Monday, October 24, 2011

Grilled Pig Tails

My, oh my! Mamma never told me about this!
I’ve got lots of thoughts running around in my head after this weekend and it’s hard to not just blurt them all out in one giant train of random pig thought.
My first thought is a big thanks to two other bloggers whose posts on pig tails got me to realize that I could use these for something besides making stock. The problem is I can’t find the danged posts to reference!!! I’ll keep looking. If it was you let me know and I’ll post the link.
Next up is a paraphrase of a co-worker who shared her thoughts with me about turkey necks. “They sure are good but I won’t eat them around people I don’t know real well.” First off these look like peckers. No way around it, might as well say it. I put them out on a baking sheet and asked my boy what he thought he was looking at and he busted out laughing. Once you get over how they initially look the whole issue of eating them comes up. Like a turkey neck, you have to get in there and chew and suck. It is a messy process that, when combined with the fore mentioned attribute of the tail, means this really isn’t a dish to share with folks who don’t have a sense of humor.
These guys were delicious. The best description I could think of was a cross between pulled pork and bacon. There was substantially more meat on the tails than on any pig foot I have ever encountered. The aroma was spectacular; I sat on my patio the next morning and could still smell the essence of these guys coming from my grill. I was surprised by how rich the tails are; I ate four of them and it was all I could handle in one sitting. My arteries were screaming for mercy. My only disappointment was the skin. I had hoped the skin would get crispy in a pork cracklin kind of way. Instead it got tough and chewy; more rawhide than crackiln. That’s okay, my dogs love me even more at this point. I had tried to crisp them up by finishing them directly over the charcoal but the resulting inferno from the copious amounts of dripping pork fat made this impractical.
The cook was pretty straightforward. The tails got a Creole mustard slather follow by a solid coating of Stubb’s barbecue rub. I like the Stubb’s product; it has a nice profile with some high quality paprika. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will use plain yellow mustard for the slather. The Creole mustard really didn’t coat the pig tails that well. It probably doesn’t make any difference but I am still going to switch it up. I cooked them indirect for an hour at about 275F and decided that if I wanted them to get done any time soon that I would need to crank the temperature up quite a bit. I took the grill to about 350F and let them cook for another three hours.  I will probably also use a different dry rub...Stubbs is good but I like to keep trying new things.
After four hours on the grill them smelled so good I was jumping out of my skin. I pulled them off, took a few pictures and dove in. The tails had the fattiness of a pork butt and the meat was somewhat less than a turkey neck. There are a lot of little bones in the tail and you just have to get in there and work that meat out. The closest I can come to describing the experience of eating a pig tail is to imagine eating a turkey neck wrapped in bacon. Hey..that’s not a bad idea!
I hope you enjoy the video. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the skin I would love to hear them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Playing with grill pans

I picked up a Lodge Pro-Logic seasoned 10 inch square grill pan for a steal the other day. I didn’t really need it but it gave me an excuse to play around in the kitchen and take a few pictures.

I took the pan for a spin by making my daughter a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. I pre-heated my grill pan on medium low and stuck some sliced ham and American cheese slices between two slices of white bread. Once the pan was hot I added the sandwich and weighted it down with a foil wrapped brick. I grilled each side for about two and a half minutes.

The pan performed great and cleaning up the cheese that had oozed out during pressing was easy. I like the high sides of this pan since you can add plenty of hot water and let it soak while it cools. The biggest drawback about this grill pan is its size. This pan has room for a single sandwich and that is it. I am guessing you could grill two chicken breasts in here? The 10 inch pan would be great when cooking for one or two people, but that doesn’t happen too often at my house.

Regular old white bread takes a beating when you press it. The other side of the sandwich is a little torn. Some cheese melted out of and then underneath the sandwich making it a little tough to get the sandwich to release. These really turn out better when you use bread that has a little more substance but hey, my daughter likes white.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Derby Day!!

The first Saturday in May requires mint juleps for the Kentucky Derby! We grilled up some chicken legs, pork tenderloin and boudin sausage.

The race was pretty good and so was the chicken! Cooked everything on my Weber 22.5" Platinum.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brats and Steak

I've been using my Weber Genesis a lot these days. Last night we did a couple steaks, some brats and corn.

I was using 1/2 ears of frozen corn. I wrapped them in foil and had them on the grill for ~15 minutes. This was not long enough. I ended up having to finish the corn off in the microwave. Grilling shame.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pickled Okra

Thank you to everyone who took a peek at my new website and sent comments. Very much appreciated. I know it is not very good at this point but hopefully in a month or so it will be much improved. I'm learning and working.

In the meantime I have been playing with….pickled okra! Really good stuff and extremely easy. I am getting nice fresh okra down at the produce market. I like to add a few teaspoons of pepper flakes and mustard seeds into Mason jars, pack the raw okra on top, and then fill with a boiling mix of salted vinegar and water (about 50:50). Screw the lids on tight and into the refrigerator. I don't have a processor so I just store mine cold.

It's cool how this transforms hairy, slimy okra into a spicy, crunchy snack. Feeling the seeds pop between your teeth is kind of fun too!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Playing with a new site

I'm working on a new site about my Weber grill review.

I'm in one of those situations when I am just figuring out how much I need to learn about making websites. At least it is a fun project to keep me occupied.

Any suggestions or guidance is welcome.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bland Bresaola

I've been sticking to curing pork tenderloins for the past few months. They are incredibly easy and very tasty; tough combination to beat. Just for kicks I decided to cure some beef and picked up some pretty eye of rounds. They started out at about 3 lbs each and got a standard cure with Morton Tender Quick, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and some red chili flakes. I let the cure take for about ten days and then air dried for about a month. Everything cured up very well. I ended up fighting a little mold but it was nothing that a few washes with vinegar couldn't handle.

I was first struck by how pretty these guys were. The second thing I noticed was how bland they tasted. Maybe it's because I am just getting over a cold and my taste buds are dead but these guys taste like nothing! These will definitely be part of a side platter with pickles and olives and not a centerpiece. At least the project kept me entertained for a while. Happy curing!