Tue May 18, 2010
The meat is back, and we
got had it! The season came to an official open this past Sunday with a Cuban inspired feast of proportions that would send lesser meat eaters running for the hills. Pernil, Cubanos, rotisserie chicken, sweet and fried planatains, rice, corn, ice cream...we devoured it all, leaving no survivors in our insatiable appetites for all things meat.
Oh Pernil, how do I love thee, let me count the ways:
Your succulent, juicy meat that emerged after roasting for six hours—transforming a fatty and gristly pork shoulder into one of the tastiest of treats. Tender chunks of meat mixed with crispy, garlicky outsides, coming together as an a explosion of flavor and texture that left us all salivating.
Your meat, piled high on a roll along with ham, swiss, dill pickles, and mustard, then grilled under a brick to form the sandwich of sandwiches—a Cubano. All that great Pernil flavor with the added complexity of creamy, sour, and crunchy elevated your greatness into pure excellence.
Your crackling skin. If it wasn't enough to leave us with that exquisite meat, you further gratified our palates with that crunchy, salty, and garlicky skin. Such a sinful snack never tasted so good.
If all the incarnations of pernil were not enough, I added another meaty treat to the menu—a mojo marinated chicken. I've fallen in love with this rotisserie chicken at a local Cuban joint near my workplace. So much so that I've been on a quest to replicate it at home. This represents my best effort to date—a chicken doused in the sour orange Mojo sauce, then set over a hot fire on the rotisserie, producing a flavorful browned skin and juicy, juicy meat laying just underneath.
With all that meat, who had room for fruit? Well, for these plantains, everybody made room. So sweet they charred almost the second they hit the grill (at which point I thought I had ruined them), these were the perfect accompaniment to the saltier items of the day. Eaten back-to-back with some garlicky peril or citrusy chicken, the contrast of flavors was exciting and quite excellent.
I can never decide between the sweet, yellow plantains and the fried, green ones...so why choose? No need at the Meatwave, because I was serving up both. Having made tostones—twice fried green plantains—for the first time just a few weeks earlier, I was surprised how easy they were and how much better they tasted made fresh at home compared to what I've eaten at restaurants so far. Since they required only a minimal extra effort, I saw no harm in frying up a batch to sit next to their sweet counterpart.
Warm weather and the Meatwave have brought my ice cream making tendencies back into full swing. Busting out the fitting classic dulce de leche ice cream, it was just the right note to top a day of fine eating.
With a new season comes new surprises at the Meatwave, none as great as Rex—Nick and Kait's new best friend. Getting started at the ripe young age of 4 months, I have a good feeling this dog is going to be living the meaty life for a long time to come.
As much as I love the meat, I must say it would all be for nothing if I didn't have such great friends to share it with. This first Meatwave brought out some faces I hadn't seen since the last one back in October, which made the day extra special. There's no greater pleasure then enjoying some good times and good foods with great people, and that's the Meatwave, and why I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store.