brine the pork, skipping all the above.
- One cup of fine sea salts per gallon of water.
- Half cup of sugar per gallon of water (optional).
- Soak in fridge for at LEAST 24 hours, 48 hours is better.
But my way is better!
The Days Of Cooking/Smoking
Pull the pork out, light yer fires on yer bbq, smoker, what ever.
SAVE THE MARINADE, and reserve for later. I like to bring it to a boil, first, though, as it’s been sitting in pork or a few days.
If you brined the pork, rinse it thoroughly and pat dry.
I have a GREAT Brinkman Smoker/Grill, cost me $45, and I use the water pan above the coal pan, with two grills to put my pork on.
I use mesquite charcoal, not briquettes, but there’s no reason you can’t use both. You can also soak big pieces of hardwood, but get some mesquite in the firebox!
Some would prefer ONLY hickory, but this is Southwest Chili Verde, and mesquite is the flavor I want.
DO NOT USE MATCHLITE BRIQUETS, AS IT WILL DESTROY YOUR FOOD WITH THE UGLY SMELL!
I ALSO keep a 5# bag of wood chips, soaking in a 5 gal bucket, and use that on a regular basis as I’m smoking all of this.
Once my initial fire is up and running, some half hour, I’ll put the lid on and check my fire temp.
I don’t mind it starting at 250F, but, ideally, I want it at about 160F max soon, and for the duration. Temp is gonna go up and down, but that’s ok, just shoot for 160F and stoke up with wet mesquite, wood, etc. as needed.
Put the pork on, add yer wet wood chips (apple, cherry, any chips are kewl as far as I’m concerned).
This should smoke out for 48 hours!
So, you’ll hafta keep stoking the fire lightly, if ya sleep 6-8 hours, make sure you feed it a bit hotter before you turn in, it’ll be warm enuff the next morning to take new fuel, and get back to 160F or so fairly quick.
Turn your pork pieces over twice a day.
When it’s done, get it to the kitchen to cool down.
The Making Of The Verde Sauce
I like to roast the tomatillo’s on my bbq, and also the Serrano peppers and green bells I’ll be using to make the verde and I’ll also fire roast the onions, garlic and such.
Do this after you’ve smoked the pork and are waiting for it to cool.
Buy the jars of peeled garlic, there’s just NO reason to hafta peel this much garlic for so much usage. Use tin foil pans so it don’t fall thru the grates.
10# of tomatillo’s, and onion and garlic and bells and hot chili’s as you please.
Once roasted, into a big cooking pot it goes! I don’t bother to peel off the blistered skins.
At this point, I toss the saved marinade I had, into the cooking pot!!
If you didn’t USE the marinade, combine ingredients in the recipe FOR the marinade and add to the pot!
I’ve used chicken stock, to thin, and other liquids like tequila and more margarita mix too.
Bring it all to a quick boil and skim acids that come to the top like you would for any stock pot sauce.
Once to a boil, lower heat, and taste.
This is the first time to really decide HOW you want this dish to taste, more cumin?
Oregano? Coriander? Fresh cilantro? Lime? Lemon? Worcestershire? Hot peppers? Salt? More garlic, onion, or, MORE tomatillos? Toss in a ton of Ortega green chilis?
Any other Mexican items need to go in here? More vinegars? More sugars?
It’s your call, but this is the beginning of paying SERIOUS attention to the taste of the dish, and you will tweak it often to suit yer palate.
If ok, take out the hand held blender and grind it up! Or, you’ll have to transfer back and forth from blender or food processor which is a PAIN, go buy the hand held!!! $25!
Once you get this stuff simmering soft and easy, start cutting up the smoked pork chunks to desired sizes, trim more fat if ya want, or leave it for flavor.
After 2 days of slow smoking, the fatty tissues have broken down, the coillegen has broken down, and this stuff is TASTY, already!
Toss it into the cooking pot, and simmer for 6-8 hours, tasting and seasoning as you choose.
Cool it, bag it into large one or two court freezer bags and freeze what you don’t eat right away!
Serve over SouthWest Buttermilk Cornbread!
Like I said, it’s long, tedious, work intensive . . . and not cheap in this large of a batch. But it’s worth it!
[Photo: lumierrfl (top) and Sekaino Ai (middle) via Flickr]