Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Texas Fried Turkey with Cinnamon Chile Rub

The Background

I take no credit for this recipe, this incredibly delicious, insanely flavorful, and down right amazing recipe. I have however used it very successfully for several years now and take great pride in cooking up a great bird whenever the opportunity arises. I got the recipe from Texas Monthly a couple of years ago, who got it from Grady Spears, a chef at Reata, and published in the Wild Turkey edition of Texas Monthly in 1998. So with proper credit given, let's cook!

The Ingredients


1 turkey cooker with a propane burner
(also called a catfish cooker or crawfish boiler)
1 36- to 40-quart stockpot and basket
1 large turkey injector with needle
1 deep-fryer thermometer or candy thermometer
elbow-length oven mitts

 Cinnamon-Chile Rub

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup pasilla or other red chile powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.


4 to 6 gallons peanut oil (depending on size of stockpot and turkey)
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (two 14.5-ounce cans)
1/2 cup Tabasco sauce
1 turkey, 12 to 15 pounds (insides removed)
2 cups cinnamon-chile rub (recipe above)

Making It Work

Place the peanut oil in the stockpot on the turkey cooker and preheat to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicken stock and Tabasco. Place the turkey in a shallow pan or bowl. Fill the syringe with stock mixture, inject all parts of the turkey (legs, breast, thighs), and then thoroughly coat the outside of the turkey with the cinnamon-chile rub. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, place the turkey in the basket and, wearing oven mitts, carefully lower it into the stockpot. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes per pound (for example, a 12-pound turkey will be done in 42 minutes). Remove the turkey from the oil and drain well. Place it on your favorite platter and carve away.

Helpful Hints
1. To determine how much oil you need, put the uncooked turkey in the stockpot and cover with water. Measure the water and use the same amount of oil. (The cooks at Reata use a 40-quart stockpot and 6 gallons of oil.)

2. Large containers of peanut oil are available at Sam’s Club, Randalls, Wal-Mart, and Albertson’s.

3. Turkey cookers with pots and propane burners can be bought at large supermarkets, sporting goods stores, restaurant suppliers, building-supply stores, and hardware stores, but availability is unpredictable. A spot-check found them at some Academy Sports and Outdoors stores, Albertson’s food stores, and Builders Square, among others. Injectors are available at cookware stores, department stores, and some of the outlets mentioned above. If you don’t have a cooker and stockpot and don’t want to buy them, they can be rented at party supply stores.

4. The injector is easier to fill if you remove the needle.

5. The oil may be strained to remove food particles and reused. It may also be disposed of with regular garbage.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pinto Beans

The Story

Beans, particularly pinto beans, have a significant role in the Latin American culinary heritage.  It’s also a nutrient dense food source that is often overlooked these days.  My beans are not completely vegetarian, I do love the flavor that an all-beef chorizo sausage adds to beans.  I also prefer to use my crockpot for this dish, you just can’t beat low and slow and I also like the way the aroma fills the kitchen and house.  As for uses, I generally breakdown my cooked beans into 4 separate containers that can be frozen for later use.  I use them as a side dish and I also use them in my breakfast tacos in place of a meat (usually bacon).  


  • 1lb. bag of dried pinto beans
  • 1lb. all-beef chorizo (removed from casing and crumbled)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 whole chipotle pepper

Making it Happen

Begin by spreading the dried beans out on a counter and inspecting them closely.  Small bits of rocks and dirt can make for a nasty treat if undetected.  In a large bowl, soak the beans with plenty of water overnight. 

In a sauté pan, crumble the chorizo and brown the sausage over medium heat.  Chorizo does have a significant amount of fat, so expect to see quite a bit of fat rendering in the pan.  You also want to keep the heat relatively low, the grease from the sausage will have a tendency to pop if the heat is too high.  Once the sausage is browned, remove the sausage to a bowl, reserving the rendered fat in the bottom of the pan.  While the pan is still hot, add the diced onion to the rendered fat and sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent.  Once the onions are soft, add the minced garlic and stir together until fragrant.  Last, stir in the bell pepper and add the sausage back to the pan, just to combine.

To cook the beans, strain the beans and put them in your crockpot.  Add your chorizo mixture, spices, bay leaves, whole chipotle pepper and beef broth.  Cook the beans on the lowest, slowest setting (8-10 hours). 

Prior to serving, remove the bay leaves and the chipotle pepper and discard.  Take about 2-3 cups of the cooked beans from the crockpot and blend them in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Last, stir the blended beans back into the crockpot.  So, why bother with this last step of pureeing some of the beans?  Blending some of the beans will release more starch into the cooking liquid.  This step is the difference between watery, greasy beans and soft, velvety flavorful beans. 

Serve these either as a main course over cooked rice, as a side to tex-mex or barbeque or on taco.  Awesome stuff, enjoy!