Thirty-eight years ago David Letterman started his late-night show, Tylenol capsules laced with potassium cyanide killed 7 people and the first issue of USA Today was published. As an eight-year-old, all of that paled in comparison to the introduction of McDonald’s McRib sandwich. This first brush with BBQ left an indelible mark that would stick with me years later at Memphis in May and while slurping up every full slab I could find from Mississippi to Chicago. Today this sandwich king is available nationwide for the first time since 2012. I know what you’re thinking, with all the incredible BBQ available across this great country why would I opt for a frozen, pre-formed, visually faked rib sandwich? You could easily dismiss my love as nostalgia but it runs deeper than that. Anthony Bourdain made a point to champion all food through the lens of culture. He was also known for his penchant for some of the more, let’s call it, faster of food options from time to time. With that in mind, the McRib is that food for me. Its impact on me was just as culturally profound as David Letterman challenging Johnny Carson or USA Today taking on the New York Times. I’m not the only one who feels this connection. McRib fans across the country have had lunch planned since this announcement in October so a word of advice if you are going to give it a go, and you should, get the McD’s app and order early.
More Food Stuff
We’re a crew known for themed, gourmet popcorns. So when G.H. Cretors popcorns made it across our table, we were quite intrigued. Considering the chip revolutions successful leap into gourmet, and sometimes odd, flavor profiles, it’s no wonder popcorn tried it’s hand. What is notable besides the dill pickle and jalapeno-cheddar additions is the popcorn itself. Organic kernels are the conduit that place those flavors on your tongue and then follow through with a fresh, popped crunch. These new flavors just hit the market. They might soon also hit our supperclub table.
Meat Hook Sausage Company ran a Kickstarter about a year back but now the successful Brooklyn butcher has taken their star product beyond the shop and packaged it up in supermarkets near you. Near you if you live outside their Williamsburg epicenter but still in hipster distance. The real hook to these tubular treats is they cover the classics but run crazy with some more creative options. Much like the Ample Hills approach to sausage. You’ll find the classic Italian, Brats and even a hotdog on the straight side of the options. Then it breaks out with ridiculously exciting options. Try a Bacon Cheeseburger (exactly what you’d think it is) or
Big Trouble In Little Dumpling, everything a dumpling would have to be awesome just inside a casing instead of a raviolo. The list continues with Buffalo Chicken, Beet Roasted Onion Sausage (no it is not vegetarian), Chicken Tikka Masala Sausage, a Banh Mi and even the one that got them on the map in this game, a pork, pepperjack cheddar cheese, roasted jalapenos and Texas Pete hot sauce sausage named Long Dong Bud. If all this has made you’re non-NYC resident mouth water their is a solution to this, delivery just became available via Mercato. Considering the biggest grill day of the year is looming, we’d suggest an order is in…order.
We’ve been big into barrel aged things that traditionally have never seen the inside of a barrel. SOSU Barrel Aged Sriracha takes it to the next, next level by applying this trend to a hot sauce. Just when you thought your hot chicken was perfected, along comes this depth in a jar to add yet another layer of complexity to your dinner party wow-pertoire. Secretly we dip carrots straight into the jar when no ones looking for a quick snack.
They make these RED hot dogs in Maine. Locally they are called red snappers and are what everyone from Kittery to Caswell uses in their summer backyard BBQ’s. We picked up a pack of Rice’s (one of two OG competing makers) before we left the state to try the red dye, natural casing snap for ourselves. There are two bits of folklore important in this maker story. One, sometime in the late 18th century, the red dye was added as a marketing gimmick to have their dogs standout amongst the 30 other competing butchers. Two, after World War II, Rice headed down to NYC where he heard a few German sausage makers, turned soldiers, turned POW’s were being held. He interviewed them and hired one to create his hot dog spice mixture. Kidder & Rice, the companies original name, was sold to a few larger industrial meat purveyors over the years until W.A. Bean and Sons, Rice’s original competitor in 1898, bought the Rice name back from Tyson Foods. Today W.A. Bean and Sons pump out 500,000 pounds a year of Rice’s original recipe. With all that history we were intrigued what a naturally cased, steamed Red #40 food dye, pork and beef dog would taste like. The snap lived up to the legend. The taste was on par with the Nathan’s of the world but the marketing trick was what hit the home run for me. The contrast of the red dog, yellow mustard and green relish just makes it stand out and create conversation. Just like when you repeat this story to your pals when you try one. What’s still confusing is W.A. Bean and Sons also makes a red snapper. How they both “stood out” with the same marketing trick is unclear as is who was first. Regardless W.A. Bean and Sons now make both recipes so I suppose that origins moment is moot.