Live Fire Cooking: Sous Vide Pork Chops

Somewhere between a second run at Dr. Strange, the first and second Damiana Margarita, and a blaze in the fireplace …
Flying SparksI was blessed with inspiration. I think it was the sparks.
Sous Vide Pork ChopsThis began as an eight-bone rack of pork. I cut it into four two-bone “chops” and then proceeded to sous vide them for five hours at 131°F. Continue reading

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.

long_chopsticks

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

Continue reading