Monthly Archives: January 2012

How do we Andouille

This is the finished product. Grilling some to go on rolls with other veggies.

So brunch was good that day I made bacon.  The way the meat and fat just melted in your mouth it was great.  So as you can see I was in the mood and I had a ton of pork butt to use.  So what did I do???   I MADE SAUSAGE.  Not just any sausage, I made Andouille.  (Its gone now, I need to make more)

The process was rather simple.   I now know that anyone can make sausage; but only a select few, like me, can make it that damn good. (Sorry, that was kind of rude, I am just proud of what I did. ) No really, it is not that hard, one just needs a few tools to get the process going.  The Tools: Grinder, Stuffer, Smoker, Love, and a lot fo MEAT.  I also used my Meat Bible.  A book by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn called Charcuterie.  I would like to take you through my steps. 

Step 1:

We started out with a ton of pork butt.  In fact we have been able to get three meals with leftovers out of that pork I posted in the previous post.  We made these sausages, carnitas, and pulled pork.  What a very economical way of

Step 1

cooking.  My step 1 was to cut off 5 pounds of pork so I could make this recipe.  You can see the rest of the butt has been cut off as well.  I am very clean when it comes to this hobby so as you can see I have plastic wrap down on the counter for an added level of food safety.  That of course was after I cleaned the counter in the first place.  I also only use that one knife to cut before I clean it.  And the cutting board was cleaned as soon as I was done with this step.  No one is going to get sick or die on my food!!!

Step 2:

Nikki, my sous chef, helped me mix the meat with all of the spices and salts.  We then had to let the cubes of meat form this..for lack of a better and uncopy righted word..glaze on it with the spices. 

Step 2

We actually let the meat mingle overnight rather than just the 2-3 hours.  By the way, I really suggest buying cheap plastic gloves.  I wash my hands a lot so I am not worried about contaminating the meat rather I like the way they help keep my hands clean of the meat and spices. 

Before I go onto Step 3, I want to let you know the importance of keeping your meat and your tools as cold as you can.  While I was mixing the meat and letting it set I had my meat grinder in the freezer to keep cold.  When I used my grinder the meat fell into a bowl that was set in ice.  The reason this is important is because if the meat is not cold you will get broken meat.  This is where the protein and fats kind of blend together.  It will come out as a paste not as strings of goodness.  So keep your tools cold and your meat as cold as it can be without freezing. 

Step 3: The Grind

Now this was one of the best parts of the process.  It was so cool, at first, to see the meat go into the hopper and get

Step 3

sliced and extruded through the grinding die.  Know that it is this simple I can take better cuts of meat and make my own hamburger as well.  That way I can know what is going into my mouth.  About three sentences ago I said “at first.”  Let me explain what I mean.  While the act of grinding is awesome and fun to do, it does get tiring.  You are holding very cold tools in one hand and grabbing almost frozen meat with the other.  Then you are shoving cubes of meat into a hole smaller than a golf ball.  While I was not sweating or about to throw up because of the exertion, it was tiring.  But in the end all was well and I had my meat in hand.  (I know that sounds bad!) 

Part 2 of Step 3 was to mix the recently grinded meat into a very rough paste.  It was not really paste as it was more of a combining of the meat strands.  This is important part because one wants a pectile to form on the meat.  It is a shiny coating that starts to happen the meat gets a chance to dry a little bit. 

Step 4: The Stuff

So now our meat is mixed together and has a little shine to it.  We now have to put it in our hog casing.  I used two 5 foot long hog casing for this sausage.  Yes…it was the intestines of pigs.  I know we all think that is a little gross but really its

Step 4a

on most sausage you buy and heat up at home.  That snap you hear when you bite down is your teeth breaking through the intestine.  Its natural and freaking good.  The casing can also be sheep or cow depending on what sausage you are making.  You have to soak and rinse the casing to get the salts off it plus soaking makes it easier to work with. 

Step 4b

Now jus like grinding the meat you put it back in the machine and have it pushed into the casing.  It is best to have two people at this point.  I used Nikki to hold my sausage (I know…sounds bad) and help curl it around.  You want to have the entire casing filled before you twist the knots. 

Step 5

Step 4c

Step 5 is pretty easy at this point.  All you have to do is hang your sausages to dry for up to 4 hours.  I know this because we decided to go see Beauty and the Beast 3D as my sausage was drying.  Since I do not have a drying room at this moment I hung my sausage using some sanitized clothes hangers and hung them from my ceiling.  When I came home I started my BBQ smoker and my stand alone smoker.  Since I made two sections of sausage I tried smoking one by hanging them from my wire rack in my stand alone and I smoked the other on their side using my BBQ.  Honestly I liked using my BBQ smoker for this.  I was able to control the heat better and it actually smoked the sausage faster.  I had both on for about an average of 1.5 hours.  And as you can see they came out looking great.

The color changed from that raw meat look to a wonderful red color.  The smell was an explosion in your nose.  And the taste…well I will just leave you with one word -FOODGASM.

Nikki went to the store to get rolls and veggies so we could put on our dinner.  While she was there she came across a package off Andouille.  It cost over $6.00 for 4 sausages.  We figured that based on that price and the number in each package I had made over $30.00 worth of sausages.  Now the pork

One Batch, My Batch

butt was just above $20.00 and with that I made all that sausage and carnitas and pulled pork.  If you want to try some of these sausages let me know.  You get the materials and I will make you some great sausage. 

 

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What does one do with $22.00 worth of pork butt?

So thanks to Costco Nikki and I bought $22.00 worth of meat. What are we going to do with over 12 pounds of pork? We decided to make, what would be in the store, almost $30.00 worth of Andouille Sausage AND BBQ pulled pork sandwiches AND carnitas for taco Tuesdays. Yes 3 meals (not including all the freaking leftovers) for $22.00. I will tell more about the Andouille in my next post.

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1 Slab

Everything But The Oink

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Another Picture Of My Bacon

This is a picture of my bacon. One slab up and one slab down. In this picture I have yet to carve away the skin. The skin is now in the freezer ready for soup.

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What a weekend

So Makin Bacon was a success.  Clean and simple.  8 days of love and I still have a ton of left overs.  Sunday was my Mother In Law’s birthday and she wanted a brunch.  Nikki was tasked with making homemade chocolate croissants.  They came out great.  And I volunteered to have my bacon ready. 

So Sunday came and it was the day to start.  My first project; a project of love.  Really, I started this 8 days before I smoke the meat.  I defrosted it and rubbed it with salt so it could cure and dry in my fridge.  I am not as patient as I would like to be, so waiting 8 days was hard.  But I was able to do it.

I set my alarm for 6:30 and got up at 7:00am.  Went outside to get my upright smoker going.  I got a bunch of coals nice and hot and I put it in the smoker.  I left it to go get the pork ready.  Come back outside about 20 min later and the smoker is still stupid cold.  I was like WTF.  I added some more coals and waited…and waited…and waited.  It was not getting hot at all.  So I had to think up a plan B. 

Plan B:  USE MY BBQ.  I have an awesome BBQ.  The left side is for propane while the right is for charcoal.  I took off half the grate on the right side and put my coals there.  As you can see in the picture above I was able to get both slabs of bacon on the single grate.  I did not go all out in the marinade and the rosemary.  For my marinade (it goes in the bowl under the meat to help steam it) I used a bottle of Guinness beer and maple syrup.  For my wood smoke I used both cherry chunks and chips.  I like using both as the chucks go longer, but the chips get me a pretty immediate smoke.  AND I LIKE SMOKE.

So 2+ hours on the grill and the meat hits the ideal internal temp, 150.  I brought the two slabs off and allowed them to rest.  Now mind you, the meat was not ready to eat.  Yes, technically one could eat it because the temp was at the safe level but slicing off a piece and placing it in my cast iron was the best way to finish it off.  It got a little char on it and when I put it in my mouth I got a FOODGASM.  Yes, I had never tasted any better piece of bacon ever.  It was just so rich and satisfying.  Plus I knew what was in it and actually it was probably better for someone as there was less chemicals in it.  I have 3ooz of bacon left ready to fry up and a whole other slab in the freezer.

Now I paid $28.00 for the two pork bellies.  I got basically 6 pounds of bacon.  That is about $4.66 per pound.  At Trader Joes I think it is around $5.50 for 12oz of bacon and it is a whole lot more at the other stores.  Not only did I save money.  I had a lot of fun, made something with skill and artistry, and made people smile when they tasted it. 

Here you will see 1 complete slab and half another cut into slices.

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Makin Bacon

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Audio Post

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Its The 12 Hour Count Down

I was once a pork belly and now I am BACON. Right out of the brine and into the fridge to dry.  Tomorrow morning I will cook some of the best tasting bacon that was ever made.  Who does not love bacon…really I dare you to come forward and say you don’t like bacon.  If you do come forward, I won’t believe you.

Tomorrow is my Mother In Law’s (MIL’s) birthday and you know what she gets with her brunch..my bacon.  (Hey at least I did not say “my sausage.”)

So today Nikki and I took the bacon out of its bags and rinsed the slabs and dried them.  The next step is to leave them out in the fridge for 12-24 hours to dry.  I can not wait the 24 hours, but it will be close enough.  Tomorrow morning I am going to get up around 7:00am and start a nice little fire in my smoker.  Using cherry chunks and natural charcoal as the fire source and a maple and coke marinade I am going to smoke the bacon for about 3 hours.  I like using coke in my marinade because it seems to boil off a little slower and I like the hint of cola that it imparts in the smoke.  I think that this mixed with maple syrup will produce a wonderful moist smoke to stick to the bacon.

I have a little trick I am going to try.  Right before I take off the bacon to bring it in and fry it up, I am going to put well soaked rosemary on the coals.  This should produce a very thick smoke that will help infuse the meat with the oils from the fresh rosemary.

Now I know that you all will want to come over and taste.  This would be great, but I only have so much.

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A Few More Days

I just wanted to give you all a little update. The pig belly/bacon is getting a little more firm. Tonight will be the last night I flp them until I rinse them off and dry. I expcet to start smoking the bacon by 7:00am Sunday and have it ready for my mother in laws’s birthday.

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Mission: Bacon (Day 1 & 2)

I started my mission yesterday.  Countdown to homemade, home smoked bacon has begun.  I posted the recipe here on this blog under the title recipe, but I am going to give you the condensed account of what has happened so far.

I stated out with 8 pounds of pork belly.  I have never worked with pork belly before and it is a little odd working with fat, meat, and skin of an animal that really looks like the fat, meat, and skin of an animal as if it was alive.  It did not bug me as much as I thought it might.  I am thinking maybe this is the hobby for me.  I was also thinking maybe I could go hunting one day.  This is not that bad.

So I took my two slabs of meat and put them on a plastic wrapped counter a la Dexter Morgan. (Some of you might get that reference)  I let them sit t here while I mixed up the salt, the Pink Salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

Before go on I want to explain to you that Nikki and I were worried about using Pink Salt.  Pink Salt is poisonous and has to be used with extreme caution.  At the same time it has to be used when one is curing meat to prevent botulism and other yucky things.   ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curing_salt ) But still, Nikki and I were worried and being very careful to get the exact amount.  Plus understand this, when I am ready to cook it will be washed off and there is only a little bit being used.

Now back to the action.

So I have my rub all mixed up and I have the two good-looking slabs just waiting to be rubbed and bagged.  So that is what I did.  I rubbed my meat really well with my mixture.  (No joking sis.) I had to make sure I got enough mixture to cover all of the meat.  Next I bagged the slabs in some of the biggest Ziplock bags I have ever seen.

Almost immediately that salt started pulling out the moister of the meat to make its own brine.  I have to flip meat every two days for a total of 7 days.  This way the bring is sure to be in contact with every part of the meat.  After that I will wash off the salts, pat dry, and allow to dry in the fridge for 24 hours before I hot smoke it with some cherry wood and rosemary.  Then there will be BACON.  Stay tuned for day three when I show you what the brine and the bacon looks like as I flip it.

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