Spatchcock chicken

I’m not an overly organized person and my shopping list reflects that. I rarely go to the market with a recipe in mind. I simply throw cuts in the basket I know my family will enjoy. Figuring out what to do with the ingredients I bring home is a problem for future me.
My family loves chicken. I suppose that’s why it always seems to end up in the grocery cart. It’s a protein, it can be prepared countless ways, and it’s relatively inexpensive.  Getting whole birds gives future me lots of options. However I’m a creature of habit, and even though there are millions of things you can do with a whole bird, it normally hits the grill spatchcocked. Continue reading…

Smoked Turkey

­­chicken_logoAs a kid, I hated the holidays. I was a picky eater, and my family members weren’t the best cooks when it came to meat. Most proteins were tortured to the consistency of well-worn shoe leather and were devoid of any flavor. Turkeys prepared around Thanksgiving and Christmas were no exception. These birds were usually so dry even waterboarding them with an entire vat of gravy couldn’t wring out a mediocre eating experience. After enough complaints, the family finally decided to leave the cooking to a local deli. We happily ate that deli’s bird for at least a decade or more.   Years later, I found my stride as a pit master, I suddenly found myself in charge of cooking during the holidays. They cleaned the carcass of that very first turkey I prepared like a school of piranha. Through their hazy tryptophan induced food comas pointed questions about my new found culinary skills came to light. “What the hell took you so long?” “We could have been eating this good years ago!” Do you know how much money we could have been saving?!” Sigh. Below is exactly how I returned the home cooked bird to my family’s table. Continue reading…

Homemade Bacon : Part 2 The Smoke

Pork_logoAt the end of Part 1 we made sure we had our salt levels where we want them and our belly had dried uncovered in the fridge over night.  Now it’s time to add one more layer of flavor. Infusing the belly with smoke is the pièce de résistance.   In my opinion bacon just isn’t bacon without a nice kiss of smoke.

Right before the belly is placed in the smoker I like to add an optional coating of black pepper. While the pepper in the cure helps get some flavor into the meat, I’ve found that a nice coat of black pepper right before it goes on really punches it up.  There really is no specific amount here. Use as much or as little as you like.bacon-21a Continue reading…

Homemade Bacon : Part 1 The Cure

Pork_logoIf bacon had it’s own Twitter account it would have more followers than Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Barack Obama combined. Everyone loves those slabs of salty goodness. Even those forbidden to eat it have been known to long for it. I cured more than 20 pounds to get the photos below, and all of it was consumed before I finished my first draft a week later (With the help of family and friends of course – I’m not that big of a glutton).

I hold bacon’s many virtues on such a high pedestal that I struggled to write about it because the words always felt unworthy. Then I remembered: Bacon is awesome, and you aren’t here to read my attempts at witty prose, you are here because you love it too, so let’s get on with it!

Continue reading…

St. Louis spare ribs

St. Louis spare ribs

porkFor the first entry on ilovemeat.com I knew I wanted a real softball of a dish. Loft it up and hit it out of the park. Something barbecued was the obvious choice. In my spare time I travel around the region and compete in BBQ competitions with my team Bourbon Barrel BBQ. I think those who know me would be shocked if the first entry weren’t something smoked, given my penchant for the grilled arts. The first thing that pops into my head when I hear the word “BBQ” is ribs, specifically pork ribs. Continue reading…