Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
I have a thing for smoked meats.
The "Kasseler" procedure was invented in 1880 by a butcher in Berlin (last name Cassel).
Apparently he smoked a large pork loin then allowed it to ripen in a salt brine. The process draws the moisture out of the meat. The Egyptians did a similar thing to mummify their kings. Anyway, the Germans used this method to preserve their meat. With its distinctive taste it soon became a favorite in and around Berlin. Word of this delicacy eventually spread throughout Germany where it remains a popular menu item.
This is a loin of pork which has been cured and smoked - my first venture into actually curing meat.
Isn't that a thing of beauty?
It can be served cold or cut into chops. You can slice it and heat it quickly in a frying pan with butter as an accompaniment to a batch of spaetzle along with your garden green beans. Or serve it with slow cooked kraut and a couple of different sausages from the Fatherland for Schlachtplatte. In Germany it is frequently served with steamed kale.
My recipe reversed the process of smoking followed by brining. I brined then smoked - which delivered a superb result.
1 gallon water
11/2 cup of Kosher salt
1 cup of sugar
3T Tender Quick
1T juniper berries
4 to 5 pound boneless pork loin
Wood chips (alder, beech, hickory or apple)
Smoker or full-size Weber kettle grill
Mix the brine by combining the first eight ingredients in a plastic pail. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Take a whole boneless pork loin and trim from it any fat and silver skin. Stab it in several locations so that your brine will penetrate. Drop the meat into the pail and place a plate on it to keep it submerged. Snap a lid on your pail and put it in a cool place for 48 hours.
I kept it in my basement. If I was doing this in July I'd put the pail in the beer fridge in the garage.
Remove the loin from the pail following two entire days of sitting in the brine. Rinse and pat dry. Place it in your smoker over a pan of water. Smoke for three hours. Internal temperature on your loin must be 150 degrees to be fully cooked.
The traditional German recipe calls for alder - I soaked enough apple wood to recharge my smoker half way through the smoking process.
Incidentally - if you know how to do indirect cooking with a Weber kettle grill you can do this without a smoker. Simply make a very small fire on one side of the grill and position your meat on the top grate opposite the fire. Add your soaked chips over the hot coals and cover with the vent positioned over the meat.
Regulate your heat using the vents and add briquettes and additional chips periodically to keep your fire going.