Monthly Archives: October 2015

Bacon and Barbecue, part 2

First up was the whole shoulder. I like it hickory smoked, so off to the woods we go to find some fallen hickory. Early the next morning when it was still dark,  I got the charcoal going. Boone left to go hunting and must have agitated the coyotes in the woods because in the area he went into, 2 different packs started sounding off. It was eerie and surreal standing out in the dark by the smoker listening to them.

As the charcoal was getting hot, I dropped the chunks of hickory into a bucket of water to soak. The shoulder was so big it would not fit on the smoker so Boone had to hack it into 2 pieces. I do not do anything other than wash and pat dry the shoulder. No salt, pepper, nothing.

The USDA says pork is done internally at minimum temp of 145F. It will pull off the bone easily around an internal temp of 200F. so I do stick a meat thermometer into it to be sure of when it’s done. When the charcoal is ready – into the firebox it goes with some of the wet hickory on top, then the smoker body – fill the water bowl with water, then lastly the grate with the 2 pieces of shoulder. Lid on and we are smoking our way towards some great barbecue.

smoker

Being from southeast North Carolina I like vinegar based barbecue. I like the thick tomato based  type barbecue sauce but only when making beef barbecue. For me it’s vinegar all the way with pork. On a side note: I had never heard the term “pulled pork” until I moved to Kentucky. Anyway, here’s how I make the sauce:

Eastern NC Barbecue Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. crushed red pepper (or more if you want more heat)
  • 1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients, bottle and let steep for at least half a day before using. Steeping overnight or longer is preferred for the best flavor. Strain if preferred before using.

 

I keep an empty cider bottle around just for sauce making time so all I have to do is pour the ingredients in it, shake it once a day and let it steep for a week or so before using. A lot of folks don’t but I like to strain the sauce before using it. The peppers will give the meat heat if you leave it in but we like ours to come mostly from the Texas Pete that we put on the barbecue sandwiches.

Smoking takes a while so I do it on the weekend when I am home all day and can check the smoker every couple of hours, adding water or more hickory as needed. I think I added more charcoal at least 3 or 4 times. Around the 6 hour mark the internal temp was up to 170 so I decided to go ahead and pull the shoulder off, wrap it up in aluminum foil (I took the thermometer out and reinserted after I wrapped them) and slid it into the oven (350F) to finish it off to 200F. When it was ready, I let it sit until cool enough to handle.

It shredded beautifully and since we like chopped barbecue I chopped everything up. I also include bits of minced skin in the barbecue for added flavor. Since we were planning on having barbecue for dinner I went ahead and put some aside and added the sauce to it. The sauce is really thin but when you reheat the meat with the sauce a lot of the liquid will be absorbed.

Since we are splitting the pork with our son, I packaged the rest in ½ lb. freezer bags without the sauce and froze. This way, the smoked pork can be used in different recipes besides just barbecue. The perfect barbecue sandwich for us starts with a warm bun with just a slide of mayonnaise, then barbecue, coleslaw and topped with a bit of Texas Pete. Heaven!

Eastern NC barbecue sandwich

 

 

Bacon and Barbecue, part 1

A few weeks ago, the time came to process one of the pigs. Being raised on a hillside with part pasture and woods, the pigs consumed little feed with all the good stuff offered up to them by the field and woods. They are also given vegetable and dairy scraps from the kitchen. We like to offer them a little feed so we can scratch their backs while they eat to keep them tame and manageable. They were started off that way when they were piglets and looked forward to the back scratching. Our goal weight to process was 250 pounds.

smoked pork

The university, where I work, has a small public meat processing facility so that is where I had the meat processed. There are quite a few processors around us so I bought a roll of breakfast sausage from four different ones so Boone and I could do a taste test. The cuts of meat (chop, ribs, etc.) are going to taste the same no matter who cuts it up but everyone has a different sausage recipe. I could have made my own as there are plenty of recipes online but never having done it before I did not want to ruin many pounds of meat to get it right. Anyway, my university’s sausage was the best tasting overall.

We wanted the whole process to be low stress for both us and the pig so we put the trailer in the pig pasture a few weeks before the processing date. That way the pig would be used to the trailer and would hopefully load easily. Boone started putting the feed in the trailer and within a few days the pigs were hopping in and out easily. The actual loading went as we hoped, quickly with minimal excitement and stress.

Stock Trailer
The cost of processing was $141.00. We received 147 pounds of boneless chops, ribs, ham hocks, tenderloins, sausage, leaf fat for lard, a whole shoulder, pork belly, jowls, steaks and other various cuts. I had talked with the manager ahead of time to discuss the cuts I wanted. When I picked up the meat all was vacuum sealed and already frozen.

I cure and smoke our own bacon plus I had plans to smoke a shoulder to make barbecue, southeast NC style, so we put the pork bellies, jowls and shoulder in the extra fridge out in the garage to thaw. We picked this fridge up off of Craigslist for $50 and it has really come in handy.

This Dog

This is the dog that herds our sheep.
This is the dog that keeps my husband safe from crazed cows
This is the dog that finds lost calves

Keb snow

This is the dog that loves being a farm dog
This is the dog that lets us know when something is after the chickens
This is the dog that loves to be chased by the rooster
This is the dog that plays with the calves.

Keb on cows

This is the dog that loves riding in trucks and considers it part of his job
This is the dog that will ignore me when he is in the truck and on the job

Keb in truck

 

 

This is the dog that loves me and I him

Border Collie

Kebbie 2006-2015