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This is what your leftovers look like when you get tired of looking at the 9 lbs of beef short ribs and 6 lbs of St. Louis cut pork ribs that have been in your freezer for 6 months and decide to sous vide + smoke them all for a family gathering of 6 adults and 1 grandchild. This was after we'd all stuffed our faces.

 

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From the past few weekends...

St. Louis cut pork ribs, sous vide for 25 hours, then covered in a coffee and ancho rub and smoked for 4 hours. Deviled avocado playing a supporting role.



Copa muscle extracted from a pork shoulder and dry cured in my fridge for 2.5 months into capocollo (aka, capicola, gabagool, et al).



A whole USDA Prime ribeye primal dry aged in my fridge for 45 days...



...and then portioned into thick steaks. The intense beefy flavor that results is amazing.



When the wife and I vacationed in the British Isles last year I became quite fond of the Irish brown bread that accompanied breakfast every morning at our B&B in Ireland. Not being able to find it here I learned to make it myself (which is ridiculously simple).



Maybe after a couple months of fattening up on the pears and figs in my yard.

 

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Apparently Mrs. Claus got tired of listening to me whine about how inadequate my old half-plastic Cabela's slicer was every time I wrestled a slab of home-cured bacon through it, and she upgraded me to this restaurant-grade 240W 10" blade model.



The first thing I did with it was pickup a couple of (relatively) cheap ribeyes and sliced them paper-thin (just under 1mm) for cheesesteaks. Even with that motor hum, it's still far quieter than my old slicer.


I smoked a new batch of cured belly this past Sunday, then wrapped and refrigerated it until today. After using the slicer to make short work of a flat of pastrami that I home-cured and smoked a couple weeks ago, I went to work on the bacon.



The action on this thing is baby's-butt smooth, and it was spitting out precisely 3.5mm thick slices just as fast as I could so effortlessly push the product tray. The blade is so sharp almost can't feel any resistance at all when it's cutting through the meat.


Clean up is a bit of a chore, so doing as much slicing as you can in one batch is desirable. And removing the 10" razor-sharp steel blade for washing is not something to be done carelessly or when you're distracted (I've been taking bets on how long it will be before I christen it with my own blood). But it's so effective at the slicing job that I'm overall very happy with this new toy. I think I'll keep it.
 

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This weekend was the annual D/FW Irish Festival, but with my wife recovering from a hairline fracture in one of the bones of her left foot we had to skip it this year. So I decided to bring a taste of the Emerald Isle home instead.



None of that ground beef cottage pie nonsense, mind you. A proper ground lamb Shepherd's Pie like we've not had since we were in Dublin.


And to wash it down, a microbrew from a local brewery run by an Irish gentleman.
 

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My attempt at a return to normalcy. I haven't smoked anything in a while due to not being able to have people over to enjoy it with. But my home-cured bacon supply finally started running out, so I got a change to use the magic smoke box again. This was a 10-lb pork belly cut in half for two different flavors...and because I can't fit a whole belly in one 2.5 gal zip-lock bag. On the bottom is my favorite tried-and-true "chili" flavor (blend of smoked Spanish paprika, cumin and ancho powder). On top is a new (to me) maple-espresso recipe. I used some of the Pappy's Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup my son gave me on my last birthday, and some finely ground Katz Texas Pecan beans that normally used for my daily morning java.



After a 7 day cure and another day of pellicle formation in the fridge, now we wait for the smoke to do its thing. Yeah, my smoker is disgusting.

 

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Following the same theme, we attended our favorite local brewery/BBQ joint's 5th anniversary bash, and in addition to the many fine beers on tap (including several bourbon barrel-aged stouts weighing in at a hefty 15%+ ABV) they featured the following food special. A 1/2 lb strip of BBQed pork belly on a stick, fried either nekkid or covered in corndog batter. I'm fairly certain this reduced my life expectancy by a good 3 years, but it was totally worth it.

 

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So, how did you start your Easter morning? Did you drag yourself out of the comfort of your bed at 6am so you could pull your home-cured USDA Prime corned beef brisket out of the 155° sous vide bath it had spent 36 hours in, chill it in an ice bath for 2 hours and then cover it in homemade spice rub before putting it in a 225°F smoker for the next 4 hours or so to make pastrami? Well....did you?!

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