Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef
It was the last lamb slider of the day and a duo of pulled-pork tacos, dabbed with homemade chimichurri sauce and topped with purple slaw, that turned Back Porch into a weekly habit. Serving at the Downtown, Westside and Scotts Valley farmers markets, chef Austin Kaye keeps an eclectic rotation on his chalkboard menu, featuring everything from breakfast tacos to English-style pot pies. He also hosts regular dinners on his back porch. In between flipping lamb patties on the grill, Kaye talked food and backyards with GT.
How do you make the pork so tender and delicious that it melts in your mouth?
AUSTIN KAYE: It’s slow cooked for anywhere from 8-12 hours, at around 250-300 degrees. Around that time, the bones pretty much fall out, and its soft and tender, and then when you reheat it it gets a little crispy.
Where do you get your ingredients, and which ones are inspiring you lately?
We just started wings today. All the produce comes from the farmers market, the meat comes from as local as I can get it. This time of year is the best time of year, we’ve got all the produce possible at the end of summer, so you’ve got tomatoes, peppers, melons, sometimes it can even go into November. So we’re very spoiled here to get produce that late. This is my favorite time to cook, because we have all of the ingredients possible.
Tell me about this BYOW Harvest Dinner on Oct. 26.
They happen every 3-4 weeks, except for winter, I take a little break and pick them up in early spring. They’re always on Sundays, in Live Oak on my back porch … It’s basically sign up [at the market] and that’s how you know about them. We seat no more than 30, so they’re small, they sell out quickly.
What’s it like on your back porch?
It’s just a modest backyard, it’s concrete and then it’s grass. We do all the cooking in the kitchen in the house, and then outside is set up with two long tables. We have lights we string across the tables, so now it’s dusk in the middle of your meal. By the end it gets dark, so it’s a very nice ambiance as the night progresses. And I get to work and be at home with my family, which I love.
Learn more at backporchsc.com. PHOTO: Chef Austin Kaye in his kitchen in Live Oak, where he prepares his Back Porch dinners. ALICIA KAYE