So it’s only week two, and I’m already posting the WILDCARD.
- There are two reasons for this: we were throwing a BBQ, and Matt’s choice of ‘The Big ODE’ as the WILDCARD was the perfect recipe for the occasion. So I made it earlier (although I was planning on posting it later) and
- well, I’ll explain all at the end of this post. Although I think it will become pretty obvious as we go on…
‘The Big ODE’ is named after one of the Pitt cue Co’s Cornish suppliers. It is essentially a massive burger made up of pulled pork, sausage slices, gravy, pickles, hot sauce, coleslaw and more. HUGE.
The photos accompanying the recipe in the book are a step by step process of constructing the burger with its layers of deliciousness, topped with a glossy burger bun lid. Yum.
Then you read the recipe. Less of a recipe, more of an index of separate recipes. Nine in total:
- Potato Rolls or London Bath Buns (p.240)
- Barbeque Mayo (p.136)
- Pulled Pork Shoulder (p.135)
- House Sausage Slices (p.140)
- Devil Dip Gravy (p.130)
- Pitt Cue Burnt Ends (p.158)
- Vinegar Slaw (p.203)
- Bread & Butter Pickles (p.191)
- Hot Sauce (p.124)
Not exactly the most straightforward recipe, but I was up for the challenge!
The Bread & Butter Pickles need at least two weeks to develop, so I made these first.
I sliced five cucumbers and one onion into 4mm rounds using my Magimix processor (I mention my magimix a lot – I LOVE it) . They were then layered in a pan, with salt sprinkled on each layer.
I weighed it down using a round cake tin base and tins of food – this apparently helps to extract the water from the vegetables. It sat like that for four hours.
Rinsed, they were then cooked for a few minutes with cider vinegar, brown sugar, turmeric, cloves, black mustard seeds, fennel seeds and coriander seeds before being bottled up and put in the fridge.
I turned to p.136 for the BBQ Mayo recipe, which turns out is shop bought mayo mixed with Pitt Cue BBQ Sauce on p.122. I turned to p.122 as was met with a huge list of ingredients including Chipotle Ketchup on p.125.
Tomatoes, onions, cooking apples, chipotle chillies, cider vinegar, smoked sea salt and hot smoked paprika are cooked gently in a pan for two hours before being passed through a vegetable mouli. Luckily I have an attachment on my Magimix to do this, so it wasn’t difficult.
The mixture is then returned to the pan with muscavado sugar, and cooked until thickened. Boy did this have a kick! This was sweet and smoky, with a beautiful Sahara-desert-type-warmth from the chillies.
To start the BBQ sauce, you take a mix of fennel, cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns and celery seeds (a first for me).
Once ground, you fry it gently in a pan with onion and garlic. Apple juice and cider vinegar go in next and once reduced, are joined by maple syrup, French’s mustard, blackstrap molasses, apricot preserve, Chipotle Ketchup and smoked sea salt. A stick blender transforms it into a beautifully thick, shiny sauce. Add mayo to make the BBQ mayo. Done. It tasted amazing. But would I give up another three to four hours of life to make it again? Probably not.
Hot sauce. Cooked red peppers blitzed with grilled, blackened red chillies, sea salt, cider vinegar, maple syrup and garlic. It was ok. Quite mild – though I suppose it depends on the chillies you use. I was disappointed.
I was however, REALLY looking forward to making the House Sausage! an ÜBER sausage as they describe it, it consists of pork shoulder, pork belly, pork fat, beef flank, onions, mixed peppers, black pepper, smoked paprika, sea salt, ground coriander and a huge amount of chilli flakes.
Chopped into large chunks, the meat is left to sit, in the fridge, for a couple of hours to develop the flavours. Minced, it then returns to the fridge to firm up a little. The meat mixture is then rolled into, well, an über sausage, approximately 10cm in diameter, before being chilled again; this time wrapped in cling film suspended in a container of water.
Next – the Pulled Pork Shoulder. I was referred to another page for the recipe for the House Rub and then another for the Mother Sauce. At this point I was like ‘this had seriously better be worth it’ .
I didn’t follow the book’s cooking instructions which would have had me cooking for 16 hours. Instead, I googled and took a cooking method from Tesco.com which had the pork cooking for a much more manageable time of 5½ hours.
The Mother Sauce is a meaty gravy-type sauce, stirred through the meat once pulled. It’s made with (deep breath): dry-aged beef trim, beef stock, pork stock, shallots, butter, sweet Madeira, tomato ketchup, French’s mustard, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, cloudy apple juice, blackstrap molasses and pork dripping.
I made Potato Rolls on the morning of the BBQ: bread rolls made using the addition of creamy mashed potato and bacon fat. These were REALLY good. But then again, bread flavoured with double cream and bacon fat is never going to be a bad thing is it?!
The Devil Dip Gravy is made with another huge list of ingredients including chicken wings and button mushrooms.
By this point I couldn’t even be bothered to made the Pitt Cue Burnt Ends. Do you blame me? The recipe for them referred me to another three recipes in the book and would have taken another thirteen hours to cook. I was sure we wouldn’t miss it.
God, I almost forgot the Vinegar Slaw: red cabbage, white cabbage, fennel, red onions, toasted fennel seeds and fresh coriander all tossed with a dressing of olive oil and cider vinegar.
Construction of the burger: Bottom slice of burger bun, a swirl of BBQ mayo, pulled pork, sausage slice, centre slice of burger dipped in the Devil Dip Gravy, vinegar slaw, bread & butter pickles, hot sauce and finally the burger bun lid.
It was incredible. Possibly the best burger I’ve ever had. The house sausage was EPIC. It was packed full of flavour, and was really hot with chilli and smoked paprika. The pulled pork was moist and the pickles still retained a fantastic crunch.
I’d love to visit their restaurant in Soho and taste the real thing, but as for recreating it at home, I’m done. This burger took the best part of a week to make, and my enthusiasm for the book is now well and truly gone. Not to mention the fact that it cost me around £150 in total for what was essentially eight burgers! That’s just crazy!! Yes, there were plenty of leftovers to feed us for the following days, but it got a bit monotonous.
For authentic BBQ recipes, try this book. But for now,I’m done. I’ll stick to buying burgers like this from the Street Food vendors around Birmingham, with a new found respect for just how much work goes in to them.
Book club is now suspended until I find a much simpler book for next month.
Disclaimer : it may seem like it, but this post was in no way sponsored by Magimix – I just love my food processor 🙂