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RBR Tailgating: Pork Larb

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Born in Laos, huge in Thailand, and amazing when said while pretending you’re a pirate.

“Dear Baseball,

Let’s not make this harder than it needs to be.

We had some good times, but we knew it would never last.

That’s right, I said we. Pretend all you want, but in your heart of hearts you knew as well as I did that this was just a fling.

You knew my heart was spoken for already. What were you going to sway me with? The Orioles did their Oriole thing and were practically mathematically eliminated from the playoffs by the end of April. After that, let’s face the facts, we were just spinning our wheels. That should have been obvious when I had that dalliance with The World Cup.

In the end, it’s not you. It’s me.

I need more excitement, to know that a loss can be devastating. Getting it done twenty to thirty five percent of the time will never be a real hit with me. There are no extra innings in our future.

I’ll look back on the time we spent together fondly. We comforted each other and you got me through a rough patch. Thanks for being there.

The seasons are about to change and it will be colder soon. It has to end here, but we can still be friends.

I know you had dreams and I know that I tore them apart. I ripped them right at the seams, but we’ll still have those summer nights under the lights of so many ballparks.

Sincerely,

Ben”

__________________________________

The season is finally upon us and so begins another round of festive gatherings with friends, family, and people you don’t know but are friends with or work with people you know and are accept as they signal membership in your tribe with a display of crimson or houndstooth plumage.

For those new to the site, RBR Tailgating is a weekly feature of the football season where I, according to whom you listen to, provide interesting and hopefully tasty suggestions to liven up your pre, during, and post game festivities or I throw out a few ideas that people ignore as they dial up a pizza. Either way, I amuse myself, and if you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done.

For home games I write these with the quad or parking lot griller in mind. The recipes should be completely doable with a grill, a cooler, and a couple of utensils. For away and neutral games like this week’s contest against the University of Louisville, I assume that most are watching from the comfort of their own homes and have access to a full kitchen’s worth of implements.

A quick aside: My mother was a quick judge of character. Two sentences into a conversation with someone new she would have the measure of the man and if she was less than impressed she’d cast a glance at me that said in no uncertain terms she thought the guy was full of it. What was remarkable was how often her snap judgments proved to be dead on. I’ve never been to Louiville, but after one semester as a student at UL, mom got the hell out of there and rarely had a good word to say about the place. Again, I’ve never been, but her gut instincts were pretty good.

On to the recipe.

This isn’t an attempt at authenticity. I gleaned a few recipes claiming to be authentic, tweaked them toward my tastes, and then added carrots for color. That said, I thought it was damn good. More importantly for football parties, it can be a meal just as easily as it can be finger food.

Pork Larb

- 1 ½ ground pork

- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced

- 2 shallots, sliced

- 3 cloves garlic, peeled but whole

- 1 handful shaved carrot

- 1 handful peanuts, unshelled

- 3 red chilis

- 8 serrano peppers

- juice of 1 lime

- 1 handful cilantro, chopped

- mint as desired, sliced in to ribbons (that’s a chiffonade if we’re being fancy)

- olive oil

- soy sauce

- salt

Deseed the red and serrano peppers but keep the seeds to the side.

Add the peppers, whole garlic cloves, lime juice, half the cilantro, and a few glugs of olive oil to a food processor and pulse until nearly smooth.

Taste, adjust for salt as needed. If it’s not spicy enough for your taste, add some of the pepper seeds, pulse, taste, repeat until sassified.

Add a few glugs of olive oil to a wide skillet with high walls or a Dutch oven and add the sliced shallots. Sautee for a minute or two over medium high heat until they begin to turn translucent, then add the minced garlic and ground pork. You’ll want to add a sparing amount of salt to wake up the flavor of the pork, but don’t go overboard as you’ll be adding soy sauce soon enough. Break up and brown the meat.

When the meat is browned, add the pepper past from the food processor and soy sauce to taste. Let simmer on low for five or so minutes and then remove from heat. Stir in the ribbons of carrots (peal of the outer layer of the carrot and discard before pealing ribbons for the larb), peanuts, and the rest of the cilantro.

Use large cabbage or butter lettuce leaves as a wrap, and enjoy your spicy, porky, gameday finger food.

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy while watching what I’m told is a UL wide receiver corps so transcendent that despite the loss of a Heisman winning ball thrower, they will suffer no drop off. (In all seriousness, I’m betting they have an impressive first quarter before Pass starts to feel some well delivered lumps, but that’s what happens with a completely new bunch of db starters.)

Roll Tide, no injuries.

P.S -Cheers to Jay Reynolds for putting together the depth chart/jersey number cheat sheet.

Mine’s beer, wine, and whisky proofed and ready to go. Much appreciated.

Finally, If there are any requests for tailgating recipes to feature this season, please let me know in the comments. I take requests.