Cutting your pepper chops

Back here with Chef with his advice on how to get into eating spicy food. Enough harping on the Midwestern bland palate stereotypes, it’s time to grab a glass of milk and train your taste buds to appreciate the subtle delights spice can add to any dish. Chef not only dishes out delicious food, but some solid advice on how to hone your pickled pepper eating chops to become a true connoisseur of heat.

“Pickled Jalapeños are a good place to start. You put them on your pizza, and just integrate them into your daily meal and however you feel it’s necessary. It’s the advent of Tabasco sauce or all these different hot sauces, these are just condiments just to spice up your food a little bit…

… [Spice is] encompassing. You need your sweet, spicy, sour, and salty. You have your Campbell’s soup or your tomato soup and you want a little love in it, so it’s some crushed red chili flake or a dash of tobasco or it’s something to just give it a little more zing and you begin to build it from there. Then I think ultimately you end up eating raw Thai chilis which are not the hottest but I think they have, to me, the most unique flavor.”

 Chef’s advice is to start small and build your way up. Learn to appreciate the different flavor profiles some of the different peppers provide. Cooking with or eating chili’s doesn’t need to burn your mouth off. At the Butcher & the Boar, part of the experience is figuring out the different accents and flavors spices provide for that unique kick and full flavor to any dish. Don’t be afraid to go spicy Minneapolis.

A word about Chef’s vision

One of the biggest challenges for Chef Jack Riebel when starting up at Butcher & the Boar and developing our menu was coming from a “jewel box” style of cooking with meticulous menu preparation to a more communal, less fussy cuisine style.

With a large menu, the challenge is taking “something for everyone” and refining it to create a unique style that will delight customers and define your style as a restaurant.

“If you’re a conscious chef you should hand pick those things that are really great and continue to do them,” explains Chef.

The hardest part for Chef was putting together a good blend of food that fit a concept, then when unleashing it to the public getting the reality check of whether people like what you’re putting out or not.

“I can tell you as a chef I’m never super satisfied, at the end of the day [as a perfectionist] I don’t really like a lot of the food I cook. I always want it to be better, more refined … One of the challenges here for me was to come from a fine dining-type background and cooking things at a very meticulous tasting menu type format to a communal dining table…

… I really wanted this to be different, but in doing that I ended up tearing up 20 menus in 3 months… in concepting the menu it came down to the last day where you just make the decision to go with some dishes you like… As it assembles it really takes a course of its own…”

In crafting the menu, Chef tells us that though he might have a dish that he thinks is absolutely amazing, maybe nobody buys it. Our customers (you) let you know what they like. You have to keep it fresh but also give the customers the food that they love.

Crafting delicious sides

Mmm… fried green tomatoes. If you’ve been to Butcher & the Boar you may have noticed that we have several unique and fan favorite sides including things like fried green tomatoes, grits, and dirty wild rice.

In concepting the side dishes for Butcher & the Boar we really took from the idea of the communal dining experience and thought that nothing was a better fit than great side dishes.

In Chef’s words “I think communal dining is really fun. I grew up in a time when you sat down with your family every night and ate, and now I think it’s just the holidays that we do that… our sides help the guest create their own experience…

…The sides fit in great with the communal table dining experience, and were also inspired by the American barbeque tradition where you might pick up a set of rib tips and pick up coleslaw and potato salad.  We wanted to take that concept and refine it a bit while – as always -making the food accessible, unique, while keeping that authentic American feel.”

State of the menu

Sitting down with Chef as we continue our interview with him, he gives us an idea of some of the more important staples on the Butcher & the Boar menu.

“At Butcher & the Boar we change the menu seasonally, we change the sauce, we change the garnish, but it’s a very small change.

One of our most popular items is the pork chop. Things like the preparation of the pork will never change. We don’t see ourselves changing the preparation of the smoked meats. We usually feature fresh sausages, and people really like the high quality smoked sausages as they’re hard to find anywhere else.”

One thing’s clear, we like to listen to our customers. Be sure to let us know what you love so we can keep it coming.

A World of [Red] Hot Chili Peppers

Chef Jack Riebel has a profound appreciation for the world of hot. It’s well known locally that hot chilis are not always a comfortable addition for the tepid Midwestern palate, yet a good amount of energy in the kitchen at Butcher & the Boar is spent creating a food experience where even mild mannered Minnesotan taste buds can grow to appreciate the subtleties of spice.

“When you talk to people about using chilis they say ‘I don’t use chilis, they’re so spicy… Once you get used to eating spicy food and you get your heat tolerance up, you can begin to appreciate the subtleties…

…It’s our job as a Chef, as a team, to create a balance. I don’t want it to be so hot that you don’t taste the food, I want it to be a nuance, a style, a flavor that really helps you appreciate something and really elevates the dish.”