Bacon on a Stick

This is a recipe that was inspired by several postings on Smoking Meat Forums. It is spareribs  cured like bacon and glazed like ham to make Bacon On A Stick. It has the great texture of ribs, the wonderful taste of bacon and the sweet crust of ham. Who could ask for more! Well, actually, everyone asks for more of these.

It uses regular spareribs and cures them like you would ham or bacon. The ribs are cured by putting them in a brine recipe that includes curing salts. These are also known as pink salt, Instacure 1, Prague Powder 1 and several other names. The main thing is to make sure it is 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. Too much or too little is bad for your health so use the exact amount in the recipe.

I posted a detailed process of how I prepared these in Smoking Meat Forums and the link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/151369/first-bacon-on-a-stick

I used a smoker but you could make this in the oven and get almost as good a result. Just put the ribs in the oven at the temperatures noted in the recipe instead of the smoker.

The Verdict

You have to try these. They are sweet, salty, tender and just so good. Make sure you let your guests know they are pink like ham because they are cured and not because they are under cooked and enjoy!

The Old Fat Guy

Gumbo from Canada

It is cold here. There is snow on the ground. I made andouille the other day. Conditions were perfect for making gumbo!

This Cajun dish is delicious. A touch of spice, a deep dark texture and a mixture of shellfish, chicken and andouille. While I love this version, I apologize to all of Louisiana for my corruption of their recipe.

A video of me cooking this dish is embedded at the bottom of the post.

The ingredients required are:

  • 3/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cups diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup (1 ounce) soy sauce
  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/4 pound Andouille sausage, diced (may substitute garlic sausage)
  • 1/3 pound prawns, shelled, deveined
  • 1 /2 pound scallops

Cook the flour in a heavy pot (a thin one will burn the flour) over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is a light tan colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the oil. Cover the pot and put it on the lowest rack of a 350 F oven for 35 minutes to darken the roux (the mixture of oil and flour).

Stir the roux and put over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper and celery and stir frequently until the vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic, thyme, cayenne and 1/2 tablespoon flour. Stir until you can smell the garlic and thyme. Add tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.

Slowly add chicken broth while stirring thoroughly. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Add the soy sauce. Add the chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.

At this point, I allow it to cool and put it in the fridge so I can finish it quickly later. You don’t have to let it cool and can continue to finish the gumbo.

Stir the andouille into the gumbo and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the prawns and scallops and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve it over cooked rice and bow to the south to thank the Cajuns who invented this great dish!

The Old Fat Guy

Canadian Andouille

I love smoked cured sausage but it is so high in fat. At least the stuff I make myself is a little lower in salt and fat.

Andouille is made in different ways in countries around the world. My recipe is based on a Cajun style adjusted for my mild Canadian taste buds. It is moderately spicy with a nice onion, garlic finish.
If you would like to see more details on how I made it, you can seem my post on the Smoking Meat Forums. The link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/152882/canadian-andouille#post_1095056

It looks complicated but all you really do is cube some pork, season it, grind it, stuff it and smoke it. If you don’t have a smoker, you can make it by putting it in a 180 F oven instead of the smoker. It will be good but that smoke flavour really adds to it.

The Old Fat Guy

Scalloped Potatoes, My Way

I had to make scalloped potatoes when I made the smoked pork picnic shoulder last night.

Scalloped potatoes were always served as a special occasion dish when I was growing up. They still seem like a real treat.

A word on peeling potatoes. I am against it if at all possible. Potato skins taste great, have a lot of nutrients and add colour to the dish. Scrub your potatoes well and you don’t need to peel them.

You will need the following to make scalloped potatoes for four.

For the Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

For the Casserole:

  • 3 cups potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes), thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped

Start by making the Cheese sauce. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add the flour and stir until well blended. Gradually add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Add the salt, dry mustard, hot pepper sauce and black pepper. Stir until blended. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now, start putting the casserole together. Put 1/3 of the potatoes in a greased 10 inch casserole. Put 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle 1/3 of the onions over the sauce and dot the surface with one tablespoon of the butter.

Repeat with two more layers in the same order.

Cover the casserole and put it in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another hour.

The Verdict

While I loved my mother’s scalloped potatoes, these are way better. Hers were more liquid and weren’t as seasoned. These are just a bit more flavourful without overpowering the potatoes. However, when I eat them, I stil I think of family dinners.

The Old Fat Guy

Smoked Picnic Shoulder

This dish is not technically a ham. A ham comes from the shank portion. However it tastes, looks and cooks like a ham.

I was in the supermarket and they had an uncooked smoked pork shoulder on sale for a really good price. Normally, they are obscenely expensive but then they will go on sale for an
incredible price. I think it is because most people don’t know what to do with them.

I had intended to smoke it as I have never done one in the smoker before. However, She Who Must Be Obeyed wanted me to make it this way. She has the ability to persuade so I did so.

I posted the process on the Smoking Meat Forums and the process is at there at this link:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/152782/smoked-picnic-shoulder-i-meant-to-smoke-it-i-really-did#post_1094147

I really like this recipe and I highly recommend it. However, it must be served with scalloped potatoes (I will post my method for making them tomorrow). I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

The Old Fat Guy

Winner, Winner, Smoked Turkey Dinner

We had a birthday this month. I took the opportunity to smoke my first turkey dinner. I posted my efforts in Smoking Meat Forums. The link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/151748/first-smoked-turkey-for-a-birthday

Smoking a turkey was a fun project. It is definitely a different way to prepare the bird and took longer. However, it is nice to have a different way to prepare it.

The Verdict

The turkey came out moister than regular roasting and the skin was wonderful. I really liked the texture and taste of the turkey. I tried an experiment using some of the rendered fat to make a roux for the gravy. It had a nice smoky flavour but She Who Must Be Obeyed prefers regular gravy. The problem with that is that there are way less drippings so any gravy would have to be made from stock.

In total, smoking makes a great turkey but not as nice a gravy as regular roasting.

I will likely use this method in the summer to avoid heating the house up.

I suggest you give it a try if you have a smoker!

The Old Fat Guy

“Healthy” Montreal Smoked Meat

When I retired, I purchased a Bradley Smoker. I have really enjoyed it. As I got used to using it, I had to try my hand at Montreal Smoked Meat. I love going to Schwartz’s when I go to Montreal and what they call Montreal Smoked Meat in the supermarket is not even close.

The problem is that Montreal Smoked Meat is made out of brisket and is quite fatty. So I tried making some out of outside round beef. It turned out great! I posted how I did this on Smoking Meat Forums and the link is:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/151288/final-qview-healthy-montreal-smoked-meat

It looks like a lot of work but it is actually just a few steps spread over a couple of weeks. The only thing you have to be very careful about is the use of the curing agent, in this case Morton’s Tender Quick. You have to make sure you use 15 grams (1/2 ounce) per 500 grams (1 pound) of meat. Not enough cure and it will go bad. Too much and the curing agent can harm you. It is no problem if you follow the instructions.

Verdict

This is wonderful. It has the peppery taste of Montreal Smoked Meat without the sweetness of pastrami. This version is quite low fat and has a lot less salt than commercial smoked meats. Even She Who Must Be Obeyed likes this.

The Old Fat Guy.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I was listening to the CBC and they had a Chef, Ricardo Larrivee, on. He has written a book, Ricardo Slow Cooker Favourites: From Lasagna to Creme Brulee, By: Ricardo Larrivee, Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

He went over a recipe for Slow Cooker Lasagna. It sounded reasonably easy and used ingredients that are readily available in the supermarket. He let the CBC post the recipe. Here is the link:

http://www.cbc.ca/nxnw/featured-guests/2013/11/03/slow-cooking-with-ricardo/

I decided to give it a try and the pictures of my efforts are above.
I only made 1/2 the recipe as I only have a 3 quart slow cooker and I was cooking for She Who Must Be Obeyed and myself. I used mild Italian Sausage (if I made it again I would use spicy). I also used whole wheat lasagna noodles as I like the flavour better and it gives some fiber.

It only took a little over 3 hours for it to cook as I had halved the recipe.

I served it with garlic bread made from a whole wheat French loaf and steamed broccoli, carrots and corn. I had a nice Shiraz with it and the missus had a Chardonnay.

The Verdict

This was a very easy recipe to make. I put it together in just a couple of minutes. The result is better than I was expecting in a slow cooker pasta. The taste was nice but could use a bit more seasoning in my opinion. I think it would be better with spicy Italian sausage. There isn’t  enough sausage in it that the spicy sausage would make it hot but it would punch it up a little.

This would be a great recipe to whip up in a hurry and then relax while it cooks away. I would make it again. I might also buy the book.

The Old Fat Guy

 

Passing Wind Estates Bratwurst, The First Post

I am rapidly learning that something you make yourself tastes better and has the advantage of you controlling the ingredients.  I made bratwurst but I used chicken and pork to lighten it up a bit. You need a grinder and  something to stuff the sausage casings to make this.

I do have a KitchenAid mixer with a grinder attachment and stuffing tubes. In my early attempt to make sausage, I found the KitchenAid does a decent job of grinding meat. However, trying to use it to stuff casings is like getting a root canal from a proctologist. If you are going to make sausage, get a dedicated sausage stuffer.

I posted the details of making the sausage on Smoking Meat Forums. The link is:
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/152078/passing-wind-estates-bratwurst

Because of the nature of the forum, I didn’t go into the use of casings. If you are going to make bratwurst, get some hog casings. You may be able to buy some from your local butcher or you can order them on line. They usually come packed in salt and can be kept for months in the refrigerator.

When you want to use them, rinse them inside and out with water and then put them in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight. Rinse them again and then force them over the medium stuffing tube. Tie the end off and start forcing the meat through. Don’t overstuff the casings and let them come off the stuffing tube naturally. Then poke any air bubble with a needle. To cook the bratwurst, poach it in water or beer for 10 to 15 minutes. Brown on a grill or in a frying pan. Serve in a hoagie or hot dog bun with sautéed onions and peppers.

S0000 good!

The Old Fat Guy

A Food Blog by a Fat Old Guy