Fine tuning the experience. We’ve had a variety of amuse bouche at our events but none more decadent than a slice of handmade sourdough bread schmeared with whipped goose fat and crowned with crispy duck bacon.
It’s our way of saying welcome to the Scrumptious Chef Exotic Meats Pop Up. That along with a complimentary cup of chicha spiked with white rum. As is our custom for a Saturday night pop up, we began preparation in the commissary kitchen on Tuesday evening. That’s when we roasted an enormous box of antelope bones from Broken Arrow Ranch and began the process of converting them into demi-glace.
It took 43 hours.
We began with a massive kettle, a truckload of bones and 28 quarts of municipal water. Two days later we had three quarts of unimaginably delicious wild game demi. We knew the Tibetan Yak was going to need some high quality braising liquid, and this is what we used to tame a brace of briskets into what one diner referred to as a “plate of yak butter”
Chile con queso is the lone constant on each of our menus. It’s what fuels Austin on a daily basis, even barbecue pales in comparison to the ubiquity of this delicious sauce on our town’s menus. Lots of Mill King whole milk, queso Salvadorena and Rotel constitute this witches brew. We thickened this particular batch with a nice raft of pig fat roux.
We wanted to break out of our Antelope Texas Red Chili-rut so we decided to give the beasts the carbonnade de boeuf treatment. We charred the antelope in a cast iron pan and then braised it at 200 degrees for nine hours with tons of Texas 1015s, garlic and Negra Modelo beer. Five pounds of bacon gave it a power surge.
Tibetan Yak is tricky. The beasts are unfathomably lean so they need to slowly braise with plenty liquid to keep them from drying out. We scored a half dozen briskets from Texas Yak Company up in Weatherford, and slowly cooked them in a stock of antelope demi til you could cut them with a plastic spoon.
Scrumptious team member Paul took on the goose and it was the first sellout of the night. He elected to go the now classic Goose Three Ways preparation:
Quick breakdown: Goose Porchetta, lengthy brine, stuff with Texas Hot Guts, then a trip through the circulator; Goose Terrine, make goose sausage, wrap, chill, trip through the circulator; Goose Field Dressing, Oat Groats, Barley, cracked wheat, and wild rice. Hydrate some dried mushrooms in hot water. Cook the mushrooms, grains and wild rice in half the goose stock (and the fat layer ) adding chicken stock and the mushrooms.
Alligator boudin is virtually unheard of in Louisiana. We swang our hot guts team into motion, fired up the grinder/extruder and poached off some gator, combined it with smoked pork and set to stuffing a bunch of hog gut casings. We base all of our boudin recipes off what they’re making at Johnson’s Boucaniere over in Lafayette.
Texas Hot Guts aren’t on every single event menu but we felt like putting some Texas beef on our menu would give a good option to the less adventurous eaters. Another sell-out as we finally, three years in, have mastered the form. Tons of suet, Evans Farm Beef, salt and plenty ground peppers.
We always strive to have one $10 item that can fill up a patron who is not made out of money. Our pop ups cater to the working man, yes we could easily charge double our modest fees but we’re trying to feed the people-all the people.
Enter our Evans Farm Black Angus Beef Texas Chili Frito Pie. It was not a true Texas Red, we added tomato and onion, which is a sacrilege, but we felt like getting buckwild this one time. Our modest batch, 14 quarts, was gone by 9pm.
Continuing along with our guest pastry chef series we inquired after William Ankeney, the man behind the baked goods at Micklethwait Craft Meats, he crafted a big pan of pecan cobbler that was immediately set upon by the crowd. Keep your eye on this man Austin, he really knows his trade.
We’re always looking for good pastry talent so if you think you’ve got what it takes get in touch.
To sum up: Our work crew swelled to 10 for our Exotic Meats pop up. These productions have grown increasingly more complex and labor heavy as we’re always trying to improve upon the last one.
One crucial component we debuted for this party was our brand new pickling program: lots of grapes, cherries, peppers, onions and carrots saw goodly amounts of time in vinegary brines prior to using them as garnish work on the plates.
We try to incorporate at least one secret weapon on each menu and we brought in a real heavyweight for this one: Red Boat anchovy salt. Ardent haters of cabbage were begging for seconds as this big blast of umami fueled our bap chai side dish that sat on all the entree plates.
Thanks for coming out Austin. There are thousands of restaurants in Travis County y’all could’ve eaten at on Saturday night and you chose our modest endeavor. We really appreciate it.
Stay tuned for our Masters Of Pork: East Austin Charcuterie Project is coming up in the next month or so.