My Mom usually had command of the kitchen. But when it came time to grill outdoors, it was 100% Dad.
Growing up, our brick-walled patio featured a corner grill – something I’m pretty sure was considered a little ahead of its time in the 1960s, when our house was rebuilt. Dad always cooked on charcoal.
When I chose this recipe I realized that I’ve always been a propane gas griller (translation: I’m conveniently lazy). Yet when I saw some of the keywords in Mom’s recipe “hot coals,” “bacon drippings,” “flavor” and “smoke,” I knew what I had to do; I zipped up the street to my local Walmart and purchased a tiny grill for just $15 to ensure that I was preparing the anticuchos the way in which they were intended – with some TLC or “Tender Lovin’ Charcoal!”
Oh yeah, the name.
“Anticuchos” is a bit of a tongue twister, but if you’re a San Antonio native like I am you likely know anticuchos from the annual NIOSA festival where in just 4 nights more than 18,000 anticuchos are sold to festival goers who salivate for this sensationally savory shish kabob dish. You can read more about NIOSA at my Sauerkrat Bend’s Potato Salad Recipe here.
Anticuchos are a uniquely Peruivan dish typically made of beef hearts and grill-basted with a fiery marinade of vinegar and a peppery paste. More modern versions of the dish have expanded to be made from chicken, beef liver and my favorite – beef tenderloin, like Mom’s recipe here.
foodie tips ~
❤ This dish is easy to make but it does require letting the beef marinate overnight … so give yourself some prep-ahead-time. Your tastebuds will thank you later.
❤ You can make anticuchos with just the meat or alternate the skewers with meat, bell peppers and new potatoes – this is how my family made them at home. I remember my Mom and Dad using green bell peppers but adding red, yellow and green only makes the dish more colorful.
❤ Two gifts in one! You only use the bacon drippings (not the bacon) so you can enjoy a bacon snack while you’re outside grilling or save the bacon for another recipe. Hint: nobody saves bacon, so better eat it up before I beat you to it!
❤ Love living life in the spicy lane? My Cousin Julie says she enjoys her anticuchos marinated with Pickapeppa Hot Pepper Sauce.
for the marinade:
1 cup | red wine vinegar
3 cups | water
2-3 | fresh, whole serrano peppers, ends snipped off
to taste | salt
to taste | whole peppercorns
2-3 cloves | garlic
generous pinch | oregano
generous pinch | cumin
2 pounds | cubed beef
5 slices bacon | reserve the bacon drippings
1 | bell pepper, cut into chunks (optional)
8-12 | new potatoes (optional)
8-12 | wooden skewers, soaked in water about 30 minutes before preparation
1 | charcoal grill that’s fired-up and ready to go
1. Combine the first 8 ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blend thoroughly. I couldn’t get my peppercorns to crack (probably because I have a lower-end blender) but they will add some flavor to the marinade nonetheless.
2. Place the cubed beef in a glass dish and cover with the marinade. Marinate several hours or overnight (overnight highly suggested)!
3. Spear the marinated cubed beef with the prepared skewers – and if adding the optional peppers and new potatoes (which is what I did) – alternate the ingredients on the skewers. Continue skewer-ing until you’re all out of ingredients.
4. Add the bacon drippings (to taste) to the remaining marinade then baste the meat while cooking over hot coals until you’re ready to remove them and enjoy.
The bacon drippings add flavor and make the meat smoke. Delicious!
Yield: 8-12 skewers of tasty meat and veggies!
Here’s a scan of the original recipe as penned by my Mom, Betty!
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
A little more about this dish:
Wait! Did you honestly think before we dove into this recipe that I wouldn’t “wax on” about this or that (or both)? Well you’re right!
You might learn a few things about this tasty dish, as did I. Most shockingly, this recipe does not hail from Switzerland – FOR REAL? Yes, if Wikipedia is remotely true, (and I believe that it is), I’ve been wrong about this small but tastefully important detail my entire life. Read why here.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ “Fat” sounds so … er … fatty. :( We used bacon drippings. Mmmm … bacon! :) Sounds much healthier and “hipper” than mere fat alone.
♥ If you’re feeling rather hungry and you don’t want to pound/tenderize the meat, you can simply coat the steak with the flour mixture by tossing them all together. But don’t blame me if you have second thoughts!
♥ Sadly, my local market (cough-cough-HEB-cough) was out of the cuts of meat I was looking for. Sniffle! Sniffle! But I found boneless chuck steak ribs and they were quite good. But on the next go, I’ll try waking up early in the day for a run at the steak.
♥ Serve with a bountiful sidekick of instant potatoes? Hey, don’t hate! This blog is about functional food from the 1950s – 1970s, so that’s what we ate … and we loved it! And yet I’m still alive to blog about it. I fondly remember black packets of Borden Brand Instant Mashed Potatoes prepared with a divot generously filled with melted butter and a sprinkling of Lawry’s Brand Seasoned Salt (shown above). My brother Roger tells me that Idahoan has filled the void sadly left by Borden. I read more online about the blows to the Borden brand and he’s right. Tonight my partner Joe thanked me more than he did at Christmastime for making this savory starch “with no nutritional value.” That says a lot about his love of instant potatoes … and my skills with gift giving. :\
♥ Whoopsie! Forgot to add the peas near the preparation dismount … probably because I was overly-focused on the “sinsationally” starchy potatoes and garlicky green bean sidekicks.
1 ½ pounds | round or chuck steak, about 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons | flour
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
3 tablespoons | fat
1 | white onion, sliced into rings
8 ounce can | hunt’s brand tomato sauce
1 cup | water
1 cup | green peas
ii. what to do
1. Cut steak into four pieces.
2. Mix flour, salt and pepper, coat the steak, then pound into steak.
3. Heat fat/drippings in a large pan over medium heat.
4. Separate the sliced onion into rings then cook them in the bacon (Mmmm …) drippings until golden. Push the rings to the side of the pan to make room for more friends.
5. Place the coated steak into the pan and brown slowly on both sides.
6. Cover steak with the onions, the tomato sauce and water and blend. Heat until bubbly.
7. Cover tightly then lower heat and simmer 2 hours or more until meat is very tender. Add the peas and warm through.
Don’t let this recipe fool you.
This rice isn’t spicy hot. But that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.
I was surprised to read this dish calls for ground beef … but all the happier since it was my main squeeze tonight. That’s right – this dish and I are going steady.
After making this dish per Mom’s instructions I read up a little more on the history of Spanish Rice which you might want to check out.
foodie tips ~
♥ Bacon drippings or shortening? Seriously ~ this is Texas. Go for the bacon drippings.
♥ We all know that food portions were smaller back in the 1970s. So when this calls for a “small box” of rice, I’m thinking it must have been 3 ½ cups of rice. The smallest box of rice I found at my local grocery store was about 7 cups strong (14 ounces). Supersize me.
♥ This is a great-tasting recipe but if you want something spicy you better add some cumin or chili powder or maybe even a can of Rotel (drained).
¼ cup | bacon drippings (or shortening)
1 | onion, thinly sliced
small box | minute rice
½ | green pepper, diced
1 pound | ground beef
2 8-ounce cans | tomato sauce
1 teaspoon | prepared mustard
to taste | pepper
to taste | salt
1 ¾ cups | hot water
ii. what to do
1. In a medium sized pot prepare the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon strips and set aside reserving the drippings in the pan. The bacon isn’t used in this recipe so now you have something to snack on while you finish this out. :)
2. Add the onion, rice, pepper and meat. Stir over high heat until lightly browned (including the rice).
3. Add the tomato sauce, mustard, pepper, salt and hot water. Bring to a boil; then simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Shake your maracas – it’s ready!
Serve warm, as a sidekick or a main dish. Leftovers refrigerate well. This makes a lot of rice!
A scan of Mom’s original recipe card:
And for those who want to learn a little more about how to shake your maracas: