Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Pork Belly Pastrami

Belleville’s Beast Craft BBQ has daily specials, as you might expect from a restaurant, and I’ve reviewed many of them in the years they’ve been open. But every now and again, they have something extra special, something so unique that it’s only around for a day or two, and you have to jump at the chance to get it before they sell out. Over the weekend, they offered such an item, a pork belly pastrami sandwich topped with dill cucumber salad, on sourdough, plus fries:

So, here’s the thing. When the owner of Beast messages you to let you know about the special, and tells you to get there early to try it, you really have to listen to him. So even though Ryan was out all day on Saturday (with our only vehicle), he found some time to swing by and pick one up for me.

That was a good call.

It’s obvious that I’ve liked everything I’ve tried at Beast, and have many favorites. This sandwich was extra special, though. The meat just melted in my mouth. It was so tender and so flavorful, and then when you add in the crunch of the cucumber salad…it’s definitely now one of my Beast favorites! I don’t know if they’ll ever bring it back, but if they do, I’m certainly going to have to get it again, and this time I know that I need to be there when they open, because I’m pretty sure Ryan got some of the last of it they had on Saturday, and that was at lunchtime!

Tasty Tuesday–Bow-tie Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes in a Cream Sauce

  • 1 12 oz. box bow-tie pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground pork sausage
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water  until al dente; drain.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage and pepper flakes until sausage is evenly brown. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until onion is tender. Deglaze pan with white wine. Stir in tomatoes, cream, Italian seasoning, and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.Stir cooked pasta into sauce, and heat through.

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: The Pig Daddy

I’ve written about Beast Craft BBQ in Belleville before, after sampling their delicious burnt ends and brussels sprouts fried with pork belly. I really thought that would be the only time I would ever write about them, because, while I love burnt ends, I’m not a huge BBQ person in general. I figured I’d have the burnt ends as a rare treat every now and again, but wouldn’t ever try anything else.

Enter the “Pig Daddy”:

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This sandwich has not one, not two, not three, but four types of pork on it: pork steak, ribs, pulled pork, and candied bacon. Yes, you read that right, candied bacon. If you haven’t tried this delicacy yet, you’re depriving yourself. It also has pickles and slaw on it. An amazing combination if I ever heard of one, especially with the way the pickle juice soaks into the meat.

This sandwich isn’t for the feint of heart. I only made it about a quarter of the way through before I worried that I would explode (don’t worry, we made good use of the leftovers!). It’s also definitely a knife and fork operation, as the bottom bun completely disappeared under the weight of all that deliciousness, as you might expect.

I have never really liked pork steak, and I sure haven’t understood why it’s such a popular thing in St. Louis. Every time I’ve tried one, it’s been dry and bland. But if this is how all of Beast’s pork steaks are prepared, I’m now a convert, to the point where I might actually consider trying it by itself sometime.

Ryan tried the brisket and potato salad this time, and according to his report, it was also delicious. He’s really holding out in hope that they’ll have turkey eventually, before he makes his final opinion about Beast known. I’m just waiting to see if they come up with anything else clever like the Pig Daddy that I can try out!

Before and After…and Later Still

I made a pork crown roast for the first time today, for our fancy Christmas dinner.

This is how it started out:

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And once it was done:

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But, it wasn’t complete until the bones were topped with mini chefs hats!

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A Feast to Celebrate the New Year

For some reason, our tradition is having a pork roast on New Year’s Day. I’m not sure how it started, but it stuck. This year, I made our favorite pork roast, along with roast carrots and potatoes. For dessert, we had an amazing Christmas trifle, which included layers of homemade white chocolate-peppermint mousse, extra-fudgy homemade brownies, and homemade chocolate pudding, all sprinkled with a little bit of crushed peppermint candies (whipped cream optional). It was a nice way to start off the New Year!

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