Monday, January 28, 2013

Smoked Pork Butt

Jan 26 2013

The other day I went looking for a large beef chuck to fix but came home with a pork butt. At $1.46 a pound I couldn’t pass it up. I will freeze most of it for using in other dishes, like tacos or chili. I prefer to get one from my butcher, they have no added solutions. This one was from Walmart. On the label it says all natural then another place it says 4% marinade added!

There is no rocket science here, just get it done where it is tender and moist. This is kind of my preferred method I have settled on that works for me. I rinse and dry it, coat with my favorite rub, slather on some mustard and it’s ready for the smoker. I do on smoke 170 to 180 deg. for 3 hours then go to 225 deg. for the rest of the cook. When it hits 165 deg. IT I double wrap in foil. When it hits 200 deg. IT I check it. I have an aluminum potato rod I poke it with, if it goes in like butter it’s done. I pull it and place in a preheated 200 deg. oven, turn the oven off when it goes in. Let set an hour or two then cool and pull.

This one I let set one hour and the temp was still at 193 deg. The bone came out with no effort; it was plenty moist and fell apart. It had a nice color to the bark. I didn’t spritz it or add any liquid when I wrapped it. The total cook time for this 7.7 pound butt was eight hours and twenty minutes. I did it fat cap down the whole time.

I have done them fat cap down then up when I wrap in foil. I prefer fat cap down in the foil now; the meat pulls right off the fat cap then I remove it from the pork broth with a slotted spoon. I use a gravy separator to pour out the good liquid and with this one I added about a quarter to a third cup back to the pulled pork. It went in the fridge overnight; I will use some for sandwiches tonight and vacuum seal and freeze the rest.

7.7 pound pork butt

Ready for the smoker

165 deg. IT, ready to foil

After resting

Bone pulled clean and easy

Juice saved

First pull

Pulled the size I like

Jan 27 2013

I got the pulled pork vacuum sealed and in the freezer this afternoon. I saved plenty out for sandwiches tonight.

I made up a batch of apple butter BBQ sauce from a recipe I have been playing with. It’s just about there but I think it still needs something, maybe a little more tang and heat.

I decided to have corn pudding and sweet potato fries with the sandwich. I like Alexia brand frozen for the sweet potato fries.

I did up the corn pudding and baked it uncovered then covered and set in the microwave while I did the fries in the oven. When the fries were about done I reheated the corn some and then heated the pulled pork in the microwave and toasted the buns. I like just COWB, cheap ole white buns, for the pulled pork; served them with some of the apple butter BBQ sauce on top.

All tasted pretty good; my wife and I both liked the sauce.

Printable sauce recipe

Corn pudding

My Plate

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes

Jan 25 2013

There is nothing hard about this recipe; just some good ingredients for great comfort food. We have been in a freeze for over a week so this tasted good!

Thursday we were having leftovers for supper so I made up a batch of broth. I had a carcass frozen from when I did the chicken ballotine. I got it in a pot with water to cover, an onion halved, 3 carrots two celery stalks, and some salt & pepper. I brought to a boil then a low boil for an hour and a half. I removed the chicken and veggies. I saved what meat I could from the bones and strained the broth and in the fridge.

There is nothing better than some homemade noodles. Not too long after we were married I told my wife we were making noodles. We got them made but we both had dough up to our elbows. That was the last time we ever made noodles! Over the years I did find Mrs. Reams frozen noodles that are pretty good for bought. Then I found these Waltz’s noodles. They are locally made and are as good as any homemade.

Today I spatchcocked the chicken and placed pats of butter under each breast skin. I fired up the Traeger and got it on easing the temp up to 300 deg. I wasn’t looking for any smoke flavor, just get the chicken cooked. I do it to 175 deg. breast IT. When it was done and cooled some; I saved a breast and pulled the rest for the noodles. The cook also made some chicarones, cracklins, for his treat from the skin.

I love homemade bread and have made a lot over the years. I really like the no knead bread done in a cast iron Dutch oven. The older I get the more I look for shortcuts! I now use take home and bake from the grocery a lot. I did a garlic loaf so we had some warm bread to eat with the chicken and noodles.

I made some mashed potatoes early to reheat for our supper. I got the broth and noodles on a low boil, added two diced carrots and some diced celery, salt and pepper. After 35 minutes I added the chicken and a tablespoon of prepared mustard. I got my bread in and we ate in another 25 minutes.

What more could you ask for; chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, some warm garlic bread and Kerrygold butter, on a cold winter evening!

Chicken ready to cook

Chickens done

Chicarones, my treat

Shredded chicken


Broth and noodles on

Chicken added

Garlic bread

My Plate

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Smoked Meat Chili for a Cold Day

Jan 22 2013

Nothing better for cold weather than some good chili. I have made a lot of chili over the years and never had a recipe I followed. I always told my wife this is the best batch I ever made; well sometimes it wasn’t! One batch I made awhile back she said now that was the best write down the recipe if you can. I remembered the recipe so I now have a basic recipe I follow.

I thought now if I can smoke the meat it should make a better chili. I made a few batches using a Weber stainless veggie grill pan that has slots in it. I was able to crumble it up in there and smoke it and that was good but you had to watch so you didn’t dry out the meat too much. Then I thought why not just smoke a chub. My butcher has ground chuck and ground pork in frozen one pound chubs and I think this works best. This is a good way to get some smoke flavor into any soups or stews.

I soaked some small red beans overnight. I smoked a one pound each of ground chuck and ground pork to use. I also had soaked some crackers overnight for smoking. The smoked Cajun crackers would taste good with the chili.

I got the chili on cooking and it simmered for four hours. It made for a tasty supper on a cold night. My wife had hers with buttered crackers. I put some rice in the bottom of a bowl, chili on top, then topped it with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream, some sliced green onions over it. I had some Cajun crackers with mine. I thought it was great.

I think this is a pretty good basic chili recipe. I make mine fairly mild since my wife and Mother doesn’t like it too hot. I always save some to take to my 91 year old Mother. You can make as hot as you want by playing with the chili powders, peppers or adding more hot sauce.

Printable chili recipe

Some ingredients

Beans soaking

Crackers and meat ready for the smoker

After an hour and half of smoke

Meat resting

Ground chuck on the left, pork on the right

Crumbled up

Meat sauteing with the onions and garlic

Chili powder and seasonings added

Chili simmering

My Bowl my Supper

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Pork

Jan 19 2013

One of my favorite dishes I don’t fix often. No one else in the family except my 91 year old Mother likes beans. My son and daughter in law like beans but without the meat. So if I fix this I eat beans until I am tired of them!

This is the best recipe I have found and the addition of pickled pork makes this great for me. I think the pickled pork makes this more of a Creole dish, not sure. It takes 3 days to pickle the pork in vinegar, onions, garlic and spices. The recipe calls for pork butt; I like to use boneless country style ribs; there is very little waist.

My pork was done pickling and my red beans had soaked overnight; I was ready to do some beans. I used to brown up the smoked sausage and pickled pork; now that I have my smoker I decided to smoke both. I would get a double smoke on the sausage and I added some Cajun seasoning to the pickled pork.
The smoked sausage was from my butcher, Kah Meats.

I got the sausage and pork on my smoker at 10:00 AM on smoke mode average 170 deg. for an hour and a half. I had also put the soaked bean and water in a large pot to boil then simmer while the meat was smoking. I forgot to get a photo of the meat on the smoker. I took the sausage and half the pork off for my soup. The rest of the pork I upped the smoker to 250 deg. to finish cooking. I will vacuum seal and freeze for later.

I let the meat cool while I added all the rest of the ingredients, except the green onions and parsley, to the beans. I added the green onions and parsley the last hour. I cut up the sausage and pork and added, brought all to a boil and simmered for an hour and a half. I cooked some rice in my rice cooker to have with it. It was done by 1:30.

I made up a bowl for my friend and fellow smoker at his carry out to try. I also made up some to take to my butcher at Kah meats. I bought my Traeger 07E from him and get my pellets there. When I bought the smoked sausage told him I was making red beans and rice, he said he hadn’t had any for years. I said I’ll bring you some. When I delivered it he said next time you want to cook for me I’ll give you the meat for free.

I let the beans simmer some more before saving me a large bowl for supper and all in the fridge. I will freeze up some of it.

My wife went to a movie with a friend and then did some shopping; she was eating leftovers for supper.
I had a bowl of beans and a scoop of rice in the middle for my supper along with bread and butter. It hit the spot; I would put the heat level at just above mild.

Printable beans and pickled pork recipe

Pork ready to pickle for 3 days

Mixed up

After 3 days, rinsed

Some ingredients

Sausage and Pork ready to smoke

Done smoking

Ready to simmer awhile

My Bowl

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chicken Ballotine

Jan 18 2013

I was inspired to make this chicken ballotine from a wonderful cookbook my wife’s cousin had given me, Master Chef South Africa. She lives and works in Pretoria, South Africa.

I had made one of these before but just called it a boned, stuffed, and tied chicken. I didn’t know I had made a ballotine! I had to compromise on the stuffing; I couldn’t find any prosciutto or the correct red peppers. Instead of prosciutto I used some thin sliced Spanish chorizo. I found some whole roasted red peppers and stuffed them with 4 oz. cream cheese mixed with some parmesan and chives. I had enough cheese mix to stuff some in the legs too.

I watched a video by Jacques Pepin on boning the chicken. He makes it look a lot easier than it was for me. He said you should be able to do it in a minute. It took me about 45 minutes to bone it, stuff and tie! I did it up after lunch and in the fridge until cook time.

I would serve it on a mash of potatoes and carrots and a side of sautéed fennel and onions. I had a small take home and bake baguette to have bread and butter.

I did up the potatoes and carrots early too so I just had to heat up to serve. I boiled about 5 medium russet potatoes and a couple handfuls of baby carrots until soft. I coarsely mashed them with a half stick of butter and two tablespoons of sour cream; salt and pepper.

I used my prior cook as a guide to do this one. I did it in my Traeger 07E using a mix of hardwood pellets.
I did it on smoke mode 175 deg. seam side up; for a half hour then eased it up every 10 minutes or so until I was at 300 deg. I was looking for 160 deg. IT. I used my Maverick ET-732 to monitor meat and grill level temp. Grill level temp on my Traeger runs about 30 deg. hotter than my RTD readout.

An hour and a half from start I turned the chicken and went to 350 deg. to finish up. I got my fennel and onion sautéing. In about twenty minutes the chicken was done so tented it with foil while I heated up the potato and carrot mash. I finished the fennel and onions with salt and pepper and a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar. I plated a dish for my wife and me.

We both loved it, chicken was moist and tender. The chorizo gave it some seasoning and the red pepper and cheese mix complimented.

Link to video of Pepin boning a chicken


Boned Chicken

Chorizo added

Peppers and cheese mix added

Folded and ready to tie

All tied

Potato and carrot mash

Fennel and onions sauteing

Chicken is done

My Plate

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

7 Day Pastrami

Jan 15 2013

The original recipe for this pastrami was by a guy called Habanero Smoker and was adapted some by Walleye1. Ever since I first had pastrami on rye sandwich from the Homestead Florida AFB deli back in 1960; it has been a favorite of mine. I have used a recipe for quick pastrami done from using an already corned beef brisket that was pretty darn good. I think this is my first one done from a beef brisket flat.

My butcher did not have any briskets and all I could find at the grocery was a small 3 ¼ pound one. I would have liked to do a 5 to 7 pound one. I got it coated with the seasoning and cure. One nice thing about this small one I was able to seal it with my Food Saver vacuum sealer for the cure. The recipe said four days was good for a small flat but for a larger one 5 to 7 days was needed. It fit into my cooking schedule to let this one go 5 days. I turned it every day.

Last Sunday I smoked it at 175 deg. for an hour and half then went to 225 deg. It took just over 4 hours for an IT of 155 deg. The recipe said an IT of 160 to 165 deg. but since I would steam or fry it I decided 155 deg. was good. When it cooled enough I wrapped in saran wrap and foil for a two day rest in the fridge.

After lunch today I sliced a few slices by hand to make sure I was slicing across the grain; then finished slicing thin with my slicer. It looked and tasted good. I had some seeded rye bread to use and made my wife a Reuben with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing. Too bad my homemade sauerkraut was not ready. I had mine my favorite way with mustard and Swiss cheese. I steamed the pastrami in my Aroma cooker.

I found a recipe for some Ohio nachos at and thought it would be great with the sandwiches. You just make an Alfredo sauce from heavy cream and some parmesan; pour that over some Kettle style potato chips; top with some crumbled blue cheese and pop in a 400 deg. oven for 7 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted then garnish with chives. I used gorgonzola cheese; it’s a little smoother, milder, than blue cheese.

The sandwiches were great and the wife and I loved the Ohio nachos.

Printable Pastrami Recipe

Rubbing the Brisket with seasoning and cure

Both sides done

Vacuum sealed

After the cure, rinsed, seasoned, air dried in the fridge, ready to smoke

Day 7, ready to slice

Slicing thin

Ohio Nachos

My wife's Reuben, I didn't do very good slicing

I did better slicing mine

My plate, pastrami and Ohio Nachos