Homemade Bacon : Part 2 The Smoke

bacon being smoked

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

homemade bacon slab and slices

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!

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Grilled oysters with habanero butter

plate of grilled oysters with habanero butter

I love meatA group of friends and I have started an annual tradition of traveling to Austin, TX for the United States Grand Prix. This four-day weekend is one of the highlights of my year. The race is always exciting and the city of Austin is amazing.

The food and gluttony of the weekend are almost as fun for me as the race itself. In the sea of Austin’s amazing restaurants, one that stands out is Lucy’s Fried Chicken. My friends and I enjoy spicy food and absolutely love their Diablo Oysters. I find myself craving them constantly after I return home. So, I decided to head to my kitchen and devise a plan that would allow me to enjoy this dish year round.   The recipe I crafted is surprisingly simple and is fairly accurate replica of those spicy shellfish I’ve come to love. Continue reading…

Beef Jerky

beef jerky close up

beef_logo-cWhen it’s time for a road trip, the one thing that must accompany me is a bag of beef jerky.  The problem with being a jerky junky is the cost.  Granted, it’s not cutting-copper-pipes-out-of-construction-sites or forays-into-amateur-chemistry expensive, but it does add up over time.  Other than BBQ, jerky was one of my first true culinary accomplishments.  This recipe is one of the first I created and I’ve used it ever since. It’s easy, relatively cheap, and it tastes phenomenal! Continue reading…

Sweet molasses BBQ sauce

Sweet molasses bbq sauce

“Hello, my name is Andrew, and I’m a sauceaholic and condiment hoarder.”

At least that’s what my wife would lead you to believe. Sure, I did have to buy a second refrigerator for all the extra condiments I’d purchased (when I started this project?), but that’s beside the point. I admit to having a weakness for buying new sauces when I run across them, and “collecting” new ingredients to try. What can I say? I’m always on the lookout for a great new flavor. One thing that remains a constant over the years, I love a sweet sticky sauce on my ribs and chicken.  If you like your BBQ sweet, you are going to love this sweet molasses sauce I created. Continue reading…

Classic BBQ rub

close up of black pepper for classic bbq rub

Having a good dry rub is essential if you are going to master the grilled arts.  This recipe compliments chicken, beef, or pork.  It also makes a perfect starting point to add or subtract ingredients to sculpt a flavor profile that suits your tastes.  If you are from Texas you’ve probably grown up with the standard Dalmatian rub of 50/50 salt and black pepper.  Here’s a chance to broaden your horizons. Continue reading…

St. Louis spare ribs

St. Louis spare ribs sauced

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…

Classic Buffalo wings

Classic Buffalo wings

chicken_logoWhen I get cravings it’s usually for something salty, savory, and spicy.  I’ve never been much of a sweets person.  I suppose that’s why this website isn’t “I Love Sweets.”  I’ll leave those to my wife.  She’s the confectionary queen around our house.    No, I want some meat, preferably something with a bone.  A bone adds flavor and doubles as a built in handle.  What’s the perfect snack or appetizer that “meats” all of those criteria?  Buffalo wings of course.  I’m already a sucker for fried chicken.  Dunk it in a spicy, buttery, vinegary sauce and it’s a near religious experience. Continue reading…

Grilled whole red snapper

Grilled whole Red Snapper

I love meatOne theme you will start to become fairly familiar with in my posts is I love to grill.   I’m convinced you can make anything taste better by grilling it.  One of my favorite things to grill is fish.  Moist and flaky, grilled fish is an awesome way to eat healthy and satiate those carnivorous desires.

On a recent trip to the market I came across some great looking red snapper.  I’m not going to lie, I saw some cheaper fillets laying there as well and all I could tell myself was “but think of how cool pictures of a whole fish will look!”  I saw the fishmonger out of the corner of my eye walking over and my brain started to frantically flip back and forth between price and cool factor.  “How can I help you? He asked.  I blurted out “I’ll take a whole snapper!”  Cool factor won out.  Continue reading…