Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for November, 2006

[ Currently Eating: Carne Asada Burrito ]

pulled pork cheap eats

Hi. Welcome back from Thanksgiving, one of the biggest holidays at Cheap Eats. It’s so big, in fact, that I neglected to post any pictures or happenings about the crazy amounts of food that were plowed through last Thursday. That goes for the leftovers as well.

I attempted the turkey this year, Alton Brown style again. It came out all right, not as undercooked as last year’s. Unfortunately, in the rush to get it cooked on time, I didn’t get to document it correctly. Maybe it’s just as well, because we accidentally bought a pre-brined turkey! Oops, so much for the gallons of brine we had mixed up.

So, instead, here’s a picture of some leftovers from a few months back. It’s Pulled Pork and there was a lot of it. I guess if you’re going to talk about cheap meat, pork shoulder probably isn’t the cheapest thing around. But if you buy it in bulk, it can be decently priced.

We picked up an enormous 22 lb pork shoulder at CostCo for about $1.15 a pound (? can’t remember the exact amount). We could only fit 1/2 of it in our standard glass casserole dish, so we cut the rest into 1 inch wide spears of meat and froze it.

Anyhow, I’m no expert on the BBQ Circuit by any means but it’s a lot of fun to slow cook meat. For this one I used a combination of Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for pulled pork. They advocate cooking 1/2 the time on the grill outside and finishing it up in the oven. That way you don’t have to leave the grill on for 7 hours (or 12 hours, or whatever time those guys do it for). I also tried using a foil packet of real hickory chips on the grill for this one.

Continue reading “Leftovers: Pulled Pork” …

11/21/06 | Yoshinoya Beef Bowl

[ Currently Eating: Wheat Toast ]

Yoshinoya Nice to Know Ya“Hey Yoshinoya, Nice To Know Ya!” Such was the familiar greeting I often heard in college… because my last name happened to nearly coincide with this Beef Bowl chain’s name. I didn’t mind too much though, because I liked their food and still do.

Something that a lot of people (including me) are surprised about is that the Yoshinoya Beef Bowl chain is not endemic to the U.S. It’s actually straight from Japan and is quite respected over there (would you believe it was actually established back in 1899!) I was always under the impression that it was a “Panda Express” phenomenon – a sort of ethnic food “created” to please the western palate.

But actually, Yoshinoya is such a huge institution in Japan that when they were forced to stop selling their signature beef bowl product in 2004 due to “crazy cow” import restrictions, people lined up around the block to get a last taste of their favorite fast food. Recently, they’ve brought it back over there, but I think they only sell the Beef bowl one day of the week?

The first one in the U.S. was started up in Torrance, CA in 1979. I haven’t been to that one, but there happens to be another one pretty close to my house.

If you haven’t had their beef before, it can take some getting used to. Their main product is a thinly sliced, extremely fatty beef cooked in onions with sauce. They throw that on top of sticky rice and call it a Beef Bowl (Gyu-Don in Japan). They also sell other meals that have teriyaki chicken and cooked vegetables. I’ve also gotten their fried chicken wings which are decent. Below is a picture of a combo bowl that has beef, veggies and chicken on top of rice.

Yoshinoya Nice to Know Ya

Continue reading “Yoshinoya Beef Bowl” …

11/14/06 | Tamales

[ Currently Eating: Ralph's Active Lifestyle Cereal ]

For years, tamales remained in the realm of the take-out, the lunch-cart and the taco truck. But then everyone from Mary Sue Milliken / Susan Feniger (the Two Hot Tamales) to Bobby Flay pushed it into the realm of gourmet restaurant food. Nowadays, you can’t get through a menu at an upscale Mexican restaurant without coming across “Blue Corn Tamales filled with Goat Cheese and Filet Mignon” or whatever.

I still favor the old school tamales, and if you play your cards right it can be Cheap Eats as well. Many places now sell bags of frozen tamales for fairly cheap. You can keep them in the freezer like frozen burritos and then pop them in the microwave for a snack.

But my favorite type are the freshly made ones that you can buy at a lot of smaller mom and pop restaurants. I guess I should get into what exactly a tamale is for those who haven’t had them. You probably want to have a look at the wikipedia entry. Basically, think of a wet corn meal muffin, elongate it, stuff it with meat, chili, sauce and/or cheese, wrap it in a corn husk, and steam it. Ok, it’s not exactly like that but that’s the general idea.

Here’s one I sliced in half:

Continue reading “Tamales” …

[ Currently Eating: Tomato Soup ]

Ah, yes: Steak and Potatoes. This is what I’ve sometimes incorrectly assumed my friends in the Midwest eat for dinner every day. I know, nothing could be further from the truth. I know a lot of people in Southern California who are 100% meat ‘n potatoes people, while others in Oklahoma and Ohio are laughing while partaking in sushi and Indian cuisine. There’s stereotypes for ya…

But actually, more than one Cheap Eats reader has suggested trying the Campbell’s brand Chunky Steak and Potato Soup after our earlier forays into Progresso Soup. I happened to see a bunch of cans of Chunky soup on sale for a buck and a quarter so I decided to try it out. I think these cans will normally run you about $2.50 to $3.

I’ve had Chunky soup before and my complaint has always been that it’s TOO chunky and thick. It’s like a stoup (Rachel Ray terminology = stew + soup), and while that might be a good thing sometimes, when I’m having soup I want SOUP. Not stew.

It’s actually amazing how accurately I was able to make my soup picture look like the label on the can. (Side note: Need to get a good tripod. I’m starting to hate taking pictures with one hand while holding a spoon of food as still as possible in the other. Ugh.) This is a 18.8 ounce can which is more than enough for lunch for me. The pieces of potato and steak are quite large just like on the can. The soup also contains pieces of mushrooms which I thought was a rather nice and unexpected touch.

Continue reading “Chunky Steak & Potato Soup” …



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