There’s no shortage of hot dogs in Chicago, so much so that the city has its own distinct “Chicago-style hot dog.” To be able to shout over all that noise, hot dog joints have to make something truly special. That’s exactly what Doggone, the brainchild of hot dog entrepreneur Skip Murray, is trying to do with their delectable dogs for the Coast 2 Coast Ranch tour, presented by Hidden Valley ® Ranch.
Undoubtedly inspired by his hometown of New Orleans, where Murray’s first restaurant, Dat Dog, blew up, the Cool Bayou dog is made from a mix of crawfish and pork. This down south dog is then coated in Hidden Valley Ranch Original Seasoning and allowed to marinate.
Next, the dog is cooked and then covered with a creamy shrimp étouffée. In French, étouffée means “smothered,” so sure enough, this dog is absolutely drowning in the Cajun classic.
Fresh diced tomatoes and diced onions are then added to balance out the hearty étouffée and the dog.
But all the delicious fun doesn’t stop there. Once the solid toppings are set, creole mustard is drizzled on top. The dog is then finished with a Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning-infused sour cream and a sprinkle of parsley.
For all the Chicagoan Foodbeasts out there with a serious love for ranch, this dog will be available all September in celebration of the quintessential dressing. If you want to find more ways to try ranch, no worries. Just take a trip to foodbeast.com/ranch and check out the other participating locations of the Hidden Valley Coast 2 Coast Tour.
Ever imagined what the spicy, savory, and oceanic flavors of a crawfish boil would be like in ice cream form? That concept is now a reality, thanks to Houston’s Red Circle Ice Cream.
Photo courtesy of Red Circle Ice Cream
The ice cream shop is known for creating a variety of unconventional flavors, ranging from durian and Hot Cheetos to Spicy Texas Chili and even BBQ ice cream. An ice cream imbued with the effervescence of a crawfish boil definitely fits into the category, and is already eliciting a wide variety of reactions.
Red Circle representatives told Foodbeast that so far, people have responded with everything ranging from “WHOA” to “WTF” reactions when seeing the new ice cream. The curious concoction is topped with a crawfish on Instagram photos just for show, but if you’re timid about eating one, it doesn’t actually come served with the crustacean.
What it does contain, however, is garlic, butter, and Cajun seasoning, which, when balanced with the sweetness of ice cream and crawfish, makes for an intriguing flavor that has people lined up to try a scoop.
Crawfish boils and other similar seafood indulgence have been popular now for quite sometime, as evidenced by the long lines found at The Boiling Crab and other restaurants akin to it, as well as at seafood boils and gatherings throughout many parts of the U.S. And it’s no wonder, since the traditional fiery and tasty spices typically served with them help heighten the appeal of the crawfish.
Now imagine that experience amped up in the form of a giant crawfish platter that clocks in at around 22 pounds. The thought alone would get any appetite revving to go and hoping others would join in on the fun.
Well in Suzhou, China, that thought is one delicious reality. At a restaurant translated as “Just This Shrimp,” they’re serving up this behemoth serving of crawfish. Splashed with some local beer and served in flavors like garlic, garlic herb with sesame, and spicy chili, the crawfish platter is a worthy mouthful that’s 22 pounds of seafood bliss.
The fact that all of the crawfish are fresh and used from live ones made to order should enhance the experience of the massive meal even more. Given that, the extended length of a 20-plus minute wait for the crawfish platter is understandable and in the end, truly worth it.
Since the beginning of time, Spanish empanadas have been synonymous with Latin cuisine. These small, stuffed meat pastries are perfect for snacking, and best of all, this timeless cajun empanada recipe can be modified to fit your culinary preferences.
Continuing with more recipes from the Tabasutra cooking series – the Tabañero Hot Sauce X FOODBEAST cookbook – we instituted the help of well-known foodie Instagrammer and blogger, Kylie Mazon.
With more than 57K followers on her Cooking With Cocktail Rings Instagram page, Kylie brought a Cajun flare to her empanada recipe, and it looks and tastes amazing.
These buttery, crumbly little meat pies are filled with Cajun-seasoned crawfish, diced pancetta, green bell peppers, and, of course, Tabañero Hot Sauce. Still, it wouldn’t be Tabasutra without an exotic bottle grip, and Kylie’s grip may be the most majestic of all.
The Reverse Unicorn requires precision, class, and finesse, and should really only appear in mythology. However, Kylie showed us that unicorns definitely still exist.
While the Reverse Unicorn Tabasutra bottle grip may be difficult to master, Kylie’s Cajun empanada recipe is super simple and will come in handy during your next soiree. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!
For the filling
½ lb diced pancetta
1 c diced yellow onion
½ c diced green bell pepper
½ cup diced celery
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ lb frozen cooked crawfish bodies, thawed and chopped
1 tbsp Tabañero hot sauce
2 tbsp heavy cream
For the dough
3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp kosher salt
½ c unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
1 egg, beaten
Hot sauce, as needed, for dipping
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta turns golden brown. Remove the pancetta to a bowl, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible and return to heat. Add the onion, pepper and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and flour, cooking for an additional 30 seconds.
Add the crawfish and cooked pancetta, stirring to combine. Let cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally then stir in hot sauce and cream.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter using your hands so the mixture is crumbly. Add just enough cold water until the dough comes together – about 1 cup.
Divide dough into 2-inch balls and roll out each piece into a 4 ½-inch circle. Lay on a lightly-floured baking sheet.
Heat oven to 375º. Working one at a time, moisten the outer edge of round dough with water, then put about 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle. Wrap the dough around the filling to form an empanada, pressing the edges together. Fold the edges back and finish by pinching little pleats.
Place empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with egg. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Memorial Day Weekend is one of the best weekends in America for a multitude of reasons. For one, it’s a day set aside to honor the men and women who have laid down their lives for this country, which is awesome. Secondly, it’s a holiday that virtually marks the beginning of summer, and that’s equally just as awesome. Finally, Memorial Day is a day typically spent cooking up some of the most delicious foods people can come up with, from the simplicity of dogs and burgs to the rare delicacy of shark fin.
(left) Alligator being fried for the masses. (right) Setup for the boil begins.
One of my closest friends (we’ll call him “Jim”) invited me to his family’s lakehouse for Memorial Day Weekend. His wife was out of town, so he needed an attractive individual to take her place. It makes sense that I was chosen.
The lake, which was manmade roughly 30 years ago, is a small, quiet lake that places an emphasis on privacy. It’s a veritable oasis, so it comes as no surprise that the founders of this summer goldmine see it as a well-kept secret. The lake itself is an elongated oval shape, perfect for the water sports that all the residents of the Ski West Village community enjoy. It’s also home to the biggest friggin’ crawfish boil my sheltered eyes have ever seen.
We pull up to the lakehouse Friday night and Jim’s brother “Jay” greets us with a variety of beers. Getting drunk at the lake is a quintessential part of the entire experience, so I drink– not by choice, but rather to immerse myself into the culture, and to blend in amongst these seasoned lake veterans well enough to– ok, it was by choice. I want to get hammered, sue me. As we drink, Jim regales me with tales of the famous crawfish boil. He tells me about the variety of people that are going, and how the couple hosting the boil were born and raised in Louisiana. He finishes by telling me the hundreds of pounds of crawfish that are brought in are frozen for the trip (from Louisiana) then thawed when they arrive, bringing them back to life in a way that would make Captain America proud. My excitement, along with my bladder, is now bursting at the seams.
After a long and fulfilling day of swimming and drinking, the crew and I begin walking over to the crawfish boil sometime around 6 pm. A soft breeze gently guides the pungent smell of garlic and spices through the crowds of people beginning to gather. The sound of alligator meat being fried whispers an intoxicating crackling, drowned out by “oohs” and “aahs” from young onlookers baffled at the thought of eating alligator. People begin shuffling in around the tables, preparing for the feast…that’s when several men come out holding the coolers filled with crawfish, the pallbearers for a crustaceous funeral.
The deliverers of deliciousness begin dumping the coolers onto the table. The slightly different shades of red throughout the mounds of shellfish give off a crimson glow in the setting sunlight the likes I’ve never seen before. The mountains of food mostly consist of crawfish, but that’s certainly not all. The boil also included (as is tradition) large chunks of corn, sausages cut in half, garlic cloves, mushrooms, onions and small red potatoes you could pop into your mouth like a Mentos.
Once that’s done, it’s no holds barred. Old people, children, and everyone in between start bustling around looking for the best spot on the table.
As I pluck the shells off of my victims and throw the tiny portions of meat into my mouth like a ping pong ball into a cauldron, I become crushed under the weight of an intense “ah ha” epiphany, and the crawfish boil suddenly makes perfect sense to me. I look over to where Jim is and see him shaking hands with a family friend, reveling in their wakeboarding discussion. I see a young boy giving this whole “flirting” thing a try with a female friend while his buddies hide behind a few chairs, pointing and snickering. I see a mother holding her baby with one hand and digging into the sausage with the other while her husband rips a crawfish apart with his fingers. Then, without uttering a single word or taking their eyes off the prize, mom hands the baby off to dad and he takes it in stride, as if it were a running play up the middle.
I scan my surroundings and see all these things happening. At that moment, I realize that the crawfish boil isn’t just dinner. It isn’t just a community meal. It’s a catalyst. It’s a jumping-off point for a storied life. It’s the “Your mother and I met when…” story for that young boy. It’s the “We’ve been friends since…” tale that Jim will tell his own kids one day. It’s the “First thing I remember as a baby…” story that the football handoff child will tell in high school. For this community, the crawfish boil isn’t just their dinner. It’s their history.
Things like the boil are what keep us together. It’s what helps us forget about the troubles of today and the stresses of tomorrow, and the thought of having to vote for one of those three morons running for President. Find your “crawfish boil,” whatever that may be, and your own story will surely follow.
IKEA’s cafe and restaurant are known for being just as affordable as its furniture (50 cent hot dogs FTW!), but it’s the last place we’d think to go to indulge in a seafood dinner. But just like the Easter themed all-you-can-eat Smörgåsbord the furnture store offered back in March, IKEA is hosting a Swedish Crayfish Party on August 15 at locations nationwide to celebrate the summer season. The crayfish party is a way for the company to pay homage to old Swedish traditions in a fun way for customers.
The IKEA Crayfish Party menu includes an assortment of IKEA favorites such as meatballs with lingonberries and mashed potatoes, along with the summer themed dishes of crayfish (duh), assorted salads, hardboiled eggs with shrimp and mayo (under the sea egg salad?), cheese pie, Najad Salmon with Horseradish or Gravad Lax with Mustard Sauce, various breads and rolls, desserts, and beverages, including everyone’s favorite lingonberry punch.
Seating is limited, because apparently errone wants to get their crayfish on at their local IKEA store, so the company is encouraging interested guests to get their tickets early. IKEA FAMILY members can guarantee themselves a spot at the feast for $9.99 per person or $2.49 for children 12 and under. Non-members can get their tickets for $12.99 for adults and $4.99 for kids 12 and under.
To see if your nearest IKEA store is hosting a Swedish Crayfish Party check out the website’s store locator here. If you can’t make it to the celebration, IKEA stores are also offering a free KRÄFTSKIVA FESTPAKET, aka crayfish party kit, complete with bibs, garland, hats, and a songbook, to every customer that purchases two boxes of IKEA’s KRÄFTOR frozen crayfish.
A crawfish, a bacon cheeseburger, a shrimp, some cheese, beef jerky, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans, okra, onions, tomatoes, olives, a pickle and a half pint of beer. No, this isn’t my grocery list. Just the list of ingredients in the most ridiculous Bloody Mary concocted at the Anvil Pub in Dallas, TX. Well, the most ridiculous Bloody Mary since this.
I am honestly hesitant to call this thing a beverage. It’s an alcoholic meal, thrown together under the guise of a Bloody Mary. After drink-eating this you could go to the bathroom, say Bloody Mary three times and scare the hell out of any ghost.
Just over an hour ago, Popeyes took to their social media accounts with the above picture and the caption “Coming soon…Crawfish.” Every year around this time Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen makes a move to include Crawfish on their menu in a limited time offering. For those of you that enjoy deep-fried crawfish, this is your time.
For those that follow developments within the fast food industry (hey, who doesn’t?!), you’d know that late September the Louisiana Kitchen revealed a well-received and notorious Dip’n Chick’n product.
We will have more on Popeyes Crawfish specials for the coming weeks as they are made available.