A few years back I had the pleasure of judging a hot dog competition at Schuba’s. Among the competitors were a few dudes from the men’s grilling and drinking collective ManBQue who’d won the previous year. Still, I was skeptical of their entry, a classic Chicago-style hot dog rejiggered as a panfried gyoza. Seemed pretty gimmicky to me, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t nail it. Stuffed with a mixture of ground hot dog, onion, relish, and tomatoes, drizzled with mustard, and garnished with celery salt and sport peppers, it tasted exactly like it had been dragged through the garden. They won again, by unanimous decision.
That gyoza recipe, along with 14 other hot dog variants is included in their second cookbook, Eat Street: The ManBQue Guide to Making Street Food at Home, by John Carruthers, John Scholl, and Jesse Valenciana. Like their first collection, ManBQue: Meat. Beer. Rock and Roll., it’s full of similarly appealing, innovative, sometimes goofy dishes, always designed to accompany intoxicating beverages (or other things). With 200 recipes, “street food” here is meant broadly, encompassing everything from bacon s’mores to broccoli subs to walking tacos to Nashville hot chicken to triple-peach fried pies.
The first thing that caught my eye was the elote wings, a mutation not unlike those hot dog gyoza that somehow manages to transfer the essence of grilled Mexican corn to chicken. Its Dr. Frankenstein is Patrick McBride, new executive chef of Pork Shoppe.
Recipe by Patrick McBride
What’s more American than a chef with an Irish last name making a Mexican specialty into a sauce for chicken wings? Eagles and monster trucks, presumably. But you can’t eat those without getting into a whole bunch of shit with the Forestry Department.
Makes 32 wings
12 ounces Mojo Criollo marinade (found in any self-respecting supermercado)
1 bunch cilantro, cut above the twist tie
4 cloves garlic
3 pounds wings, separated into flats and drumettes (tips discarded)
3 packets Sazon con Azafran
1 12-ounce package frozen sweet corn kernels (look for gold-and-white mix)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Cotija cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tajín or chile powder, to taste
1. Combine the Mojo Criollo, cilantro, and garlic in a blender and liquefy.
2. Throw wings in a bowl and toss with the Sazon con Azafran until evenly covered and bright orange. Pour in marinade, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
3. For the sauce, heat the corn, then puree with cream, Cotija, and mayo.
4. Preheat the grill with medium direct heat.
5. Grill chicken five to eight minutes, toss in sauce, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, extra Cotija, Tajín, and chili powder.
Beer pairing: Helles lager