Tue Nov 8, 2016
I notoriously hate leftovers. I always feel bad tossing any remaining morsels from a meal or Meatwave, but the reality is I save them in a guise of not being wasteful, but I know they're just going to sit in my fridge for a week until I deem them too old for consumption, at which point they ultimately get the boot. So it's a little odd that I architected my last Meatwave to result in an abundance of leftovers, but I had good plans for all those smoked meats, forming them into new dishes that even I would be eager to consume, and so was born Meateorology.
As I was prepping for this Meatwave, I felt like I was both cheating myself and my guests by revolving the menu around items that were smoked and frozen a couple weeks past. That guilt quickly faded though as I assembled my first dish—pulled pork nachos. I defrosted my leftover pulled pork, heating it on the stove with additional sauce to keep it moist and delicious. I then spread the pork over freshly fried tortilla chips and topped with barbecue beans, longhorn cheddar, pickled jalapeños, and barbecue sauce. I then placed the entire tray on the grill, covered, and cooked until the cheese had melted. A sprinkling of scallions and squeeze of sour cream finished off this incredibly tasty tray of nachos.
Next up was finding a use for all that smoked turkey I had leftover, and these potato skins did that quite nicely. I employed the potato skin method that has served me well in the past, except instead of stuffing them with just cheddar, bacon, and green onions, I first filled each boat with smoked turkey and cheese, followed by a squeeze of barbecue sauce. Once the cheese was melted, I finished them with scallions, sour cream, and a little more sauce. Just like the nachos, these were so good that I would have never known they were partially constructed with leftovers if I hadn't made them myself.
Along with turkey and pulled pork, I had a whole piece of Texas-style smoked pork belly in the freezer too. My plan for this was a bit more simple, but no less delicious. I sliced the reheated belly into small pieces and nestled them in Chinese steamed buns. I then gave each a dollop of barbecue sauce and a few slices of pickled red onions and served. That intense peppery bite of the pork was awesome as a steamed bun—the smaller size and other accompaniments gave the meat some extra complexity without overshadowing its raw power.
Although I had enough leftovers to pull off this Meatwave without cooking one new thing, it's just not in my nature to do that. So in the meat department, I tried out an idea to use a Memphis dry method on chicken wings, and boy were the results glorious. Sweet, earthy, and spicy, these wings packed an immense, unique flavor and I can't wait to share the full recipe during my annual wing month in January!
This Meatwave had an equal share of vegetarians as meat eaters in attendance, so I couldn't forget them. Continuing on the party food theme, I grilled up jerk tofu, which I piled onto slider buns and topped with a mango salsa. I assume this might be a bit better of a vegetarian option than you'd get at the normal backyard cookout.
I've had a hankering to cook up some halloumi lately—a hard Cypriot cheese that can withstand being grilled. Halloumi is a bit pricier down here than it was back in Astoria, so it's becoming a special occasion type of cheese, so to make these couple bricks count, I made them into cheese toasts, topped with a watermelon salad. Definitely more fitting for a hot summer day than fall, this was still a welcomed respite from the otherwise heavy-handed dishes being served.
That covers all the savory stuff, but we also had cakes and brownies galore because...
It was Annabel's birthday! This was Annie's second birthday, and her second celebrating it at a Meatwave, so this kid is batting a hundred in life so far. It's clear Annie was a fan of the cake.
To help celebrate this joyous occasion was Steve, Leslie, and Lindsay captured here in the beautiful fall light.
Then there was Andrew and Kim, quickly becoming a couple of great Meatwave regulars.
And finally Kristin, Lindsay (again), and Jenny, with Bryan and Benji not pictured. It was a great crowd of friends, best weather for the Meatwave so far in North Carolina, and a damn tasty menu that all combined to having me looking forward to the next Meatwave. Hopefully relocating south means there can be another in November and/or December, because I feel like I'm finally hitting my groove here and don't want the good times to end.