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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pork Soup, Pickle Optional

One or more pigs gave their lives in the interest of culinary science today. I have put forth my utmost effort to ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain. As a sort of experiment, or more precisely an accommodation of the charming but unpredictable wife of Bruck’s (CBUWOB’s) attempt to help with the meat shopping, I smoked two whole boneless pork shoulders (I normally smoke bone-in partial shoulders, either the upper half, AKA the Boston butt, or the lower, AKA picnic ham). But you can’t exactly return meat after it’s been sitting in your freezer for three weeks, now can you? So I thought I’d treat it as an experiment. What the heck, I smoked hog jowl this past summer. And eggs.

After marinating, there were a few hunks of loose pork that had separated from the mother ship, probably as a result of the deboning procedure. I didn’t feel like babysitting them in the smoke box, so I used them as a base for soup in the crock pot. Recipe: cut pork into 1” or 2” (that’s inches, not feet) pieces, brown, put in crock pot along with celery, carrots, onions, red cabbage and onion. Add water to cover ingredients. Spice with BBQ rub, thyme, oregano, salt, celery seed, and whatever else you think would be good in it, and cook for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally till meat is tender enough to eat without your dentures.  I would have used sage, but unfortunately that is an herb of which the larder of Bruck (LOB), or rather, larder of wife of Bruck (LOWOB) is currently bereft. The soup turned out pretty good, he said with translucent false modesty. I added a diced kosher dill pickle to my bowl, but I wish to emphasize that this is strictly optional.

But the big experiment today was smoking a fattie. The actual variety of fattie I smoked is called a “bacon explosion,” but let’s cover some basics first. I’m not talking about the Cheech and Chong-style fattie, but rather BBQed loose pork breakfast sausage. In its simplest form, it’s a tube of Jimmy Dean’s rolled in BBQ rub and slow-cooked on the smoker. Improvisations on this theme generally take the form of rolling it out and stuffing it with various things like vegetables, cheese, and even seafood. In what can’t be described as anything less than sheer genius, someone invented the “bacon explosion,” a stuffed fatty wrapped in a mesh of bacon strips.  I stuffed mine with sauteed vegetables and cheddar cheese. The veggies consisted of onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and jalapenos, and the spicing was pretty much the same as the above pork soup, pickle optional.

Here is a picture of the fattie before cooking, looking a bit like a field-dressed dachshund:

And here is our little friend after smoking is complete (internal temperature 165F):

Finally, here he is sliced. Note, one slice is missing in the name of scientific inquiry. BTW, let not your heart be troubled over the pink color - that's the color pork gets when it's slow cooked/smoked.

The results:
Boneless Pork Shoulder: good flavor & texture; a little dry in places though. We’ll stick with bone-in shoulders in the future.
Pork Soup, Pickle Optional: I’ll definitely make this again. Very good IIDSSM.
Bacon Explosion Fattie: It’s everything they said it would be and then some. I gave the CBUWOB the first taste, partly out of chivalry, and partly in case I had inadvertently synthesized a potent neurotoxin, this being a new recipe and all. Her tired eyes lit up and she said, and I quote, “Irmf imf hro gnf.” That was mouth-full-of-food for, “this is so good.” Her powers of articulation were restored upon clearing her palate, whereupon she exclaimed, “that was the most decadent thing I’ve ever eaten!” High praise indeed, from someone who’s no stranger to decadent eating.

As for me, I polished off a slice of the gastronomical ecstasy and have embarked on a new path in life. In honor of the aforementioned swine who made the ultimate sacrifice, I will quit my job and all other avocations and responsibilities, and spend the rest of my life, or as long as I can get away with it, smoking and eating fatties. I figure if we downsize a bit, we can live off of the CBUWOB’s income, and the kids, well, they’ll just have to quit school and join the Army or Peace Corps. I realize that this is somewhat of an imposition on those around me, but everyone needs a purpose in life, and after nearly 50 years of searching, I’ve finally found mine.


  • At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Simple said…

    The food looked delicious and I liked your style of writing.It was reminiscent of the style employed by Addison and Steele in their essays in 'The Spectator'

  • At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Simple said…

    The food looked delicious and I liked your style of writing.It was reminiscent of the style employed by Addison and Steele in their essays in 'The Spectator'

  • At 6:00 PM, Blogger Bruck said…

    Tnx, you're too kind. Now I'll have to read The Spectator!

  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger plf5403 said…

    Now I have to buy a smoker! It appears you weren't kidding about dropping everything and concentrating all of your energies on this new zen of pork, since you haven't posted a thing since. Bravo.


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