TL;DR - Homemade apple wood smoked jalapeno bacon is easy and awesome! (http://chaosinthekitchen.com/2010/10/home-cured-jalapeno-bacon/)
My wife and I have a Red Beans and Bacon dish we absolutely love, that we've always made with jalapeno bacon sourced from a local supermarket. Unfortunately during pandemic-times they stopped carrying it, and they don't know if it will ever come back. We were nearly resigned to using "normal" bacon, until I found the recipe from Chaos in the Kitchen (above).
We picked up a 3.5# skin-on pork belly from the local Super Saver, made up the brining solution, and parked it all in the cold box for a week. Then smoked it at 200F to internal temp of 150F with a chunk of apple wood. In order to slice it, I put the finished bacon in the freezer for 40 min, which allowed me to cut 'thin enough' strips with a sharp knife for burgers. For the Red Beans and Bacon, I cut 1/4" strips, then knocked those down into lardons.
The bacon had more jalapeno flavor than heat. We might try adding some birdseye pepper power to subsequent attempts to amp it up a bit.
Here's Alton Browns Red Beans recipe we modified (we omit the rice entirely and instead serve dish with deluxe cornbread, and we substitute the pickled pork with jalapeno bacon):
[In some of the comments on the DIY bacon page, folks mentioned it's "not really" bacon because it hasn't been "cured". Perhaps that's correct, but my bacon lasted 7 days in fridge just fine post smoking, so I think I'm good with the finished product regardless of the name]
While it's cooler outside it's the best time to smoke a bunch of cheese.
Did mine a week ago, tested it today. My best batch ever and I think my new favorite wood for cheddar is hickory.
This is extra sharp cheddar. I crusted it with black pepper before vacuum sealing it. Going to be fantastic after it rests a few months. Last year I did extra sharp cheddar with pecan and crusted in chipotle. Still have one of those sealed floating around.
So just bought my first KJ Classic II. Coming over from a Traeger. (Sold it) But was wondering how low of a temp can you achieve with the KJ without the fire going out. I bout the FireBoard and fan system to go with it. Delivery is tomorrow and want to get cooking. First burn though is just going to be charcoal, no food. Just messing with vents to see how it reacts to things. In the mean time, I read and dream of all the delicious food that is to come..
This is one of my favorite burgers to make at home. Super simple and packed full of flavor.
- 1 pound 80/20 beef
- Your favorite bacon
- Pepper jack cheese
- Buns of your choosing
- Burger/steak seasoning
- 1/2 cup Mayo
- 4 Chipotle peppers with sauce
- 1 tablespoon Tobacco
Form 4 meatballs and smash them on the grill, we're making a double stack. Cook until you get. a good crust, flip and cover with cheese. Top with bacon, jalapeños, and place on bun with spicy sauce and enjoy!
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the Kamado Big Joe to arrive. Nothing.
Welp, expecting friends from out of town this weekend and can wait no longer. So, I picked up a Weber Summit Charcoal grill (kamado style) along with a Pit Viper fan. Once the Big Joe arrives I'll have two Kamados!
Anyhow, I tried the new Fireboard 2 Drive on this grill along with a Pit Viper fan for a hot smoked pork belly session.
I was in a bit of a rush to get things going so I used the fan to stoke the coals up to temperature with a target of 225F. With the Weber bottom vent fully closed and the top vent 1/4 open, the temperature initially overshot about 15 degrees. I brought the temperature down by opening the lid briefly when adding the belly and to make other adjustments (the dips in the graph).
Once things were settled in, though, the temperature was regulated on the order of tenths of a degree around the 225F target . That's pretty awesome.
Sitting at the computer typing emails and monitoring the temperatures on a browser. With the Fireboard 2 Drive and the kamado, this set-up has better performance and regulation than our kitchen oven.