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..
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.
I got Irving Farms to cut for me two Berkshire side pork roasts to be in range of 1.39 to 1.58 kg. I let them know I was going to use it for making bacon so they removed skin for me and sold for same price I was quoted. I am following basic recipe with same tile in book Project Smoke. For sugar portion I used maple sugar and cure was FS1, and instead of using ziplock bags I vacuum sealed each pork side side after applying brine to each side and placed remaining brine into each bag and distributed it before sealing. Once curing done in 6 days, I will rinse well with water, pat dry and then air dry in refrigerator for 12 hours and then I will smoke for 4 hours. I meantime I and turning over at least twice every day.
With the “Just Stuff It!” Challenge going on I searched for what might be on sale at one of the local stores. Sprouts had U15 shrimp on sale for $7.98 per lb. so I purchased a pound. I decided to prepare them my two favorite ways of cooking shrimp. The first is what I call Atomic Shrimp. (Which is bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheddar cheese and a slice of jalapeño. As the jalapeño doesn’t make it very “Atomic”, I switched it out for slices of serrano chilies. Here are most of the ingredients.
I peeled and deveined the shrimp and then butterflied them. I also sliced the cheese and serrano chilies.
I carefully placed the cheese and serrano in the shrimp and wrapped them with a slice of bacon. Once I had 10 of them done I placed them on the preheated kamado.
I grilled them for approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side and once the bacon looked crispy I plated the 5 biggest ones up with a cilantro garnish and a Negra Modelo. Here are those pics.
I had 9 shrimp leftover so I skewered them,
sprayed they with some EVOO and sprinkled them with some Tajin seasoning.
Grilled them for approximately 3 minutes per side.
Here are the plated pics with the Negra Modelo.
These were also delicious but not quite as good as the bacon wrapped ones.
Thanks for looking.
After see posts on this site, watching countless YouTube videos and hours upon hours of nervous research I decided to buy a pork belly and give bacon a try on my Big Joe. Like others have commented I found the pink salt was not as easy to find as I assumed, so I bought some off Amazon. I bought a 10-lb pork belly from Costco, found an easy recipe on line and started my adventure! I followed the recipe below as a template:
I used dark brown sugar because that's what I had and I used pure Vermont Maple Syrup instead of honey. I used cayenne pepper on half of the belly and none on the other just because I forgot to put it in my first batch of the curing paste.
I had to cut the pork belly in half because I was using 1-gallon ziploc bags and this resulted in two different flavors to my bacon. The first one without the cayenne pepper finished curing in 9 days. Based on the hours of research I guessed at it being done because it was pretty stiff compared to when it first started. The second bag with the cayenne pepper leaked much of the liquid and didn't seem ready. So when I removed the first belly I drained the second bag, made another batch of the curing paste and started the process again.
The first batch of bacon I rinsed thoroughly, dried with paper towels and placed on a drying rack in the fridge for a day unwrapped and uncovered. The next day I smoked it for about 3 hours keeping the temperature between 200-240 and cooking until the internal temp was 150. I used 2 small chunks of apple wood for the smoke.
Since I don't have a meat slicer I was "forced" to buy a Dalstrong Gladiator Series Ham Knife which was heavily recommended throughout this site. I did my best to keep the strips as thin as possible and even.
The family loved the bacon and I was happy with the result as well. Now the second half of the pork belly finished up about 4 days later and I followed the same smoking process except I add 2 chunks of cherry wood and 2 chunks of apple wood. I didn't think the first round of bacon was smoky enough so I doubled the amount of wood.
This was noticeably better than the first round! I tasted smoke this time and it wasn't overpowering. The flavors of this bacon were much more pronounced that the first round and while I know the added wood made a difference, I wonder if re-doing the curing process half the way through made any difference.
Regardless, I enjoyed the whole preparation and cooking of the bacon and will do this from now on! It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had thought and though the second batch was better both were fantastic! As good or better than anything I've ever bought from the store. My family all claim it's better than anything we've ever bought, but I guess I'm a little more critical of my cooking than they are.