Spicy Smoked Pulled Pork Tacos

It’s Taco Tuesday so you know what that means, spicy, smoked pulled pork tacos on the menu! I’m sure you all know how to make tacos but I wanted to share this quick and easy spicy pork tacos recipe. I picked up this great smoked pulled pork from Sam’s Club recently. If you’re not familiar with Sam’s Club, it’s a warehouse retailer run by Walmart and similar to Costco. They’re pretty much all over the US and sell products in bulk to subscribed members.

Smoked Pull Pork

The pulled pork is under the club’s signature brand, Member’s Mark and is available in the refrigerated meats section. I usually make my own filling for tacos but this is a great way to save time. The pork is already cooked and all you have to do is heat it up and serve! They also have hardwood smoked, pull apart chicken for $10 for a two pound package.

Member's Mark Pulled Pork package

The Prep

I just followed the instructions on the package for heating up the pork and while that was cooking, I prepped all the ingredients. I chopped up and diced the toppings for the tacos and then made a quick and easy guacamole.

vegetable preparation

To make the guacamole, get a bowl and mix in the avocados, tomatoes, onion and cilantro, squeeze a half of lemon, then add salt & pepper to taste.

The Assembly

Just before the pork is done heating up, add the hot sauce and pull pork apart with a fork. Heat up the corn tortillas and assemble your tacos. I’ve made tortillas from scratch before but this time I just used Mission tortillas. I also like my tacos with simple ingredients; meat, onions, jalapenos & cilantro. A salsa isn’t necessary for this because you’ll want to taste the smokiness of the pork. Finish it off with a squeeze of lime.

pork tacos

Bring it all together

Try these smoked pulled pork tacos and let me know what you think. It has crispy bits, it’s flavorful and so tender, you’ll think it came right off the pit! You’ll only need to use a small portion for a few tacos and save the rest for pull pork sandwiches. This is great for parties as well – set up a taco bar and let everyone make their own! Serve the guacamole with these blue chips, so delicious!

Is this something you think you’ll make? Would love to see what you make – tag me on Instagram or Twitter! XO

Spicy Food Hunt in the Grand Cayman Island

I had an amazing time on my spicy food hunt in the Grand Cayman island. There were so many great places that I think you should try when you find yourself craving spicy food. I planned a short birthday weekend getaway with my sisters and while the sea, sun, and sand was the main purpose, hunting for spicy food is always on the agenda!

Sea, Sun & Sand

This was my first time visiting the island and chose it after hearing so many great things about it. The white sand beach and blue waters of Seven Mile beach was a huge selling point! For someone that loves the ocean, the beach was key in my decision.

The Westin Cayman beach view

Finding a destination not affected by the sargassum seaweed problem affecting mostly all of the Caribbean islands was a challenge. If the beach is important to you, do a bit of research before you go. While each island is doing their best to clean up the beaches, you can’t swim in those waters and the seaweed smells.

The Westin Cayman pool view

I decided to celebrate at the beautiful Westin hotel since the beaches on the west side of Grand Cayman haven’t been affected. This was definitely one of the best beaches I’ve visited in the Caribbean. The sunset views were gorgeous, the water was clear blue, calm enough to swim and the food was amazing!

Cayman Sunset

I immediately started on my spicy foods hunt and realized I didn’t have to do much searching. Most of the restaurants I tried served a spicy item or two which is perfect when your party doesn’t care for much spicy foods. I ordered the fried calamari and a rum punch at the Westin’s poolside grill and watched the beautiful sunset on the beach! The calamari were perfectly cooked tender and while not spicy, the batter did have a nice kick. I also tried the crab cakes were a much spicier choice so order those while you’re at it.

fried calamari on the beach watching the sunset

 

cocktail on the beach watching the sunset

The Restaurants

We spent most of our time on the west side of the island and took the public bus right in front of the Westin  down to Camana Bay. The bay is a lively shopping and dinning area. We dined at the well reviewed The Brooklyn , a pasta & pizza restaurant. We didn’t try any of the pizza, go figure, but we did try a few of their pasta and seafood dishes. Their penne & sausage dish was unexpectedly spicy and the pasta cooked to perfection. The dish made me tear up a bit so that’s always a plus! You can also sit outside to feel the nice bay freeze and a bit of people watching.

spicy penne pasta & sausage

Another Great lunch spot you must visit near the cruise ship port in Georgetown neighborhood is Da Fish Shack. I asked around and it appears this is a popular spot with the locals as well. This place has a nice vibe, great waterfront views, and food that tastes home made. We arrived for a late afternoon lunch to an almost empty place that quickly filled up. I ordered the escovitch snapper for my spicy fix. The snapper was well seasoned, fried to a crisp and topped with spicy, tangy pickled vegetables. I can still remember the flavor! It was mouth watering, flaky, tender and served with a potato au-gratin to balance out the acidity of the fish. Just one of those dishes you’ll remember, it was so good.

escovitch snapper at Da Fish Shack

Next spot was Bacaro – a great hangout spot for nightlife but only on Thursday nights I believe. One thing about the Grand Cayman is that it’s a sleepy town. Everything shuts down early, about 11pm or midnight, and there isn’t much of a nightlife. If you know of places please mention them in the comments, I’d love to here about them for my next visit. 😉

Entrance to Bacaro restaurant in Grand Cayman

We shared a few dishes and all were very good but one to try is the fried lobster bites with scotch bonnet and paprika aioli. I normally have lobster with melted butter and would never think of frying it but these bites were tender and juicy. The bites weren’t as spicy as I would have liked, especially with scotch bonnet mentioned in the description, but the citrus flavor of the pepper came across really well. Go ahead and order the lobster bites, you will not be disappointed.

fried lobster bites with scotch bonnet aioli

Another favorite was the tuna tartare with mango salsa. The tuna had a mild citrus flavor and barely any heat at all but the salsa had a nice kick. I had the mango salsa on the side since my sister is allergic to mangoes. This is a great restaurant to celebrate a special occasion. I wouldn’t go here for spicy foods but again, most places in the Cayman Islands will have a couple of dishes to satisfy that spicy craving.

tuna tartare and avocado

Have you been to Grand Cayman island? Let me know in the comments which are your favorite spicy food places or where you go for nightlife. I wish I had more time there to experience the rest of the island. Where do you go for your spicy food fix?

 

Spicy Habanero Candied Bacon

Raise your hand if you’d love spicy food as a holiday gift? What about spicy habanero candied bacon? Yes and thank you!! This is the perfect gift for bacon and spicy food lovers – chewy, crunchy, lip numbing, sweet and salty treat all in one. It’s just too easy and delicious not to make!

candied spicy bacon

Hello all, it’s been a while since I’ve written here and I’m bringing spicy bacon as a peace offering! Forgiven? OK, great! 😉 For those wondering, I’ve been on a long hiatus from Hot Lollies and lately I’ve been wanting to write again. Truth be told, I was just overwhelmed with everything from my day job, my lollipops business, writing, and dealing with my Dads’ illness and later his passing. Another reason was I was dealing with the side effects of food blogging; getting fat!

There I was, making all these great meals, frig filled to the brim and cooking just to keep up with blogging. I love cooking but I don’t always want to stop and shoot it. Often times I’d forget to take photos and just eat! Needless to say, I wasn’t enjoying the process so I walked away for a couple of years and now happy to be back after gaining a bit of sanity. I’ve missed sharing and writing about my passion here so hopefully you’ll love this recipe! Let me know what you think!

tray of bacon

Bacon Cut

I used a thick cut of bacon for a meatier, more chewy bite. I’ve made this recipe before with regular bacon and it shriveled up quite a bit so cut is a better option. This thick-cut bacon also retains its shape and tastes much better. I found mine at my local Sam’s Club but you can check your local grocer or check out this un-cured bacon. Sprinkle a bit of spiced sugar if you’d like a spicier treat.

bacon on rack

Cooking Process

Keep an eye on the bacon while it’s cooking. My oven is an older model so I usually have to cook things a bit longer than most recipes call for. Make sure the bacon is nice and caramelized before removing from oven and that the edges curl up. Bacon is super fatty so either cook on rack to collect drippings on a pan and line pan with parchment paper for easy clean up. I failed to use the rack during cooking and had a greasier result but next time I’ll cook on the rack.

Additional Tips

Another important tip if you don’t have habanero sugar is to just make your own spicy sugar. I already had some on hand but making your own allows you to control the level of heat. I love using Volcanic Dust products for pure, ground up chile powders. Try this habanero powder and if you’re feeling a little devilish try this one, it’s pretty amazing. Mix in 1-2 tsp of chile powder and add a bit more of dark brown sugar.

After removing the bacon from oven and cooling on the rack, wrap it up in parchment paper, tie a cute bow and viola, your gift is ready!

candied bacon

wrapped bacon

Spicy Habanero Candied Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Spicy, crunchy, chewy bacon snacks
Ingredients
  • 1lb thick-cut bacon
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp habanero sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix both sugars, maple syrup, molasses and cayenne pepper in a bowl
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, add a rack on top
  3. Brush both sides of each slice of bacon with sugar mixture or rub in with your fingers
  4. Lay sugared bacon flat in rows on rack and sprinkle with cracked black pepper
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it while cooking making sure bacon gets a good caramel color
  6. When finished baking, remove from oven and let bacon cool on rack

 

Cajun Steak Tips

These spicy Cajun steak tips remind me so much of New Orleans, full of flavor and oh so delicious. As much as I would love to jump on a plane right now and head to NOLA, I’ll settle for a this simple little spicy reminder and imagine myself there…

Cajun seasoning isn’t too spicy so I added a bit of ground ghost pepper for heat…you can add as little or as much as you want. These Cajun steak tips are also easy to make and can be on your dinner plate in about 10 minutes. I make this with a side of greens like a buttery, garlic spinach or steamed broccoli with butter or bitter broccoli rabe. You can even have these as an appetizer for a few people, just wash it down with ice cold beer! Enjoy!

cajun-steak-tips

cajun-steak-tips2

Cajun Steak Tips
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Steak Loin
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt (optional if Cajun seasoning is low in salt)
  • ¼ ground ghost pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Cut steak into 2 inch cubes and pat dry with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
  2. Add Cajun seasoning, pepper, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over steak and rub in the seasoning making sure all surfaces of the steak are covered.
  3. In a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet heat olive oil on medium heat. When hot, add steak. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add butter and turn each piece of steak until all sides are well browned on each side. About 2-3 minutes each side.

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Here’s to a new year filled with realized dreams, fresh ideas, new opportunities and positive vibes. So as the aging year comes to pass, begin the new one with a sparkle in your eyes for all the greatness to come!

NewYearsEve-1

A Spicy Gift Guide for the Holidays

Here’s a spicy gift guide for the holidays your heat seeker friends and family will love. They’re unique, fun and spicy so you’ll proably want to buy two…one to give, another to keep! Isn’t that how it usually works? What better way to spend the holidays with awesome treats to heat things up that can also be shared? So ditch those socks you were planning on giving and add these spicy goods. Hope you enjoy my gift guide and let’s keep things spicy folks!

gift-guide

1. Just WOW! Someone please send me this! My two favorite things, bacon and chile peppers! You can’t go wrong with this habanero bacon from Tender Belly.

2. I haven’t tried this spicy beer yet but Rogue has gone on and made a sriracha stout. The most talked about hot sauce this year has now made it into beer! I’m not sure how I feel about it but its definitely worth a try. I’ve had a chipotle porter for a more chocolatey, spiced, smoky flavor which I enjoyed and this one would be a great choice, especially for sriracha lovers. Let me know if you get your hands on it.

3. This is a fun kit from Grow and Make. The set includes everything you need to whip up your own hot sauce. A pretty cool gift for spicy food lovers! Just make sure you give them goggles and a face mask too…kidding, these may not be too hot but definitely a fun project for a weekend night.

4. And if you don’t want to make your own, get this set from Salamander Hot sauce makers. Their Whiskey hot sauce is pretty amazing and friggin hot! I made these awesome hot wings with this sauce for a finger licking appetizer.