Wednesday, April 11, 2012
As a food lover, I firmly believe one of the best pathways to pleasure is through our taste buds. Food is, after all, a backdrop for social interaction. For my friends and me, it is also something to be taken seriously.
Few things compare to relaxing outside during the evening surrounded by the sweet smell of spring flowers and freshly mowed lawns.
The weekend barbecue, however, is one thing that takes this relaxation to the next level. It infuses the already-sweet smell of spring with the smoke from charcoal grills as friends gather in backyards to share conversation and wind down from the work week.
When hosting a barbecue, you have plenty choices for your fare. While ribs, pork butts and "drunken" chicken are certainly delicious options, I have a recipe for a unique, crowd-pleasing combination that is inexpensive, easy to make and even easier to eat.
My friend Jason Butler and I developed these Spicy Hawaiian Sliders during the "Beer and Bones Barbecue Competition" last summer at F. Jones Corner. We placed third overall.
Though we call these mini delicacies "Spicy Hawaiian Sliders," they have a definite Mexican twist to them and go well with homemade guacamole and tortilla chips.
This recipe pairs nicely with good music and Abita's Strawberry Harvest Lager, or any good wheat or Mexican beer for that matter. As for the music, I leave that in your hands.
Spicy Hawaiian Sliders and Homemade Guacamole
3 medium jalapeno peppers
1 small yellow onion
1 bundle of cilantro
salt and pepper
1 pack of bacon (cooked crispy)
2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup barbecue sauce
Ground cayenne pepper
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Fresh pineapple (sliced)
Tortilla chips, to serve
Dice the jalapenos, onion and tomato separately and set aside. Be sure to de-seed the peppers before dicing them. Mince cilantro and set to the side. Peel avocados and remove seeds. Combine fruit from the avocado along with onions, half of the diced jalapenos and a third of your cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Season with juice from half the lime, one teaspoon of salt and 1/3 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir together with large, wooden spoon, keeping avocados somewhat chunky. Add tomato and stir gently until it is mixed in. Add additional cilantro or salt to taste. Garnish dip with a couple of slices from the other half of the lime and sprinkle just a little minced cilantro on top. Serve with tortilla chips. Do not discard leftover ingredients, as you will need some of them for the sliders.
At this point, you should light your coals. Return to the kitchen and cut your cooked bacon into bits. A pair of kitchen scissors works well for this. In another large mixing bowl, combine ground chuck, ground pork, panko breadcrumbs, bacon bits, teriyaki, the rest of the jalapenos, egg, one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Fold together with a wooden spoon until ingredients are mixed. Do not over-mix, as your meat will lose its texture. Form patties about 4 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick.
In a separate bowl, combine barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar. If you want it to be really spicy, add a couple pinches of cayenne pepper.
Cook burgers two to four minutes on each side over hot coals. After flipping the patties, add pineapple slices to the grill, flipping once while your meat finishes. Glaze each patty with barbecue sauce mixture, top with a pineapple slice and sprinkle with a generous pinch of cilantro before placing onto buns. Garnish serving platter with any leftover pineapple slices and cilantro.
Serve and enjoy!