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.
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.
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?!