Today is July 4th and there are fireworks booming in the distance. When I close my eyes, I’m in Michigan surrounded by family. My cousins are turning the pig over the barbecue pit and my aunt is frying bread for Navajo tacos.
Being a part of outdoor cookouts as a kid has a way of revealing the leisurely act of cooking for long stretches of time. So even though I spent a huge part of my day barbecuing pork and frying dough, it was glorious “me” time.
In sharing this frybread recipe, I’m giving you the basic bread dough – a quick bread (that ironically has to rest for an hour) with very few ingredients. Plus, I’m sharing the barbecue pork recipe (in case you want some “you” time). Just know – you can simply top the frybread with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese for a satisfying taco.
Watch How to Make the Frybread
Chile Con Carne: How to Barbecue the Pork
Start with 1 pound of boneless pork, such as country ribs or a small piece of pork shoulder.
Season it generously with kosher salt and pepper. Fire up the grill:) – use briquettes or hardwood such as mesquite or oak.
Keep the fire fed for the next 5 hours around 275 °F.
Cut the dry New Mexico red chile pods to remove the seeds and stem. This part is optional (for a toasty flavor): press onto a hot pan for 10 seconds each side.
Add chiles, 1 clove garlic (minced), salt, and water to a blender. Blend into a smooth sauce. You won’t add this for a while…
After 5 hours on the smoker, you can bring the pork inside. Cover with the red chile sauce and warm in the oven (275 °F) for an hour or longer. Shred with 2 forks or cut into small pieces.
Phew. That was a lot. Like I said, this recipe can be simple as fried dough or a bit more involved if you decide to add low and slow meat to the mix. If you really want to taste the chile con carne but don’t have the means to barbecue – you could try searing and then simmering it until cooked.
Don’t throw out the flavorful red sauce. Spoon it generously over the frybread for the perfect match. I hope you enjoy this comforting bread.
Indian Frybread (Navajo Tacos)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 pound pork, see barbecue pork notes*
- 2 cups refried beans
- 4 oz cotija or cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 head ice-burg lettuce, thinly sliced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- Add flour, salt, and baking powder to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Now add the water, a bit at a time while stirring. Gather into a dough with your hands, squeezing a bit to disperse the flour.
- Place a slightly damp cloth or plastic wrap over the bowl. Rest for 1-2 hours.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Flour a work surface and roll until 1/4" thick (or shape with your hands). Keep the dough covered to prevent if from drying out.
- Pour vegetable oil into a skillet so that the depth is about 1 1/2". Warm over medium heat. Tear off a tiny piece of dough to test the temperature. It's ready when the dough bubbles right away (350°F).
- Gently lay a piece of dough in the hot oil and rotate it with tongs when it's golden and puffy. Cook the other side for a couple minutes, just until golden brown. Set on a tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Top with honey and powdered sugar (elephant ears) or serve as a Navajo taco (see notes).
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