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The Accidental ham ??!!

Ok Friends by request , here is the case of     “The Accidental Ham?”   a Meat Mystery!

The Accidental Ham
The Accidental Ham

It was a day like any other day , I was looking for supper ideas, as usual I asked the boys what they would like for dinner? The usual answer was yelled out from the farthest corners of the house “FOOD”. After much contemplation and a limited selection in the freezer it was decided that I would BBQ a picnic roast for dinner and make it taste like ribs. Now onto prepping the roast and warming up the smoker .

Now my plan was to fire up the pellet smoker and get her up to 150*F while I wash and rub the roast ready for smoking. Very Important to always wash your meat in cold water ,mostly to remove the band saw residue off that happens at the bone when cutting and you never know who touched it ! So I’ve taken a frozen roast, washed it ,now what?  On the side of one of my bottles of rub it says to mix some with olive oil and make paste style rub, why not? But instead of Olive oil I used butter. Creaming together 1/3 cup of butter with 2 tablespoons of rub make a paste and brush on the frozen roast till evenly covered, then quickly place it in your smoker.

Butter-Rub paste
Butter-Rub paste

After leaving the roast undisturbed for about an hour, basting was in order , used up the last of the butter-rub. Oh boy! What do I do now, for the next basting ? Make it Taste like Ribs ! echoing through my head. BBQ sauce that’s the answer, but we all know you cant put BBQ sauce on to soon or the sugar in the sauce burns! (insert light bulb here) The brine pump , of course I’m going to inject BBQ sauce into the roast while she smokes. Straight out of the bottle the sauce was a tad thick for my pump, dilution was needed. A few drops of liquid smoke , a dash of  Worcestershire sauce and just enough water that it flowed easily in and out of the brine pump.

Brine Pump
Brine Pump

Sauce injections took place every 1/2 hour for the next 2 hours, its time to turn up the heat and cook the roast through. Here comes the twist , while I’m outside working on the “rib like” tasting roast , the boys get called away and my wife has to go to a meeting. Crap! no point in cooking a roast for one, I turned the smoker off and let it cool down ,lid closed, with the roast to be wrapped up for the next evening when everybody was home for dinner.

Now all the clues have been laid out , can you tell me when the roast became ham ?

Roasting Day
Roasting Day

It was roasting day when we discovered our rib like roast was more like ham from the aroma coming out of the oven, while it was being slow roasted. The aroma was so overpowering that the boys instantly wanted dumplings to go with the “ham” I was cooking. Ham & Dumplings have been a family favorite since I was a kid. As it turned out it was a very nice Ham & Dumpling dinner .

Did you figure it out ? When did the roast become ham ? Lets look at the clues: the roast is covered in butter-rub, its in a smoker for 3 hours injected with BBQ sauce, then wrapped and stored till next evening. How do we make Ham is the answer . Its all there ! The accidental curing of the roast took place when the rub(contains salt) and the BBQ sauce(contains sugar and nitrates) interacted. Giving smoke and time did the rest . Best damn “Accidental Ham” I’ve ever made.

Till Tomorrow, Good Smoking

Eldon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Makin the Bacon!

Now that I’ve got your attention lets make your own Ham for Easter ? This past Christmas I decided to make my own ham instead of paying ridiculously high prices at the supermarket. Traditionally hams are pork butt portions that are cured and smoked but luckily for me I stumbled across a great sale on whole boneless pork loins while I was shopping for Christmas supplies. The price was so good I had to ask the clerk if it was a mistake ,it wasn’t ,I took two ! I would have cleaned them out but budgets being what they are. Now I have a beautiful cut of meat ,How does it become a ham, you ask?

It all starts with the Cure . Normally I would have made a brine cure and soaked it submerged in a pail for 5 days in my fridge, but its Christmas and the fridges are full. Time to get creative, since I wanted to do something special. I went online to check out homemade cures, they all had one thing in common various amounts of  “curing salt”. There are a few commercially produced cures out there available online or at your local grocery store. The one I use most is called Tender Quick, It’s very user friendly for the beginner, just read and follow the directions on the pkg. It can be used as a brine or a rub.

IMG_0094
store bought cure

 

After much research, I put together this small batch Cure recipe as a rub:

Home Made Cure – for 2-3 lbs. meat

2/3 cup Sugar ( brown or white)

2 tbls  Course salt ( table salt works if its all you have)

1 tbls   Cure (tender quick)

1 tsp.   Ground Cloves ( experiment with your favourite seasoning, if you like)

 

At this point you would normally find a nice place to hang and dry your meat, in my case having no place safe I went with a combination cure and didn’t even know it .

After I mixed my cure , took out 1 still frozen pork loin ,carefully opened one end of the bag it came in and rubbed in my cure and placed the loin and all remaining cure back in to the bag to be sealed.

rubbed and sealed for curing
rubbed and sealed for curing

At which point it was placed into one of the crisper drawers in the fridge for a week turning over once a day .This is where the combination curing takes place ,you see as the pork loin defrosts water is released turning the rub into a brine. For this loin you can see I used brown sugar and since I was out of ground cloves I used ground Allspice, like I said experiment with what you know you like. Since I wanted to serve this up for Christmas smoking day is the day before.

Smoking day – very  thoroughly rinse the meat in water and place in your smoker for 8 hours at 150*F

ready for christmas
ready for Christmas

Usually I smoke larger quantities , in which case I usually use my good ole reliable homemade fridge smoker and an Oak fire , for small batches like this a pellet smoker or small electric smokers work well . Since the pellet smoker works like a convection oven it is very dry very fast, since you don’t want to be lifting the lid to often add a small pan of water to your smoker. The water evaporates fairly quickly so top it about every 2 hours and turn over your meat for even smoking . At the end of the day shut off the smoke and let cool in the smoker . Voila !!! instant ham

After cutting it in half for wrapping and storage (great excuse to sample it ) I sent half of it to my Ham loving nephew and on Christmas day I put my half in a roasting pan with a bit of water in the oven at 250* for an hour.  slice and serve . Bon Appetite !!

Till Tomorrow , Good Smoking

Eldon

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Internal Meat Temps ?

Hello again ,thanks Rob for my first question, “How do you get an internal meat temp to 203* in a pork butt if you only cook at 150* in smoker or are you only infusing smoke at this temp? ” ok, this question made me realize I had made a  glaring omission in that regards. When I’m smoking at 150*F  its always cured meat and for at least 6-8 hours, according to USDA the min safe internal temp is 145*F . For uncured meat you do need to reach higher internal temps if you want to serve it right off the grill. As to the question, if the meat is uncured ,then yes I would only be infusing smoke at this temp and would need to increase the heat in the last hour or two until the desired internal temp is reached.

Cures? How do I cure? There is two ways to cure meat ,Brine and rubs. If your just starting out and wanting to experiment with cures to make your own jerky or hams, tune in tomorrow and I will discuss and show you how easy it is to make your own Easter ham.  Till Tomorrow,

Good Smoking,

Eldon

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Hot Smoke , Cold Smoke , What’s the Difference ?

Cold smoking occurs at a temperatures ranging from 20*- 30*c (68-86*f) . Meats that are cold smoked are NOT cooked and should be cured before smoking . cold smoking is most often done to give your meat some flavour ,then stored to be cooked another day. Hot smoke occurs at temps of 52 -80*C (126-185*F) Hot smoking is the most common type of smoking done today by just about everybody . If you’ve ever fired up a charcoal barbeque or added smoking chips to a propane barbeque then your a smoker. Congrats and welcome to a wonderfully delicious world . I like to keep my temperature at 150*F (that’s the way I was taught). My motto for cooking meat has always been “Low and Slow”

 

IMG_0060   as seen here on the pellet smokers temperature gauge . I’ll be discussing types of smokers another day. lets get back to Hot Smoke ,the reason hot smoking is most often done is that most people like to eat what they’ve smoked right away. You are basically cooking with smoke ! These days it is very easy to find smoking pellets ,electric smoker pucks ,smoking chips in every flavour you can imagine. I’ve tried quite a few, but always come back to Oak. Around here its the flavour favourite when we smoke Jerky, Hams, Bacon, or Burgers.  If you have a question or an idea for the blog,  Please shoot me an email.

Until Tomorrow, Good Smoking !

Eldon

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