Red Wine Braised Beef

I ran across a good deal on flank steak at my local grocery store the other day and since I haven’t done anything with that type of meat in a while I picked some up. Now the thing is, I did not want to prepare it my usual way which is to season it, grill it and then thinly slice it for fajitas, I wanted to do something different. So I started looking around the internet for recipes that sounded good to me like I do every now and again. I actually came across several that sounded really good and decided to take a couple of ideas from each and then add a little of my own special touch to come up with a recipe of my own. Once prepared  the beef is good on its own or as a filler for a killer sandwich, which is what I did.

What you need:

Flank steak (2 to 2 ½ lbs cut into 2 even pieces).

Olive oil

Fresh Garlic (3 or 4 cloves)

2 medium red onions (halved and sliced)

1 bottle red wine.

Oven safe skillet

sea salt

black pepper

Prep

In a large oven safe skillet add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium high heat until it can move around and cover the bottom of the pan. Then take both pieces of flank steak and brown them on either side, adding salt and pepper to both sides as you turn them. Do not worry about cooking all the way through at this time. Once they are browned on either side remove from skillet and add in onions and garlic. Saute the onions and garlic until they start to turn clear. Now add the steak back in the pan on top of the veggies and pour in enough red wine to cover about ¾ of the way. Place the pan in the over (preheated to 350). Let it cook uncovered for about and hour. When you start to notice that the wine is almost gone remove the pan flip the steaks and add more wine (cover about ¾ of the way again). Now put the pan back in the oven for around another hour. When the wine has almost cooked away (leaving just a little) remove from the oven and let it cool. Once it has cooled enough to handle you will want to shred the beef and then stir it and the onions all together in the pan.

Now for the sandwich part if you would like to recreate what I did.

You will need:

Bohio rolls (or small sandwich rolls)

Blue cheese crumbles

Cut the bohio rolls in half long ways. Scoop on a nice helping of the beef on to the bottom half of the roll and then cover it with the blue cheese crumbles. Place the top on to make a sandwich and wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. Place it in the oven (preheated to 450) and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove and take out of the foil.

And for the final step…Enjoy.

 

Thanks for reading

JMW

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CBQ Eatery

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

Today I put my reviewer hat back on to bring to you a little (or not so little) bite of heaven. I don’t have a hard time saying when something is good or bad but it is a little harder for me to say something is truly great or dare I say incredible. Well to today my friends I can tell you for certain that I have had the best burger I have ever eaten. Looking through urban spoon to find a new place to try, I came across the CBQ Eatery and since it already had quite a few positive things being said about it I decided it was the place to try for this trip. I saw that it is only a few mile away up north 35 in Schertz on the north east side of San Antonio, so I hopped in my truck and headed out.

When you walk in the building you get a sense of the atmosphere right off the bat. The walls are filled with posters of many of my favorite rock groups and it has great rock and roll playing throughout the building. The staff is very friendly and the dining area is wide open and not cramped in the least. Looking over the menu you see a few familiar items and a lot of unique items that start to catch your eye.

The first of which is the starter I decided to go with. Blue Cheese BBQ chips. They start with house BBQ potato chips and cover them in chopped BBQ then cover that in blue cheese sauce and crumbles. It is a very impressive and unique flavor and you will be surprised at how much you get for your money. It is a heaping plate full that shocked me when they set it down. The combo of sweet BBQ and tangy blue cheese sitting on top of those crispy chips is absolutely amazing and something I will not soon forget and something I look forward to tasting again.

After looking over the menu for quite a while trying to figure out which of the many unique sounding dishes CBQ has I decided to try one of their many burgers. This one is called the Selma Speed Trap and is an 8 ounce Angus beef patty served on a toasted sourdough bun, it comes topped with cheddar cheese, a fried egg and chicken fried bacon. Yes you read that correctly, they take thick strips of bacon and then batter them and drop them in the deep fryer (it is amazing as it sounds). You can also add from a wide array of different toppings. I chose to add lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mayo but I will tell you that no matter what you put on yours it will be just as great. I can’t imagine a topping combination that wouldn’t taste good on these burgers. They serve the burgers on these aluminum baking trays and when it is sat down in front of you may be shocked. This is a pretty big burger and even I ended up having to bring half of it home with me, although it didn’t last long once I did get home as I couldn’t fathom the idea of reheating it. The flavor of the meat was one the most impressive flavors I have ever had. I won’t even try to describe it because I know I won’t be able to do it justice but take my word for it that you will be amazed.

My dining companion this trip tried the Darrel’s Macho burger which is the same patty served on the same type of sourdough bun as mine but is topped with cheddar, provolone and pepper jack cheese and is covered in a grilled poblano and jalapeno sauce. I tried a bite of this one as well and have to say that it was equally as impressive as mine and will be one try in the future. The sauce on it was pretty fantastic and had the right amount of flavor and heat that compliments the meat perfectly.

Normally I would get a side dish such as fries or onion rings which they serve both, and If you have read my past reviews you know I have a great love of onion rings and I was dying to try the ones at CBQ but after the giant appetizer and seeing the size of the burgers I had to leave them for my next visit. I just couldn’t imagine trying to find room for anything else. Now don’t go thinking that this is just a burger joint because they also serve BBQ and a variety of sandwiches (or sang’whichs as they call them) that all sound great. CBQ also has a full bar that has quite a variety of drinks and beers. All in all this place is a hidden gem that I am surprised was able to fly under my radar for as long as it did. I am looking forward to trying it again and highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for great food and a fun atmosphere.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Fish Tacos

If you live on either coast and like seafood then you have probably at least once tried a fish taco. They have even started popping up in some of the larger chain restaurants over the last few years and seem to be growing in popularity all over. For the most part every one is prepared the same way with only a few subtle changes made. Some may be fried fillets of fish while others are grilled and almost all have some sort of slaw and a creamy sauce on top and are served on either a corn or flour tortilla. While I enjoy these very much I also like to come up with new ideas and new ways to to look at classic food items, so I set forth and came up with my own unique take on the fish taco. Here is what you need.

 

Ingredients

Two or three large tilapia fillets

1 medium white onion (chopped into medium sized pieces)

2 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 large poblano pepper (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

1 lime

½ tablespoon course sea salt

½ tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chilli powder

olive oil

½ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

Corn or flour tortillas

 

In a large non stick skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat and add onions, garlic and peppers. You will want to cook the onions, garlic and peppers until they start to caramelize. The secret is to get them just to the point of getting the dark crisp edges and then reduce the heat to medium. With a spatula move them to the edges of the pan and add two more tablespoons of olive oil. Now place the tilapia fillets in the pan and let them seer on one side for several minutes. Salt and pepper the filets as they cook. When the fillets have turned white a little over half way through turn them over and repeat on the other side. Salt and pepper the other side. If a filet starts to fall apart do not worry as you will be breaking them up in a few minutes anyway. Once you have seared both sides use your spatula and start breaking up the filets into smaller pieces and mix with the peppers and onions. Now add the cilantro and chili powder and mix throughout the pan. Once everything has started taking on the color of the chili powder remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Give the mixture one final stir to get the lime flavor spread around.

 

If you are using flour tortillas you will want to take a hand full and heat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving. If you are using corn tortillas you can heat another skillet and heat the corn tortillas in a single layer (both sides until they start to loosen up).

 

Now you are ready to assemble. Just take a big scoop of your taco mixture and place it in the center of the tortilla and fold it over. You can add some fat free cheddar or some pico or salsa if you like but to be honest it doesn’t need it. Every now and then I will add a few dashes of hot sauce such as Cholula or Tapatio to spice it up but these tacos really stand on their own.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading

JMW

BBQ Baked Beans

When it comes to food I am not as picky as most. I will be the first to try just about anything and have a wide array of likes but one of my favorites is good old fashioned BBQ. I am talking BBQ from the southeast where they know how to do it right and you can walk in to most restaurants and get a pulled pork sandwich served on garlic toast with a side of baked beans and creamy cole slaw. Don’t get me wrong. I like all kinds off BBQ from all over but there is just something about the BBQ from the southeast that hits the spot like no other. This brings me to one of my favorite and simplest recipes. Living in Texas now you can’t hardly find a BBQ joint that does good old fashioned BBQ beans, which is a shame because everyone I have made them for has gone nuts over them and always comment on how they have never had anything like them before. You here me TX BBQ joints??? You could make a killing!!!

So here is a very simple yet effective way to make a hearty side that everyone will love.

This recipe can be made with or without beef. I personally prefer it with the beef but I will leave it up to you to decide how you like it.

Ingredients

1 large can of Bushes home style baked beans

1 lb lean ground beef

1 18oz bottle BBQ sauce (I use Kraft classic)

½ cup brown sugar

Prep

In a large skillet or pot brown the ground beef adding just a little salt and black pepper while it browns to season (make sure to get the edges a little crispy) and then add the beans to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, Now stir in the entire bottle of BBQ sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes to get heated back up. Once it has heated back up you will want to start adding the brown sugar, making sure to stir it in as you add it to make sure it is good and blended. Reduce the heat a little more so that it will simmer and meld the flavor but not bubble over and burn. Let them cook like that for about 15 to 20 minutes stirring every now and then to keep from sticking. If you want to add a little something extra, a few sprinkles of garlic powder can be added to give it just a little something extra.

Now all that is left to do is serve and enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Southwestern Meatloaf

OK. Let’s talk meatloaf for a minute. Everyone has their own version and idea of how it should taste or what it should look like and while most restaurants have it I have never found one that was great. Some are to sweet and some are to dry, some use brown gravy while others use tomato sauce. Do you add bacon on top or go without? What peppers do you use and should you add bread crumbs or actual diced up bread. I could go on and on with all of these as I have heard it discussed by many people. While I have my own recipe for meatloaf that I love I had an idea the other day to spice it up a bit and came up with a southwestern meatloaf recipe that knocked my socks off and wanted to share it with you.

Lets get started.

Ingredients

Sauce (make before hand)
16 oz medium salsa
1 bottle Kraft BBQ sauce

Meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb to 1 lb Mexican chorizo (depending on your taste)
1 medium red onion (finely chopped)

2 green onions (finely chopped, green part and all)
4 large jalapenos (seeded and finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
Cilantro 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

First you will make the sauce. Mix both the BBQ sauce and salsa together in a bowl let sit in the fridge for an hour before mixing meatloaf. This will give the flavors a little bit of time to blend.

Now add all of the meatloaf mixture ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 of the sauce mixture in with it. Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. You want to make sure that everything is mixed well together.

Put the meatloaf mixture in a baking dish such as a casserole dish making sure it will be large enough to hold the rest of the sauce without it spilling over. Shape the meatloaf into a nice even loaf and then use your fingers to separate it from the edges of the baking dish so that there is about a half and inch between the meatloaf and the edge of the dish. Now pour in the sauce making sure to cover the entire thing evenly and so that it fills in around the sides.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the meatloaf for an hour and a half to two hours (depending on the size of your oven. I usually bump it up to 400 degrees for the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking but I like it to start to get a little crisp around the edges.

Once it is done you will let it cool a little and then slice it and serve with your favorite sides.

This is one of those recipes that turned out to be a keeper. Once it started cooking I could smell it throughout the house and new it would be good. Depending on where you located you may have a harder time finding the chorizo but since it is becoming more a more a part of recipes these days you shouldn’t have to search to far to get it for this recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Branching out

Hello everyone. I wanted to take a minute to let you all know that SA Dining will be branching out into more than just restaurant reviews. Soon I will be offering up some of my most successful and unusual recipes. I have been cooking for a long time and am always trying to come up with something new and exciting. Over the years I have dabbled and come up with some very interesting dishes  So keep an eye out and let me know what you think.

 

Thanks for reading

JMW

The Salt lick BBQ

Great ***
Pretty Good
OK
No Thanks

Who’s ready for BBQ? Because for this weeks review SA Dining went on a road trip and came up with a winner. Right outside of Austin in Round Rock is a BBQ joint called The Salt Lick. They are known for their unique open pit smokers and delicious food all over Texas, so while I was in Austin I decided to head on over and give them a try.
As soon as I stepped out of my truck I could smell the smoke and it made my mouth start watering. I don’t know if this was just due to the anticipation of the meal to come or if it was because it just smelled so good. Either way I was ready to get inside and see what awaited me. When you walk in the door to The Salt Lick you see kitchen off to the right and everyone buzzing around chopping and cutting some of the best looking BBQ I have seen outside of my own smoker. At the corner of the counter they have a few of their homemade pies sitting on display and I knew I would have to try one, but more about that later. The seating is picnic style with long tables and benches for everyone to sit together and enjoy. I can imagine that when it is busy this can be a little bit annoying as I don’t really care for sharing my table with complete strangers but luckily I did not have to worry about it since they were not very busy when I got there.
After looking over the menu and having a very hard time deciding on just one thing I thought it would be a good idea to go with the all you can eat BBQ family style dinner. This means they bring you a little bit of everything including beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs for the meats and potato salad, Cole slaw, beans, bread and pickles and onions for sides.
I’m going to go ahead and get the sides out of the way before moving on to the meat. Most of these are just standard sides that you get at almost any BBQ place in Texas. The beans are just regular barracho beans which Texas is know for serving with everything BBQ related. While I am from the east coast originally and prefer BBQ baked beans these actually had a pretty nice flavor. The Cole slaw was a little bit better than most places but was still not the Cole slaw I grew up on. Most Texas restaurants make Cole slaw by shredding cabbage and dousing it in vinegar, where I am used to it having a little more creaminess to it with a little mayo and sugar added. Basically I like Cole slaw to have flavor and most of the restaurants out here do not make it that way. Now we move on to the potato salad which they take a different approach to making. This is a non mayo based potato salad that has more of a mustard flavoring to it. While it came off a little bland to me it was still pretty good, and when you added some of the signature BBQ sauce to it it was fantastic. Those are the big guns for the sides and while they were OK I am sure that they are not the reason that most people visit The Salt Lick.

The reason everyone visits The Salt Lick is because of the BBQ and I can say that I now know why. When they set the plate with all of the meat down in front of me I knew that I was in for a treat but I had no idea it would be as good as it was. The first thing I tried was the brisket and it was pretty good. It had a nice smokey flavor and those black crisp edges known as bark that everyone loves. The flavor is good enough that you don’t need sauce but it is even better with it added. My next taste came from the smoked sausage. I have eaten a lot of smoked sausage in my time and had many different flavors and variations but none of them were quite as good as this smoked sausage. I’m not sure if it was the flavor of the sausage or the the flavor that the smoke gave it but either way it was pretty incredible and when you added the BBQ sauce to it you have a flavor combo that cant be beat. I didn’t think that it could get any better than that and was perfectly happy with continuing on until there was no sausage left but I had these port ribs sitting there calling out to me to be tried. So I pushed past the sausage, picked up a rib and bit in to it. First let me tell you that there wasn’t much biting involved because it pretty much fell apart and started melting in your mouth it was so tender. Like the sausage the flavor was incredible and even better with a little sauce. The ribs were perfectly cooked and some of the best tasting I have ever had which says a lot because I grew up eating stuff like this. I’m not sure about you but when in comes to BBQ there are some things that need BBQ sauce and some that don’t, but there are also some that don’t but taste that much better if the sauce is good. The latter applies in the case of just about everything at The Salt Lick. The sauce is a unique blend that uses no tomatoes and has a slightly sweet but mustard flavor to it. It is not a very thick sauce but is thick enough to stick to your food and it is great on everything.
Now after that you would not think that I would have had room to try anything else but when I saw the list of deserts on the menu I had to give it a try anyway. You can choose between a slice of their homemade pecan pie or a bowl of their peach or blackberry cobbler and have a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream added on top of any of them. I opted for the pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream. The pie it self was pretty good but not the best I have ever had. I think the consistency was a little off for me. Instead of being gooey like a pecan pie should be it had more of a pumpkin pie consistency to it which I wasn’t really expecting. But the flavor was spot on and when you add the ice cream nothing else seemed to matter.
After all of that you can count it a sure thing that the next time I happen to be up in Austin I will be making time for a trip back to The Salt Lick and maybe a spot for a nice long nap afterward.

Thanks for reading,
JMW