Anybody home? Also, long weekend!

September 2, 2016

Getting a start on Labor Day, even if it IS someone else's barbecue.

Getting a start on Labor Day, even if it IS someone else’s barbecue.

Hey, y’all. How’re you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em?

I hope you’ve missed me. I was gone the first part of the week, at a conference in Little Rock where there was really no memorable food, and have been busy as the proverbial long-tailed cat since I got back. Oh, well, busy pays.

Consequently, the only thing I’ve done in the kitchen was to eat yogurt and granola for breakfast, and make coffee, all week, so today was my day to excavate it a little. I cleared out a week’s worth of coffee cups and yogurt bowls from the sink, cleared the refrigerator out of stuff that was old enough to vote (and perhaps old enough to draw Social Security), went grocery shopping, and moved a week’s worth of assorted junk that had accumulated on the counters.

And then, because I forgot to fix lunch and was starving, not to mention Child A is in the late stages of a migraine and/or a stomach virus, and most cooking smells just really squick her out when she’s in that condition, I stopped by the local barbecue emporium and got myself a barbecue plate for dinner. Which I promptly inhaled.

My cooking exploits of the day have been relatively minor; I have made yogurt (actually, the Instant Pot is still in the process of yogurting), and started the process of making Canadian bacon, which is one of my two experiments I plan on taking on this weekend.

Now, I love me some Canadian bacon. It’s great on a breakfast sandwich, and it’s not bad on just about any sandwich. It’s good on a charcuterie-and-cheese board, and of course, primo on a pizza. I’ve wanted to try it since I bought Ruhlman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie, and this seemed like the appropriate time to try it.

And it looked like it’d be easy to make. So, not being one to shy away from something new, I figured I’d try it. I had a piece of pork loin in the fridge I’d thawed out and really needed to use, anyway. The recipe and method, if you want to give it a whirl, is here. I used Prague Powder No. 1 for the nitrite, and as my herbs have given up the ghost for the year, I went with dried sage and thyme.

Nekkid pork loin; fat cap all trimmed

Nekkid pork loin; fat cap all trimmed

While the brine cure was heating, I trimmed the fat cap and bits of tendon off the loin, leaving it as nearly naked as I could get it. I cooled the brine down with ice cubes and in an ice bath, plunked the loin in the pot, weighted it down with a salad plate to keep it submerged, and into the fridge it went. It will brine until Sunday, then it’ll go onto a rack in the fridge, uncovered, and dry in there overnight. It should really be smoked on Monday, but it likely won’t get smoked until Tuesday.

In the brine. That's thyme floating in the water.

In the brine. That’s thyme floating in the water.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, I’ll be firing up the grill sometime this weekend — yet to be determined what I’ll be grilling, but it’ll be something. And I have a couple of other experiments in my little mind, too. I’ll let you ‘n y’mama’n ’em know when I get ’em under way.



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