This chilly, chili time of year has led Gary Dorfman and Sean Stein of Jake's Sandwich Board to develop a bone-warming special that doesn't come stuffed in a fresh roll.
The pork-obsessed sandwich shop's chili begins logically, with onions, garlic, and jalapenos cooked down in bacon fat. Pork jus, pork shoulder, crushed tomatoes, and kidney beans join nontraditional toss-ins such as coffee and chocolate in each batch, granted fiery undertones via hefty pops of ancho, cumin, and cayenne.
It's what Jake's tosses on top that really sets this stuff apart: full pork cheeks, brined in salt, pepper, and garlic for eight hours and slow-roasted for eight more.
Dorfman and Stein are careful not to overcook the cuts, inherently supple and perfect for braising, so you've got to work your fork skills a bit to shred them astride an accompanying dollop of cilantro-lime sour cream.
This literally cheeky alternative to Jake's many winning between-bread options is sticking around for the rest of the winter.
Pork cheek chili, $3.50 (cup) and $7 (bowl), Jake's Sandwich Board, 122 S. 12th St., 215-922-0102, jakessandwichboard.com.
- Drew Lazor