Page 2 of 55

When most people think of cured pork, they think of the two champions of the cured-pork world: bacon and ham. But the Cajun dish Tasso (sometimes referred to as Tasso Ham) beats these two famous counterparts in another way — you can’t beat its affordability and ease. Because Tasso is made with shoulder or loin, it’s much cheaper to prepare than bacon (pork belly) or ham (pork leg), because the former is much more expensive, and the latter is hard to find in its unprocessed state.

This is a two-step process: first, you cure the pork to remove its moisture and to impart its characteristic pink hue. Next, you smoke it at a low heat (under 180F if possible). The process is a little involved, but the end product is super versatile; I use it in my gumbo, jambalaya, or any dish that calls for bacon or salt pork.

You’ll want to cut the shoulder into smaller pieces — my rule of thumb is that each piece should be the size of a baseball. This gives you more surface area to work with, so that you can imbue it with all of that cajuny goodness.

Read Full Article

To me, cold-smoked salmon (that is, the salmon you often find thinly sliced at your local market) is a relatively recent phenomenon. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and firm, meaty, hot-smoked salmon was the only type of smoked fish I had ever experienced until moving away about 20 years ago. Hot-smoked salmon is typically cooked through, and has a flaky texture compared to the soft cold-smoked salmon that most people know.

Traditionally, the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest would smoke their salmon for an extended period, up to two weeks. This staple food would keep indefinitely at room temperature, and had a texture like jerky. You can still find this salmon around, but thanks to refrigeration, many smokehouses in the PNW have adopted a hot smoke method to save time and create a more delicate (albeit perishable) product. My Dad often makes smoked salmon in his little chimney smoker, modeled after this more modern method, and he also sends it to me most years as a Christmas gift. Today I’m sharing a recipe that is similar to his.

There are a few tricks associated with my recipe. First, we’re going to coat the salmon in a dry, sweet-and-salty cure, which will liquefy as the fish marinates for a couple of hours. We’ll then use the liquefied cure to brush onto the salmon as it finishes smoking. This allows us to cure and glaze the salmon with the same concoction, minimizing waste. Additionally, we’ll dry out the salmon before putting it in the smoker, which will form a pellicle (protein coating) that allows more smoke to stick to the fish, resulting in better flavor.

One note: lox and gravlax are often confused with cold-smoked salmon, but they are cured in salt, sugar, and dill, with no smoke added.

For this recipe, I used salmon from my friends at ButcherBox. Their sockeye salmon (a recent addition to their staple offerings of high quality beef, chicken and pork) is wild-caught and sustainable–you can read more about it here. As a bonus, this week they are offering a sweet “Wings for Life” deal with any new signup (which means you’ll get 3 lbs of chicken wings in every box for free, for the lifetime of your subscription). We took advantage of this offer a few years ago and every time the wings arrive in our box I feel like I’m winning the lottery. Check out the promotion here to sign up, but don’t delay, as the offer expires on 2/3/2020 (or while supplies last).

Read Full Article

This dish is from Liguria, the coastal region in northwest Italy. This area is known for its abundant pine nuts, which make an appearance in this dish (fun fact: pesto, which relies heavily on pine nuts, is also from this region). Liguria also borders with the eastern side of France, and this dish shares French culinary staple — namely slow-braised meat in a wine sauce.

Cooking with rabbit can be intimidating to Westerners, but it’s actually quite simple. Just think of it like an oddly-shaped chicken, that’s made with all white meat. The hardest part is finding a whole rabbit, which you can often find at specialty butchers or Asian markets. They’re also available online, and my friends at US Wellness Meats regularly carry whole rabbits — just throw it in your box the next time you get an order of their incredible 75% lean grass-fed ground beef.

Read Full Article

Everybody loves Pupusas. These corn cakes can be found in most cities across the US today, at locations known as Pupuserías. They’re one of the best street foods around, warming the belly with its signature combination of hearty corn/beans/cheese, tangy Curtido slaw, and spicy tomato salsa.

The story of this dish is surprisingly complex. Pupusas were first developed in El Salvador or Honduras as far back as 2,000 years ago, and traditionally stuffed with squash blossoms or herbs. The introduction of Old World foods (mainly beef, chicken, and dairy) resulted in more elaborate preparations of this humble dish. By the mid 20th century, pupusas had spread throughout El Salvador and neighboring Honduras and Guatemala. When civil war in the 1980s displaced huge portions of the population, many Salvadorans relocated to the US, and pupusas followed.

The type of corn flour used to make this dish is masa harina — ground nixtamalized corn. This is the same process that creates hominy, and masa harina can be used to make tamales, tortillas, and gorditas. Bear in mind that this is not the same as cornmeal, which is ground dried maize (i.e. hasn’t undergone the nixtamalization process) — cornmeal is what you would use to make cornbread or fried fish. Finally, masa harina is often confused with masarepa, which is the pre-cooked cornmeal that is used in making Arepas.

Read Full Article

Shrimp recipes generally fall into one of two categories: dead simple and fast, or elaborate and slow (with the shrimp thrown in at the end). This dish falls into both categories – you can whip it up in just a few minutes, or you could marinate it up to overnight for more flavor. Sky’s the limit. Not to be undone, there are also two variations of this dish you can prepare (Camarones a la Criollo and Mexican-style Camarones al Ajillo) if you’re up for the challenge — both variations add even more fun to this weeknight dish.

Clarified butter (or its toastier-tasting cousin, ghee) will allow you to cook the shrimp at a high heat without burning the butter. To make clarified butter, warm 3 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes, skimming off any milk solids that accumulate at the surface. Alternatively, combine 2 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil to increase the butter’s smoke point.

Some of my other favorite shrimp recipes:
Bobó de Camarão (Brazilian Shrimp Stew)
Carolina Shrimp Bog
Bam Bam Shrimp
New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp
Pad Priew Wan Goong (Thai Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry with Shrimp)
Hawaii-Style Garlic Shrimp

Read Full Article

Some news: we’re moving back to Hawaii this week. I lived there from 2001 to 2008, and met my wife Janey there in 2002. Even though it’s been over 11 years since we left, and I spent my first 20 years in Washington state, I still consider Hawaii home. I wrote a little about what this state means to me a few years ago, in my Hawaii Oxtail Soup recipe. Janey is especially excited to get back to her hometown, and to spend time with friends and relatives we’ve only seen a precious few times during our years away. The boys will be going to the same schools their mother attended as a child, and they’re pretty stoked, too.

So to celebrate this return to home, I’m sharing my mother-in-law’s Nishime (vegetable stew) recipe. To be honest, when we lived there, my wife and I weren’t huge fans of this dish — its earthy and subdued flavors are a far cry from the savory, sweet, and crunchy delights you can find out in town. But since moving away we’ve come to appreciate the comforting warmth that Nishime can impart.

Note that this recipe is difficult to make without access to a local Japanese grocery store. For example, nishime kombu is a softer version of the more popular dashi kombu seaweed you can find in most asian markets, but is not sold online. Similarly, fresh burdock root (gobo) can only be found in person. And finally, you’ll want to find a block of konnyaku (the same material used to make shirataki noodles), which is not easy to find online either. All this is not meant to dissuade you from trying this recipe — far from it — but to let you know that this is a hard recipe to replicate if you don’t have access to a Japanese grocer. And because of its simple seasoning (just a bit of dashi, tamari, and honey), each of the ingredients are pretty important to get that signature nishime flavor (although there is a bit of wiggle room here — losing an ingredient or two won’t break the dish).

I’ll be taking the next two weeks off from posting while we move everything from Virginia to Hawaii. Hope you have a happy holidays and see you after the New Year.

Read Full Article

Around the holidays, there are three dishes I like to prepare on certain days: turkey (smoked or roasted) for Thanksgiving, ham (citrus and honey glazed) for Christmas, and a rib roast for New Years Day. My traditional rib roast recipe is featured in The Heritage Cookbook, but last weekend I wanted to try out a smoked version of this classic dish, which I’m sharing today.

I tested this recipe on my new pellet smoker (full review here), but it would work well on a charcoal or gas smoker setup, too, which I detail at the bottom of this post. Don’t have a smoker? No worries, this is the exact method I make for an oven roast, and I simply put it in the oven at 180F for Step #2. It comes out great that way, too.

Read Full Article

For those of you who remember my Caribbean Sticky Wings recipe from last year, I jumped into the world of pellet grills about 18 months ago. Before then, my longtime grilling setup had been three-fold: a charcoal grill for direct-heat grilling, an electric smoker for low-and-slow BBQ, and a gas grill for consistent temperatures with minimal effort. After getting acquainted with that first pellet grill, I decided to sell my electric smoker and gas grill because the pellet grill provided the consistent temperature I like to rely on during recipe development, as well as low-and-slow temperatures for exceptional BBQ (see: my 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs recipe); I kept the charcoal grill on hand for high-heat direct grilling.

Recently, the team at Camp Chef offered to send me one of their new Woodwind 24 WiFi pellet grills, which seemed to be a significant upgrade to my current grill. So I thought I’d take a moment and run you through my impressions.

Read Full Article

These garlic pickles are a great introduction to fermentation. They’re a familiar flavor, and you can use the brine to marinate chicken breasts for my fan-favorite Gluten, Grain, and Garbage-Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets recipe (which is nearly seven years old – yowza!).

But really, this recipe is just the start of a beautiful relationship with fermented foods. In addition to those you can find in my books, I have a few on the blog. Here are some other fermented or pickled recipes if you’re ready to try out something new:

Kabees el Lift (Pickled Turnips)
Guineitos en Escabeche (Pickled Green Bananas)
Fermented Ketchup
Takuan (Pickled Daikon Radish)
Pickled Watermelon Rinds)

One last note – it’s important to seek out organic (or fresh from the farmer’s market) cucumbers for this recipe, because you want that natural Lactobacillus bacteria that forms on its skin to kickstart the fermentation process. Don’t have access to organic cucumbers? Just add a spoonful of that liquid that forms at the top of yogurt (aka whey) to your brine during step #1.

Read Full Article

Listen, I get it. Thanksgiving is in a couple days, and you already have your mashed potatoes recipe figured out. Or maybe you’re going nuts and trying out some smashed potatoes this year. But hear me out — if you’re preparing your turkey outside of the oven (say, in my Perfect Smoked Turkey recipe, or frying it), maybe think about making these Crispy Roast Potatoes with all of that free oven space.

This British-inspired version is very simple: just potatoes, salt, and a good animal fat like tallow, duck fat, or lard. There’s a bit of work involved, because you par-boil the potatoes, and “chuff” them by jostling them in a colander when draining. But it really shines by leaving them alone after that — you don’t want to turn them often, so that a nice crust forms. And these crispy chunks of deliciousness pair really well with gravy, if you’re interested.

I won’t hold it against you if you choose to cook your turkey the traditional way, which you can find here. And really, today’s recipe isn’t a holiday-specific endeavor (although now is a great time to share it, since potatoes are likely on your mind right now). Have a happy holiday, and see you next week.

Read Full Article