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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 10-09-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
SmokeFan
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Default Cuban/Wine Party menu ideas??

We're hosting a Cuban themed party this Saturday for about 30+. The main course is roasted whole pig done on my La Caja China(first attempt!).

I've been kicking around the usual sides such as black beans and rice, fried plantains etc.. I also got this idea to do empanadas(done a couple days ahead and frozen) for an app, made out of a cuban mojo injected pork butt, smoked on the bge. I've kinda also toyed wit cooking an extra butt or two in case I flop with the big. Everyone keeps saying how easy they are on the caja china. I guess I'll find out...

I've googled all the usual places, including here, but was wondering if anyone had some really cool ideas, and perhaps the recipes to go with those. If you have cool versions for black beans/rice/plantains and such, I'd love to see those too!

Of course it needs to taste good, but relatively easy to prepare would be a plus, as there is a pretty decent size group. The wife doesn't cook so much, and I imagine I'm gonna be busier than a one armed paper hanger on Saturday with the pig.

Thanks Brethren!
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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My parents used to live in Puerto Rico, where the food is basically Cuban. Your menu sounds pretty good.

I don't know about pulled pork empanadas, followed by roast pork. Perhaps roasted chicken and/or spinach, which is common in Cuban empanadas.

Cuban black beans tend to be more soupy than American beans, and are served in small bowls over rice. It is often served as a soup course in Cuban restaurants. But, it is also served as a side, too.

I like fried plantains, and they are easy to make, but finding good plantains in North Texas can be a challenge.

Don't forget the Flan for dessert.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:12 PM   #3
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Thanks Caseydog.

I was kinda going with a Wine and Swine thing, but you bring up a really good point. That might be too much pork. Chicken would probably be easy to deal with ahead of time. Would you recommend whole chickens, or just grab a mess of thighs to get the chicken to stuff the empanadas?

I'm not sure anyone in the group would know a good plantain from a not so good one. I've done green ones as tostones, and ripe ones with sugar cinnamon and butter. They tasted ok to me. Then again, I don't know any better either, To someone who's had the real deal, it probably wouldn't be so hot.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:13 PM   #4
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I make rice with half water and half coconut milk, then season with salt, a little cumin, lime juice and cilantro. Then I'll serve it with black beans on top. It's really good, and while likely not "authentic" Cuban, it is Caribbean/Latin. By the way, by coconut milk, I mean the thin watery kind you find in the Latin section of the market, not the thick syrupy stuff you put in Pina Coladas.
For drinks, Cuba Libras and Mojitos are always favorites.
Good luck and have fun!!
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:17 PM   #5
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Don't forget mojitos and/or sangria. Easy to make or get already prepared. The Bacardi mojitos are pretty good for right out of the bottle. Yago Sangria isn't totally nasty if you aren't up to making your own. Have fun, relax, it's Cuban themed...pig, plantains, and beans & rice...your guests will eat and drink until they can't move!
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeFan View Post
Thanks Caseydog.

I was kinda going with a Wine and Swine thing, but you bring up a really good point. That might be too much pork. Chicken would probably be easy to deal with ahead of time. Would you recommend whole chickens, or just grab a mess of thighs to get the chicken to stuff the empanadas?

I'm not sure anyone in the group would know a good plantain from a not so good one. I've done green ones as tostones, and ripe ones with sugar cinnamon and butter. They tasted ok to me. Then again, I don't know any better either, To someone who's had the real deal, it probably wouldn't be so hot.
I don't think it will matter whether you use whole chickens of just thighs in your empanadas. Roast chicken was a common roadside food in PR, and shredded, it should be good in empanadas. I'd cook whatever is easiest.

The last time I made fried plantains, I had to go to multiple stores to find them, and they were not pretty. You have six Fiesta stores in Fort Worth, so you may have an easier time. Fiesta stores usually have great produce, including hispanic oriented produce.

CD
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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If you're making chicken, this is always a hit with my family. Again, not exclusively Cuban, but definitely Latin and definitely not pork. I make it with either halved or spatchcocked chicken. I've also squeezed fresh lime juice over the chicken about 15 minutes before it comes out of the smoker, which gives it a little zing.

Ingredients:
* 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
* 4 tablespoons white vinegar
* 3 tablespoons white wine
* 3 tablespoons canola oil
* 2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
* 2 tablespoons paprika
* 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
* 2 teaspoons black pepper
* 1 teaspoon salt
* juice of 1 lemon
* 1 quart cold water
Preparation:Combine vinegar, wine, oil with garlic powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Mix well to form a paste. Add lemon juice to cold water. Trim chicken of any excess or loose fat. Wash chicken thoroughly with lemon water. Place chicken in zip-top bag. Pour spice paste over chicken. Coat chicken completely with mixture rubbing into every surface. Try to get the paste under the skin as much as possible.
Seal bag and place chicken in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The chicken will have more flavor the longer it "marinates" in the spice mixture. Do not refrigerate more than 24 hours however.
Smoke at 325˚ for about an hour and a half until the breast is at 165˚ internal temp.

This chicken is frequently served with dipping sauce. A simple version of this sauce is made from combining 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons mustard and 2 tablespoons lime juice.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdboatbum View Post
I make rice with half water and half coconut milk, then season with salt, a little cumin, lime juice and cilantro. Then I'll serve it with black beans on top. It's really good, and while likely not "authentic" Cuban, it is Caribbean/Latin. By the way, by coconut milk, I mean the thin watery kind you find in the Latin section of the market, not the thick syrupy stuff you put in Pina Coladas.
For drinks, Cuba Libras and Mojitos are always favorites.
Good luck and have fun!!
I will try some adaptation of that rice. The coconut milk/spice addition sounds awesome. Thanks!
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Unread 10-09-2012, 03:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chad View Post
Don't forget mojitos and/or sangria. Easy to make or get already prepared. The Bacardi mojitos are pretty good for right out of the bottle. Yago Sangria isn't totally nasty if you aren't up to making your own. Have fun, relax, it's Cuban themed...pig, plantains, and beans & rice...your guests will eat and drink until they can't move!
Definitely doing Sangria. It's kinda become a go to staple for our get togethers. We always try a new recipe, but it's awesome however.

My plan is usually to run about an hour late, and let everyone have 2 or 3 drinks in them. The booze, plus the guest's hunger, has got me through so far!

Last year we had people gathered around the firepit to about 2am. Not quite like the old days, but a total blast nonetheless!
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Unread 10-09-2012, 03:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
I don't think it will matter whether you use whole chickens of just thighs in your empanadas. Roast chicken was a common roadside food in PR, and shredded, it should be good in empanadas. I'd cook whatever is easiest.

The last time I made fried plantains, I had to go to multiple stores to find them, and they were not pretty. You have six Fiesta stores in Fort Worth, so you may have an easier time. Fiesta stores usually have great produce, including hispanic oriented produce.

CD
Thanks! Probably a couple whole chickens is the best bang for the buck. Seems like I'd get more meat than messing with a bunch of thighs too.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 03:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeFan View Post
Definitely doing Sangria. It's kinda become a go to staple for our get togethers. We always try a new recipe, but it's awesome however.

My plan is usually to run about an hour late, and let everyone have 2 or 3 drinks in them. The booze, plus the guest's hunger, has got me through so far!

Last year we had people gathered around the firepit to about 2am. Not quite like the old days, but a total blast nonetheless!
I have the original recipe for Piña Coladas from San Juan.

Pour one can of Coco Lopez into a blender. Then fill the same can with fresh pineapple juice and add to blender, then fill the can with rum, and add that. Top off the blender with ice, and blend until smooth and creamy. Yum.

Yeah, it's Puerto Rican, not Cuban, but what the heck.

CD
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Unread 10-09-2012, 04:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
I have the original recipe for Piña Coladas from San Juan.

Pour one can of Coco Lopez into a blender. Then fill the same can with fresh pineapple juice and add to blender, then fill the can with rum, and add that. Top off the blender with ice, and blend until smooth and creamy. Yum.

Yeah, it's Puerto Rican, not Cuban, but what the heck.

CD
Dang that sounds too good not too try! Trust me, with my friends, wife and I included, proper country of origin won't be something anyone cares about.
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