Friday, April 15, 2011

Up in Smoke - Charcutapalooza Challenge 4

The Smoke Challenge for Charcutapalooza ended up being a ton of fun and produced some fantastic flavors. In the brining challenge last month, I did a taste comparison of pork and beef using both a corning preparation and a goose fat confit technique.  My conclusion is that the confit produced a far superior experience and although the corned beef was very tasty, the confit disappeared immediately.  

Confit of Pork Shoulder and Beef Brisket
When the smoke challenge came out, that was the kick to take the experience to a new level.  The corned beef and pork went on the smoker for about 7 hours at 180 degrees, transforming them to pastrami and what turned out to be the best pulled pork of my life.

Smoking the Brined Meat (before spices)
After smoking, the meat rested for a day and was simmered in an inch of water for 4-5 hours, flipping once.

Hot Smoked Pork (left) and Beef Brisket (right)
It's pretty amazing how the color transformed during the final cooking step.  The leftover juices were used as a base for baked beans and added a great depth to the dish.

Pastrami (Brisket, Corned, Spiced & Smoked)
 The Brisket ended up being the superstar of the competition.  A thinly sliced bite was an explosion of complex flavors, unraveling the sweet, spice, salt and smoke flavors from the super tender meat.  The pork was as good as it gets in the barbecue world and the pulled pork sandwiches were contenders for any roadside or old school joint.

As a side benefit, I smoked the home cured brown sugar bacon at the same time.

Home Cured Smoked Bacon

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