I grew up in a house with my mother, my father, and a blond child they still tell me is my sister. Mom did almost all of the cooking. Dad was in charge of the Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes and occasionally chicken on the grill (I loved the little burnt BBQ sauce parts). Only in the last few years has he retired. Coincidentally this is also when he started baking cookies. My folks live in a city about an hour away and every time I visit them the cookie jar has fresh cookies in it just for the occasion.
Christmas is when he brings out the big guns though. We are talking about Grandma’s recipes here people. Heritage in edible form. The super special stuff. In a word: snowballs. Ok they’re known by other names as well. Like Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, and several others I’m sure that I’m missing.
My sister and I have always loved these cookies when grandma would send them in her Christmas package. Now that Dad is making them they are even more special… even if they’re growing in size. It just means that there is more surface area to cover in powdered sugar and I am more than good with that idea. Although it also means I need to find a bib as that stuff goes everywhere!
On this day I say thank you to my dad for continuing the family tradition with a simple recipe that brings so much joy.
After such success with smoking the fatty yesterday I decided to try my hand at smoking a boston butt AKA Experiment Number Two. I’ve read all over the internet about how to smoke this cut of pork and there’s a few debates on how to achieve pork perfection. The consensus is as always “low and slow” and “it’s done when it’s done”. I started with a 4.22 pound boston butt pork roast with the bone still in. At roughly 90 minutes a pound I was looking at six and a half hours of cook time if I was able to keep the temp at the optimal 230*F. Using lump charcoal and a few chunks of mesquite I started the fires at a quarter to 11.
My hot little friend
So far I’ve got to say that for about $60 this little smoker is working out really well. It’s a Master Forge Charcoal vertical smoker that I picked up at Lowes to start out with. I figured with there only being two of us here it was a good place to start.
After trimming off the heavy parts of the fat I used a coat of yellow mustard to help keep the rub on the pork. The rub I based off of this recipe I used for a coating on some chick peas (don’t judge it, was damn good). Placing the fat side up on the smoker I walked back to the house anxious to see how this was going to turn out (which way to place the fat side is a much debated topic). I set my timer for every two hours so I could re-stoke the fire. That’s one thing I learned from smoking yesterday. This little guy starts to have a temperature drop right at the two hour mark. Even using the minion method this is still a needed step. Makes me wonder if the lump charcoal I was using was too varied in size. Have to play with that. During the cooking time I was really good about not peeking until it was about five hours in and needed to wrap the roast in foil (If you’re lookin’ you ain’t cookin’). Apparently the foil step is also one that seems to be up for debate. I went with it. At no time did I flip the butt. The lid stayed closed! I didn’t lift it to look, mop, or even check it’s temp till the very end. When I went to wrap it in foil this is the beauty that was looking back at me:
I wrapped her up for the last hour until her temp reached a nice 195*. From researching I know that if you’re looking for serving this as a sliced roast the temp should be around 180* but if you’re wanting to pull the meat for sandwiches aim for the 190-200* range. I took the foil wrapped delicasy into the kitchen and wrapped it further in a large towel for about the next hour. Ok, truth be told I could only wait about 45 minutes and the slight tingling sensation I’ve still got on my palms may force me to wait the full hour next time. Maybe not.
A smoke ring is my second favorite kind.
Nice smoke ring, nice crust, and no sauce was needed. I’m calling this a success. And I’ve got the notes so I can (hopefully) duplicate the results.
Have to share Hubby’s response. “Man my wife really knows how to smoke some meat. That didn’t sound right.”
I know some of you got excited by that statement. Not THAT kind of fatty. Ok? Imagine log of Italian sasauge stuffed with mushrooms and cheese. Now, imagine this creation completely encased inside of bacon strips woven together all mingling in a bbq smoker. Toss in some dry bbq rub and some sauce on top. There you have what is called a fatty or sometimes a bacon explosion. I’m thinking about calling it a cardiologist’s nightmare.
For the recipe/method click here.
This is the first time I’ve attempted to cook anything in a smoker. I’ve seen it done several times but I’ve never had a smoker of my own to play with. After seeking the assistance of people that know what they’re doing I tossed aside the thought about my first attempt being ribs. I was told that like cast iron smokers need to be seasoned with full flavored fatty food. Damn. Don’t you just hate that? Yah, me too. Enter the sausage, bacon, cheese log!
It’s only about half finished (I think). But here’s the pic I snapped just after I tucked it into it’s nice warm bed for a little nap.
Can't wait to see it all cooked up!
Not the best pic but you get the idea.
A little while ago Hubby brought home a tub of cookie dough he purchased from a school kid learning how to solicit her wares (girl scout cookie hawking angst speaking, sorry). With just the two of us here that’s a lot of cookies waiting to be baked. I thought about baking them all up and giving them out but at $15 a tub that thought made my frugal bone twitch. Yes, I am aware that this stuff keeps for a while but even with only baking three to four cookies every few weeks I’m sure it would go bad before we could use it all.
The solution? The waffle iron. I will thank Pinterest for this one. No idea the original site it came from though.
My waffle iron is a Belgian style so it makes thicker style waffles. With this in mind I decided try about a half a cup of dough flattened out into a square-ish shape and placed in the already hot iron for 3-4 minutes. Taking them out was trickier than I thought it would be because at that point they were still quite soft. After cooling for just a few moments they crisped up nicely.
I still have to find a better way of getting rid of this stuff but for the moment this is different enough to keep my interest.
You’d be surprised that most of the time I don’t crave what I can no longer tolerate. We’re talking food here people not coworkers or ex-boyfriends. Because that’s a whole different kind of post.
Now there have been exceptions. Sushi, for example, I miss dearly. Oh I will order sashimi occasionally to take the edge off (naked raw fish aka bait like my husband says) but the mere thought of a nice piece of unagi kicks my salivary gland into overdrive.
Lately my obsession has been over a bologna sandwich. I’ve come to grips that bread is not part of my banded life so this has made the last few weeks that much worse.
How does all of this make me an Innovator? From the bottom up picture this: plate, thick piece of bologna, thin smear of mayo, slice of American cheese, light smear of yellow mustard, and a smear of sweet relish. Ta-da! It isn’t the prettiest thing but when lettuce is off the menu with the bread even lettuce wraps aren’t an option. Desperate times and all that.
Go try it. Really. I’ll just sit here waiting patiently for the Nobel folks to catch on.