Monday, February 21, 2011

BBQ Gnocchi & Pulled Pork

This recipe will likely be what I'm ultimately remembered for. Any other accomplishment will likely be shadowed by the pairing of American BBQ with the tasty gnocchi ;). Give it a try and let me know if you like it!



BBQ Gnocchi with Pulled Pork


BBQ Gnocchi as a side dish with maque choux and BBQ chicken


Two months ago, I wrote about a dish I enjoy, BBQ Spaghetti. Many in the south know about it, mostly in the Memphis and northern Mississippi region. But it hasn't really picked up as much in the rest of the country. In fact, I can't recall seeing it on a regular menu at a BBQ joint outside that region, only as a special on occasion.

Whether I'm cooking BBQ on my own, or visiting a BBQ joint, I always prefer some sort of potato side dish. At home, that always means roasted garlic red mashed potatoes, along with a vegetable as the second side (grilled zucchini). At times, it might be a bean dish of some sort as the second side.

But my interest in BBQ Spaghetti got me to think of perhaps an even better pairing...



By swapping spaghetti for gnocchi, I could have my cake and eat it too: a potato pasta!




So here are two different ways to enjoy this tasty dish:


Pulled Pork & BBQ Gnocchi:

BBQ Gnocchi with Pulled Pork
Here's I used sweet and tender rib meat, but traditional pork shoulder used for pulled pork will work just as well.

1) Prepare the pork as you see fit, either rib meat or pork shoulder. If you have the many hours to smoke the meat correctly, go for it.
Shortcut: If you're using left-over pork, that will work fine too.



2) Make the gnocchi.

Gnocchi is an easy pasta to make on your own.
- Just take 1 pound of potatoes and boil until soft.
- in a separate pot, boil enough water to eventually cook the gnocchi
- Once the potatoes are complete, peel and set aside.
- Mash the potatoes
- in a mixing bowl or on a pasta board, combine the potatoes with 1/2 cup of flour.
- Add a pinch of salt, pinch of onion powder, pinch of garlic powder, small pinch of cayenne
- add about half an egg to the mix/pasta well
- knead until you have a dough ball
- cut pieces and form into the desired shapes, roughly 1/2 inch to an inch in size
- set aside

Shortcut: if you don't feel like making the gnocchi from scratch, you can always just buy pre-made gnocchi.

Alternative: sweet potato gnocchi is a perfect alternative...perhaps even the preferred choice.


3) Make your gnocchi sauce:
This will be a combination of ingredients to make along with your BBQ sauce choice. I'll pass on providing a BBQ sauce recipe and just assume most people trying this at home will be using a bottled sauce. No judgement will be passed if you opt to do that ;).

- Dice 1 cup of onion, 1 cup of red bell pepper, 1 cup of green pepper
- mince 4-5 garlic cloves to give you about a tablespoon of garlic. You can also opt to roast the 5 cloves of garlic and add them later in the process.
- in a sauce pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the garlic and onion.
- add the peppers to the sauce pan
- add a teaspoon of salt, and ground black pepper to taste
- reduce the heat and cover so that the onions start to caramelize and the peppers soften.


4) Finishing the Sauce:
Whether you've prepared your own BBQ sauce or using a bottled sauce, follow the same steps.
- remove the diced and sautéed mixture from heat
- add about a cup of BBQ sauce for starters
- mix all ingredients in the pan, cover, and let sit.


5) Cooking the Gnocchi:
At this time, you'll want to add the gnocchi to the boiling water. Cook for about a minute and place in an ice bath.


6) Putting it all together:
- In the empty pot you used to boil the gnochi, you can now add the completed sauce from the sauce pan.
- Now add the meat and the gnocchi and gently mix as to not damage the gnocchi, but to be sure to complete cover each one with sauce.
- If the gnocchi and BBQ pork mixture is too lightly covered in BBQ sauce, you can always add more BBQ sauce from your own recipe or bottle you're using.



Plate, eat, and enjoy.



BBQ Chicken with BBQ Gnocchi and Marque Choux

In addition to the recipe above where the primary meal is the BBQ Gnocchi, you can also enjoy it as a side dish. Just follow the same steps above to prepare the gnocchi and the sauce. Then just add it as a side dish to whatever BBQ meal you have in mind. Below is an example with a BBQ chicken breast along with maque choux as a side dish.

The 3 item combination might have been even better with collard greens, green beans or grilled zuchinni to add a little green to the dish.

And prepared on it's own, it's a vegetarian BBQ option too.



BBQ gnocchi as a side dish with BBQ chicken and marque choux

Monday, February 14, 2011

BBQ Baby Back Ribs from Kansas


There aren't too many options for fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs in Buenos Aires. For all the great meat dishes in the country, so much of the meat options require strict grilling. The idea of slow smoking meat for 6 hours seems alien to many chefs, almost sacreligious. 

I can't count the number of times I sought out places for BBQ ribs (pechito de cerdo) and even found locations that announce them as "BBQ". But most of the time, they aren't. 

Take La Carranzita in Palermo for example. They just take a rack of ribs, throw them on the grill, and put some kind of sauce on them. You can imagine how tough they area: chewy in the middle, burnt on the outside, and just too much work to even get any meat of of them. Even worse is when these same restaurants refuse to use a real barbacoa sauce and instead tries to make their own. And that's what they do at La Carranzita...they  seem to just take a bottle of ketchup, add some sugar and call is "BBQ sauce". 


Luckily, when a rib lover need a BBQ fix and doesn't want to put in an entire day to smoke them, there is Kansas in Palermo. 

I figured it was finally time to take some photogs of their ribs.


The ribs they offer are only baby back, which to me are like the Southwest Airlines of BBQ ribs. But they fall off the bone and don't taste like they've been pre-boiled to be tender. They have a nice smoky flavor and the sauce is excellent as well. Sides are french fries and coleslaw, but I swapped them out for candied batatas and grilled zucchini. 

Overall, they probably aren't much better than baby back ribs you'd get at an American Chili's. But for BA, it's the best of the best. 

The menu has a ton of other great options and specials. When I went this past Sunday, they had grilled swordfish on the menu...and that's a fish I rarely find here. 

They also have a killer dessert menu. Below you'll find their New York style cheesecake, in a frutilla sauce and topped with white chocolate shavings. Good stuff. 

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