Why subsist in the normal when you can revel in the outrageous? It’s what puts the spice in life. And sometimes it makes us scratch our heads and say, “Really? Would those flavors really taste good together???”
I know you’ve noticed it, too. Culinary creations that border on the line of incredible. Sometimes even a tad bizarre. Where mash-ups of menu favorites go head-to-head, meet and then marry to become unexpected culinary masterpieces.
That’s what Frankenfood is all about.
I have a personal relationship with this culinary creature that’s been introduced to the world as Frankenfood. It all started with my husband’s, ahem, “creative ways” in the kitchen.
A few years back—a few more than either of us would care to admit—like so many hobbyist cooks in America, my husband had the brainchild that he wanted to open a restaurant. But his restaurant was going to be different. It was going to be a menu of odd-ball dishes that when combined together created a culinary union that defied logic.
Creamy pastas topped with eggs over easy and doused with hot sauce (years before the craze to ‘put an egg on it.’) Spring rolls with cucumbers, shrimp and potato chips. Macaroni and cheese casserole with layers of bologna and mashed potatoes and more cheese. It sounded weird, and sometimes looked odd, but was pretty much delicious.
And he was going to call his restaurant, Restaurant Dog Food, because it may not always LOOK that good to eat, but it always tasted gooooood.
Fast-forward a few years to where his passion and menu creations still have a part in our menu rotation, the restaurant idea has gone by the wayside. But recipes like our Korean Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Caramel Apple Pie? That’s still a fave.
We love watching food shows, and Smudge is totally into the food competitions which is why Spike TV’s new show, Frankenfood, has our name written all over it.
In each episode, everyday home cooks compete to create the most inventive—and hopefully still edible—food combinations. Each week the competitors are judged by local judges, the paying public and celeb chef Josh Capon who names the winner of the day’s big prize: $10,000. Plus, they’ll have their dish featured on a local restaurant menu, definitely not Restaurant Dog Food, but a real, live menu. And of course, they’ll wear the crown of Frankenfood Champion. Sound the trumpets and bring on the confetti.
While you may look a little sideways at the concoctions, people really do eat these Frankenfood creations! Like the Sunrise Sushi: sunnyside up egg, bacon, salmon, avocado puree and tempura cream cheese. I could totally go for that. Or the WTF Burger topped with Sriracha, marinara sauce, pineapple (yum! sweet!), mozzarella and of course, candied bacon. I mean, what’s not to love in that ingredient line-up?
This new show got my husband and I reminiscing about his Restaurant Dog Food creations. And totally piqued the interest of Smudge, who asked that we bring out the kitchen aprons and let her try some of the recipes. She’s a foodiecrush-er through and through.
About the recipe:
Our Korean Pulled Pork Sandwiches dish out sweet and savory in each and every bite. Asian chili sauce gives the heat, soy sauce provides the ultimate umami and brown sugar and Asian pears induce the sweetness.
To kick it up into the Frankenfood territory, we paired an Apple Caramel Pie topping to really play off the spicy Korean kick.
Then for crunch, because we all need crunch, we backed back into our Asian flavors with a sesame dressed coleslaw. And it’s on the healthy side thanks to kale, carrots and almonds.
I used my local bakeries rosette buns because they’re so fun to look at with all their twisty ways (just like this recipe) but any soft, white bun will do.
Of course Smudge had to take a stab at her own rendition.
Like her mom and dad, she’s a big fan of adding crunch to her sandwiches. But for her it’s all about the potato chips and cottage cheese, layered with the Korean Pulled Pork. Of course she couldn’t stay away from the Apple Caramel Pie topping, but opted to make it her after dinner treat instead.
Do you have a Frankenfood in your recipe line-up? I’m totally ready to have my tastebuds tantalized so let me know in the comments below.
- 1 3-4 pound Boston butt or pork butt
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium size white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Asian pears, stemmed, seeded and grated
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 14.5 ounce can beef broth
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ¾ cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
- ¼ cup Asian chili sauce
- ⅛ cup sesame oil
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 small red apple, cored and thinly sliced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup cream
- ¼ cup instant oats
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 12 ounce package Chopped Asian Blend salad
- 4 green onions, whites and greens chopped
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1½ tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (add more to taste if you prefer a strong sesame taste)
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 rosette buns or other split, white buns
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Generously season the pork butt on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat and sear the pork until a nice crust forms, about 5 minutes for each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the onions, Asian pear and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Nestle the pork butt into the onion mixture.
- Mix the beef broth, brown sugar, rice vinegar, Asian chili sauce and sesame oil in a large bowl or 4-cup measuring cup. Pour the mixture over the pork and onion mixture, cover and cook in the oven for 4 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
- Transfer the pork to a large bowl and let cool. Shred with two forks or your fingers.
- Cook the remaining sauce over medium heat until reduced by half. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. You should have about 4 cups of sauce. Add 3 cups of sauce to the shredded pork an mix well. Add more sauce if desired. Reserve the extra sauce for dipping.
- Mix the apples with the lemon juice in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir to mix. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Stir in the cream until smooth. Add the apples and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the oats, cinnamon and salt. Remove from heat.
- Add the chopped Asian blend salad to a large bowl. Stir in the green onions, slivered almonds and black sesame seeds. Mix the oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle over the slaw mix and toss to combine.
- Split buns in half. Layer with Asian slaw, pulled pork and caramel apple crumble. Top with bun and serve.
Presented by Spike TV’s Frankenfood. Premiers Sunday, June 22 at 10/9c.
As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.
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