Chiles and cumin combine here to create the olfactory essence of the Border. Most any type of small chile pepper that you can get in the bottle will work. Be sure to taste it often and remove the chiles when it reaches the desired heat--the longer the chiles are left in, the hotter the liquor will get!
Okay, okay, we borrowed a Texas technique and changed the rub to reflect our chilehead tastes. For years we have been perfecting recipes using a smoker known as an Oklahoma Joe’s. It is a horizontal, cylindrical smoker about three and a half feet long and about fourteen inches in diameter. It has an attached, dropped fire box that allows smoking with fairly cool smoke because the fire is separated a bit from the smoking area. Because smoking is so time consuming, it makes sense to smoke several things at once. In addition to brisket, we also smoke a turkey breast. Some cooks use the basting sauce as a mop during the smoking process and eliminate the long marinade at the end of smoking. Leftovers, if there are any, make the best barbecue sandwiches when served on a crusty hard roll with your choice of sauce from chapter 3.
The wild chiles called chiltepins in Mexico and the Southwest are known as chilipiquins in Texas. We always have some of the berry-like pods available because we grow them as perennials, but they’re difficult to find in markets. So substitute any pequin or small, extremely hot chile. This is a finishing sauce for grilled or smoked beef, chicken, or pork to be applied before serving or served on the side.
There is no such thing as chicken or tofu fajitas because the word refers specifically to skirt steak that is marinated and grilled. This is actually a simple recipe to prepare, and it works best when grilled over mesquite wood, or natural charcoal with mesquite chips. The technique known as smoke-grilling is perfect for this meat, and flank steak can be substituted for the skirt steak. Tradition holds that fajitas were first perfected in south Texas in the 1960s and quickly became a staple for Mexican restaurants–and others–north of the border. It is a classic example of combining several methods to make tough meat more palatable: marinate it, grill it, and slice it thinly against the grain. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
When you order "green sauce" in Texas, this is what you will be served. It differs from New Mexico's green sauce in that the color is derived from tomatillos rather than from green chiles. This sauce can be used as a dipping sauce, with enchiladas, or as a topping for grilled poultry or fish.
This unusual combination of ingredients makes a salad that is hearty enough to be served as an entree as well as a side dish. I always prepare this salad a day before I plan to serve it to ensure the flavors are combined. A word of caution though, the salad seems to increase in heat the longer it sits. So make the dressing a little on the mild side or the salad may become too hot to enjoy.
Pork is a preferred meat in China and Southeast Asia, so it is not surprising to find it combined with chiles and traditional Asian seasonings. The marinade is also excellent with chicken and fish. Serve the grilled pork steaks with jasmine rice, sweet and sour vegetables, and a green papaya salad.
Since Chile has a 2600-mile coastline, I would be remiss if I didn't include a fish recipe from that country. There is a minimum of grazing land in Chile, so instead of beef being the major source of protein, it is fish and shellfish. The wines of Chile are quite good, so be sure to include a nice chilled Chilean white wine when you serve this Chilean ceviche. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.