Cured and Smoked Chops (Try, the 2nd)
In another forum, I ran across WhitetailFan's recipe for thick cut pork chops that were submerged in a wet cure, then smoked. I tried making them following his recipe and they were a bit dry when they finished at a specified 150F. This time I will not finish them quite so high, maybe 141F. I may, in fact, pull them after 2 or 3 hours of smoking and finish them sous vide, which simply means vacuum packing them and cooking in a precisely controlled hot water bath.
The brine calls for Morton Tender Quick, of which my little supply is gone, so I used MartinF's of Digging Dog Farm recipe for a replacement using Cure #1.
My only camera is very so-so cell phone, but here are the chops, submerged in their wet brine, with some rosemary and peppercorns bobbing merrily on the surface. About 10 chops, bone in, heavy fat layer on the outside which we'll remove after brining and cook separately. Maybe 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of meat. 10 cups of water to submerge, 1 cup of ersatz TQ (recipe below).
The Cure from MartinF follows:
Morton Tender Quick Alternative:
All-Purpose Cure Mixhttp://img542.imageshack.us/img542/2004/mfddfcure1.jpg
I did the math on this and the same amount of MTQ will contain 3.54 grams of sodium nitrite. The 2 ounces of Cure #1 provides exactly that amount, the same proportion when the specified amounts of salt and sugar are added. Very handy.
So the chops are doing submarine duty, I am patiently waiting for them to finish. The original recipe says 36 to 48 hours. The first time I did them was only 24 hours of submersion and they were fine. Of course they were smoked and consumed the same day, so no way for them to go bad.
These I will hold longer. But with vacuum packing and the long sous vide bath, there is little to worry about. I would do them for only 24 hours again, but the northern Philippines has been getting pounded by rain. Manila is a lake. Parts of it has gotten over 3 feet in last week! Up in the mountains we fare a little better because, as we all know, water runs downhill. But for two weeks I haven't been able to light up my Weber. Typhoons, heavy rain, driving winds, and zero smoke. Driving me nuts!
When I get a chance to do these chops on my smoker and then sous vide, I will post photos of the end result.
On a different note: I just got a box of supplies from the USA including two large bags of hickory chips from Todd of A-Maze-N smoker that he couldn't use! So thank you very much Todd. He is a prince of a fellow! I can barely wait to get some of it smoking. And I want to buy his pellet smoke box in the near future for cold smoking.
Well, we finished the chops today! I had them in the brine for about 40 hours. Then we pulled them and smoked them for about 3 hours last night but quit due to the late hour. I smoked them some more this morning, maybe 1 1/2 hours to an internal temperature of 123F or so. Then pulled them, vac bagged them and sous vide at 141F for 3 hours until it was time to eat. The sous vide was handy because we did not eat right away. The guest arrived but chatted for over an hour. No problem holding the chops at all.
The chops were thick, some probably 2 inches and the thinnest 1 1/2 inches. I did not inject them, but I will the next time I make them. They were pink until just the very center quarter of an inch from the brine.
Overall, I was very happy with them. Much better than when I cooked until the 150F specified in the original recipe. These were moist with great flavor.
And they went well with mashed 'taters...
This was my first time to try actual woodchips. I had shredded wood previously that I found in small packets at a shop in Manila. Mostly I wrapped the chips in foil, poked a few holes and used those to smoke. I would pull the foil pouch and dump the blackened chips to get the last shot of smoke out of them.
But at the tail end, I simply put the chips directly on the hot charcoal. You can see the foil from my last pouch in the photo. Smoke was similar but did not seem to last as long as when the chips were pouched.
I will be doing 6 kilos of bacon later this week. I will play with the chips more then.
My last thoughts on these chops which I will try again next month hopefully.
1. I will inject the chops if over 1 inch thick
2. I will add Amesphos to the brine next time (0.5%?)
3. I will finish a few in the smoker (140F) to compare with the rest finished via sous vide (141F)
4. If I find a source for sodium erythorbate locally, I may include that in the brine too.
Is that the smokenator? if so how do you like it?
Yes, it is a Smokenator. I like it a lot. I am new to smoking and wanted something that helped simplify the process. It makes it easy so I do not have to worry about direct heat. I remove the water pan and sit that on the food grate, over the cut out for it when I use it. Often I skip the water pan all together.
Downside would be hard to reach higher temperature heats and the need to feed both charcoal and wood if you want to do long smokes. I'd get the hover grill if I bought again, for the extra grill space. It is very handy for being able to shift between a standard grill and a smoker.
I used it with a rib rack to smoke almost 13 pounds of bacon last night. I stood most of the bacon up and it worked like a charm. Gave them 4 hours of hickory smoke in the middle of a tropical storm! I used binder clips to help keep the lid tight to the kettle.
Added Later: I will be doing a smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. I will work from the charcoal grate, using something to raise the turkey a bit higher, but not like it was on the food grate, where it would hit the lid. I plan to use a steel wire setup, much like a beer can chicken holder, to orient the turkey vertically for the smoke. No problem with direct heat because of the Smokenator. I may finish the bird in my kitchen oven where I can control the higher temperatures better, but it will get a minimum 3 to 4 hours of Hickory and Apple smoke, so I have high expectations for a pretty flavorful bird.
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