4TH OF JULY COOKBOOK CLUB: Smoke & Pickles
A Fourth of July party just isn’t a party unless everyone spends some time huddled around a grill—but this is America, after all, and there are any number of interpretations of what American food is all about. This is just one of the reasons we were excited to dig into Edward Lee’s much-lauded Smoke & Pickles—a cookbook filled with iconic Southern dishes, all with a uniquely Korean spin. There are very few pages that we haven’t earmarked to try (fried trout sandwiches, vietnamese lamb chops, miso smothered chicken…), but we winnowed it down to a handful of hits for our Fourth of July party below. And for good measure, almost every recipe includes at least a dash of bourbon. If you missed the first edition of the goop Cookbook Club, you can catch up here. Here, everything we made—with a few goopified shortcuts.
This is Filipino adobo, not the Spanish version. The vinegar brightens the richness of the fried chicken and helps with the digestion. Add more or fewer chiles, depending on how much heat you like.
This recipe was originally featured in Chef Edward Lee’s cookbook, Smoke + Pickles. We tried it out for Cookbook Club #2.
This kimchi is vegan-friendly and very mild, as it has neither fish sauce nor chile pepper flakes. It is traditionally served only in summer. This is also one kimchi that you can serve right out of the container as a salad course.
Tasso is the famous spice-cured pork shoulder from Louisiana. It has a very distinctive cayenne-pepper-and-smoke flavor. If you can’t find tasso, use any cured ham and add a pinch of cayenne and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper to the mix.
Don’t be dismayed by the long list of ingredients. All you have to do is throw them all into a bowl and mix them together. This is a master recipe, which means that once this base is done, you can flavor it any way you want. If you can, make it a day in advance; the flavors will harmonize overnight.
The goal when cooking rice this way is to achieve a thin layer of toasted crust in the bottom of the pot. The crispy layer in contrast with the fluffy layer of rice on top is a sumptuous combination. 1 use a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. You could seek out a stone rice crock like the ones they use in Korean restaurants, but the cast-iron pan works just fine.
This recipe doesn’t require much of an explanation—it’s just good for so many reasons. I use the jalapeños as much for garnishing different dishes as I do for cocktails.
Frying the tomatoes first gives the relish that extra depth, making it almost a meal in itself. I’ve been known to eat it with salty potato chips and beer and not regret it at all.