We’re not sure where this going to end but we have a feeling it won’t be pretty. The State Fair tradition of throwing things in a fryolator that have no business being fried is time honored and observed from coast to coast.

Especially in Texas where previous fairs have boasted of deep fried Lattes, deep fried butter and deep fried banana splits. No word on whether something as mundane as a potato has ever been cut into splinters and fried.

2011 has seen a bumper crop of entrants in the world of Texas State Fair food:

Buffalo Chicken In A Flapjack, no more really need be said of this horrific sounding dish.

Fried pumpkin pie, we’ve eaten fried pumpkin pie before and it’s really good. In north Mississippi there is a fried pie tradition where all sorts of native fruits and vegetables are harvested, fried and sold in country quick marts.

Hans’ Kraut Ball consists of pork sausage, onion, garlic and sauerkraut. It’s rolled into a ball that is then covered with bread crumbs and deep-fried. Call us louche but that actually sounds pretty good.

Deep Fried Pineapple Upside Down Cake, we have a deep love of pineapple and this sounds like something we could get behind. Plus it’s served with a cherry on top.

Deep Fried Texas Salsa, don’t mess with our salsa. It’s our lifeblood and when people start talking about hurling it into a fryolator we get good and pissed off. Totopos=fried salsa=not. End of story.

El Bananarito, we love bananas and find nothing odd about eating them fried. They’re a relatively common dessert at teppan houses. This one sounds good.

Not fried but still being served is the Walking Taco, this is little more than a frito pie rip off with carne molida, onion, cheese and sour cream stuffed into a Doritos bag. May or may not be good depending on your ability to pick up some high grade stank prior to attending fair.

and finally

Fried Bubblegum, it’s a bait and switch y’all. They take bubblegum flavored marshmallows and batter fry them. This is a pass.

We’ve attended state fairs all over the USA. The lines to get at the exotic fried foods of contemporary times are just to long to bear. You’ll find us ravishing simple, old timey fair foods like Tiger Ears, Funnel Cake, Candy Apples and Corn Dogs.

Preferably hunkered down over near the carney encampment. We love the ragtag group of men and women that make a good fair run right and they’re usually the rough and tumble sort.

This is who we like to hang out with.

Over in East Texas my friend Amanda’s daddy is having trouble with a sounder of wild boar hogs on his farm.

It’s nothing a Winchester 30.30 can’t fix.

Which is how we came to have a pig brought into Austin for our latest effort on the big brick pit. The small hog is taken out while he is busy mowing down on a stand of sweet corn.

The high velocity round drops him in his tracks, he’s field dressed and brought up to the old farm house where he gets blocked down, wrapped and put in the freezer.

There’s only one girl on our cooking team and she decides it’s her turn to fire up the big brick pit and have a go at cooking this boar.

After 5 hours over a few hunks of old pecan, the hog is good and ready. Try as we might, the crowd of a dozen or so eaters can’t finish all the meat so we package up the rest, divvy it up and make our way to the house.

We’re always looking for an excuse to make enchiladas and with a pound or so of good wood-smoked boar hog in the fridge that’s exactly what we do.

Here’s our recipe for Smoked Wild Boar Enchiladas in Chile Arbol Sauce.


1 lb Wild Boar Hog, smoked, chopped

8 each, Chile, Arbol, dried

1 each, Giant Green Onions, bunch

2 c. Stock, Pork

1 c. Cream, Heavy, Whipping

20 each, Tortillas, Corn, from a Mexican grocery that does a brisk business to ensure freshness

1 lb, Cheese, Grated, Jack although a lot of Tex Mex cooks swear by Longhorn Cheddar

Method: Part I

* Bring pork stock to boil w/ Chile Arbol

* Simmer just below boil for 20 minutes or til chiles are softened

* Place stock and chiles in blender and run on high til chiles are totally pureed

* Add green onions, blend 10 seconds more

* Pour into saucepan, add cream, bring to boil, be careful as sauce will try to climb out of pan

* Simmer for 15 minutes or til a good thick consistency of sauce is reached

Method: Part 2

* Heat cast iron skillet on high til hot

* Using small amount of oil cook each tortilla for ten seconds per side

* Make stack of cooked tortillas

* Pour skift of creamy chile seca sauce in bottom of casserole pan [ we use a 9×14 Corning Ware]

* Roll 2 T of chopped wild boar meat into tortilla forming a tube

* Place in casserole

* Repeat til casserole is filled with little tubes of stuffed tortillas

* Pour chile seca sauce over the assemblage then top with grated cheese

* Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes

* Place under broiler and cook til cheese is nicely browned

This casserole really needs no side dishes but if you’re of a mind a kettle of borracho beans would pair nicely.

In the dead of Summer in Austin, Texas we drink Pearl Light like it’s going out of style

This would be a good beer to pair with these enchiladas

Help cure the pestilence of wild boars in Texas by transforming them into delicious Tex Mex cuisine

More authentic Tex Mex recipes here



Austin Texas is rife with restaurants serving huevos rancheros.

Our former favorite; La Mexicana, the 24 hour taqueria and panaderia on South First Street’s downhill slide has been so steady and frightening that we’ve had to branch out around town.

We still daydream about their $3.25 rendition from a few years back. Extra cheese, extra bacon? No charge. We’ve found some good versions (Tamale House, La Reyna, Habanero Mexican Cafe) but none could stand up to La Mexicana’s clarion version from yesteryear.

So we hit the kitchen.

The following is the fruit of a week or so of efforts to make a pluperfect huevos rancheros


1 12 oz can tomatoes, whole, peeled

1 Bunch, Onions, Green, white part, chopped, reserve green part for garnish

2 each Chiles, Jalapeno, chopped (roasted if you like)

2 each Chiles, Serrano, chopped (roasted if you like)

2 each Eggs

2 each Tortillas

Salt to taste


* Place all ingredients,except eggs, in blender

* Puree til smooth

* Pour contents of blender into saucepan that has been heated with a skift of oil

* Cook at medium heat for ten or so minutes til sauce thickens and begins to stick to pan

* Salt to taste

* Reserve

* Fry eggs in cast iron pan flipping once if so desired (we like them over medium)

* Turn onto plate

* Pour as much ranchero sauce as you like over eggs, refrigerate the rest

* Enjoy with warm tortillas

Cooking Notes:

* Grate cheese over sauce if so desired, we like queso Salvadorena or a good sharp cheddar

* Serve with warm tortillas, home fries, refried beans, crispy chopped bacon and perhaps a dollop of Mexican crema

* You may garnish with chopped green part of green onions

* If you’re so inclined you may want to substitute chipotle chile pepper for the serrano and jalapeno

Cooking time start to finish is 20 minutes


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Real carnitas are abundant in Austin Texas. They’re not fancy, no frippery is needed to construct the dish. All you need is pork, salt and maybe pepper if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.

I used to use Chef Miguel Ravago’s recipe from his cookbook “Cocina de la Familia” that uses Dr. Pepper in the roasting process.

His method makes some very fine carnitas but it is unnecessarily fancy. Country style pork ribs are generally my meat of choice. I like to start with about ten pounds of meat as you’ll be surprised how fast they get eaten. While it’s easy enough to run down to one of Austin’s dozens of Mexican markets and score a pound of prepared carnitas for 6 bucks, I like to hit the kitchen and make them from scratch.


10 lbs Ribs, Pork, Country style

Salt, Kosher or Sea

Pepper, Black, Fresh Ground

Oil, Peanut is best


* Slather ribs lightly with oil

* Coat generously with good salt and perhaps pepper

* Place in baking dish

* Roast at 200 degrees for 4 hours or til the meat is spoon tender

* Drain fat that has roasted off the meat into metal bowl

* Place bowl in fridge, the next day remove fat cake from surface, it provides a delicious cooking medium for skillet potatoes

* There will be what appears to be some brown pudding in the bottom of the bowl, save this pork jus and put it in with your next kettle of beans

Your carnitas are now ready to eat. The 200 degree part is important. This is a good temperature to ensure your meat is meltingly tender.

When I’m eating them out of the fridge I hack them up with my chef knife, get my cast iron scorchingly hot and toss the pork in the pan. Once the flesh is crispy the carnitas are ready for tacos, tortas or whatever purpose you’ve deemed is the best way to get them in your gullet.

There are a few stages in the life of a dry-aged, smoked brisket.

1] The brisket must be allowed to rest for a bit when it’s first pulled off the smoker. This is one of the hardest parts. I often go for a walk so I can remove myself from the vicinity of the brisket so I don’t just tear into it like a jackal.

2] Feeding your friends. Since I can’t [or more properly worded, shouldn’t] eat a 15lb brisket by myself, I like to deliver brisket packets to my hardworking friends about town.

3] Deciding what to do with the remaining couple pounds of beef.

That’s when it’s enchilada time.

Out here in Austin Texas, we eat a lot of enchiladas.

While brisket is not a common ingredient in them at restaurants, myself and my cooking team put out a tray a few times a year to great effect.

Once you have smoked your brisket for 12-15 hours the majority of the work is done. All you have to do is knock out a sauce, roast some tortillas and grate a couple pounds of cheese, and your prep is ready.

The following formula narrates the Stacked Brisket Enchilada recipe I constructed tonight with the final 2 pounds of a 15 pound smoked brisket I cooked last week.


2 lbs Brisket, smoked til tender, chopped

18 tortillas, corn, drizzled with olive oil and roasted til warm, soft and pliable

2 lbs Cheese, typical enchilada cheeses in Austin are: Colby, Jack, Asadero, Longhorn cheddar or any two complimentary cheeses: one mild, one strong, each need to be creamy

Red Sauce [recipe follows]

Sauce recipe

3 each 12 oz cans, tomatoes, whole, peeled

1 each, Green Onions, giant, bunch, chopped

6 each, Jalapenos, chopped this version is not roasted but typically they are

1 each, bunch, cilantro

Juice of 3 limes

1 c. Cream, heavy, whipping [reserved]

Method Part 1

* Puree all ingredients,except cream, in blender til smooth

* Add 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream and bring to low boil in saucepan

* Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to coalesce

Method Part 2 [Assembly]

* Coat 9″ x 14″ casserole pan with olive oil

* Pour a skift of sauce in bottom of pan

* Add 6 corn tortillas

* Place enough chopped brisket to cover tortillas

* Drizzle with sauce

* Cover with cheeses

* Repeat order above til casserole is finished making sure top layer is cheese

* Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes

* Let casserole “set up” for a few minutes before slicing

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While the lads in our gastronomic society are all hale hearty good fellows with big appetites, I did manage to bring home some fresh alligator leftovers from our most recent food party.

I’ve been daydreaming about this gator meat in my fridge for the last couple days so when it came time to make my morning tacos, inspiration came hard and fast.

We eat a lot of tacos in Austin Texas, so when you’re dealt a hand of gator you might just end up turning it into gator tacos. Here’s my recipe for Alligator breakfast tacos. Continue Reading

Briseyda working at Los Altos on I-35 North frontage road at Edgewood in East Austin.

Los Altos has the best chips and salsa in Austin. Ask for the green. They also have posole on the weekends. It’s incredible with a full host of fresh chopped garnishes.

3301 N Interstate 35
Austin, TX 78722-2204
(512) 236-1219

all Austin Daily Photos here



Here in Austin Texas we eat a lot of tortilla soup.

It’s a menu staple at restaurants around town with some joints doing a pretty fair job and others failing miserably.

If you want the really good stuff I hope you’re friends with a chef because, while I can name 20 places off the top of my head that serve it, I can’t think of one that does a superlative job.

The formula below is superb. It’s a melange of a few different recipes but the backbone comes from my (former) giant Mexican sous chef Angel Castillo, the pride of Monterrey Mexico. Recipe Part 1 (The Part Where We Make the Stock)


1 each Chicken, Hen, 3-5 lbs

3 each Bay leaves

1 each Onion, Yellow, Sweet

1 T. Peppercorns, Black

Tops from 1 bunch Celery, reserve stalks


* Submerge chicken in 4 quarts cold water in large stockpot

* Add Bay leaves, sweet onion, peppercorns and celery tops

* Bring to boil, cook 15 minutes

* Reduce to simmer, cook 1 hour

* Remove chicken, shred meat from bone, reserve

* Return carcass to water, boil 1 hour more

Recipe Part 2 (Where We Combine Everything To Make the Soup)


2 each Onions, Yellow, Sweet, chopped

6 each Chiles, Poblano, chopped

1 each Celery, bunch, chopped

1 each Garlic, bulb, minced

1 lb Tomatillas, broiled til black and soft, pureed in blender

Oil, Peanut




* In large pan, saute onions, peppers, celery and garlic for 30 minutes

* Add tomatilla puree, cook for 15 minutes to bring flavors together

* Remove carcass from stock pot and discard

* Add vegetable mixture to fresh chicken stock

* Bring to boil

* Simmer one hour to allow flavors to coalesce

* Adjust flavors with salt and pepper

How To Serve

* Place 4 ounces reserved, shredded chicken in each bowl

* Pour hot soup over chicken

* Cut 8 good quality corn tortillas into strips

* Fry til crisp in peanut oil

* Add strips as garnish to bowls of fresh soup

Other standard garnishes are avocado, a bit of fresh lime juice, cotija cheese and crema Mexicana

I’d love to hear about how this recipe works for you. It’s been my gold standard for almost 10 years. This is a “green” tortilla soup due to the tomatillas but you can make it red by using regular tomatoes.

Bon Appetit Y’all


Once a week or so, in my duties as a chef at the restaurant where I work, I make a big batch of tomato-based salsa.

How big?

Well I start with 12 pounds of tomatoes so it’s a pretty big batch.

Depending on how busy we are it might last a week but typically it lasts about five days. Here’s the recipe


12 lbs Tomatoes, seedless

12 each Limes, juiced into bowl

1 each Garlic, head, minced

1 each Cilantro, bunch, chopped

24 each Jalapenos, chopped

4 each Serranos, chopped

1 lb Onion, Yellow, Sweet, minced

1/4 c. Salt, Kosher


* Remove skin from tomatoes

* Place in large vessel

* Add half of garlic, cilantro, chiles, lime juice and onion

* Puree’ with immersion blender

* Add remaining ingredients

* Purée til desired consistency is reached

I like my salsa puréed very fine but some folks prefer it chunky. When you feel like it’s how you like it, stop and have a taste.

This is the classic Tex Mex salsa that’s available at most Mexican restaurants out here in Austin, Texas.

It changes a little from joint to joint but this is the basic, building block version.

Run wild and add things that appeal to you: Avocados, Habaneros, Mangos, Papaya…all sorts of things would go well with this recipe as the base.

Bon Appetit y’all


The other day, a buddy of mine bagged a rattler at his ranch-ette out in Burnet, Texas. It was his first one at his new house and he was right proud.

“How did it taste” was my first question.

“Well, I don’t know. I haven’t eaten any of it yet, I got some out in my jeep if you want it”.

Turns out I would like some fresh killed rattler. I’d like it for a batch of queso I’ve been thinking about making.

Here’s my recipe for Smoked Rattlesnake Queso First let’s make a roux to tighten the queso

4 oz butter

4 oz flour

* Heat butter, add flour, stir til roux forms, cook 5 minutes, set aside

Ingredients for queso:

1 freshly killed Texas Rattler dressed out to several edible ounces

8 oz Longhorn Cheddar, grated

6 each Chiles, Hatch, Roasted, Chopped

24 oz Milk, Whole, from a local cow if at all possible


* Shred snake meat to consistency of chopped chicken, make a foil pouch leaving top open, toss the rattler with oil, salt and pepper, place in pouch

* Build fire on one side of smoker, let go to embers, place soaked wood chunks [I like hickory] on fire

* Put rattler pouch on opposite side of fire, open vent directly over rattler meat

* Let smoke for 2 hours, remove

Method Part 2

* Heat milk in heavy saucepan

* Add cheese

* Stir til melted

* Add roux

* Add chopped chiles

* Add rattler

* Stir til consistency is as you like it

* This formula will make a fairly “loose” queso

* If you like it thicker just cook on stove top at medium for 15 minutes and a reduction will occur

all Tex Mex recipes here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Authentic-Tex-Mex-Recipes

Voila. Tex Mex at it’s finest. It sounds like a joke but yes, rattlesnake’s flavor is similar to chickens

Bon Appetit y’all