EPIC Thanksgiving: Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf-Stuffed Turkey

I wanted the title of this post to be Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Turkey Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Chicken Breast and Bacon-Wrapped Lamb Meatloaf..but it’s kind of a mouthful (pun intended…always).

I’m trying to think of how to introduce this meat monstrosity into the world.  I thought about saying “Close your eyes and imagine a moist lamb meatloaf surrounded by bacon, chicken and goat cheese stuffed inside a perfectly cooked turkey.”  But then I realized this is the Internet and people cannot close their eyes..because that would hinder the whole reading process.  Epic meat makes me dumb.

So, what I really want to say is: block off a weekend for this.  You need to fully wrap your head around it.  I gotta apologize for how lengthy this recipe is, but I promise it is worth it.  Need proof?








Check and check.



Good God, Almighty..what have we done?

Sorry, I’m not really religious.  Just overwhelmed.

OK.  Let’s do this EPIC thang.

Meat Monstrosity

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Top 10 New Foods at the 2012 State Fairs

Well, in regards to ridiculous overloads of novelty foods, it’s all downhill from here—state fair season is over for the year. We’ll have to wait for months before a stream of deep-fried, chocolate-covered, bacon-wrapped indulgences can once again make their appearance in our diets. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the most shocking new creations that made their debut onto the state fair food scene in 2012. Steel your arteries…

10. BIG Beef Rib – California State Fair

You’d think that a normal beef rib would contain enough animal flesh, but you would be wrong, and the California State Fair is here to prove it. They’ve jammed a giant 24-oz. steak ONTO a 17-inch beef rib bone. Why?! Because they can. (Photo: Cavegrrl.com)

9. Deep Fried Cotton Candy – Texas State Fair

We saw deep fried Kool-Aid and deep fried salsa at last year’s state fairs, so we should have known that cotton candy couldn’t be that far off. Pretty crazy, because it seems like the spun sugar would melt in the deep fryer. Life is full of mysteries. Not enough sweets for you? Don’t worry, this treat is served by a frozen yogurt purveyor, so feel free to use these giant balls of fried sugar as a topping on your froyo. (Photo: Cassie’s Frozen Yogurt)

8. Outlaw Stacker – Eastern Idaho State Fair

We all know that french fries are a great base for all kinds of toppings, and the Eastern Idaho State Fair really took that idea and ran with it. The Outlaw Stacker is a huge pile of fries smothered in gravy, bacon, and a fried egg. The name rings true—health and nutrition are truly outlawed in this dish. And we’re okay with that. (Photo: Eastern Idaho State Fair)

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Award-Winning Lamb Nachos

If ES can do anything, we can make bar food appetizing, and we can make it win competitions. Yes, really.

After you all voted for Russell’s Welsh Rarebit Lamb Nachos, he was paired with Chef John Critchley of Urbana to help perfect the dish for the big event, and perfect it he did. Russell and John took the nachos and turned them into, well…really fucking fancy nachos.

We headed to the Lamb Pro-Am after a hearty breakfast at Urbana (read: bottomless champagne). I stocked up on Lamb swag, then sampled beer while Russell and John served the masses their delicious, cheesy, fancy-looking nachos.

Here is Russell and John’s award-winning recipe!

Slow Roasted Lamb Nachos with Welsh Rarebit and Scallions

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Welsh Rarebit Lamb Nachos

Recently, I was invited to participate in a recipe competition hosted by the American Lamb Board. I think in all the years in writing for ES I’ve only ever cooked up one lamb dish. In a moment of weakness I agreed to participate. The premise of the contest is to create an original dish (do they even exist these days?) using a cut of meat provided to us by the good folk at Border Spring Farms in Virginia — in this case a dry aged boneless leg of lamb.

The more I thought about creating a dish with a slab of meat I’m not incredibly comfortable with, the more I became intimidated. I’m in this contest with a flock (ha! I apologize) of other DC-area food bloggers and these guys are pretty awesome. In the spirit of all things Endless Simmer I decided to do what I do best — nachos. We’re big fans of nachos, actually pretty wild about them here, so it seemed fitting I’d go this route. I just hope I didn’t disrespect the meat.

But I still brought a little class. Growing up in England, I always associated lamb with Wales. I would holiday there a lot as a kid and it wasn’t uncommon to see sheep and lambs in the rolling fields of the countryside as I was camped out in a tent in an adjacent field — welcome to my childhood. In that vein I thought I would bring a little of Great Britain to these nachos and instead of using plain old cheese, I’d go with Welsh Rarebit, in the hopes of allowing the flavors of the lamb to shine through.

Slow Roasted Lamb Nachos with Welsh Rarebit and Scallions

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The Perfect Rack — Lamb Ribs

At The Farm and Fisherman in Philadelphia last week, it wasn’t just the bloody beet steaks that were a hit. I especially enjoyed the lamb ribs. I don’t recall ever seeing lamb ribs on a grocery shelf before, let alone a restaurant menu, but it makes sense: lambs must have ribs, which could only mean we are meant to eat them.

I decided I had to cook this myself for Sunday night dinner. But where to find the lamb ribs? I tracked them down at Whole Foods, where I had to speak with the butcher as they weren’t on the shelf. The Farm and Fisherman served their ribs sumac crusted, but I was unable to find sumac and was only offered moderate encouragement, so I decided to go a different route. I found this New York Times recipe, which I used as a base, straying somewhat for creative ownership.

Recipe after the jump.

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Extreme Simmer: The SousVide Supreme

sous vide

So after hearing me bitch for the last two years about how everyone on Top Chef gets to sous vide but I don’t, someone finally decided to throw me a bone. The folks over at SousVide Supreme, the first legit sous vide machine aimed at home cooks, sent me over one of their $450 contraptions to test out for a few weeks. Woo-hoo!

For those who need a recap: sous vide cooking involves vacuum sealing ingredients in plastic bags with this neat little contraption:


That’s actually the most fun part, watching all the air get sucked right out of the bag. Then you submerse the bag in a thermal hot water bath that’s designed to remain at an exact pre-set temperature, down to the degree:

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The Ultimate NYC Hot Dog Crawl

Wherever you live, you’re surely familiar with the lure of The New York Hot Dog. And if you consume any kind of food media, you’re also probably aware that there’s no longer any reason to limit your NYC hot dog intake to those slimy wieners sold from carts in Central Park – or even to the recession special at Gray’s Papaya. Hot dogs are this year’s comfort food gone gourmet, and every hot NYC chef seems to be adding the once humble frankfurter to their repertoire, usually topping it with something new and more outrageous than the last guy.

Over at Oyster Local this week, I took a look at four of the best new high-end hot-dog shops in Greenwich Village, which inspired me to dig a little deeper and come up with this list of NYC’s best new gourmet hot dogs (along with a few classic stops) for the ultimate, 20-link New York Hot Dog Crawl. No, I have not actually completed this crawl, at least not all in one day, but if anyone’s up for the challenge I think I have a few free Sundays coming up. Let’s all just make sure our health insurance is up-to-date first.

1. Nathan’s Famous


Duh! The basic classic, just for starters. 1310 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn (Photo: Meg Zimbeck)

2. Willie’s Dawgs


Park Slope gets a little crazy with Niman Ranch beef dogs (or tofu ones — this is Park Slope, after all) stuffed in challah or rye rolls and finished with some inspired toppings like baked beans and salsa.  351 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn (Photo: Stumptown Panda)

3. Bark Hot Dogs


Gourmet hot dogs get the brownstone Brooklyn treatment, sourced from locally-raised meats, doused in a classed-up cheese sauce, served in an eco-friendly environ, and paired with Six Point ales. 474 Bergen St., Brooklyn (Photo: Cherrypatter)

4. Smoke Joint


Fort Greene’s favorite BBQ spot brings the hot meat-on-meat action by topping a Black Angus dog with pulled pork, beef or chicken (and some homemade coleslaw). I know you can’t see much of the dog, but trust me, it’s worth the mouth-work to get there.  87 S. Eliott Place, Brooklyn (Photo: Senorjerome)

5. Asia Dog


New York’s hippest hot doggery is, of course, not one restaurant but a rotating curated party for those in the know. These bahn mi dogs are found at Williamsburg’s Trophy Bar, but only on Tuesday nights. They also pop up elsewhere in Brooklyn and LES throughout the week.  351 Broadway, Brooklyn, On Tuesdays. (Photo: LadyDucayne)

6. San Antonio Bakery 2


Slip into Queens for the Chilean take on hot dogs: slathered with avocado puree, mayo, onions, tomato, and just a little bit of hot salsa, on a crusty homemade bun.  3620 Astoria Blvd., Queens (Photo: Pabo76)

7. Frankie’s Franks


Like the marathon, we’ll dip into the Bronx for a moment just to say we did. At FF’s, you get two fried hot dogs stuffed in one roll, topped with onions, peppers, AND potatoes. They actually call this a Jersey-style dog; I’m not sure if that’s authentic Jerz, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!)  2330 Arthur Ave., The Bronx (Photo: Kay::Snyder)

8. Fatty Crab


Hotshot chef Zak Pelaccio makes the case for the $13 hot dog: homemade pork sausage topped with pickled chilies, cucumber, radish and cilantro, then laced with a spicy Asian aioli and stuffed in a toasted potato bun.  2170 Broadway (Photo: Scaredy_kat)

9. Brooklyn Diner


When size matters, it’s hard to beat the foot-plus-long frank served at this midtown Manhattan (confusingly, not Brooklyn) institution. The 15-inch dawg comes on a comically small but beautifully buttery bun, along with onion rings, relish, mustard and kraut.  212 W. 57th St. (Photo: Jeffery and Rachel Vanneste)

Continue Reading: the next ten hot dogs

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