Texas Tailgating: Atomic Deer Turds

Photo by Robb Walsh
Note: This is a rerun of a post from 2008 in which former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh shares a favorite tailgating recipe in honor of game day.

Tailgaters love to stuff jalapeños with cheese (usually cream cheese) and wrap meat around them. To make "atomic buffalo turds," you stuff a half a jalapeño with a "cocktail smokie" sausage and cream cheese, wrap it with bacon, secure with a toothpick and grill until the bacon is crisp. Then there's "armadillo eggs," made by wrapping pork sausage around a cream cheese-stuffed pepper.

In Texas, where tailgaters, trail drive riders and hunting camp cooks have lots of venison on hand, variations on this theme use deer meat. I've seen butterflied venison backstrap and venison hamburger meat used as the outer layer around a stuffed jalapeño -- but the most common meat for this use is venison sausage. These are known by a number of names including "atomic deer turds," or, in polite company, "venison sausage balls."

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Robb Walsh's Top 10 Ice Cream Experiences in Houston

Categories: Robblog, Top 10

With the weather heating up, we thought we'd revive Robb Walsh's favorite ice cream experiences, which he first shared in August 2009, in conjunction with his feature story on Houston ice cream parlors, "The Scoop."

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Photos by Paul S. Howell
10. CreamWorx
8817 Hwy. 6, Missouri City
281-778-2732

CreamWorx is an independent frozen-­custard maker down on Highway 6 south of Sugar Land. The custard can be flavored with a complicated syrup injector system, but the final product comes out too soft. Forget the "flavorizing" machine and get a large waffle cone of the rich chocolate custard with a topping of crushed pecans.

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Learn to Make Authentic Tex-Mex with Robb Walsh

Categories: Get Lit, Robblog

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If you're going to take a Tex-Mex cooking class, it may as well be from a man who's penned no less than three books on the subject, a man who many acknowledge as the High Priest of the Temple of Tex-Mex: Robb Walsh.

According to his blog, our former food critic decided to offer classes on how to make classic Tex-Mex cheese enchiladas after a conversation with his physical therapist:

"Why don't you give a class about how to make Tex-Mex cheese enchiladas?" Mike, my physical therapist said as he twisted my arm into a pretzel shape. Mike moved here from New York. He observed that there are lots of cooking classes in Houston, but he couldn't find any about Tex-Mex. And since he is helping me recover from rotator cuff surgery, I thought the least I could do is teach him how to make proper enchiladas. And I figured as long as I was going to teach him, I might as well see if anybody else wanted to learn.

Walsh's torn rotator cuff is your opportunity, people!


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Make Robb Walsh's 100 List Your New Year's Resolution

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Map created by Kyle Nielsen
Click to enlarge the map
With the New Year, you may have made some new resolutions to go along with it. But if you haven't yet made any, please allow us to suggest an attempt to work your way through Robb Walsh's list of his 100 Favorite Dishes.

Whether you're familiar with the city and would like to revisit old favorites or whether you're looking to get better acquainted with Houston's food through a little exploration, this list's for you. Our awesome reader Kyle Nielsen even made the handy map you see above to help you decide where to start or where to go next.

And let's face it: This New Year's resolution is far easier to keep than resolutions like "lose 25 pounds" or "achieve world peace," and it's more enjoyable to boot. After all, how much fun would life be without war-mongering propaganda posters for future generations to mock? Just stick to Walsh's 100 List.

Houston Culinary Tours Ramping Up Again

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The inaugural barbecue tour with Robb Walsh; see if you can spot the man himself.
There's now one more way to get your Robb Walsh fix besides rereading that copy of Sex, Death and Oysters for the fifth time: The Houston Press's former food critic is teaming up with Catalan executive chef Chris Shepherd once again to lead another Houston Culinary Tour.

The World BBQ Tour with Walsh and Shepherd is one of the two upcoming Houston Culinary Tours that has tickets going on sale this Wednesday, December 1. Both tours are limited to 16 tickets, which will sell out very quickly. But if you're one of the 32 to grab one, it'll make a lovely Christmas present for your favorite food lover...

Walsh's tour with Shepherd will hit four different types of barbecue restaurants over the course of an afternoon on Sunday, January 16. Prepare to dine on not only standard Texas barbecue, but see how it's done in China, Mexico and Korea. Even if you've gone on previous barbecue tours with Walsh, this one will prove to be a horse of a different color.


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Getting Real: New Caswell-Walsh Restaurant Venture Finally Gets a Name

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Photo courtesy of Robb Walsh
Artist's rendering of El Real Tex-Mex Cafe.
"You have to give people what they're interested in eating," Robb Walsh laughed over the phone. "Fajitas will be very well represented on our menu." Wise words that should quell any concerns Houstonians may have had about the joint venture between Walsh -- former Houston Press food critic and author of The Tex-Mex Cookbook -- and the men behind Reef and Little Big's: Bill Floyd and Chef Bryan Caswell, who currently can be seen competing on The Next Iron Chef.

To some, it seemed like an odd romance: a former food critic going into the restaurant business? A staunch defender of old-school Tex-Mex food partnering with a pioneer of modern Gulf Coast cuisine? One of the city's most beloved food figures in bed with one of its most controversial? Sparks were sure to fly regardless of a good or bad outcome.

The restaurant -- whose name was revealed today to be El Real Tex-Mex Cafe -- has more than just a big-name partnership to live up to. Housed in the old Tower Theater on lower Westheimer, the iconic location was last home to a Hollywood Video and bears very little resemblance inside to its former life. Walsh aims to revive the past at El Real, but in a different way: through vintage Tex-Mex.

What is vintage Tex-Mex? "Poached eggs in chile con carne," according to Walsh. Items like puffy tacos from San Antonio or Tex-Mex seafood from Brownsville. "A lot of the menu items will be stuff that hasn't been seen on Tex-Mex menus in a long time," he said. "We're looking back to the old Gebhardt cookbooks from 1917 and all kinds of old menus."

What else is vintage Tex-Mex to Walsh? Lard. Lots and lots of lard.


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Reporting from the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium: Thacker Mountain Radio Show, Mississippi Masala, and a Talk by Robb Walsh

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Robb Walsh, right.
The 13th Annual Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium officially kicks off today, but the fun got started Thursday night with the Thacker Mountain Radio show and some dinner offerings in line with the "Global South" theme, including Mississippi Masala by Suvir Saran.

Thacker Mountain is broadcast on stage with a live audience, this time from the Lyric Theater. Host Jim Dees welcomed a full house of SFAers and other onlookers, and promised a show the food types would dig, starting off with some impromptu "poll results."

"We asked folks whether they preferred butter or margarine," Dees smirked, "and they said we trust cows over scientists." Ba-dum ching.

The house band, the Yalobushwackers, warmed up the mike with a mini-set of Delta blues before former Houston Press restaurant critic Robb Walsh (full disclosure: he's also my dad) took the stage to dish on chile peppers, fajitas and oysters.

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Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Houston Dishes #1 Oysters Gilhooley at Gilhooley's Raw Bar in San Leon

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For a slideshow of all Robb's favorite 100 dishes, click here.

Over the course of the past few months, I've counted down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Now I've finally reached number one. Share your own nominations in the comments.

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Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Houston Dishes #2: Fajitas at the Original Ninfa's on Navigation

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Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.

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Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Houston Dishes #3 Snapper on a Sizzling Comal at Tampico

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Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.

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