By Paul Suplee,
MBA, CEC, PC-3
Reprint from Oct. 27, 2022
I raise my glass as I think of our broken industry, one to which hundreds of thousands of workers never returned after the pandemic.
Short-staffed, short-tempered and exhausted, those of us remaining in the field simply try to eke out a week or two here and there to get away and unwind.
Of course, that often does not happen, but I can assure you that it is much needed and well received when it does come to fruition.
Regardless of customer demand, so many restaurants are closed one to two days per week.
In fact, this became most obvious this summer when one of the largest and most successful marina spots was closed for lunch three days a week. That is unprecedented and is a telling sign of the times. My fingers are crossed as I anxiously sit through the next few years.
Honestly, I foresee a massive shift from full-service to counter service. There really is no other way to maximize what very little profit exists in the business for owners already.
And with that being said, my mind races to foods that fare well in quick service settings. I think over-the-counter is going to be the new trend and as such, I immediately think sandwiches.
Sandwiches in every iteration are the foundation of American Cuisine, despite what all of the fancy chefs say.
It is nigh impossible to find a lunch menu anywhere that does not have at least three selections listed. We love our sandwiches, don’t we?
And then that brings me to my favorite argument with purists: which of the following are sandwiches? Pizza, hot dogs and burritos?
I would personally argue that all three are sandwiches, but try telling that to someone from New York or Chicago. Yeah, it does not always go over well. But I stand by it, as if it has bread and filling, it is by definition a sandwich.
Take the mighty pizza, for example. I eat mine by folding it over. The result? Bread on top, bread on bottom and filling in between. Sandwich.
The hot dog is filling surrounded by bread. Sandwich.
The burrito is filling wrapped entirely by bread. Sandwich.
And yes, I’m sure that the paper will receive at least one type-written piece of hate mail arguing the point, but sometimes things just need to be said.
And to troll just a little bit more, if you want to have a lot of fun in Chicago, take some ketchup packets with you the next time you get a dog in ChiTown. They will come after you.
Apparently that is the gravest of sins, so watch your back if you decide to take me up on my terrible advice.
When we get to the burrito, I guess the main people who would argue whether it truly is a sandwich would be Texans, with their affinity for overstuffed burritos and chimichangas.
The latter was introduced at the World Fair in Texas in the ’50s, and things have never been the same. It is an infinitely simple dish that has had a profound impact on the Tex-Mex world. Apparently deep-frying things makes them taste better. Who knew?
But in this case, we do not need to deep fry anything.
The glorious burrito that you see before you is moist and satiating enough without the added fat and grease. It’s simply an amazing, tasty and decadent burrito that you can make to wow friends and family alike.
When looking for the wraps themselves, do a little research and find Aladdin Bakers wraps.
These are the best you can buy and they don’t tear, crack or fall apart. They are perfect for this application. And if you don’t have time to wait, just buy some normal wraps while you wait for the Aladdins to show up.
So go, make some sandwiches… I mean burritos. And relish in the fact that you probably down work in our business. You lucky son of a gun.
4 ea. Good quality large tortillas
4 c. Cooked rice and beans
2 lb. Fresh pulled pork (recipe follows)
2 c. Homemade cheese sauce
1/2 c. Kansas City BBQ sauce
- Lay out the tortillas and split the rice, beans and pulled pork among them.
- Roll them up as you would any other burrito and place them seam-side down on plates.
- Cover with the warm cheese sauce and drizzle the BBQ sauce on top.
- Garnish with the salsa if you decided to use that and go to town.
makes 1 butt
1 Boston butt
1 c. Kosher salt
1/4 c. Black pepper
1/4 c. Cocoa powder
1/4 c. Granulated garlic
1/4 c. Onion powder
2 Tbsp. Paprika
- Combine dry ingredients and rub the pork butt, thoroughly coating it.
- Place in a smoker at 225F and smoke for 16 hours, or until it has that amazing bark on the outside, and it pulls apart when you shred it.
- Remove and when still warm (but cool enough to handle), pull the pork and keep warm.
- I do not add any BBQ sauce to the pulled pork, as this does not need it. It has such an amazing flavor that I believe that a little sauce on top of the finished dish is plenty. If you want to add some here, it certainly is your call.
Paul Suplee is the owner of Boxcar40 in Pittsville
and senior lecturer of culinary arts at UMES.