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Cooking On Your Engine - Manifold Destiny

Posted in Features on August 19, 2014 Comment (0)
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The saying goes, “Eat, Sleep, Jeep.” We got the last one covered with plenty of Jeeping, and generally sleeping occurs when we are too tired to Jeep. As for eats, we love them and try to squeeze them in 4 to 8 times a day. Also, if there is anything that we are obsessed with nearly as much as Jeeping -- or sleeping -- it might be eating. Either way, eating good food is always better than eating bad food, and as part of the search for good food, we have spent more than our fair share of time behind the stove and grill trying to hone our cooking skills and end the day with some good eats.

Luckily for us someone somewhere decided to try to cook some food on their Jeep’s engine. Cue the manifold burrito. That’s great! It combines two of our favorite things Jeeping and eating. The intake-warmed or exhaust-cooked meal has been the subject of books, many a fire-side discussion, and now a magazine article. We thought we would put together a few recipes to inspire and help you try out some manifold cuisine or make them at home.

A few tips: it’s a good idea to pre-cook any meat you want to use in manifold cuisine. Especially poultry or pork, both of which can make you very sick if eaten raw and undercooked. If you polish your headers every night or are worried about smells, this may not be the secondary hobby for you. If you are camping, almost all of these recipes can be heated or warmed on the grill at camp or cooked in the coals of a mature fire. Lastly, manifold burritos and the like can occasionally fall off the engine after a good bump. If you lose a burrito, we’re sorry. It’s a sad thing. And occasionally a delicious burrito will be forgotten after a weekend of wheeling.

Do you have a recipe that you’ve been honing for camp grub or manifold fair? Let us know by emailing us at verne.simons@jpmagazine.com. If nothing else, we’d love to try it.

Meats
There is nothing better than seared flesh to a carnivorous Jeeper, especially bacon. Cooking meat on your engine is possible, but it can take a long time, is hard to control, and may yield a bacteria-filled nightmare. For this reason, we suggest that you precook your pork, beef, or chicken, unless you are willing to take your own health and safety in your hands and have a knowledge of how and when meats are done. Here are a few recipes that should help you get your favorite meats properly seared for later incorporation into manifold burritos.

Verne’s Easy Chicken
Chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts
1⁄4 tsp turmeric
1⁄4 tsp ground cumin
1⁄2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and marinate chicken for 1 hour.
Place on grille over direct heat or under your ovens broiler turning occasionally until cooked through.

“Verne’s Easy Chicken” is a simple recipe for chicken to fill some burritos. The honey helps caramelize the chicken when it’s on the grill. The ingredients are pretty simple and you probably already have them.

Trail Carne Asada for Engine Burritos
Getting carne asada right is all in the marinade and the cut of beef. We usually start with a flank steak, which is great as it has lots of flavor and is a relatively inexpensive cut. You can also use this marinade for chicken if you want, but make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

First salt and pepper the flank steak while you are mixing up the marinade.

Marinade:
3 to 4 cloves garlic chopped or pressed through a garlic press
1⁄2 tsp chili powder
1⁄2 to 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1⁄3 cup of orange juice (or the juice of one large orange)
Juice from one large lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vinegar
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the steak while you make the marinade, then marinate the steak for 1 hour or overnight but not more than 8 hours (or all the acid will break down the meat). Then cook the meat on the grille 7 to 10 minutes per side over nice hot coals or under the broiler in your oven. Pull the meat off the grill and allow it to rest for 15 minutes and then cut into thin slices against the grain. You can then further chop up the meat into smaller pieces. Use them as one of the fillings in your burrito.

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Bubba’s Smoked Pulled Pork
This is going to take a while -- four to five hours to do it right. It’s a waiting game while keeping temperatures relatively low, with indirect grilling and adding a little smokey flavor. You are going to need a charcoal-fired grill (we usually use a hamburger-shaped grill) or a smoker, plenty of charcoal, and wood chips soaking in water for smoke (beer for the chef). We also always use a dry rub, but it is not required.

1 pork shoulder (Boston butt, 3.5 to 5 pounds)
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp mustard powder
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt

Mix the above ingredients and use them to coat the cut of pork. Place the pork in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

North Carolina-inspired BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork
This is a tart and sweet mop sauce for the pulled pork. We make this sauce the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Once the pork has fallen off the bone and pulled apart, you can mop (or pour) over the pork.

This is our North Carolina-inspired pulled-pork mop sauce. It’s got a lot of vinegar in it, but not as much as a true NC mop sauce. If you don’t like the vinegar, half the amount and add some water and ketchup to make up the difference. If you want the mop sauce to be more authentic leave out some of the sugar and ketchup and add more vinegar.

1⁄2 cup ketchup
3⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
3⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 to 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
1 Tbsp Texas Pete hot sauce (Don’t worry that it’s called Texas Pete; it’s made in North Carolina, a pulled-pork-approved state)
1 to 11⁄2 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your pulled pork)
1⁄2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp black pepper

Add ingredients to a mason jar, cap, and shake. Refrigerate for at least two hours or freeze it.

To cook the pork, set up your grille for indirect grilling. Use a disposable aluminum drip pan in the center of the grill and place a handful or two of charcoal briquettes on each side of the pan. To get the grille started, use tongs to drop three or four red-hot charcoal briquettes on the briquettes on the four sides of the pan. Place the meat over the drip pan and use the bottom and top vents to regulate the temperature. You want an internal temp of 325-350 degrees. Every hour or so, you may need to add a few briquettes to each side of the pan. You can also add a few soaked wood chips. We like apple or cherry wood chips. Once the center of the meat has reached an internal temperature of 195 degrees and the meat feels like it will fall apart, it is ready. Depending on how hot your grill has been and how large of a pork shoulder you are cooking, this can take 3-6 hours. Pull the meat off the heat carefully and place it in a large non-reactive cake pan. Cover with aluminum foil and wait an hour for it to cool off. When the meat is cool enough to touch, using clean hands, and a fork or two, pull the meat apart, drenching with the mop sauce as you go.

View Slideshow

Any Actual Burrito Recipes?
So you may be reading through this weird article, wondering when are they going to tell us how to make an actual burrito. Well, we ain’t. The fact is everyone likes the contents of their burritos a little different. If you don’t know what you like in a burrito, may we suggest some rice, some strained black or pinto beans, a scoop of one of the above meats, some salsa, a gob of Monterey jack or cheddar, and a dollop of sour cream?

Salsa!
Corn Salsa
1 can sweet corn, drained
1⁄4-1⁄2 green Serrano or jalapeno pepper
1 tomato, cut into small cubes
2 sprigs of green onion, chopped into small pieces
1⁄2 Tbsp honey
1⁄2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, and refrigerate one hour before serving

This is our sweet and spicy corn salsa. Hope you like it!

Pico de Jeepo
Great in burritos or with chips while you’re making the other stuff!

1 medium-sized sweet onion
4 Roma tomatoes
1⁄4 of a bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
1⁄2 to 1 jalapeno
Juice from 1⁄2 a lime
Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop the onion into small pieces. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Halve the jalapenos and scrape out the seeds (unless you like it hot), and then chop the peppers into fine pieces. Chop the cilantro leaves up into small bits and mix all the ingredients. Now add the lime juice and salt and pepper. Stir and wait an hour so the ingredients can mix.

Below are the fixings for our Pico de Jeepo. It’s pretty simple, and this is always a favorite both in burritos and when chips are nearby.

Properly Wrapping a Burrito
One of the most important parts of creating a good burrito is how you wrap the thing. Especially when you are planning on heating the burrito up on your manifold, getting things tight and relatively leak free is critical, as some leaks will occur. It seems to us that folding a burrito is all in the technique, and you usually are best off learning first-hand from a master. We don’t claim to be masters of anything outside the Jeep realm, but we have met a few burrito-folding masters in our day, so we are going to try. If we fail (or rather your burrito fails), don’t get mad at us; get mad at the burrito-folding gods.

First, it’s best to start with a fresh and pliable burrito shell. If your burritos shells are old or are fresh out the fridge, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Toss that cold shell on the grill or stovetop for a few seconds to help warm and loosen it up. Too much heat can dry them out, making things worse, so just a quick stint on the heat is all you need. Once on a plate add your contents just off center of the shell. Not too much! Many burrito failures are caused by overfilling. With the burrito filling closest to you, fold the two sides inward and grab the shell closest to you and fold to the open side of the burrito shell with a rolling motion. It’s not easy until you hone your skills a few times or work at a burrito shack for a month. If that description, or the pictures below don’t do it, check YouTube for some burrito-wrapping videos.

Here is our burrito just before wrappage. We probably could have packed in a few more ingredients, but we’re hoping the burrito won’t fail when it’s wrapped and heated on our engine. Here is our burrito just before wrappage. We probably could have packed in a few more ingredients, but we’re hoping the burrito won’t fail when it’s wrapped and heated on our engine.
To wrap, grab both sides of the burrito shell and fold them inward like so. To wrap, grab both sides of the burrito shell and fold them inward like so.
Then fold the side closest to you over the shell and sort of tuck it into the other edge. Then roll the burrito on to the outer seam. Then fold the side closest to you over the shell and sort of tuck it into the other edge. Then roll the burrito on to the outer seam.
Then wrap the burrito into some aluminum foil. We use plenty of foil when prepping engine burritos. Roll the burrito up and then crinkle the ends together and up. When placing the burrito on an engine, we try to stick to the intake manifold. A V-style engine is easiest. Just avoid linkage and areas with obvious fuel or oil leaks. On a inline six or four-cylinder, try to secure the burrito in an area where the burrito won’t roll off. Then wrap the burrito into some aluminum foil. We use plenty of foil when prepping engine burritos. Roll the burrito up and then crinkle the ends together and up. When placing the burrito on an engine, we try to stick to the intake manifold. A V-style engine is easiest. Just avoid linkage and areas with obvious fuel or oil leaks. On a inline six or four-cylinder, try to secure the burrito in an area where the burrito won’t roll off.

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