Endless Pairings: Emeril’s Chophouse

Emerils

While it’s clear we that love craft beer here at ES, we do not play favorites. Which is why we took advantage of an opportunity to attend a four-course wine pairing dinner at Emeril’s Chophouse at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA.  The event was based on South American Wines (from Chile) and some fall-themed foods. My expectations for this event were pretty simple – learn more about wine (how it’s made, how to choose a wine for particular meals, what’s so special about Chilean wine?), have some great food that I couldn’t have otherwise, and taste wine that truly complements the food I’m eating with the wine. Rather than boring you with my oh-so-important and attention-worthy opinions of every course, I’ll give you the cliff notes version.

First, let’s talk about my educational expectations. Whenever I go to these kinds of events, I want to leave knowing more than I did when I first arrived. The woman in charge of the “educational” aspect of the event was a very well-versed representative from Southern Wine. She did a great job of explaining why she chose Chilean Wines for this event (it is under-represented and often under-rated) and giving a good run-down of the people that made the wine. Something that I appreciated was learning about what the winemakers intended for the wine, what kind of grapes they picked, and why they picked a particular region. For instance, when drinking my favorite wine of the night (Ritual Pinot Noir) I learned that the grapes are pressed with the berries still in a bunch. When this occurs, more pronounced tanin flavors come through in the wine (which is something that I look for in a dry red).  The one thing that was missing from the education aspect of the event was that she really did not discuss why she chose the particular wine for each course. Like I said – she gave great information about the wines, but not as much about why the wine was chosen for the courses.

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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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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.

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Food Porn of the Day: Burgers on Burgers

Smashburger Sampler Austin

I was invited to the pre-opening tasting of the new Smashburger here in Austin. I’m not much for burgers (unless they’re really exceptional) or “fast casual” type restaurants in general, but I’d heard a fair amount about the Colorado-based chain and decided to check it out. I will say the burgers (ground beef, chicken breast, and black bean) were much higher quality than your average chain burger, but they were still greasy, decadent, meaty… burgers. They held nothing back at the tasting event; the pic above is only part of what I was given to sample. I only ate a bite or so of each, otherwise I think my stomach would have exploded.

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Salt Block Root Beer Steak

satlblock

You’re probably wondering what a salt block root beer steak is, and you’d be right to, because well..until now, that has definitely not been a thing.

Here’s what happened: I had two exciting new products burning a whole in my kitchen, waiting to be used.

1) My still unused Christmas present: a Himalayan pink salt block from the Meadow. Salt blocks allow you to cook foods at 600-degree temperatures, while the salt rapidly sears proteins, caramelizes sugar, and yes, adds a wee bit of salty deliciousness. By the way, this is how beautiful it looks before you get into the nitty gritty of grilling on it:

salt block

2) A bottle of McCormick Root Beer Concentrate that came my way as part of McCormick’s Flavor of Together program, a yearlong initiative to share 1.25 million stories about how flavor both unites and defines people across the globe.

So, what exactly is root beer concentrate? Well, it’s kind of like vanilla extract, except instead of vanilla it adds a dash of root beer flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

In 1889, Willoughby M. McCormick went door to door selling one of McCormick & Company’s first products, Root Beer Extract. From there, the product quickly rose in popularity and led to a trending sensation of root beer floats and root beer home brewing in the early 1900s. In 2014, McCormick marks its 125th anniversary by celebrating the role flavor plays in all of our lives, inspiring flavorful conversation, and giving back to communities around the world. They asked me to come up with my own Root Beer Concentrate recipe…and clearly I was not going to make a plain old root beer float.

I’ve glazed meat in coke before, so I figured, why not root beer meat?

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Korean Empanada Night

Woo-hoo for wintry weather! As much as we all love pumpkin beers, food-wise fall really just seems like a tease until slow cooker season officially arrives. With the temps plummeting this week, I think it’s time to kick it off.

Empanadas

While pulled pork is usually my slow cooker weapon of choice, this week I decided to branch out and go for beef, inspired by Campbell’s Korean BBQ Slow Cooker Sauce. First off: wow, Korean food has really arrived in the mainstream, huh? You’ve come a long way, kimchi. Two: I know this is bordering on cheating, but what I appreciate about this sauce is that it’s actually made out of real food, rather than mostly additives. So you’ve got your peppers, garlic and all your savory spices in the bag, you just pour it over a rump roast and go to work. Seven hours later, you’ve got tender strands of Korean-style BBQ beef.

If you’re a normal person, you just throw that over some white rice and call it a night. Clearly, I had to do something more blog-worthy.

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There’s a Lot at Steak

steak chart

Guys, this column is for your eyes only so all you broads out there who stumbled onto this thinking that they might pick up a cool recipe or cooking tip can just stop reading now. This is intended for the Bros and not the Hos, so gals Google Jimmy Choo and we’ll see ya later…

They gone?….Alright then. Dudes, we’ve gotta unite. Time is definitely running out and ours is the last generation before the unthinkable so I’m talkin’ all in and balls out on this one! I’ll get right to the point:

We’ve gotta get the girls to stop eating our meat.

You heard me. Some of you guys love to shove it in their mouth anytime they ask for it but I’m telling ya, you’ve gotta start thinking about the rest of us here. This planet ain’t getting’ any bigger and with the way that the world population keeps growing, things aren’t looking good for us Male Meat Meisters. You’ve gotta face the hard facts and accept that Mother Earth has topped out on cattle production, i.e., those four legged steak factories. The world’s bovine fart chart is way in the red and it seems that methane and the ozone get along about as well as Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell, and we ain’t getting’ anymore cows but we’re gaining a bunch‘a new meat eaters everyday.

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