Saturday, April 24, 2010

The best joke I never got...

I'm so happy to see a few warm and sunny days! Summer doesn't officially start until June 21st but I'm already planning our first backyard barbecue. There will be the standards, of course; potato salad, macaroni salad, chocolate cheese ball and some refreshing beverages. But instead of burgers and hot dogs this time, I'd like to start the summer off with a fun and delicious main course that brings back memories of my childhood.

During all my grade and middle school years we would spend holiday weekends camping up at a family friend's cabin on Lake Bosworth. I always loved the relaxed, potluck atmosphere and one of the highlights was a recipe that our Filipino friend would make. The three dads would stand around the barbecue, tending the skewered meat, while we kids anxiously awaited its readiness to eat. The smell of the marinade caramelizing, and infusing the meat with its amazing flavor, made us drool like a pack of wild dogs. When the meat was ready, the dads would holler out, "Who wants monkey meat!"

Sure, the first time I probably scrunched up my face and refused to try it. But dad, with his mission to widen the culinary horizons of his children, would never give up. I honestly don't remember a time when I didn't eat the monkey meat. However, I remember asking every time we ate it, "What kind of meat is it really?" There were lots of giggles from us kids, lots of inside joke chuckles from the dads and lots of requests for more monkey meat.

I almost hate to admit that this may be the only joke I never really got until 30 years later. In July of 2008 I was looking for something new to do with pork tenderloin when I stumbled on a recipe called, Monkey Meat, posted on Recipezaar by Judy81350.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only had the dads kept the secret all those years, but that it was in fact a real recipe! I had to try it; I had to share a little bit of my childhood with my family. It's amazingly simple and so delicious. The following recipe is my version of the original, as I prefer to use the tenderloin instead of the roast, low sodium soy sauce in the marinade and adding vegetables to the skewers. Feel free to change up the veggies; maybe use mushrooms or some pineapple even!

Monkey Meat

3 lbs boneless pork tenderloin cut in long 1/2 inch thick strips
12 ounces carbonated lemon-lime beverage, like 7 UP (just don't use a diet soda)
12 ounces reduced sodium soy sauce
15 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large onion, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
20-25 wooden skewers soaked in cold water for 30 minutes or more.

Mix 7UP, soy sauce and garlic in large bowl.
Place pork loin strips in bowl. Cover and let sit in fridge overnight.
Weave meat and veggies onto skewers.
Grill over medium coals until done, 10-15 minutes.

Serves 10
Prep time: 20 minutes plus overnight marinating
Cook time: 15 minutes

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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License