Posted by Headcook On April 29, 2012
Posted by Headcook On April 9, 2012
What you’ll need
1 whole fresh pork loin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary, fresh or dried
Sliced Provolone cheese
Hickory, pecan, apple or cherry wood chunks
Start out by making the garlic paste. Mix the minced garlic, black pepper and rosemary with enough olive oil to create a semi-thick paste to be spread on the meat. Next, butterfly the loin by turning it on its side and slicing down the middle, but not all the way through. Stop just shy of the other side.
You could flatten the loin at this point by placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap and pounding it with a meat mallet, but I usually skip this step unless it is a small loin. Coat the inside of the meat with the garlic paste, then layer the cheese and mushrooms, topped off with a few dashes of worstershire sauce.
Now, top it off with a generous pile of fresh spinach leaves. Keep in mind that the spinach will cook down a lot, so stuff all that you can in there, then add a little more.
You are now ready to roll it up. Just fold the ends back together and secure with toothpicks. You can skip the toothpicks and just tie it up with the butcher’s twine, but from my experience the toothpicks make tying it up a little easier. Use the butcher’s twine to tie it up by going around the short side about 3 times, and make another tie around the long end. For this cook, we didn’t realize that we didn’t have butcher’s twine, so we used strips of rattan! It worked, but I would suggest getting butcher’s twine. As you close it up and tie it, some of the stuffing will try to sneak out, so just keep poking it back in there as you go around it. Cover it with BBQ rub, and you’re ready for the smoker.
I cooked this pork loin on my vertical water smoker, but you could use any type cooker you like. You want to cook it at around 250 degrees. On my vertical water smoker, I used 1 full chimney of charcoal, but only let it get halfway burning before I dumped it in. That way you have just enough heat to cook, and as the lit charcoal starts to burn out, the unlit will be burning, helping to maintain a fire for the entire cook. I used a large chunk of pecan wood for this cook, but you could use what you like. I would suggest hickory, pecan, apple or cherry, as these woods work well with pork. Put the pork loin on and let it cook to an internal temp of 165 degrees. At 250, this will take about 2 hours or so, depending on the size of the pork tenderloin.
When the loin is ready, bring it in and slice it. Serve it up hot with some grilled squash, dirty garlic mashed potatoes and Texas toast.
Posted by Headcook On February 5, 2012
I decided to smoke two Pork Butts today to give away as “thank you” gifts. One was being made for the Schmidt’s, who had us over for a great Friday night and contributed to my post with the wonderful booze ideas. The other was for the neighbors who dropped off a cheese, potato, bacon and leek soup last night. They dropped off some excellent fish a few weeks ago. This was the least that we could do.
For those of you who have never cooked a pork butt, you are in for something special. Though it sounds like it may be from the back of the pig, the pork butt is the upper part of the front shoulder of the pig. It is a great blend of different types of pork and marbled with wonderful fat (known as flavor.) Most pork butts are between 7 and 10 pounds and sold with the bone in. You ideally want one that is also natural and not enhanced with a salt solution. Check your favorite butcher shop. I bought two that totalled to about 18 pounds.
The first thing that you want to do is trim off any bloody spots, check for any bone fragments, and trim off most of the fat cap and large areas of fat. The internal structure of the butt has enough fat that the large amount of external fat is pretty much useless. Also, by trimming the fat, you have the opportunity for a larger amount of bark to form. Bark is the dark, flavorful crust that forms during cooking.
Though the entire butt is delicious when it is done, the most delicious piece is referred to as the money muscle. It is referred to as the money muscle since many competitive BBQ teams use it as part of their winning strategy in competitions. Prior to cooking, it is pretty easy to find. First find the quarter sized oval bone that has been cut on one end of the butt.
On the opposite side of the butt, you will see a horizontally stranded section of meat that is surrounded by fat. That is your ticket to pig heaven. I like to lightly trim around the money muscle so that I can more easily find it once the cooking is done.
Once you have done your trimming, it is time to get some flavor added to the pork. The first thing that I do is cover the butts in yellow mustard. This is done to create a binding agent that helps the dry rub to the meat. Do not worry if you don’t like mustard, when you are done cooking, the mustard has been absorbed and you do not taste it at all. Rub it very liberally into every nook and cranny of the meat. My 5-year-old daughter is my super helper when it comes to this set of steps in the process. Since you will be working with raw meat, it is helpful to have someone else squirting the mustard onto the meat while you are rubbing it into the meat. Since this part of the process can get messy, I bought a large plastic storage tub that I use to work in. It is short enough to fit into my fridge but large enough to hold a couple of pork butts, a brisket, or a pile of ribs. Well worth the couple of bucks.
Once you have the meat coated with mustard, it is time to apply your dry rub to the meat. Once again, find your favorite helper and have them shake a large amount of rub onto the meat. Make sure that you work the flavor into all parts of the butt. I had been using Byron’s Butt Rub for my rub for the longest time. It is very good. Lately I have switched to Plow Boy’s Yardbird. It is a little sweeter than Butt Rub, and very good.
Once the rub is applied, I like to inject the butt to add some additional moisture and flavor. I have cooked a number of butt’s without injecting, and they turn out great. Since these were being given as gifts, I wanted to be sure that these were as tasty as they could be. The injection that I use is based on Chris Lily’s Six Time World Championship injection that he supposedly uses in the Big Bob Gibson’s restaraunts.
- 3/4 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
To inject the pork butt, press the injector almost all the way through the meat and then press the plunger down while drawing the injector back up. I do this every inch or so on one side and then use the remaining injection around the sides of the meat, focusing on areas around the bone that I could not get to from above as well as ensuring the money muscle is fully injected.
Once the butt is injected, I cover the pork butts and refrigerate them over night.
In the morning, I fire up the smoker and add some hardwood for smoke flavor. I really like the flavor that fruit woods add to pork. One of my favorites is apple or peach. I was out of fruit wood so I chose hickory for this cook. Hickory smoked pork, especially with bacon and ham, is very popular. I like to put the butts onto the smoker when it stabilizes at 250 degrees.
I like to keep the temps between 225 and 275 if possible. This results in about an hour per pound of cooking time. You want to cook the butt until it allows your thermometer to push through the meat like it is warm butter. That typically happens around 195 degrees. One other thing that you should know about large cuts of meat, they typically stall at a temperature for a long period of time while the internal fat breaks down. In some cases, the temp may even drop in the meat while this happens. In most cases, this stall happens around 160 degrees for me for pork butts.
Once the meat is probe tender, I wrap it in aluminum foil and tuck it into a cooler packed with old towels. It is best to let the meat rest for a minimum of an hour before pulling it. I like to rest it for about 3 hours. It will stay hot enough to serve for up to 6 hours kept in a cooler. When you finally unwrap the meat, be sure that you have something to catch the juices.
Here is a shot of a pulled pork sandwich with slaw and Blues Hog BBQ sauce.
Posted by Headcook On January 15, 2012
A half price sale on a pork loin, the King Pig UDS, some applewood smoke and the NFL Playoffs. Calling today a good day would be an understatement.
Since the full loin was over 9 lbs, I decided to break it down into some 1.5″ thick boneless chops for later this week, and a 5 lb chunk that would go on the smoker. As a part of this day of smoke, I am making a Brunswick stew for tomorrow’s Packer game against the Giants. Part of this smoked loin will end up in there and part will be used for sandwiches to be enjoyed during today’s playoff games.
The loin that was headed to the smoker was first rubbed down with some yellow mustard. For those of you who are not familiar with BBQ’ing, mustard is used quite often as a binding agent for dry rub on meat. Don’t worry, you won’t taste it after the meat has been cooked. Be sure to wear food safe gloves when working with mustard if you are bothered by jaundice-looking hands.
Once the mustard was rubbed on, the dry rub was liberally shaken on by my 5 year old sous chef. For this cook I decided to try the Plowboys BBQ Bovine Bold rub. I really like their Yardbird rub on Pork Butt’s, so I figured I would give this a try. It turned out to be another great rub.
The King Pig Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) was fired up with some Royal Oak Lump charcoal and a couple of chunks of apple wood. It was a 19 degree day with calm winds. Notice the snow that we finally got this winter.
The UDS was brought up to 275 degrees and the loin was put on. Based on what I had read, most people cook the loin between 250 and 275 degrees for around 30 minutes per pound. I planned to cook the pork to about 140 degrees and let it come up to 145 degree safe point by resting it in aluminum foil.
Once the loin hit 140 degrees, it was pulled off the smoker and foil wrapped. I put it in the oven (which was turned off) for about an hour to rest. I poured a small amount of apple juice into the foil for some moisture. As you can see, the loin stayed very moist. The foil was full of juices and this was one of the most moist pieces of pork we have had.
A nice thick cut of the pork loin with some Sweet Baby Ray’s on a Manderfield’s (local bakery) bun and you have a meal fit for a queen (and I thought it was great too.) Based on how fast this cooked (2.5 hours), how great it tasted, and how healthy this cut of meat is, this will be definitely something that I do again.
Posted by Headcook On January 14, 2012
This past Thanksgiving we did something a little non-traditional, we had an appetizer party. The Green Bay Packers were playing Detroit and we had a large group over to watch the game. Everyone was asked to bring an appetizer or two, and the rule was that it could not have been something that you had made before. It gave us a chance to try a bunch of new recipes and not having traditional Thanksgiving meal items was a nice break for the folks who were going to multiple family gatherings that day.
One of the recipes that turned into a big hit that day was Pulled Pork Egg Rolls. These were inspired by a post on The Smoke Ring by Brutalgrandpa. I have decided to make these again for a Packer party that we are having tomorrow. The dipping sauce and the cole slaw taste best when made the day ahead. In addition, I thawed a quart bag of left over pulled pork from our Christmas porkilicious cookout.
The slaw is basic and a little drier than many, but it works great for wrapping into egg rolls.
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bag pre-shredded coleslaw mix 1/2 red onion, sliced to match thickness of bagged slaw mix
Mix all of the ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Peach Dipping Sauce
- 3/4 cup peach preserves
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Mix until incorporated and refrigerate overnight.
The Egg Rolls
For those of you who have not made egg rolls before, the key is to wrap the rolls correctly. First, place the wrapper in front of you with one of the corners pointed up (like a diamond). Next, place the filling in the middle of the wrapper.
To start the rolling, the sides are folded back towards the middle of the wrapper.
Next you roll from the bottom up towards the top. You want to keep the egg roll very tight at this point as well as watch to ensure that the ends stay tucked tight. The end flap is rubbed with some egg wash to keep the egg roll sealed.
I made 15 of these for the game today. Notice the little one in the front right corner. I ended up with only half of a wrapper in the package. It must have been a Friday afternoon at the egg roll wrapper quality assurance station.
The egg rolls were then put in the fryer until browned.
These turned out great! Much better than the Packer game that they were eaten during.
Posted by Headcook On January 14, 2012
There are as many different recipes for Brunswick stew as there are opinions on where the stew was originally created. Brunswick stew is said to have originated in either Brunswick, Georgia, Brunswick, Virgina, or Brunswick, South Carolina. Each area of the country has their take on this leftover BBQ stew. I spent some time online and combined a few different recipes into my Wisconsin version of this southern comfort food.
The heart of the Brunswick stew is the smoked meat. Most recipes call for a combination of smoked chicken and pork. I had some rib tips in the freezer from the Deer Hunting cook a few months ago, a package of chicken drumsticks, and I was cooking a pork loin today that I figured I could incorporate into this stew as well.
I rubbed the rib tips with Simply Delicious Sweet and Spicy and the Chicken with Simply Delicious Cherry Rub.
Both of these were cooked with the Pork Loin on the UDS for about 2.5 hours at 250 degrees.
Here are the ingredients that I have decided to try for my Brunswick stew:
- 2 lb – 3 lb smoked meat
- 2 TBSP of your favorite rub (I used Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy)
- 2 28oz cans whole tomatoes, including the juice
- 2 11oz cans shoepeg corn
- 1 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Blue’s Hog today)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cans of butter beans with the juice
- 4 or 5 potatoes diced
Pulled the meat off the bone and then mixed the BBQ Rub into the meat.
Cut the whole tomatoes into chunks and add the juice to the crock pot.
Add all of the other ingredients except for the butter and the potatoes.
Cooked the stew on high for 4 hours in the crock pot. The plan is to add the diced tomatoes and butter tomorrow morning and cook on high until the potatoes are cooked through.