A few years ago, I made a dry-cured, long aged lamb ham. Results were mixed. It was delicious, but a little dry. My opinion is lamb ham, which has gotten a big press push this Easter season, suffers from a lack of rind. It dries a little more quickly than I’d like and works better aging in humid atmosphere. Once I took down the smokehouse for the Spring/Summer season, my hot smoker was back up and running, and waiting to be used. Thinking about what to make for the first hot-smoke of the season, I thought a city ham would be simple choice, but with the pure mass on a pork leg created a reluctance which pushed me to a city lamb ham, city hamb.
Everyone is on year three of bacon fatigue. I mean, if someone is wrapping pepperoni pizza in bacon, and not pepperoni or better yet, nothing, we are not in good times. With that in mind, when you read “Corned Beef Bacon” in your mind, or if you read aloud to yourself, please read it is as “CORNED BEEF bacon” and not “corned beef BACON”.
No matter how you say it, while evaluating St. Patrick’s Day dinner at our house, I lamented having to cook, and eat, boiled meat. Realizing corned beef IS boiled meat, I frankly wanted corned beef and cabbage to happen without boiling. Continue reading
With the February temperatures dropping below zero, I changed the cold smoking set-up to be a Lil’ Smokey Joe grill in the cinder block smokehouse with a shelving unit beside it. After trying to simply pipe smoke into a frigid smokehouse, I was getting nowhere. Even with a grill in the smokehouse, the temperatures reached 80 degrees only once over a two week smoking period. Even with putting the heat in smokehouse, the temperatures were a little low for smoking a country ham, but perfect for smoking food which would liquify at warmer temps.
I had spent a late evening paging through the most recent Noma cookbook (the journal was a fascinating addition to the cookbook, seriously) when I read a recipe for smoked marrow fudge. With temps where they have been, smoked marrow was an achievable project. Continue reading
‘Ndouille has been percolating in my head for a few years. Andouille in the form of ‘nduja. Smoky, spicy and spreadable. When it came time to put the idea into action, it did not work. It was smoky, spicy and spreadable. I could check off the boxes and it was not bad. It just was not good, either. It was not great and it was not a so bad as to require tossing. It was in the terrible, awful, no good middle ground. In addition to middling sausage, an outdoor guest was brave enough to take a bite out of all but one of the chubs left to hang in the garage for three months. Continue reading
Over much of the fall and early winter, I’ve been working on building a cold smoker made from a bullet smoker, chimney pipe and cinder blocks. I am 90% there and the smoker is fully functional. The first step was testing the dosage of smoke provided by the new smoker. I started with something I wanted lightly smoked, chicken livers, and something I wanted heavily smoked, some extra sharp cheddar cheese.
It was damned cold outside, I was home alone for a weekend and with giant cans of bodega hominy staring me in the face, I was ready for an afternoon cooking pozole. Looking for something new, I paged through Diana Kennedy’s “The Art of Mexican Cooking’ I found a recipe for Pozole Verde and I glommed onto it. I modified it to my tastes and what I had on time. Even as I modified the recipe by adding some smoked turkey parts, the final results could not have been different from what I expected.
Life has been busier than normal and the time I spend in the kitchen, one of my favorite ways to unwind, has been inconsistent. In an effort to simplify and refocus my kitchen hobby, I went back to an ingredient, ham, and a preparation, terrine, I feel both comfortable with and inspired by. Continue reading
Labor Day has come and gone. Whites are in the closet, but I refuse to put away the smoker. BBQ is a twelve month season, but, as I tend to do, I filled the smoker with ribs and an entire leg of goat to make sure I took advantage of the bag of coal and chunks of wood. This left us with a meal of ribs (and then some) and about seven pounds of smokey, rich goat. As I put all of the goat in the fridge, I was forced to stack some random fridge goods a top a bag of the goat. When I checked in the next day, all of the gelatin and collagen had then the pulled goat leg like a terrine, but in nearly sausage-ish form. Continue reading
With a large and growing cookbook collection, I get asked by friends who may not have the same cookbook issues, “How do you choose which book to cook from – much less what to cook from the book you choose?” This has to be a common question. My answer – I will grab a book based on what I have at home or based on what the season is. Sometimes, I will see something online which will push me to get back into a book. When I do find a book, the driving force behind picking a recipe is almost always a new technique or ingredient I want to try. In this case, there was a technique which included boiling beef tongue after smoking it. I was skeptical. Won’t you boil off any smoke flavors? Wouldn’t the other way be better? I had to try it for myself. Continue reading
A fifteen minute walk through a small-town Wisconsin farmer’s market yielded some of the finest variety meats I have had in some time for prices so low I could not fathom how there was so much to buy. In a state where offal is less flashily portrayed and truly ends up on your grandma’s dinner table rather than on a contrived dish using her as a prop, I was surprised to see offal from seemingly pristinely raised animals being ignored. Even so, there was an old man in traditional Amish garb selling what appeared to be some great lamb. I asked about offal and he brought out what he had. For a couple dollars (literally), I bought every last lamb heart the guy had with him. Then some ground lamb as well to make it worth his while. Continue reading