The landscape of hip-hop recipes is a weird and pun-filled place. Back in the day, rap magazines like Hip-Hop Connection and Mass Appeal would sometimes run questionable cooking tips from artists, and various emcees—from Coolio to 2Chainz—have tried their hand at penning cookbooks. Other tomes, like Bon Rappetite and Rapper’s Delight: The Hip Hop Cookbook, use rap as a muse to create dishes like “Waka Flocka Flambé” and “Snoop Stroganoff.”
But the question remains: Are any of these dishes legit, or are they just elaborate jokes on par with Warren G boner pills and 50 condoms? To find out, we teamed up with Pigeons & Planes writer and home-cook extraordinaire Joyce Ng to plan an elaborate hip-hop feast and finally recipe-test some of these #rapmeals.
To create the menu, we looked everywhere from hip-hop cookbooks to Action Bronson videos to find the most promising/bizarre dishes, then Joyce got to work. Here, she gives us the raw deal on each of the recipes, as well as some tips for remixing them to create better versions of the originals.
Honey Bun with cheese (Rick Ross)
The soundtrack: “MC Hammer”
The recipe: Speaking about a time before all of his fame and wealth, Rick Ross once told Bon Appetit that one of his favorite desserts is a honey bun with a slice of cheese on top. “Get you a honey bun and put a slice of cheese on it,” said Rozay. “Put it in the microwave for 45 seconds and you had the gift of a lifetime.”
It sounds disgusting, but so does lobster bisque first thing in the morning—something that Ross claims to have for breakfast in “I Love My Bitches” (because he’s a “narcissist,” of course). I couldn’t not make it.
- 1 Hostess Honey Bun
- 1 slice of American cheese
- Remove Honey Bun from packaging. Place on microwave-safe dish.
- Top Honey Bun with cheese. Microwave for 45 seconds, or until cheese melts.
- Enjoy. Or not.
The results: Apparently Hostess’ least appealing food item, the Honey Bun, is really difficult to find in New York City, but we managed to get our hands on one. As Rick Ross doesn’t specify in his “recipe” what type of cheese to use, we decided to go with a slice of good ol’ American cheese. After all, Ricky Rozay is an American hero, and processed foods always pair well with other processed foods—brings out that bouquet of chemicals, you know?
In the microwave it went, and 45 seconds later, we had what Rick Ross claimed to be the “gift of a lifetime.”
I’m not sure what I can say about this so as to not offend Rick Ross, but after taking a bite of this sickly sweet… something—not even the saltiness of yellow American cheese could fight through the obscene Honey Bun—I started questioning all of Ross’ food references.
What the fuck do I eat now when I’m feeling narcissistic in the mornings? Goddammit, Rick Ross. If you’re doing it for the fitness, though, then I’ve got nothing but respect for you. #Ro$$Fit
The soundtrack: “Number One Spot”
The recipe: Ludacrispy Duck appears in Rapper’s Delight: The Hip Hop Cookbook. I’m Chinese, so paying homage to what my people eat seemed appropriate. Plus, who doesn’t love Peking duck? (The answer I’m looking for is no one; you are dead to me if you don’t love Peking duck.)
- 650g/23oz duck breasts
- ½ teaspoon of Chinese five spice
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
- 125mL of hoisin sauce
- 8 ready-made Chinese style pancakes (found in frozen section of most Chinese grocery stores)
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
- 100g spring onions, thinly sliced
- Slice roots from the spring onions, slice lengthways into thin strips and set aside.
- Wash the celery and cucumber before slicing lengthways into strips.
- Slice the duck breast lengthways into thin strips. Place a frying pan on the heat and add the sesame oil. Add the duck and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes, turning continuously.
- Add the five spice and continue to turn the duck for 4 minutes.
- Add the hoisin sauce and sesame seeds and cook for a further minute.
- Remove the pancakes from their packaging and prepare as per the instructions on pack.
- To serve, transfer the duck, spring onions, celery, and cucumber into separate serving bowls and allow everyone to create their own pancake wraps.
The results: I’d advise against using this recipe, however amazing (and they really are amazing) the illustrations are in the cookbook. It’s vague, and maybe I shouldn’t assume that a recipe called “Ludacrispy Duck” would be an authentic Chinese dish. But yeah, it’s definitely not authentic. Also, the duck did not turn out crispy, so if you’re looking for those things, this ain’t it. The recipe calls for hunks of the duck meat, and the skin ends up chewy as opposed to crispy.
One of the best things about Peking duck is its crispiness—the contrast between that duck skin and the soft Chinese pancake. Peking duck is not easy to make; you have to baste your whole duck repeatedly over five to six hours. Plus, celery is such an overwhelming flavor, and it’s not something that’s ever served with Peking duck…though I guess its purpose here was to replace the lack of crispiness in the duck.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, a Peking duck recipe you could conquer in under half an hour, then this is your solution.
But, if you’re ready to go balls-to-the-walls, here’s a real-deal Peking duck recipe from Madame Wong’s Long-Life Chinese Cookbook. Godspeed, and bless your soul for really committing to this dish.
- One 5-6 pound duck
- 8 cups water
- 1 slice ginger
- 1 scallion, cut into halves
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sherry
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
- Chinese pancakes
- Scallions for garnish
- Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string around neck.
- Hang duck in cool, windy place 4 hours.
- Fill large wok with water. Bring to boil. Add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry.
- Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly.
- Place duck in large strainer above larger bowl. Scoop boiling mixture all over duck for about 10 minutes.
- Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.
- Place duck breast side up on a greased rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan filled with 2 inches of water in bottom of oven. (This is for drippings). Roast 30 minutes.
- Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.
- Use sharp knife to cut off crispy skin. Serve meat and skin immediately on a pre-warmed dish.
- The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Chinese pancakes. Garnish with scallion flowerets. Serves 4 to 6.
The soundtrack: “Twelve Jewelz”
The recipe: This dish comes from the 2012 rap-themed cookbook, Bon Rappetit. Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to both eat and cook, and it’s actually a lot easier than people think. Yes, it’ll dazzle the fuck out of your date.
We weren’t able to acquire a copy of Bon Rappetit, but we just had to include a dish named RZAotto by the people who originally started Bon Rappetit as fake rap-themed restaurant.
So, I subbed in with my own risotto recipe that I swear by.
Note: If you can, make your own chicken stock. It’s not difficult. The next time you have a roasted chicken, store-bought or otherwise, don’t throw out the bones. That’s the base of your chicken stock. Put the stock, roughly chopped carrots and onions, along with parsley, and a Parmesan rind (also something you shouldn’t throw out) into a big pot of water. Add a bit of tomato paste for depth, and bring that to a boil before turning down the heat. Let it simmer for a couple of hours.
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup parmesan, grated
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon goat cheese
- 2 ounces assorted mushrooms
- Clean mushrooms with damp cloth and sear in pan with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until browned. Remove from pan.
- Add onion to pan and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in rice and cook until the grains are translucent. Add wine and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add 2 ladles of chicken stock. When almost all of the liquid has evaporated, add one ladle chicken stock. Repeat this step until the rice is cooked to al dente.
- Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of butter, cheese, and chives. Cover for 5 minutes. Serve.
The results: I mean, not to toot my own horn or whatever, but I’m going to do it anyway: I’ve made this recipe many times before, so to fuck it up now would be embarrassing. I didn’t make my own chicken stock this time. Store-bought is, of course, fine, but it’ll be less flavorful.
Pro tip: Serve immediately, because nothing is grosser than gummy risotto—not even Kanye’s “eating Asian pussy / All I need was sweet and sour sauce” line. Fuck you, Kanye, for forever ruining sweet and sour anything for me.
Rakim of Lamb
The soundtrack: “Mahogany”
The recipe: Rakim of Lamb was also taken from Bon Rappetit. Lamb is one of those meats I rarely ever cook, but when I do, I think to myself, “Why the fuck do I not cook it more often?” Plus, Rakim is the godfather of emceeing, so it was only right to give credit where credit is due…through lamb.
- A lamb rack with 7-8 ribs
- Palmful of thyme
- Palmful of mint leaves
- Half a palmful of rosemary
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper, to taste
When you get your lamb at the store, make sure it’s already “frenched.” The night (or at least a few hours) before you want to eat this, chop up the thyme, mint, rosemary, and garlic. Mix with some olive oil. Rub herb mixture and black pepper all over lamb, then put lamb in a zip-top plastic bag. Get as much air out of the bag as you can. Let this sit in the fridge overnight, then an hour or two before you’re ready, take it out of the fridge and let it sit.
You want your lamb at room temperature before you put it in the oven so it cooks more evenly. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take a sharp knife and make some small slices about an inch apart in the fatty side of the lamb. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper, and wrap tinfoil around the bones. Put the lamb bone-side down in a roasting pan, then put in the oven for 12 to 16 minutes. Use a meat thermometer—you want the interior temperature around 125 degree sot 130 degrees. Take the lamb out of the oven and then let it sit for about 5 minutes before you slice up the chops.
The results: As much as I appreciate Bon Rappetit’s incredibly inventive and clever puns, I wouldn’t recommend following this recipe to a tee.
The recipe calls for a shitload of herbs, which I encourage you to use; nothing is better than well-marinated meat.
But unfortunately, 12 to 16 minutes in a 400-degree oven was not nearly enough time to cook it to the temperature I wanted. Never mind medium-rare; this recipe produced a raw rack of lamb. (Though, in retrospect, if this is commentary on how Rakim is one raw-ass motherfucker, then I completely respect that.)
My remix: Try searing the meat in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes on every side of the rack of lamb, and then placing it into a 400-degree oven (on a foil-lined baking sheet, fat-side up) for 18-22 minutes. If you’ve got a meat thermometer, check for 130 degrees if you want medium-rare.
Baklava Milkshake (Action Bronson)
The soundtrack: “Amadu Diablo”
The recipe: You couldn’t possibly consider reviewing rapper recipes without Action Bronson in the mix; it’d be sacrilegious to even think about excluding him.
On his Munchies show, Fuck, That’s Delicious, Bam Bam joined forces with Momofuku baking queen Christina Tosi for a recipe that combines baklava, bacon, and Momofuku cereal milk soft-serve into one fine-ass drink.
- 1½ cups Cereal Milk™ Soft Serve Ice Cream
- 1 cup crumbled baklava
- ½ cup Cereal Milk™
- ½ teaspoon rendered bacon fat (the smokier the better; Tosi suggests Benton’s)
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Measure all ingredients into the pitcher of a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, agitating, or until the baklava breaks down into small pieces.
- Pour into two 12-ounce glasses. Enjoy!
The results: The recipe, courtesy of Munchies, is straightforward. The milkshake is delicious, though the nuts from the baklava dominated the entire shake, making it more of a nut-shake than a baklava milkshake.
I’d suggest adding a touch of dark honey—something intense in flavor so that you don’t lose that honey taste.
Bonus #1: Salted chocolate-chip cookie with honey butter
This addition to the spread was inspired by that episode of Fuck, That’s Delicious where Bronson visits NOMA. His trip to Copenhagen also takes him to Amass, where he and Amass chef-owner Matt Orlando are treated to a salted chocolate chip-cookie that’s slathered in honey butter. I hadn’t been able to get my mind off of that damn cookie since.
My go-to chocolate chip recipe comes from Anna Olson, of Food Network Canada fame. It’s a perfectly chewy cookie that’s just the right amount of crisp on the outside.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 ounce bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
- Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
- Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
- Let cool slightly and enjoy.
To make the honey butter, just take a quarter cup of room-temp butter and mix it up with 1 tablespoon of honey.
Bonus #2: Chocolate-chip cookie x Cereal Milk ice-cream sandwich
We had extra cookies and Cereal Milk™ soft-serve, so we made ice-cream sandwiches and rolled them around in Milk Bar Cornflake Crunch. Fuck with us.