Recipes

Puffy Pork Belly

Not quite bacon, not quite chicharrones, puffy pork belly is the Goldilocks zone between the two, a dish that emerges when one makes the decision to deep fry a skin-on pork belly. I’ve written before about how much I love the crispy pig skin that gets chopped into the barbecue at Skylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina. There’s a crunchiness that results only after the well-cooked skin is exposed to the direct heat from the coals. The skin…

Sausage Making, Freedmen’s Style

When a process is notoriously complicated and unpleasant, people tend to trot out a time-worn idiom: you don’t want to know how the sausage gets made. While the saying is especially useful when it comes to any political bureaucratic dealing, it’s a bit derogatory and it slightly diminishes the art of the craft, a sentiment I’m sure Freedmen’s Bar pitmaster Evan LeRoy would agree with. Recently Freedmen’s, one of the best new barbecue joints in Texas, was as stop on…

Prime Rib Primer

Over the last few days, I’ve shared recipes for a from-scratch ham, a smoked fried turkey, and a smoked pork crown roast. Now for the mother of all holiday meal centerpieces: the prime rib. Aside from beef tenderloin, prime rib is usually the most expensive cut of beef you can buy. In the days before Christmas, they fill the cases of butcher shops and grocery stores, testament to their popularity for holiday meals. While it’s easy…

Ugly Pork Crown Roast

Pork crown roast is a popular cut with an inferiority complex. It wants to be taken as seriously as prime rib, thought it would probably settle for the respect of rack of lamb. Alas, a bone-in loin of commodity hog isn’t much to look at, so butchers dress it up by making a meat wreath out of it, then topping that wreath with little paper hats. It’s cute, and the trussed-up porcine crown does make for a…

Smoked Fried Turkey

I’m of the opinion that most foods can be improved when they’re smoked, and one of my favorite dishes that proves this proclaimed axiom is smoked turkey. We’ve got plenty of great options in Texas, all of which likely beat the oven-roasted turkey that your family overcooked at Thanksgiving. But when it comes to poultry, there’s just something special about a fried bird. The juicy meat and crispy skin achieved during the frying process is nearly impossible to mimic in an oven…

Christmas Ham, Part II

Do you have a ham brining in the refrigerator? No? Then go back to step one here. (Don’t worry. If you missed step one, there’s still time for a New Year’s ham.) For everyone whose ham is about to complete its salt-water bath, here’s what to do next. After at least seven full days-a-soaking, take the ham out of the brine and submerge it in fresh water. Rinse it well, then place on a baking sheet…

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