Live Fire Cooking: Pork Shoulder

This latest adventure in live fire cooking came about rather innocently. I needed a way to get a bigger fire out of this (double-sided) fireplace.

Bigger Fire

The grate was too low to keep larger stacks of logs from rolling out so I set upon building a cage to hold the logs in (see above). It’s made from steel and bolts I picked up at a local hardware store and measures 36″ wide x 18″ deep x 18″ tall. Continue reading

Celebration in Pork: Sous Vide & Smoked Ribs, Rack, and Shoulder

Most glorious mum-in-law flies in — not on her broom — about once a year. Her favorite food on the planet is pork ribs. In fact, her favorite meat is pork. Ya just gotta love an Iowa farm girl.
Smokin Frenzy
Clockwise, from the top, St Louis cut spare ribs, shoulder (butt), and rack.

The ribs (20 hours @ 134°F), shoulder (48 hours @ 140°F), and rack (10 hours @ 134°F)  were all sous vide well in advance, ice bathed, then stored in the fridge awaiting their smoke-filled finish. This is one of the greatest things about sous vide: once fully pasteurized, and as long as the bag isn’t opened, you can safely keep it in your fridge for several weeks.

Each piece of meat was liberally salted in advance of the water bath. That’s it. Nothing fancy here. I simply wanted to see what salt alone would do.

Always being interested in the science of cooking, I did some research on the smoking bit too. The result of that was a few simple things 1) charcoal for heat, 2) wood for smoke (I used dry oak chunks), 3) wait for blue smoke (the nearly invisible kind), 4) meat goes in cold and wet. Pretty simple stuff. For those interested in a shitload of details, go here.
Smoke Ring!
Science works. Check out that smoke ring! Believe it or not, the ribs were in the smoker for only 40 minutes. I pulled them out of the fridge, out of the bag, left a bunch of gelatinous goo on the surface, and put them in the smoker. No added rubs, spices, or fussery. Continue reading

Labor Day Sous Vide St. Louis Cut Ribs

It seems like the summer of 2015 has zipped by in a flash. Where does the time go? I moved to Maryland just a few weeks ago, didn’t I? In nine days, it will be three years.

I thought I’d celebrate Summer’s end in high style.
St. Louis Cut Ribs
I’ve become a huge fan of St. Louis cut ribs for various reasons, but that’s another post. Actually, it’s a previous post. I don’t recall the link, so just search for it. Continue reading

Crabby Balls

Decades ago, in a land far, far away, a housemate introduced me to several Asian-inspired dishes. I wasn’t as fluent in cooking back then, but this recipe has stuck with me throughout the years without much modification. Marcotte called them Pork & Crab Meatballs.


BigDMcC, another old friend, calls them John’s Crabby Balls. The name seems to fit.

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Big Green Egg: Pork (Tenderloin) and (Black) Beans

Posted by johngl

I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve posted anything food related; celebrating the longest day of 2013 seemed like a good enough reason. We’re also experiencing the largest full moon of the year, which is probably exerting its gravitational effects upon the fluids in my brain. You could call it high tide I suppose. Maybe just high.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I walked into the kitchen and most glorious spousal unit took it upon her fine self to thaw out some whole pork tenderloin.

Wait, let’s back up to last week.


This is pork shoulder bone. It was destined for a waste receptacle. That ain’t right.

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500th Post: Pork Tenderloin on the Big Green Egg

Posted by JohnGL

I was all comfy in my bed, the idiot box tuned to H2, a channel specifically designed to prep one’s brain for sleepy-time. Hearing Peter Weller’s voice, I thought I was dreaming. The lid of one of my freshly-diagnosed astigmatic and presbyopic eyes opened a bit; this wasn’t showing 5342 of RoboCop or Buckaroo Bonsai, Weller was standing on the side of what he said was a dam in Egypt built thousands of years ago. At least that is what I thought he said. No water — liquid, frozen, or vapor — was within miles of this Martian landscape.

I would have killed to have Weller as a history instructor in college.

Interrupting my thoughts of higher education, my Samsung Galaxy S3 issued a soft ting ting, the “Temple Bell” ringtone that indicates I have a text message. I look at my phone in utter disbelief:

Cooked a pork tenderloin tonight, marinated for an hour and a half, very well cooked (white but juicy), but it seemed like the flavor didn’t take, and it was kinda bland. Used an Ina Garten recipe, but just didn’t get the deep flavor like you got. Thoughts on where I might have gone wrong?

“Where did you go wrong? Where do I start? And why do you feel you need this information at 11:10pm on a Sunday night?” I ask myself rhetorically. “What am I, the food emergency hotline?”

Even at this hour, or perhaps because of the hour, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida runs through my sleepy head. It happens every time I hear the words Ina Garten. Weller, unabated, continued his monologue about Menes and the 49 foot tall dam he built around Memphis.

Ina Garten’s  gotta dam in Memphis, bay-bee. Why not 50 feet? Helluva dam, regardless.

Enough of the bedtime stories.

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin -- the Alcoholian

This, dear reader (I assume there is only one of you at this point), is a properly cooked pork tenderloin. It isn’t white. It’s pink-ish.

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