LOCATION: In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER: Finally warmer. High 75. Cloudy
As I previously wrote, George bought an unapproved item…..the HOG HEAD while we were last grocery shopping. (He has a way of doing this while unsupervised) It is a huge, ugly thing, frozen solid. I’ve heard that the best tamales made by Mexicans here in the Valley are those with hog head meat, so the heads are quite popular and are readily available in the supermarket.
After thawing, the hog head became the focal point of Sunday. Super Bowl was a distant second. George watched a YouTube video to learn how to prepare it. First, he hosed it down to remove the dirt, hairs, and other unidentifiable objects. (I prefer not to think about it)
It has a cute little ear thing going on
Then, George got the smoker grill going with wood chips and pieces of wood left from our last fire in the firepit. It made a lot of nice smoke.
The head smoked all day, giving off pleasant aromas of smoked meat. It smelled a lot better than it looked.
He removed the tongue and boiled it separately in a pan. (I have no idea what to do with the tongue meat afterwards).
He poured apple juice on the wood chips to create more aromatic smoke. He added all sorts of ingredients to the smoking liquid, helping me clear out the refrigerator….honey, pickle juice, dried garlic, a jar of jalapenos in rum, and orange juice.
It continued to smoke throughout the Super Bowl game. We invited over a couple whom we introduced to housesitting who are visiting our village. I made two main snacks — a bacon/artichoke dip and stuffed jalapenos. After the game, the head finished smoking, altogether about 10 hours.
We went to bed, deciding to deal with the hog head tomorrow, and letting it soak overnight in the smoking broth. Notice the little teeth…..
DINNER: Dinner was the Super Bowl appetizers, as the game started at 5:30 PM. These are 2 recipes I recently found, and they turned out remarkably well (especially if you like spicy)
1) Smoked Gouda and Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers
2 links Mexican chorizo (or soy chorizo)
1/2 pound smoked gouda, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 T hot sauce
salt and pepper
12 large jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved. I used some poblanos, too. To add smokiness, we charred the peppers first on the grill
Brown chorizo, about 10 minutes. Drain the fat off. Mix everything together and stuff them into the peppers. Bake about 20 minutes
2) Artichoke Bacon Dip
1 jar jalapeno dip
1 T chimichurri rub
1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
1/2 pound bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
1 cup parmesan
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 bar cream cheese softened
Combine everything and bake 15 minutes at around 400F. I served with melba toast rounds