Endless Pairings: Negra Modelo

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Mexican beer and fall-themed food. The perfect complement? Well, that’s what were determined to find out when Negra Modelo sent us a “pairing kit” to put it to the test. When presented with the opportunity to taste test, my answer is almost always yes. Negra Modelo sent us a box full of spices from The Spice House, two tulip glasses, a wooden cutting board, and a $50 Visa gift card to purchase the goods. Challenge accepted. Think of it as the at-home version of Chopped. Being seasonal food fans (mainly fall), we began planning a menu of fall foods that would highlight the spices (follow The Spice House recommendations) and pair well with a Vienna (dark) lager. Yes – a European beer style from Mexico. Here’s the menu:

  • Aged Cabot Cheese with apples, fig jam, balsamic glaze, and crostini
  • Spiced roasted brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato puree with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ribeye steak with Quebec beef spice
  • Cornish Hen with bicentennial seasoning
  • Pork with bavarian style seasoning

We had a friend over and made a beer pairing tasting menu. Negra Modelo was served with the appetizer, followed by a taste of each protein with the sides. The beer and food was judged based on the flavor of each, whether the spices complemented the food, and if the beer paired well with each “course.” On to the tasting notes:

Negra Modelo (ABV: 5.4%)

Appearance: Dark caramel with a red hue

Aroma: Sweet scents with subtle scents of toast

Taste: Sweet malts give caramel flavor, biscuit flavor with light herbal and earthy tastes

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp with lingering sweetness

Overall: A pleasant surprise, Negra Modelo provides more character than expected. While it is an InBev beer, I can forgive that if the brew offers some flavor. For a lager from Mexico, it offers the basic profile of a lager with extra sweetness of caramel and a toasty flavor as well. Tastes like it would pair well with fall foods. So here we go!

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Braised Beef Short Ribs_Bibigo

It’s Braised Meat Season: Celebrate with Short Ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs_Bibigo

Fall is a time for feasting upon braised meat, that is a fact I think we can all agree upon. I’m a big fan of short ribs in particular – when done right, they’re so tender and decadent. Short ribs might seem a little intimidating if you’ve never cooked them before, but they’re really not. Same with this recipe shared to us from our friends at Bibigo – you might be like, “Galbijjim?! What the what?!” but if you just follow along with their instructions, it’s easy! And have you tasted Korean style short ribs? They’re absolutely delicious and a great vacation from your more typical fall beef flavors. Case closed.

Korean Braised Beef Short Ribs

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Killen BBQ Beef Ribs

Food Porn Champion: The King of Beef Ribs

Killen BBQ Beef Ribs

This is an honest-to-god thing that I ate. OMG. I can’t even. It’s a Texas-style beef rib from the good folks at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland, TX. I didn’t have to travel to Pearland for this giant hunk of greatness, though – Killen came to me! They were featured at the Austin edition of the ultra-amazing Cochon555 Heritage BBQ event series, hosted right at W Austin. I ate so much that day, but it was worth every bite.

If you are a carnivore who is lucky enough to live in a city with an upcoming Cochon event (or if you have the means to travel to one…)  GO. I’m telling you. Go.

Watcha Gonna Do With All That Meat?



Forget summer weather or movie premieres. We ES-ers know that Memorial Day is the official start to one thing and one thing only: BBQ season!

Admittedly, some of us tend to get a little over-excited when it comes to how much meat is needed for one BBQ event. For others who find themselves headed into the first week of summer with an excess of leftover grilling, we’re very pleased to share this recipe from Andres Fernandez, the Executive Chef at the very delicious Morgan’s Barbecue in Brooklyn.

Andres’ recipe takes leftover BBQ brisket — whether from your own grill-out, or from roadside BBQ –and turns it into an amped-up sloppy joe.

Leftover Brisket Sloppy Joe

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Apricot Mango BBQ RIbs

Sweeten Up Your Usual BBQ… with Vanilla?!

Apricot Mango BBQ RIbs

Memorial Day Weekend is HERE! Thank god for my first official three-day weekend of 2014. I don’t know about you guys, but it’s not a true holiday weekend with out some solid grillin and chillin. I’m going to my friend Katie’s BBQ on Monday and I was brainstorming what I want to contribute when a press release from the peeps at Nielsen-Massey, announcing new BBQ recipes incorporating their premium vanilla. Vanilla as a meat seasoning?! A bit outside the box for me, but their recipes do sound ultra delicious. Give this one a try.

Apricot Mango BBQ Baby Back Ribs

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Salsa Verde and Tubular Meat


I never say no to tubular meat. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve wasted on overpriced dogs at Phillies games and at concerts when I in no way need a hot dog. Last summer I found myself with an entire freezer full of Ballparks after a sale at Wegmans. It’s become a running joke among my friends that I am a hot dog hoarder (make fun all you want, I ALWAYS have hot dogs). And two weeks ago on a trip to Chicago I FINALLY visited the infamous Hot Doug’s, which remains one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in Chicago (it was the only meat I had covered in slices of brie, and…..there were cheese fries).

Anyway. To kick off the release of the new book Haute Dogs, a bunch of other bloggers and I were asked to each make a component of the Ecuadorian Street Dog — and I volunteered to do the Salsa Verde. In my opinion, any salsa made with tomatillos is just superior. The flavor, the texture…I could drink this stuff like soup. I don’t, but I could. And sometimes I do throw it in a batch of white chicken chili, because why not? This salsa verde, however, is unique because it contains tomatoes, making it less verde than I prefer, and definitely less picante, but delicious on a piece of meat. It’s better if it makes it on o food, and isn’t just eaten straight from the bowl. Trust me.

 Salsa Verde from Haute Dogs by Russell van Kraayenburg

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Food Porn Bonanza: Franklin BBQ Edition

If you’re a BBQ lover, you’ve probably heard of Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue and the dude who makes brisket so delicious that all the food magazines/TV shows rave about it and people will wait 3+ hours in line to get their hands on some. Franklin Barbecue has only been open since 2009, originally a little trailer, but it’s already become an Austin legend. 

Last week I attended LiveFire, a big BBQ event out in Texas Hill Country, and of course Franklin was there serving up his meat to a long, long line of people. The dish? “Beef plate with ribs and smoked pimiento cheese.” The meat was tender and fatty (in a good way) and the pimiento cheese was straight-up crazy good.

So, now that you have the backstory, here’s just a few up close and personal moments with Franklin’s meat.

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