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January 17, 2016

Food Thread: Smoking Edition [CBD]

So.....commenter "Harry Paratestes" got a smoker for Christmas, but doesn't know where to start.

Got it?

That's a pork butt. It's cheap, easy to cook, tastes great, and requires no real skill, other than the ability to peel that skin off without taking the fat along with it. And I am sure to get an argument about peeling it, so depending on your stance about cut or uncut pork, it's the easiest prep around.


But.....the question is: What kind of rub, how long to cook it, and at what temperature?

There must be a few million opinions as to the best way to smoke a pork butt, and the thing is, I'll bet that most of them are pretty good. Just don't dry it out with too much heat, and try not to oversmoke it. And for the first time, just follow the instructions that hopefully came with the smoker!

I posted a standard dry rub recipe last week, so that is a good start. it's a bit mustard forward, which I like, but play with the proportions if that seems not to your liking.

If you have a probe thermometer, then just shoot for about 195° internal temperature, which at a nice smoking temperature of 250° will take a long time. At least six-eight hours is my guess, but that depends on a lot of variables. There are also tried-and-true timing techniques that are based on number of beers drunk, but that too depends on outside temperature.

As for smoke? I like the sweeter woods...apple, cherry or maple, although hickory is a very nice wood too. But realize that more smoke doesn't mean better barbecue. It should be a flavor, not the flavor.

My smoker has a water reservoir between the coals and the racks, which I fill with hot or cold water, depending on the outside temperature. It moderates the temperature and keeps the internal environment nice and moist. Some people add flavorings to the water, but I have very little experience with that.

Google "barbecue" or "smoking meat" and you will get millions of links. One of the best is Amazing Ribs, which is packed full of lots of well-tested techniques, and is a lot of fun just to read.

******

From artisanal 'ette comes a recipe for one of my favorite soups, but with an interesting twist. It's more like Eastern European cooking than anything, but judge for yourselves....

Potato (Leek) Soup

From The Vegetarian Epicure cookbook by Anna Thomas.

  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 leeks
  • 3 1/ 2 to 4 cups water (enough to keep it all covered)
  • 1 1/ 2 cups milk or cream
  • 1/ 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 Tbs dill weed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh-ground pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs sour cream
  • butter
  • garnish: chopped chives, parsley, or more dill (optional)

Peel the potatoes (and keep and use the peels for a potato peel broth for another day).

Wash the leeks and chop them up well, discarding the tough green ends.

Cook these vegetables in the salted water about 1/ 2 hour, or until they are tender. Add the milk, caraway seeds, dill, and salt and pepper to taste.

Let the soup simmer another 15-20 minutes, or until it begins to take on a rather thick consistency and the potatoes begin to fall apart a little.

Now stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream and a tablespoon or two of butter; let it all heat through, and serve.

You may garnish this soup with chopped chives, parsley, or more dill.

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 servings.

******

Maybe the sheer volume of articles about what foods are best for living a long life has increased past my tipping point, or maybe I am just sick and tired of being preached at by Gen Xers with journalism degrees. But it is getting tedious and, frankly, idiotic.

Here are "Dildo's Tips For What Diet Is Best For You."

Eat food you enjoy.
Eat lots of different foods.
Don't eat too much of anything.
Don't listen to idiots who write tips for what diet is best for you.

******

I have made this several times, and I love it. It's a little light in the fat department, which makes me suspect that it came from "Cooking Light" or some such magazine. Not that there is anything wrong with that...it's just that sometimes fat is absolutely necessary for not only mouth feel and flavor, but for things like blooming herbs and spices or browning aromatics. Regardless, it's a nice recipe (and yeah, I probably have posted it before). It's also a bit of work, so I would double it to avoid making it again next weekend.
Chicken Verde Stew with Hominy

  • 2 Anaheim chiles
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 (29-ounce) can golden hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • Cilantro leaves

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Halve, stem, and seed chiles. Place chiles, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil for 5 minutes or until charred. Place chiles in a paper bag; seal. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel and discard skins.

3. Arrange tomatillos on prepared baking sheet, and broil 14 minutes or until blackened, turning once. Combine the chiles, tomatillos, 1/4 cup cilantro, cumin, and oregano in a blender. Add 1 cup broth; process until smooth.

4. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Place onion mixture in a large bowl.

5. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of chicken; sauté 3 minutes. Add browned chicken to onion mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and 2 teaspoons oil. Combine remaining 1 cup broth, tomatillo mixture, onion mixture, and hominy in pan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Ladle 1 2/3 cups stew into each of 6 bowls, and top each with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Garnish with cilantro.


digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 04:00 PM

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