Every year around April and May I start to get the itch to go south. For the past six or seven years my friends and I pile in a truck and spend a couple weeks living out of tents on Mexican beaches at the end of dusty Mexican roads to disappear while fishing, diving and surfing all over Baja. I love to live in the dirt consuming nothing but tacos and Modelos rising and falling with the sun. Over the years we have stuck to our favorite stops along the way – buying cowboy hats in San Ignacio, getting drunk with the local fisherman outside of Mulege and camping on the beach in San Jose Del Cabo.
There are weird little things that happen when you spend a few weeks every year with the same couple friends getting lost in Baja to dive and surf and drink beer. Some of them are a little questionable – sleep deprived, you start drinking Red Bull and lying to yourself that Mickey Avalon’s music is actually good. (It’s not). But things get a little kooky when you are 8 hours into a 12-hour stretch of driving and you’ve seen nothing but desolate desert and random military checkpoints all day.
But some of the things you pick up are just plain awesome, and you wonder why you didn’t think of them before. Like pre-preparing the fish you just shot with a marinade made out of random items in the cooler that turns out to be your favorite for all types of fish, shrimp and chicken. And building a barbeque in the middle of the sand with nothing but one grill grate and empty beer cans. There is something simple and brilliant about sitting in the sand, eating an amazing fish taco cooked on a beer can beach bbq drinking a cold beer that I long for every day. So since it is now that time of year, here is a little glimpse at a simple marinade that will change your life, and an easy way to build yourself a barbecue out of nothing but good vibes.—Adam Warren
How to make the marinade:
• Canned chipotle peppers
• Fresh orange
I have no measurements for this one, you will have to wing it depending on how much fish or whatever you are cooking. Spoon out plenty of mayonnaise into a one-gallon zip lock bag (don’t worry if you aren’t a mayo person it all cooks off when you grill everything). Open a can of chipotle peppers (smoked jalapeños) and give them a rough chop before adding them and all of the juice in the can to the bag of mayo. Take a whole orange, slice in half, and squeeze out the juice in to the bag before throwing both halves in as well.
Add in your fish, close the bag and give it a good shaking to mix everything up. Ideally you want the color of the marinade to have a nice light pink color, that will give you the best balance of the ingredients. So add in any extra mayo or chipotles accordingly.
Keep everything on ice or in the fridge marinating for at least 6 to 8 hours. The longer the better.
And if you are lucky enough to be out on the desolate road, here is an “I’m cooler than you” way to make a beer can beach barbecue:
Youll need some sort of grill grate or something similar to use as a cooktop. A standard barbecue grill grate will work best.
Dig a hole in the sand or dirt just a bit bigger than the size of your grill. In the bottom of the hole, fill with rocks or bricks and keep as even as possible. You need a layer beneath your coals to make sure that you get some air coming through. Around the edges of the hole, place a few empty beer cans and fill them with sand so they will stay in place. Get together a nice pile of coals — no higher than the beer cans, light them and put your grill grate right on top of the cans.
Get your grill nice and hot, cook your fish or shrimp or whatever until they have a nice even crisp on both sides. You wont be disappointed here, the fat in the mayo tenderizes and also cooks off to give a nice brown crust.
Throw a couple tortillas on the fire, fill them with your grilled fish, sliced avo, onion, cilantro or nothing but some lime juice and hot sauce – and have yourself a taco feast! Life is looking up.
The moral of the story is to turn your phone off and get on the road. Once you get out there and you’ve hit a certain level of delirium everything will start to come in to focus.