Category Archives: Pork

Pork recipes and posts…

Stuffed Pork Loin

Ready for this one?

Pork loin butterflied out, then stuffed with sausage, cream cheese, jalapeño, sautéed mushrooms and onions, then wrapped in bacon and smoked. A final hit of bbq sauce finishes it all off.
Who’s in?

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This was one of my more recent bbq test drives, and man was it successful.  Now, I am of course, NOT the first person to ever stuff a pork loin, quite obviously, BUT I happened to have a few of these ingredients lying around and an idea in my head.  So I took a shot and am glad I did.  I have already made this for a second time since the first run.

Here’s the recipe….

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin With Sausage Jalapeno Stuffing

  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients 

  • 3-4 lb. pork loin
  • 2 packages of bacon
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 14 jalapenos
  • 1 small sweet onion diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms sliced
  • 6 medium italian sausages
  • BBQ sauce
  • BBQ spice

Directions

  • Place knife at the side of the pork loin about 1 inch up on the side and cut into the meat as you roll the pork.  This should result in a long slab of pork that is 1 inches thick
  • Lay out and overlap bacon slices so that you have a bed of bacon the same width as the pork loin.
  • Place the pork ontop of the bacon slices
  • Core and large dice the jalapenos, dice the onions and slice the mushrooms
  • Saute in a frying pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper until tender and browned
  • Remove the casings from the sausage and mix in a bowl with the package of cream cheese.
  • Spread the sausage and cheese mixture out on the pork loin in an even layer.
  • Top with the jalapeno, onions and mushroom mixture.
  • Starting at one end of the pork, gently roll the pork loin up being careful not to press too hard or the mixture will be forced out the sides.
  • Once the pork is rolled, use the bacon slices you placed under the pork to wrap the pork and secure with toothpicks
  • Give the bacon wrapped pork loin a dusting with bbq spice
  • Place in a 235 degree smoker and smoke with whatever wood you like until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
  • Brush with BBQ Sauce and let sit in the smoker for another 20 minutes for the sauce to set
  • Let the pork rest for at least 20 minutes and then slice and serve!

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The Pork Loin, pre slice.

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Everything ready to go!

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Ready to Roll! (literally)

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Ready for the smoker

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Oh boy….

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Enjoy!!!  MD

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Whole Hog

Whole Hog…The mother of all BBQ feats. The task that makes even the most confident backyard warrior think twice.  I decided it was time. I decided I was ready.  The results were better than I hoped for.

20140913_171501First, let me start by thanking some people.  These people were a big help with the cooking of this pig.  They helped me wrangle the pig, get the pig in the racks, move the grates and pans around, pull the pig apart once it was cooked and of course, taste test it once it was done.  A big thanks to Casey, Joel, Uncle Mark, Chad, Shane, Matt, Amy, Jill, Sarah, Carissa and everyone that was on hand to help put the rest of the shindig together.

As I posted earlier on this blog I was aiming to get my hands on a La Caja China Roasting Box…well, I got one.

20140913_161957I went with Model #2.  It is the bigger box and can handle larger pigs.  Go big or go home, right?

I ordered the pig from Kohns in London.  I asked for a 50lb pig, dressed weight, butterflied open.  “Dressed Weight” simply means all the guts and nasty bits are removed and you have a clean carcass.  “Butterflied” means they split the backbone for me so that the pig will lay flat.  When I arrived to pick up the pig it was 52lbs and they split it perfectly for me while I was there.  I highly recommend you become friends with your butcher.  I highly recommend Kohns.  Always great service and quality.

My buddy Casey was with me when we picked it up.  We put it in a big cooler with some blocks of ice to keep it cool.

20140912_143229The day before I had prepared the injection I was planning to use and the dry rub for the pig.  Because this was my first attempt and because of the hours and hours of videos I watched on Youtube regarding cooking a pig I decided to stick to a tried and true approach.  I used the injection and rub suggested by La Caja China, the makers of the box.  It is a traditional Cuban Mojo Criollo Injection and an Adobo Seasoning mix.  Both credited to Roberto Guerra of La Caja China.  I didn’t change a thing.

Mojo Criollo

Ingredients

  • 3 heads garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed sour orange juice (or 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground bay leaves

Directions

  1. Place garlic, peppercorns, and salt in a large mortar and grind with a pestle to form a paste. Stir in sour orange and pineapple juice. Add oregano, cumin, and bay leaves; stir to combine. Let stand at least 1 hour before using.

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Adobo Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1/4 cup ground oregano
  • 4 teaspoons ground bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients in an airtight container; cover and let stand at least 12 hours before using.

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The day before we planned to cook the pig I injected the pig all over but focused on the hams (back legs), shoulders (front legs), loin (attached to the ribs) and the belly meat (the..well…belly of course).

It’s worth noting that I strained the injection before I used it so any large chunks wouldn’t plug up the needle on the injector.

After injecting the pig I coated both the skin side and the open side with the seasoning blend.

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It was back into the cooler at this point for the night for the injection and spice blend to do their work.

The next morning the pig was brought out about an hour before we planned to cook it to come to room temperature as suggested in the cooking instructions for the pig.  Notice in the picture below the difference in colour of the meat.  The seasoning and injection did it’s job.

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The pig was then put into the racks that came with the roasting box and closed using the “S” hooks provided.  Here is a tip for you; this is not a 1 person job.  It took 3 of us to get the hooks in place.  Two people pressing down on the side of the rack and one person placing the hooks.

Once we FINALLY had the pig in the racks it was time to enter the roasting box.

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You will notice there are some wires coming out of the pig.  We attached a couple meat probes in the pig to monitor the progress as it cooked.  Next time I won’t bother.  If anything, all the probes did was add stress where none was needed.  The directions they give you right on the side of the box are all you need.  I followed them exactly and am glad I did.

We used the instructions for a 51 to 100lbs. pig.  We did this because you will notice that the pig weights on the box are based on “Live Weight” not “dressed”.  Live weight is the total weight of the pig before any cleaning or butchery is done.  Because our pig was 52lbs dressed, it was easily 60-70lbs live weight.

Once the pig is in the box, place the top charcoal grate and ash pan to seal the box.  We started with the recommended 18lbs of charcoal, placed in two piles to light.  Here is the hardest part of the cook.  You can NOT lift that lid.  For no reason.  Not even for a second for a quick peak.  JUST DON’T DO IT!

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We doused in lighter fluid and let them burn until almost all of the coals were turning grey, meaning they were on fire and burning.  This took about 20 minutes.  I then spread the coals out evenly over the top of the box and began my timer.

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The instruction on the side of the box calls for adding fresh charcoal every hour.  Based on the weight of our pig I added 10lbs of charcoal after 1 hour and then another 10lbs after the second hour.

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You do not need to worry about starting the charcoal in a chimney or anything like that.  The already lit coals will ignite the fresh coals.  Make sure you follow the amounts on the side of the box and spread it out evenly when you add it.

The next step was to add 12 lbs of charcoal 30 minutes after the second 10lbs of charcoal was added.

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30 minutes after the 12lbs were added it is time to finally see what the pig looks like.  The instructions call for you to remove the ash from the ash collection pan.  This will remove all the ash which is actually reducing the amount of heat the pig could receive.  By removing this ash we will get a very high temperature in the box which we need at this point.  We will be turning the pig over to crisp the skin.  High heat is definitely needed for this.

Lift the charcoal grate and shake to remove the ash.

20140913_162502Place the charcoal grate on the handles, remove the ash pan and dump it out.

20140913_162559Here is a tip we learned.  Make sure that when you shake the charcoal pan that you do it gently and try to keep things that can light on fire away from the box.

Now, the moment you were waiting for.  Your first peak into the box.

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As you can see, the pig is nicely roasted on this side at this point.  There are areas that look dark on this picture, they weren’t burnt.  They were actually nice and crispy and tasted great.

Time to flip the pig.  Grab the rack at one end and lift.  Let the bottom slide to the opposite side of the box from where it originally was placed then lower the top end back down. This can easily be done with one person.

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As you can see from the picture below, the skin side is seriously missing some colour.

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Take a knife and score the skin in an “X” pattern in each of the rectangles created by the rack.  Be careful to not cut too deeply.  We just want to score the skin, not the meat.

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We decided to try 2 beer can chickens in the box at this point just for fun.  They turned out awesome.

Put the ash pan back on the box and put the charcoal grate back in place.  It should take between 30-45 minutes to crisp the skin.  Check the skin after 30 minutes.  If it is not done to your liking, cook for another 15 minutes.

Here is what our pig looked like.

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Take the pig out of the cooker, remove it from the rack and let rest for about 30 minutes.

You will need a heat resistant pair of gloves for the next part.  Separate the pig and pull the meat from the carcass and serve.  The meat will be so tender you will not need any type of knives or tools for this.  The only thing I used was a cleaver to make cutting up the crispy skin easier.  The skin was awesome.  Glass shatteringly crispy and tasty.

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Start to finish the pig took 4 hours and 45 minutes. It was relatively easy to do and everyone loved the pig.  I would change absolutely nothing.

Serve with some nice salads, buns to make sandwiches, mustard and sauces and enjoy!

MD

Pulled Pork

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Pulled Pork is a great BBQ meal. It’s easy to do, is relatively cheap and tastes great. The popularity of pulled pork has sky rocketed in Ontario in the last few years. You can find a version of it in tons of restaurants now and lots of people making it in their crockpots or ovens. I always make mine in my smoker. The smoke makes it for me.  The only drawback to pulled pork (if there is one) is that it is a time commitment with the cook lasting usually 12-16 hours.

The traditional cut of meat you use for pulled pork is called a “Boston Butt” which is taken from the shoulder of the pig.  I order mine from Kohns in London. Never been disappointed in the quality. When you unwrap it you will notice a lot of fat on one side of the pork. This is called a “fat cap” and we want to keep it on. The only fat I would trim is any hard fat. If it feels soft leave it. This will help with moisture and flavour during the cook.

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You will need a dry rub,  sauce and if you choose to do it, an injection. Injections are a great way of putting flavour way down deep in a large cut of meat. You can use anything you like in an injection. A good one for pork is to mix some pineapple juice with some soy sauce and hot sauce. 3 parts juice, 1 part soy and as much hot sauce as you like.
I didn’t use an injection on this pork but I do from time to time.

Start by injecting your pork and dry rubbing it about 6-12 hours prior to the cook. Put in the refrigerator and let get happy.

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Fire up your smoker to 230 degrees. I used my Masterbuilt for this. Add wood to the fire (I used hickory) and wait for the first signs of smoke. I use wood chunks as they smoke longer. Start with 3 good chunks.

Put the pork in the smoker fat side up.

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You can see in the above picture that I have a meat probe in the pork. This allows me to monitor the progress of the pork during the cook.
Keep adding wood as smoke dies out until the pork hits 140 ish. At this point the amount of smoke flavour the pork will take in will be miniscule so I don’t bother wasting the wood chunks.

The magic number I personally look for is 193 degrees internal temperature. This could take anywhere from 12 hours plus. It depends on the size of your pork. They are usually around 8-10 pounds.

One thing to be prepared for. At about 145-165 degrees the temperature of the meat is going to stop climbing and sit there for what feels like forever. This can even be hours. What is happening is at this temperature range the internal fats and connective tissues begin to melt and break down. Once this process is finished the temperature will start to move again. Trust the process. Don’t crank the temp. Just look away or go do something else while this happens. Staring at the meat thermometer won’t make it move, trust me, I’ve tried.

At 193 degrees you want to remove from the smoker. Should look sorta like this.

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If it’s darker than this, that is normal. In fact I was a little disappointed this one wasn’t darker actually.  It’s not burnt. It’s called “bark” and is some of the tastiest parts.

Here is an easy way to tell if it’s done properly if you don’t have a meat thermometer. There is a large bone in these roasts. You should be able to grab the bone and just pull it out with almost no resistance. If it comes out easily and clean you are where you want to be. If it won’t come out put it back in the smoker.

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See the bone?

Break apart into large chunks and let sit a few minutes. It’s 9000 degrees right now.

Pull the pork by hand. Discard any chunks of hard fat or any connective tissue you find. Keep in mind however that you do want most of the fat to stay. It’s good!

I always add a bit more dry rub into my pulled pork and my sauce and mix well.

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The pink is not undercooked meat. That is what the smoke does to the meat. It’s called a “smoke ring” .

Serve with coleslaw and buns to make awesome sandwiches!

Enjoy!

Onion Bombs

Now I need to be completely honest here. These are not my original idea. If you search online you will see loads of recipes for these things. But when I saw them I knew I had to try them. I did a couple of my own things like the cheese and sauce.
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My plan is to make a sausage mixture with my own flavours, jam a piece of cheese in the middle, stick it in the onion, wrap it in foil, toss in a campfire and see what happens.

How could this suck?!

I start by making my sausage mix.
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For this you are going to need the following:

– 1 lb. Ground Pork
– 1 Tablespoon each of fennel, thyme, rosemary, chili flakes
– 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
– 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
– 1 egg
– 1/4 bread crumbs
I also decided at the last minute to add a couple of tablespoons of BBQ sauce.
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Mix this all up and set aside.

Peel an onion, cut in half from top to core and separate into shells.
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Create a ball of sausage meat and jam a chunk of cheese in the middle, then finish the ball to seal the cheese in.
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Put the meat and cheese ball inside of two halves of onion.
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Wrap in heavy duty foil. I actually triple wrapped them.
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Get a campfire going and place in a nice bed of coals. You want to flip them after 10 minutes and cook for another 10 minutes.
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Pull them out and let sit for 5 minutes.
Open the foil and eat!
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Enjoy!

MD

Ribs

Definitely one of the most popular items everyone thinks of and craves when they think of BBQ.  We have an entire “Fest” in London in honour of them after all!

This weekend just happens to be Ribfest.  However, I didn’t feel like heading downtown and spending big bucks on a small taster of ribs when I know I can make 10 times as much food for a 10th of the cost and make them exactly how I like them.

Inspiration for this actually hit me while at Costco.  I wasn’t there for Ribs but then I saw this….

Now normally I’m not a fan of pre-seasoned anything.  I like to use my own homemade rub to get the taste I’m after but these called out to me and who am I to ignore the call.  Plus, they were only $20 for 2 rather good size slabs of St. Louis Cut Side Ribs.  Normally I get Back Ribs as this is what most people prefer.  But I felt like a change.

Off I went (after a few samples and a $1.50 hotdog and drink!) to the smoker.

Here’s what they looked like opened up and laid out….not bad!

 On the top shelf of my Masterbuilt Propane Smoker with some Cherry Wood chunks (3) smokin up the scene…

Smoked them at 230 degrees for about 4.5 hours.

Now, if you don’t have a smoker you can still pull this off.  You will need a BBQ with at least 2 burners (preferably more) and enough room for the ribs.

Turn one side of the BBQ on to about Medium-Low or whatever temperature you need to achieve 225-240 degrees on your BBQ with the lid shut.  Leave the other side of the BBQ OFF.

Create a smoke pouch by getting some tinfoil and some wood chips (available almost everywhere with a decent BBQ section), soak them in water for a couple hours and put about 2 cups of the chips in the foil and fold the foil over and crimp to create a pouch.  Take a fork and poke a bunch of holes in the foil.

Place the smoke pouch on the burner that is on.  Wait for the first wisps of smoke.

Place the ribs on the side of the BBQ that is OFF.  Shut the lid.  DO NOT OPEN THE LID for at least 2 hours ensuring the BBQ stays in the desired Temperature range.

At the 2 hour mark rotate the ribs so that the rack that was closest to the ON burner is now farthest away.

Close the lid and cook for another 2 hours approximately.  Sauce Ribs and cook for another 30 minutes.

Test rib doneness by picking up the rack with a pair of tongs.  If the racks looks like it is about to fold in half and break, you are set.  By the way, you don’t want them to break.  If they do, you went too far.

EAT

Here is half way….

Almost there…

Once they were almost done (30 mins. left to go) it’s time to add the sauce…

I used my homemade sauce…It’s a sweet with a bit of heat type sauce.  Most people who try it love it.

Here is the final product….

Good flavour from the rub. You can see the pink around the outside of the cut rib.  That’s where the smoke got into the meat.  It turns meat pink.  Plenty juicy and plenty tasty.  My verdict…the Costco pre-seasoned ribs are definitely something I would get again and would recommend to a friend.

Any questions??