For a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, Insulated Vertical Smokers Like a Humphrey's BBQ, as well as Barrel Smokers
Bill Gillespie, whose barbecue team was named Grand Champion of the prestigious American Royal Barbecue Invitational, also won the Jack Daniel's Invitational with his pulled pork recipe. In short, Bill is passionate about and good at smoking pork.
In his second book, Bill shares new versions of his award-winning competition pork recipes, as well as easy homemade bacon, unique fatties (stuffed and smoked sausages), incredible chops and roasts, and then takes it to the next level with his outstanding whole hog cooking technique.
Bill explains all the secrets that elevate his smoking to the top of the game. His recipes are simple and easy to follow; the results are amazing. If you like smoking or know someone who does, you need to have or gift this exceptional collection of recipes from one of the top pitmasters of BBQ.
|Publisher:||Page Street Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||8.01(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.53(d)|
About the Author
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The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook
Pit Master of Smokin' Hoggz Bbq, One of the Most Decorated Teams in the Country
By Bill Gillespie, Tim O'Keefe, Ken Goodman
Page Street Publishing Co.Copyright © 2016 Bill Gillespie, Tim O'Keefe
All rights reserved.
THE PIG, THE WHOLE PIG AND NOTHING BUT THE PIG
When I first got involved in competition barbecue back in 2005, I never could have imagined all the things that would happen to me. Competition barbecue is unlike anything else I've ever experienced. Sure, each event is a competition to see who the best is that day, but the barbecue community is truly a community of friendship. Along the way, I've made several friends with whom I've shared a lot of laughs, and for that alone, I'll always be thankful.
Since 2008, my competition team, Smokin' Hoggz, has won several trophies, including the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in 2011 and the American Royal Invitational in 2014, arguably the two most prestigious titles in competition barbecue. When I cooked at these contests, I used the same types of smokers I discuss in this cookbook. At the Jack, I cooked on an insulated cabinet-style smoker and a non-insulated bullet-style smoker. At the Royal, I cooked exclusively on an insulated cabinet smoker. Success on the competition circuit led to new opportunities, such as writing the barbecue cookbook Secrets to Smoking, and bringing a commercial barbecue sauce to market — things I never would have imagined were possible.
When the Smokin' Hoggz team competes at barbecue contests, we're required to submit four entries: chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder and beef brisket. Given that two of the four categories are pork, I've had a lot of practice cooking swine. Additionally, one of my favorite foods is bacon. The book you are reading actually came out of an idea I had to create a bacon cookbook — that's why nearly a third of the recipes use bacon.
Over the years on the competition circuit, I have had lots of people ask me questions about pork. Some people wanted to learn how to cook pork, while others asked about the difference between pork butt and picnic shoulder. Eventually, I decided to combine my interest in teaching people about pork with my love for bacon, and created the book you're holding in your hands.
Secrets to Smoking focused on techniques and recipes for making award-winning barbecue. This book is a little different. Although it uses many of the same cooking techniques, the main focus is on showing the versatility of the pig by teaching people how to use different parts of the animal to create tasty dishes.
HOGS, PIGS AND SWINE
Like a lot of people, I pretty much used the terms hog, pig and swine Interchangeably. I wasn't sure whether these words really meant the same thing or were somehow different. So, I did what a lot of guys my age might do. I opened up an old, dusty dictionary to see what it had to say. In one source, pig was described as a young, domestic swine that is not yet sexually mature; however, the term can also be used more broadly to simply mean a wild or domestic hog. Although hog is a synonym for pig, it can technically mean a male pig that has had its sex organs removed (and you thought the pig ending up on the smoker was the worst thing that could ever happen to it). Swine was described as a short-legged mammal with thick, bristly skin and a long, flexible snout. I'm still not sure how rigid these distinctions are, so I guess the important thing for you to understand is that I use these words interchangeably in this book. After all, I don't breed hogs; I cook 'em.
There are several types of hogs that animal breeders might raise. On the following pages are some descriptions of the ones most frequently found on smokers. These are all heritage breeds, which are more expensive than commodity pork found at most grocery stores. Small butcher shops might carry heritage breeds, but your best bet to locate some might be through a dedicated breeder or specialty farm in your area.
I like Hampshire, Berkshire and duroc for shoulders, butts and ribs. I particularly like Berkshire because I think it produces a richer pork flavor, and I frequently use this breed in barbecue competitions.
Yorkshires are a rather lean and muscular breed with a smaller quantity of back fat. These large, white hogs have upward-pointing, triangular ears and short snouts. They're known for raising large litters and are the most popular breed in the United States.
This dark-colored breed is highly renowned for superior meat quality. Chances are the meat from a Berkshire hog has better color, texture and marbling than any other swine you're likely to find on a smoker. They are prized for long, slow cooks.
The duroc is a breed of red hog that is known for its ability to grow quickly and easily, acquiring more meat in the meantime. Many mixed-breed, commercial pigs trace their ancestors to duroc hogs. Their numbers in the United States are second only to Yorkshires.
Some people believe the Hampshire is the oldest breed of hog in the United States. Well muscled, these hogs produce a higher ratio of lean meat than do most other breeds. They are characterized by a black complexion with a swath of white that spans the front shoulders and legs.
Herefords are known for their brown-and-white color, similar to cattle. This breed originated in the United States and is popular in the Midwest. These hardy animals can grow to 700–800 pounds (318–363 kg).
Red hogs that originated in Britain, Tamworths sport a long, narrow body that is reputable for developing quality hams. These hogs grow slowly and spend lots of time outdoors foraging for food.
Native to England, this is the only hog in the United States that is all black. These long animals can be found in pastures. They're docile animals that provide very large litters, with huge, floppy ears that partially cover their faces.
TYPES OF SMOKERS
Cooking on a smoker is absolutely my favorite way to make pork. One obvious reason is that the smoke helps create a unique flavor. Another is the resulting texture of the meat. When you cook using a smoker, you're cooking over a low temperature for a long time period. Slow cooking allows the fibers and tough tissues that make up muscle regions to break down. Similarly, this cooking method will melt down some of the fat surrounding the muscle, adding moisture and flavor to the meat.
There are a wide variety of styles of smokers on the market. Some people prefer to actually build their own cooking device. Although most people on the competition circuit prefer to purchase a smoker, every once in a while I find someone who has built one. The three main types of smokers most frequently used are offset barrel smokers, non-insulated bullet-style smokers and insulated cabinet smokers.
NON-INSULATED BULLET-STYLE SMOKERS
Non-insulated smokers, such as the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (WSM), are sometimes referred to as bullet smokers because of their shape. Although they are not insulated, they tend to have a slow burn rate and do a pretty good job of maintaining a constant temperature. All the recipes in this book can be made using a non-insulated smoker. With a low price point of $300 or $400, these smokers are a great purchase for backyard cooking enthusiasts. I know a lot of people on the competition circuit who have used these products with excellent results!
INSULATED CABINET SMOKERS
In my opinion, insulated cabinet smokers, such as my Humphrey's smoker, are top-of-the-line products. These smokers cost anywhere from $500 up to around $9,000. I like insulated cabinet smokers because I think they provide more consistent heat, especially during cold weather, with little fluctuation in temperature during the cooking process.
A cabinet-style smoker cooks food using a reverse-flow effect. These smokers have an interior wall that runs parallel to the exterior walls that make up the sides of the smoker. Heat and smoke travel up between the interior and exterior walls of the smoker, and then back down from the top of the smoker toward the cooking chamber. In the cooking chamber, air flows over the meat, cooking and flavoring the food, and then exits the bottom of the smoker. I like to cook picnic shoulder and brisket with the fat cap facing up to protect the meat from the direct flow of heat and smoke. During the cooking process, the fat cap renders down, which helps keep the meat moist and juicy — self-basting, you could say. All of the recipes in this book can be cooked using an insulated cabinet smoker.
OFFSET BARREL SMOKERS
Offset barrel smokers are what many people first think of when they think of a smoker. Typically, the fire is created in a small box offset from a separate compartment with a much larger cooking area. The smoke and heat travel from the firebox and slowly fill up the cooking area, cooking the food in the process. The fire for these smokers can require a lot of work, particularly during longer cooking sessions. None of the recipes in this book are cooked using an offset smoker, but all of them can easily be adapted to this type of smoker.
I'm a competition barbecue cook. Offset barrel smokers are not my preferred style of smoker because tending the fire for a long duration can be a chore. I prefer not to have this additional task during a competition, but if you think maintaining the fire is part of the fun, then a barrel smoker is a great option for your backyard! You can purchase an entry model for around $200, while a competition-worthy rig can run as much as $10,000.
SMOKE WOODS, CHIPS AND CHUNKS
In traditional barbecue, a primary component of the basic flavor profile is wood smoke. In essence, wood smoke is just another ingredient that adds flavor to meat. If you use too much smoke, the food can taste bitter. If you use too little smoke, the flavor of the food may be missing just a little something and fall flat. In addition to learning how much wood smoke to use while cooking, you'll need to learn how to pair different types of wood with various meats and seafood. Don't worry, though: I won't make you learn it all on your own. This section should provide a great foundation to help you get started.
Smoke woods generally break down into two main groups: nut woods and fruit woods. In general, we think nut wood pairs better with beef, and fruit wood pairs better with pork and poultry. The following table provides descriptions of different smoke woods frequently used on the competition barbecue circuit.
TYPES OF CHARCOAL
When cooking on a charcoal grill or smoker, there are two types of charcoal you can use as your fuel source for the fire: lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. In some ways, these fuel sources are very similar. After all, briquettes are essentially made from a charcoal; however, they contain binding agents (fancy terminology for chemicals) that help the briquettes hold together and retain their square shape. You might hear some people say that you should always light charcoal briquettes and let them turn gray before you use them to cook. Some people believe that this practice helps burn off some of the binding agents. Similarly, you might also hear some people say that if you place unlit black charcoal briquettes directly on the fire and cook, then the food will obtain a slight chemical flavor. This is most likely a reference to the residual flavor of the binding agents that burn along with the briquettes during the cooking process. Some brands of charcoal briquettes use alternative binding agents, such as cornstarch, and label the product as "natural briquettes." We prefer natural briquettes to standard briquettes, but you should try different brands of charcoal to see what you like best.
People often refer to lump charcoal as being more natural than briquettes because lump charcoal contains no binding agents. Lump charcoal burns at a little hotter temperature than briquettes do, but it usually burns for a slightly shorter duration. Keep this in mind if you start to experiment with lump charcoal.
We think the easiest way to light charcoal is using a Weber charcoal chimney. Our preferred lighting method is to drizzle some cooking oil on a sheet of newspaper, place the newspaper beneath the charcoal chimney, and then light the paper on fire. The cooking oil prolongs the burn time of the newspaper, ensuring the charcoal is lit. One thing we absolutely do not recommend using is charcoal lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is a chemical. Even after the fluid burns off, the chemical residue left behind will leave an unpleasant flavor lingering in the food you cook.
TIME VERSUS TEMPERATURE
One of the things I've learned on the competition circuit is that most cooks usually cook either by time or by temperature. Typically, most competition cooks have so much experience that they accurately estimate how much time a particular piece of meat will take to cook on their smoker. Like anything else, this ability comes with experience. Less experienced cooks often use a meat thermometer during the cooking process to determine how the meat is progressing. Before consuming any meat you cook, it's always a good idea to check it using a meat thermometer for general food safety reasons.
Most of the recipes in this cookbook have references to time and temperature at specific points in the cooking process. One important thing to keep in mind is that meat will cook at different time lengths on different types of smokers. For example, if I provide a recipe and cook using an insulated cabinet, and you make the same recipe using an uninsulated bullet-style cooker, chances are you will have to cook for a slightly longer length of time. In these cases, you should cook with an emphasis on the temperature of the meat, and use a meat thermometer to see how things are coming along. In my opinion, part of what makes cooking outdoors so much fun is gaining the ability to accurately estimate how long something will take to cook. Trust me, after you make a particular recipe a few times, you'll be able to estimate how long the cooking process should take on your smoker, and your friends will admire your cooking skills!CHAPTER 2
THE BELLY OF THE BEAST
Although pigs provide numerous cuts of meat, including ribs, chops, loins, shoulders and butts, pork belly is one of the most prized sections of the animal. Pork belly comes from the underside of the animal. Essentially, there are five layers to pork belly–three layers of muscle and two layers of fat. Cooked properly, these layers melt together to create a wonderful texture and flavor. Pork belly is often fried, braised or grilled, and is found in a variety of dishes throughout the world.
One of the most celebrated and versatile foods that pigs yield is made from pork belly. That food, arguably one of America's favorites, is bacon. Bacon seems to have a natural way of finding itself on breakfast, lunch and dinner plates in a very complementary and unassuming manner. Similarly, bacon can be covered in chocolate or crumpled into small bits that are hidden in baked goods, transforming them into delectable desserts. Is there any food more adored than bacon? I can't think of one.
A key step in making bacon from pork belly is the curing process. Curing is an ancient food preservation technique that draws away moisture to help prevent spoilage. Two common curing methods are salt curing, also known as corning, and smoke curing. Curing salts contain nitrates. In salt curing, the large amount of salt in conjunction with the nitrates deprives certain bacteria of water, which helps prevent the oxidation process that causes meat to spoil. Similarly, smoke curing helps seal the exterior pores of meat, making the meat more resilient to infection from bacteria. Cured bacon can last in the fridge for about ten days and in the freezer for about three months.
Traditionally, the fatty pieces from a pig's stomach region are cut into strips, cured and then cooked to create the bacon we all know and love. Bacon can also be prepared uncured. Uncured bacon uses natural salts that do not contain nitrates. While uncured bacon is smoked, it won't last long in the fridge and should be consumed within a few days.
This chapter contains instructions on how to cure bacon, plus several recipes I've put together that use bacon as a key ingredient. I hope you enjoy making these recipes as much as I enjoyed creating them — fat wrapped around meat spells yum!
PEPPER-CRUSTED PORK BELLY
Pepper-crusted bacon is one of my favorite kinds of bacon. The different types of pepper create a taste that is mildly pungent, a little bit spicy and a fantastic addition to any sandwich.
Excerpted from The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook by Bill Gillespie, Tim O'Keefe, Ken Goodman. Copyright © 2016 Bill Gillespie, Tim O'Keefe. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Pig, The Whole Pig And Nothing But The Pig 8
Chapter 2 The Belly of the Beast 15
Chapter 3 Sausage, Sausage and More Sausage 79
Chapter 4 Ribs, Chops and Loins 103
Chapter 5 Butts, Shoulders and Hams 125
Chapter 6 Going Whole Hog 157
Chapter 7 Sauces and Rubs 171
About the Authors 185