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Jay Smith Corp. Exec. Chef Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Jay Smith
Corp. Exec. Chef
Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Smoky Watermelon and Carnitas Tacos

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jay Smith
Sponsor: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Serves: 24

Ingredients

Smoky Spice Rub

  • 3 Tbsp Chipotle chile powder
  • 3 Tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1/3 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt

Smoky Chile Watermelon

  • 1 ½ lb Watermelon, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 1 Tbsp Smoky Spice Rub

Carnitas

  • 5 lb Pork shoulder, cut in 2-inch dice
  • 5 Tbsp Smoky Spice Rub
  • 3 Tbsp Salt
  • 6 oz Onion, cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 1 oz Finely chopped garlic
  • 1 (7-oz) can Chipotle chiles in adobo

Watermelon and Carnitas Tacos

  • 24 ea Corn tortillas (heated on grill)
  • 72 pieces Carnitas, skewered
  • 3 cups Spinach, stemmed
  • 1 cup Salsa verde
  • 1 1/2 cups Crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 1/2 lb Smoky Chile Watermelon matchsticks
  • 24 leaves Cilantro
  • 24 ea Lime wedges

Directions

  1. For the spice rub: Blend and store airtight.
  2. For the watermelon: Season the watermelon with the smoky spice rub. Place into a bag and then vacuum to compress watermelon. Refrigerate for 12 hours and then use within 2 days.
  3. To use, cut the watermelon cubes into matchsticks 1 in. x ¼ in. x ¼ in.
  4. For the carnitas: Season the pork with the spice rub and salt. Combine it with the onion, garlic, and chipotles in a 4-inch-deep hotel pan. Cover airtight with foil.
  5. Place in a 350 degree F convection oven for 2 hours and braise until the pork is fork tender.
  6. Let cool and then cover and refrigerate.
  7. Place carnitas skewers on a grill and heat evenly until hot throughout.
  8. Place a tortilla on a plate and top with ½ cup spinach and 3 pieces hot carnitas.
  9. Top with salsa verde, queso fresco, and watermelon matchsticks.
  10. Garnish with a lime wedge and cilantro leaf.

Project Management: Summit F&B
Photography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

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