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A Fun and New Outdoor Cookbook From Men With The Pot

With 9.3 million followers on TikTok, food content creators Slawek Kalkraut and Krzysztof Szymanski of Men With The Pot are changing the conversation about outdoor cooking. Together, the two Polish natives have carved a unique space in the vast landscape of social media food content. With the majestic background of their adopted home in Northern Ireland, Men With The Pot features some truly captivating food content, creating recipes that seem unfathomable for campfire cooking, ranging from apple pies to handmade pasta, all cooked over a wood fire.

Now, the two have created a new project — a brand new cookbook, Men with the Pot Cookbook: Delicious Grilled Meats and Forest Feasts. The new cookbook features all of their most famous and viral recipes, along with helpful tips and techniques for mastering the art of outdoor cooking.

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A Cookbook That Celebrates The Outdoors

With such a huge library of food content, why did the Men With The Pot creators write a cookbook? Videos, while great, can be hard to cook along with because there’s no ingredient list. The video edits on social media are also fast, compounding the problem for fans eager to replicate those recipes. “With the cookbook, it’s different. We worked with a whole team to make sure the recipes we shared are accessible,” said Kalkraut and Szymanski.

For many people, outdoor cooking is simple, consisting mostly of a parade of grilled meats or reheated soup. But for Men With The Pot, this environment is a perfect place to experiment and indulge. Of course, not all of their creations are successful on the first try.

“We have lots of mistakes and attempts that don’t make it to the videos!” said Kalkraut and Szymanski. “This could be a bread not rising enough or the many times it takes to toss an onion and cut it coming down on the knife. But we stick with it. Sometimes we are out in the woods for 12 hours just trying to get something right for the short video you see.”

Men With The Pot cookbook being read outside.
menwiththepot/Instagram

Like their video content, the recipes in the cookbook are designed to be cooked outside over a wood fire. The new cookbook is ambitious, showcasing many of their best and most creative recipes such as Forest Fried Chicken and Pastry-Wrapped Salmon. The cookbook also goes beyond recipes, elaborating on the outdoor techniques such as building a fire and other helpful outdoor tips. All of this is done in an effort to get people experimenting and comfortable with cooking outdoors. The ultimate goal for this cookbook is to give people the confidence to try more interesting outdoor recipes. Their best advice? Don’t be afraid of failing.

“Our biggest piece of advice is this: Try it!” said Kalkraut and Szymanski. “When you are with friends and family cooking outdoors, the food is sure to be delicious even if it’s not perfect. Trust us, if you are surrounded by trees and a fire is crackling, everyone will have a great meal.”

Polish Zapiekanka Recipe

Polish Zapiekanka slice being lifted from the whole pastry in the woods.
Men With The Pot

“Zapiekanka. You can’t call this by any other name. It’s Polish street food at its finest — and a great hangover meal! We call for red cheddar cheese, which is an aged English cheese called Red Leicester. If you can’t find it, choose any aged cheddar. While you can find rosemary salt in the supermarket, it’s very easy to make at home with a food processor.”

Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 2-3

Ingredients:

For Bread Dough:

  • 2 heaping cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Scant 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary salt or table salt
  • Melted butter for drizzling

For Toppings:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 cups white or brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 fresh chiles (red and green), finely chopped (seeds retained for more heat)
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary salt or table salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 3 1/2 ounces red cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 (7-ounce) block mozzarella cheese, cut lengthwise into 8 or 9 “sticks”
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish

For Rosemary Salt:

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt

Method:

  1. Prepare your fire for low or indirect heat.

To Make Rosemary Salt:

  1. Pulse 1/4 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves with 1/4 cup coarse sea salt about 10 times, until the consistency of damp sand.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 3/4 cup kosher salt. Mix well.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet to dry for a couple hours before transferring to an 8-ounce jar for storage.

To Make Dough:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and yeast. Stir in the warm water, just until the flour is moistened (it won’t all be combined). Create a well in the middle and add the milk, butter, and rosemary salt. Combine the mixture, then knead until a smooth dough ball forms, 8 to 10 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with another bowl, and set in a warm place (such as near the campfire) to let the dough rise.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the filling ingredients. Set a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over low heat/indirect heat.
  3. Dust a cutting board with flour and place the dough on it. Form the dough into a log the length of the bottom of your skillet. Place the dough in the skillet, drizzle it liberally with melted butter, and brush the dough to fully coat. Cover with an inverted skillet and top with a large handful of coals (or close the grill lid).
  4. Cook until the bread is golden and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes, replenishing the coals as needed. Transfer the bread to a cutting board.

To Make Filling:

  1. Pour the oil into a large cast-iron skillet and place it over low heat.
  2. When hot, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned. Add the chiles and cook until softened.
  3. Stir in the mustard, rosemary salt, and lemon pepper.

To Assemble and Serve:

  1. Halve the bread lengthwise, creating a top half and bottom half. Divide the filling between the halves. Set the halves, side by side, in a clean cast-iron skillet over very low or indirect heat.
  2. Sprinkle evenly with the cheddar. Lay the mozzarella sticks diagonally over both halves of bread in a crisscross pattern (as if the bread were one large piece). Cover with an inverted skillet and top with coals (or close the lid). Cook until the cheeses are melted and browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the entire melty loaf as one unit to the cutting board. Sprinkle with chives, then cut crosswise three times, making six pieces.

Sticky Pork Belly Recipe

Sticky pork belly being cooked in a cast iron pan in the woods.
Men With The Pot

Pork belly and whisky — together at last! This recipe came about because we always wanted to make pork belly, and we wanted to make a recipe with whisky. It’s as simple as that. Whisky might not be a common ingredient in sticky pork belly, but we love how the flavor blends with the ginger and honey in the sauce.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yield: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 fresh red chile, finely diced (seeds retained for more heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 (2 1/4-pound) slab pork belly cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 2/3 cups whisky
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley or snipped fresh chives for garnish

Method:

  1. Prepare your fire for medium-low heat.
  2. Use a mortar and pestle to mash the garlic, ginger, chile, peppercorns, and salt into a paste. Pour in the oil, honey, and soy sauce and stir to combine. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times.) Set aside.
  3. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add the pork. Cook until browned on all sides and the fat starts to render.
  4. Carefully pour in the whisky — it will likely ignite! (If you’re using a gas grill, or this otherwise worries you, remove the skillet from the flame before adding the whiskey, then return it to the heat.) Continue to burn off the whisky, then pour in the garlic-ginger sauce. Cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and glossy and the pork is cooked through, 60 to 90 minutes.
  5. Serve garnished with sesame seeds and fresh parsley.

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