Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Appetizers / Pig Candy

Pig Candy is a great sweet and spicy treat to have around the house for the holidays. It is fairly easy to make and is a great snack and goes well with my other appetizers of Jerky and Smoked Cheese.

This cook is my no-carb low calorie version and I used the following ingredients.

4 pounds of the thick cut Country Bacon from Sam's Club

Sugar Twin Granulated Brown Replacement Sugar (Calorie free-no carbs)

Ground Cayenne pepper

Crushed Hot Red pepper flakes (in black pepper container)

I start by adding some Sugar Twin to a bowl and then adding enough ground cayenne pepper to make it as hot as I want it. I like it SCREEMING HOT and use way more than most folks can handle. For you folks that don't like it very hot, just add some cayenne and taste it and then get it as hot as YOU want. Some of the mix will cook and wash off of the bacon so do make it a little hotter at the start.

I would normally smoke this in one of my Backwoods cookers like you see in the picture but I cheated this time and did it in the kitchen oven so it won't have any smoke flavor but I was pressed for time and just didn't get the smoker out and fire it up for this treat. The Shame of it.....much better in a smoker.

I don't like this treat cooked in it's own grease so I use raised cooling grids in the pans to keep the bacon up and out of the grease.

After I apply the hot spices & sugar to the top side of the bacon, I placed it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

I pulled it out, and then turned the bacon over, and added the spices again, and placed it back into the oven for about 25-30 more minutes or until it is done to suit me.

This is the final product just out of the oven and cooling on the top of the stove.

I then cut each strip of bacon in half and this picture shows the results of my 4 pound cook.

I bagged up the Pig Candy and have it ready for the holidays.

Good Stuff!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Appetizers / Smoked Cheese

Real Smoked Cheese is a great treat to have around the house during the holidays. It is very easy to prepare and is wonderful with crackers and any smoked meat.

For this smoke, I used the following cheeses.

3.99 lb of Alpenhaus Switzerland Swiss Cheese (one of our favorites)

2.10 lb of Members Mark Sharp Cheddar

1.82 lbs of Dutch Gouda Cheese

1.23 lb Black Diamond 6 yr aged Cheddar Cheese

1.66 lb of Great Midwest 3 Alarm Colby Jack with Chipotle, Habenero, & Jalapeno

I cut the blocks of cheese into the smaller chunks like you see in the picture. The smoke doesn't penetrate the cheese but only builds up on the outside of the blocks and to keep the smoke equal in the pieces, it is better to keep the blocks no more than about 1 to 1-1/2" in diameter for the best results. This is also cracker size and will be perfect for this treat.

I got the Backwoods Chubby out for this smoke. I will run no water in the pan for this very low temp smoke. Placed about 10 Rancher Brickettes in the chimney and lit it off.

As soon as I had the coals all ashed over and grey, I place 6 brickettes in my pie pan and then laid a couple of chunks of fruitwood on top of the brickettes and placed it into the firebox of the cooker.

I loaded the cooker with the grids of cheese and closed it up. I must keep the temp inside the cooker to under 80 degrees for this smoke and with the cold morning of about 18 degrees, this won't be a problem with this cook. No heat is needed for smoking cheese but only the smoke for great results. In the Summer, I would have filled the waterpan with ice for the cook.

I let it smoke for 60 minutes and then pulled one log off to sample for the smoke. I cut the first piece off of the log and SET IT ASIDE!! I then cut the second slice off of the log and tasted it for smoke and found that it needed some more smoking. I then placed the log back into the smoker. I didn't taste the first slice off the log as it has way to much surface area (end piece) and would have given me a false reading.

I checked another piece at 90 minutes into the cook and it was perfect. Had a nice light smoke flavor and was good.

I pulled the cheese off of the cooker and shut it down.

I then vacuumed sealed the blocks in their bags. They will need to age about a week in the fridge as this brings out more flavor in the smoked cheese.

This will go over great with my Jerky and all I need now is the Pig Candy and it is up next.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

KCBS Judges / Judging--Thank You

The Ribs & Bibs Competition Barbecue Cooking Team would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified Judges. Without your support, we couldn't enjoy this great hobby of competition barbeque cooking.

I know it is a "thankless" task at times but we do want you to know it is appreciated by this cooking team. In our area of the Mid-West, I know many of you have to travel which means additional fuel costs, maybe a motel room, several meals, and we know this comes out of your pocket and again, it is appreciated.

Along with the cost of judging in our area, we also would like to thank you for your valuable time that you give up to judge the contests. Your dedication to this sport/hobby means the world to the Ribs & Bibs BBQ Team.

For any of the judges that might arrive early on Friday for the event, or any of the judges that might want to stay over after the judging and visit, we would be honored to have you stop by the Ribs & Bibs cooking site for a beverage. We always have extra chairs and do like to talk about our sport.

Just find the site with the red and white Ford pickup with the small white toy hauler and come in and introduce yourself and visit with us for a while.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Appetizers / Jerky

With the holiday season coming up, we always like to have some homemade appetizers, treats, and snacks available for family and visitors. We usually make up some holiday baskets for several friends as well.

This is one of our baskets from last year and it contains a package of my Pig Candy, a package of my Regular Jerky, and a package of my Hot and Spicy Jerky, a couple of logs of my real Smoked Cheese, and a bottle of Jack.

Now, dontcha wish you were one of my friends and received your Christmas basket???

CAUTION: This jerky recipe and method doesn't have a cure in it so it must be either refridgerated or frozen so it doesn't spoil after the cooking and drying.

This batch was 10 pounds of beef bottom round roast and I had the store cut it off of the full round in 1/4" thick slices for my jerky. This saves me a step in the prep of this treat.

I usually start by making up my marinade for the meat as it needs to soak a while so the sugar can dissolve. For this 10 pounds of meat, I mixed up this recipe...

3-1/2 Cups of Soy Sauce
3/4 Cup Dark Molasses
2-1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 TBL Onion Powder
2 TBL Garlic Powder
2 TBL Black Pepper
1 TBL White Pepper
1 TBL Ground Red Pepper
2 TBL Crushed Red Pepper

I make the marinade up in a large bowl and then throw the meat into the bowl as we trim it.

We trim as much fat out of the meat as we can and then cut it into slices like you see in the picture.

After the meat is trimmed, I place the meat and the marinade into a large stainless steel pot and put it into the fridge for at least 12 hours before it goes on the smoker. More time is even better.

On smoking day, I usually bring my cooking grids into the kitchen and then load them up. This was a large cook and will take both of my Backwoods Party cookers as I ended up with 14 grids of jerky meat.

I loaded up both cookers with some Rancher charcoal and then placed some hickory chunks over the top. I am running both with a dry water pan with my foil pan modifications as I sure don't need any moisture for this type of cook. After I lit them up, I cut the air back to about nothing on the intake vents as I don't want the temps to go over about 160 degrees.

The meat then comes out of the fridge and we load it on the cooking racks. With the Backwoods cookers, I can only load the racks about 65% full so the cooker can flow the proper amount of smoke and heat.

I ended up with 14 racks of jerky ready to go into the cookers.

Meat looked great coming out of the marinade.

Was a cold morning at about 18 degrees and I got the meat on the cookers at about daylight.

On my one cooker, I did my spicy hot jerky and for this, I sprinkled on some more ground cayenne pepper as I put the grids into the cooker.

It did warm up a little to I think about 28 degrees so it was a good day for my cook.

I had one cooker that did great and I was able to keep the temps where I wanted them at under about 160 degrees but the other cooker got a little hot and the meat got done a little quicker that I expected at about 4 hours. Didn't hurt the quality at all as the meat from both cookers came out wonderful. I need to adjust the door on that cooker and I am sure my next low temp cook will be fine.

My jerky started coming off the cookers at about 4 hours and continued to come off for another 4 hours before all of it was done.

Meat looks great and is now ready for the vacuume pack bags.

These are the first few bags off the cookers and are ready for the freezer.

Again, one last CAUTION, this meat must be refridgerated or frozen and it hasn't been cured. You can't just leave it set out on a table as it will spoil.

This is one great treat and will be a great snack for the holidays.

My smoked cheese is coming up next...