Monday, February 25, 2013

Cuban Pork Roast, Red Beans and Rice

Feb 24 2013

I had really not planned to cook Sunday; but when I was at the grocery Friday they had some pork sirloin bone in roasts for 99 cents a pound. I couldn’t pass that up; so I bought one 5.7 pounds. I have wanted to do some Cuban pork. I’d rather do a butt or shoulder roast but if this didn’t turn out I would not be out much money.

My recipe was a mix of several I looked at. The seasoning would be 2 Tbs. kosher salt, 2 tsp. ground cumin, and 2 tsp. dried oregano. I had the roast lying on plastic wrap in a large dish. I cut about 12 slits in the roast and inserted a half of garlic clove in each slit. I zested an orange and a lime then squeezed the juice over the roast. I rubbed the seasoning mix all over and into the slits. I chopped about 5 more cloves of garlic and put over along with the orange and lime zest. I wrapped it with the plastic wrap and two more sheets over the dish. This went into the fridge for overnight.

The roast had marinated about 24 hours when I put it on my Traeger at smoke mode 180 deg. for an hour. I then went to 250 deg. for a half hour while I made up some mojo sauce of 6 oz. fresh natural orange juice, juice of one lime, a tsp. of dried garlic flakes and a tsp. of dried onion flakes. I brought the sauce to a boil then set aside. I sprayed a foil pan with some olive oil and added about a cup of water.

I placed the roast in the foil pan, inserted my temp probe, brushed on some mojo sauce and went to 275 deg. for the rest of the cook. I brushed on some sauce about every half hour I had added to the pan. My Traeger was running closer to 290 deg. but I let it go at that and the roast hit 150 deg. IT after 4 hours total cook time. I tented it for a half hour while I got my sides prepared.

My sides were pretty easy, I did some Zatarains red beans and rice in my rice cooker and baked some corn pudding. I like the rice cooker, I can have it done early and set on warm hold and serve piping hot later.

After the roast had set a half hour I sliced it all off the bone and placed in a dish. I made some more mojo sauce from a half cup of the pan drippings, 6 oz. orange juice, juice of one lime, some dried garlic and onion flakes, and a couple pinches of ground cumin. I normally do not like a lot of cumin but I think it melds well with the orange and lime juice. I reduced the sauce by half then poured over the meat.

I served it all up with a take home and bake baguette with some good organic butter. My wife and I both thought this was great. She is not a bean lover but liked the Zatarains red beans and rice.

Pork Roast

Seasoning and garlic

Orange and lime zest

Ready to marinate

After 1 1/2 hours on the smoker

All done

Sliced up

Reducing the mojo sauce

For my sides

Corn pudding

Red beans and rice

My Plate

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cajun Brat Burger and Turnip Greens

Feb 22 2013

My wife was having a night out with the ladies, dinner and some music at a school art center. This was my time to fix myself some food I love. I had four Cajun brats for my butcher, a bag of turnip greens, and a red sweet potato.

For the turnip greens I added about 2 cups of chicken broth to my Crockpot, added the greens on top. I diced and browned some bacon, removed from the skillet and spooned over the greens. I then sliced a large onion and chopped 4 cloves of garlic, sautéed them in the bacon grease. I added those over the greens then deglazed the skillet and poured it over. I added a few shakes of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.

I got this on at noon, cooked on high for a couple of hours then on low to simmer all afternoon. I added some Cholula hot sauce near the end.

I fired up my Traeger and preheated to 300 deg. and added the sweet potato. I had sliced it in half, a couple pats of butter and wrapped in foil. I made up two patties from the 4 brats, added some dried garlic flakes to them. I got them on a half hour after the sweet potato and in 45 minutes they would be done. I added some Kerry Gold Dubliner cheese to one burger to melt at the end.

I sautéed some of my homemade sauerkraut for on the sandwich along with some mustard. It sure tasted good and I had two helpings of the turnip greens.

Turnip greens ingredients

Browning the bacon

Bacon added to the greens and broth

Onions and garlic added

Brats on the smoker

Sauteing the sauerkraut

My Plate

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sauerkraut Meatloaf

Feb 12 2013

I wanted to make a sauerkraut meatloaf before we ate all my homemade kraut. I found a good sounding recipe at; it had minimum ingredients so not to mask the sauerkraut taste. I also like the fact it called for rye bread crumbs.

It called for half ground chuck and half sausage but I like to do a 3 to 1 ratio. I bought 1 ½ lbs. of ground chuck from my butcher. I thought I had ½ lb. sausage in the freezer but didn’t so I used two green onion brats.

I get everything ready before mixing up, dice any veggies and place them in a bowl with the seasonings.
I mix the ground chuck and sausage first then add the veggies and seasonings and mix that up some. I then add all the wet ingredients and mix well. Finally adding in the bread crumbs a little at a time and mix to incorporate.

I form it into a loaf in the bowl I mix it in and like to put in the fridge an hour or two before cooking. When I am ready to cook it I spray my favorite meatloaf pan with spam, place the meatloaf on and form into a nice loaf. For this one I added a slice of bacon to the top.

I got it on at 4:00 on smoke 175 deg. for a half hour and then went to 275 deg. At 5:00 it seemed to be coming up slow so I went to 300 deg. By 5:30 it was at 155 deg. IT so pulled it and tented with foil while I made the sides. I had come down with a cold and in the middle of painting wood work so not really into cooking. I cheated and used Bob Evan’s scalloped potatoes and some steamer corn. This all makes for an easy and good meal.

We both liked the meatloaf and will be making this again.

Printable Meatloaf Recipe

Ground Chuck and brats

Onions, mustard, thyme, salt, pepper and kraut

Wet ingredients added

Loaf formed

Meatloaf done

My Plate

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Polish Sausage and Homemade Sauerkraut

Feb 08 2013

I had my homemade sauerkraut all done fermenting and would cook it with some Polish sausage and Knopfles, (drop noodles), that my wife always fixes for me.

I had 4 links of Polish sausage from my butcher Kah Meats. I got them on my smoker at 10 AM and smoked them at 170 to 180 for two hours. At noon I pulled them and placed in a Crockpot; I had sprayed with a little olive oil and a layer of sliced onions. I topped that with a quart of the sauerkraut along with the juice. I added some more saved juice and ½ pint of water. We like our kraut sour when cooked, the meat and the noodles take on flavor from the juice.

I cooked this all on high for a little over an hour then went to low until supper time at 6 PM. I cheated on the potatoes; I bought some Yoders refrigerated, mashed garlic redskin potatoes. They are a local company and their potatoes are as good as I can make. Even though pork and kraut is about as easy to make as it gets; when you get old you look for more shortcuts!

The kids came at 6 PM to pick up the grandson. I ask them to stay but they said they were going for pizza. Can you imagine that; passing up some good pork, kraut and noodles for pizza!

We chatted for a while and it was 6:30 when they left. I was hungry and forgot to take a photo of it finished with the noodles mixed in. It sure tasted good; we had some good seeded rye bread with it.
I sure like the homemade kraut better than bought. I think I like a mix of pork rather than all Polish sausage. My New Year’s Day dinner had smoked country style ribs, bratwurst, and brockwurst in it and I like that mix. I also like smoked chops and smoked sausage in it. I always prefer to have it with my wife’s drop noodles. It always tastes better with a good beer; I had a bottle of Bud’s new Black Crown beer.

Kraut and sausage

Ready for the smoker

After 2 hours of smoke

Sausage added to the pot

Kraut added

Ready for the noodles

Noodles added

My Plate

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Homemade Sauerkraut

I was inspired to make my own sauerkraut from the Homemade Sausage Making site (Wedliny Domowe). I ordered a gallon jar with an air lock. It came this morning so I went to the grocery and bought two heads of cabbage to get a batch started. I used a head and about a third of the second one. I got it sliced and in the jar, salted and stomped with water to cover. I have water in the air lock and it is on its way to becoming sauerkraut in about 30 days.

If you want you can spend about $100 US dollars for a fermenting crock there are several nice ones on the market. I chose the cheaper route and bought a gallon jar that came with a lid with a grommet in it and a plastic airlock. It also came with three glass weights to hold down the sauerkraut under the liquid.
I bought it for $26 from and that included the shipping cost.

I decided to move it to my heated workshop to sit until done. That way no one can complain about any smell. I keep my workshop at 40 deg. F in the winter and will just have to heat it to 72 deg. until my sauerkraut is done. That will make it kind of expensive so it better taste good!

Years ago I made some sauerkraut in a five gallon crock. My Dad had given me some homegrown cabbage to use. It was good but I had to listen to my wife complain about the smell in the house.

I also remember making cherry wine. That was over 40 years ago; we lived in an old brick house with a basement. We had a cherry tree so had plenty of fresh cherries. My wife’s cousin made a lot of wine and gave me a quick recipe. He said just cover it with cloth and after two weeks it is done, cap it off and let it age. I had the gallon jug of wine sitting on an old wood chair. A few days after capping it I went to check on it. When I opened the basement I could see the jug was not on the chair. I ask my wife what she did with it; she said I never touched it. When I investigated I found cherry juice and little pieces of glass all over the chair and floor! I did make another batch that turned out good but this time I used a balloon on the jug until it stopped working.

I will update this in about 30 days when the kraut is done.

Gallon jug, air lock, and glass weights

Shredding the cabbage

Sauerkraut at day 1

Update Feb 07 2013

My sauerkraut was done today after 29 days fermenting. I got 2 3/4 quarts of kraut and a pint of extra juice. It tasted great, smelled like kraut too. It was not as sour as I would have thought. It looked good and I had no scum on top. I should have been good on the salt, I had 2 TBS to about 4 lbs of cabbage. It was about 10 hours ago when I ate the sample and drank a little of the juice. I am still alive so it must be good! I will be smoking some Kielbasa tomorrow and in a crockpot with some of this kraut.

Putting in jars

Ready for the fridge and to use

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Old Daves Tex Mex Bake

Feb 02 2013

Old Dave’s Tex Mex bake was a recipe in Let’s Talk BBQ that caught my eye. It looked tasty, purdy, and easy to make. I bought the ingredients and it would be my supper for Saturday evening. Dave baked his on a smoker but I decided to do mine in the oven. It was 18 deg. out and felt like 4 below; I would just stay inside and stay warm! I was using meat that was smoked on my Traeger. This would be good with any leftover beef or pork.

Dave used ground beef in his but I had plenty of pulled pork frozen so I used it. I chopped up the pulled pork for smaller pieces. I sautéed some chopped onions in a little olive oil until soft, added the meat until heated through. I mixed in the packet of taco seasoning and added about 4 oz. of Rotel zesty tomato sauce with green chilies. I used mild but if you like hot they have hot. I set the meat to the side while I made up the dish.

I had some garlic butter crescent rolls to use and laid them out in a 10 inch pie dish. I added the meat to the outer edge, some shredded cheddar over it. I folded the points in and added more cheddar to the center. I baked it at 375 deg. for 20 minutes and it was just right.

This will easily feed four, and you can do like Dave by adding some sour cream, salad, and toppings to the middle. I just added some romaine mix and sour cream after plating since I would have a lot left with just the wife and I. I had some refried beans with white cheddar for a side and some sliced black olives over the sour cream. My wife had hers with just the salad and sour cream. We both thought it was good.

It makes a good entre and should feed 6 if you have some good sides with it. It also would make a great snack at a party, salad, toppings added and cut into smaller wedges. Thanks Dave for sharing this recipe!


Chopped meat

Diced onions

Sauce added to the seasoned meat and onions

Meat ready to add

Crescent dough laid out

Meat added, I sprinkled some cheese over the meat

Dough folded over and more cheese added

Ready to serve

My Plate

Friday, February 1, 2013

Larded Arm Roast

Jan 31 2013

Crazy weather, back to winter here in Ohio. Thursday morning it was 55 deg. by midnight it was below freezing and snowing.

I had known about larding meat a long time ago. I was reminded of it from a recipe for Daube Creole Glace by Chef Danno on Nola Cuisine blog. He larded a beef roast with salt pork and seasoning.

The first meat I larded was a half of whole pork loin. I used bacon instead of salt pork and it turned out great; just as moist as if I had brined it but with more flavor. I wanted to do beef so chose a small arm roast from my butcher, 2 ¼ pounds. I had left over mashed potatoes to use, so I would do the roast with onions, carrots and turnips in gravy. A package of Lipton beefy onion soup mix and a package of brown gravy mix and water would make tasty gravy.

I wanted to smoke the roast for an hour and half, go to high for about a half hour to brown and then in a Crockpot by noon for our supper at 6:00 Thursday. I got up a little late and by the time I got the roast in the smoker it was 10:30 so I changed to an hour on smoke mode.

I cut slits in the roast and cut up some bacon; dredged the bacon in some of the onion soup mix and inserted it into the slits. I sprinkled on a little of the onion soup mix, some dried garlic granules and pepper. After one hour on smoke mode I went to high. In just over 10 minutes my Traeger was over 400 deg. at grill level and in another 10 minutes it looked good.

I laid it over a layer of sliced onions in the Crockpot. I mixed the packet of onion soup and gravy mix, added some water to make slurry and poured it over the beef. I added more water to almost cover and set the Crockpot to high. I cut up 4 small carrots and a turnip and added. After a half hour I went to low on the Crockpot.

Close to 5 PM I removed the roast, removed any fat and sliced up. It went back in the pot and I turned it to high. We ate at close to 6 PM. I heated up the mashed potatoes and some leftover corn pudding. Ladled the meat and veggies over the potatoes with some more of the gravy. I had some rye bread and butter with mine.

It was melt in your mouth beef and flavorful gravy. We both loved it and a keeper recipe for me. I think I’ll have it over bread tomorrow night like an open face sandwich.

Roast and ingredients

Larded, seasoned and ready for the smoker

Smoked and browned

Ready for the Crockpot

Ready to slice up the meat

Meat sliced, I did get some smoke ring for only an hour on smoke

Meat added back to the pot

My Plate