I've been so focused on perfecting southern barbecue that I've resisted my friends' cries for more local New York delicacies. That was until this summer, when I was super impressed by Cornell's regional chicken recipe, and immediately turned my thoughts to another central New York speciality—spiedies.
An invention from Binghamton, traced back to traditions of Italian immigrants, spiedies are kind of like those skewers of grilled meat you pick up at street fairs and festivals, if they were actually good. The secret? It's all in the marinade.
A tangy mixture of oil, vinegar, and lemon is peppered heavily with various herbs. It goes onto your choice of cubed meat to let marinate for at least a day, but longer is even better. (I chose chicken and let it marinate for three days, but some more professional outfits will push that time even longer in a well controlled environment.)
While the acids do kind of start to "cook" the meat over time, it also throughly embeds those cubes with immense flavor, as well as tenderizes it. So what's normally a dry meat skewer becomes moist, tender, and flavorful with bits of herbs on the outside and a nice tang inside.
In proper spiedies tradition, each skewer came off the grill and the meat went into a soft hoagie roll to create these amazing sandwiches. I only regret not discovering them sooner!