Bacon Wrapped SPAM Bites

Bacon Wrapped SPAM

SPAM is the canned mystery meat that seems to languish on Supermarket shelves everywhere. Unless you are preparing for a Hurricane or are waxing nostalgically over Cold War bunkers SPAM just does not seem to penetrate into the mainstream. We are here to throw down the gauntlet and say “Yes!!! SPAM does have a place!” Bacon Wrapped SPAM is an awesome appetizer and party food if you are looking for something a little bit different.

Bacon Wrapped SPAM

These bacon wrapped SPAM bites are first coated in our famous Pork Rub, then wrapped in bacon, and finally smoked for around 2 hours.

Ingredients

  • A can of SPAM
  • 1/4 Cup of our famous Pork Rub. (when we make the rub we don’t add any salt when we are making it for this. The bacon and the SPAM have enough on their own.)
  • 8 slices of bacon

The Prep

  1. Remove the SPAM from it’s can.
  2. Cube the SPAM into 16 pieces.
  3. Put the SPAM cubes into a Zip-Loc bag with the 1/4 cup of rub. Shake the bag till you have a nice even coat on all of the cubes.
  4. Cut the 8 slices of bacon in half.
  5. Wrap the rub coated SPAM cubes with a half slice of bacon each. Hold the bacon onto the SPAM cube with a skewer. We have experimented and find that one wrap with the bacon is enough. Having open sides on the SPAM cube lets you get the flavor of the SPAM, the rub, and the bacon. Fully bacon wrapped SPAM cubes seem to be overwhelmingly bacon-ness.

Bacon wrapped SPAM

The Process

  1. Pre-heat your smoker to 250 degress and add a handful of hickory chips.
  2. Place the bacon wrapped SPAM bites into the smoker.
  3. Smoke for 2 hours. The SPAM is a cooked meat so you really are just shooting for crispy bacon.
  4. Pull them out and let them cool down. They can be a little juicy and nuclear hot SPAM juice sort of leaves third degree burns on the roof of your mouth!

The Wrap Up

We like to serve these bad-boys with a Sriracha Honey Mustard  (follow the link and give that one a try, it is amazing!)  Get over you fear of the canned meat because Bacon Wrapped SPAM bites rock!

You might also like:

Try our awesome Armadillo Eggs

Bacon Wrapped Meatballs from mmmgoblubbq

 

 

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Pork Butt Recipes: Lechon Asada

Pork Butt RecipesWe are always on the look out for great pork butt recipes, and this Lechon Asada fits the bill in a big way! Like a lot of awesome pork butt recipes this one starts with a good rub and gets carefully basted while it is on the smoker. If you are looking to add to your your pork butt recipes this is one to save! This Cuban inspired pork will have you looking for a mojito and turning up the salsa and reggae.

Pork Butt Recipes: Lechon Asada

The Rub

  • 1 Tbs Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Ground White Pepper
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano (We grind this into a powder)
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder

Give the pork butt a good healthy rub and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. We like to do this the night before, but if pressed for time you can skip this step, and put the pork butt right out onto the smoker.

The Baste

This is a Mojo inspired baste. Mojo is a citrusy and garlicky sauce that is used a ton in Cuban cuisine. This is our take on it.

  • The Juice of 12 Fresh Limes
  • The Juice of 2 Oranges
  • Whole Head of Garlic (I run mine through a press)
  • 1 Tbs Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbs Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil

Pork Butt Recipes

This Lechon Asada is best smoked at 250 degrees, to an internal temperature of 185 degrees. We mop it with the Mojo sauce every hour while it is on.  We take this pork butt off a good 10 degrees below where we normally would, because we like to slice it and not shred it. We love to have this on a Cuban Sandwich or with good Cuban rice and beans. You will be surprised at how well all the flavors come together in a garlicky, salty, peppery, citrusy way. It is a wholly different experience than a Southern Style Pork Butt, but it is just as good. Trust us you won’t be disappointed!

If you liked this check out our other Pork Butt Recipes:

How to make Awesome Smoked Pork Butt

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Armadillo Eggs on the Kamado Grill

Armadillo EggsJust what the Hell are Armadillo Eggs? The name confused my Mother to no end, she kept repeating “But, Armadillos are mammals!”. From what I can find on the web, they are just a tongue in cheek name for a funky Tex-Mex appetizer. What isn’t in doubt is that they are one of the coolest smoked treats you can make. They are good from the Kamado Grill, off of the Weber, or right out of the oven.

Making Armadillo Eggs

  • 1 Pound of  Hot Sausage (We used Hot Italian)
  • 4 Medium Jalapenos (seeded, de-veined, and cut in half length ways)
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese (Softened)
  • 1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  1. Seed, de-vein, and cut the Jalapenos in half length wise.
  2. Mix the softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and ground cumin together in a medium bowl.
  3. Fill the jalapeno halves with the cheese mixture and set them aside.
  4. Cut the casings off of the sausage.
  5. Form the bulk sausage into 8 equal balls.
  6. Take the balls and press them down into thin disks.
  7. Put the filled jalapeno halves into the discs, and wrap the sausage around the rest of the pepper. Make sure the sausage completely encompasses the pepper.

Using an oven:

Pre-heat to 350 degrees. Place the Armadillo Eggs on a wire rack over a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Watch out for the surface of the sun hot cheese inside!

On the grill:

Set your grill up for indirect heat. Place the Armadillo Eggs on the indirect side of the grill. Grill them until they take on a uniform brown color. We like to throw them onto the hot grates and get a bit of grill  marks on them. Again watch out for the nuclear fusion going on inside these babies! You will burn the F@&K out of your mouth.

In the Kamado Grill:

Bring your Kamado Grill up to 350 degrees with a handful of hickory chips over the hot coals. Smoke the Armadillo Eggs for 25 minutes. One last reminder the cheese is napalm hot!!!

Armadillo Egss

Armadillo Eggs are fun and different kind of treat to make. They are great on their own but go great with a good  homemade Ranch Dressing. You can also make them with a sweet sausage to tone down the heat a bit. We love them around here! Give them a try and please let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep the content train rolling

Making Bacon at Home

Making BaconMaking bacon at home is surprisingly easy but a bit time consuming. If you have some salt, a refrigerator, a smoker, and a week to kill you can have the ultimate food at home! The nicest thing about home curing bacon is you can control the flavor profile. For this round of making bacon we went with a honey cure and hickory smoke.

Making Bacon

Making bacon at home, starts with two things, pork belly and a salt cure. Since bacon has caught on like wildfire in the media, pork belly has become easier to find. It once was the province of Asian and Hispanic markets, but it can now be found at the local butcher or supermarket.

The Dry Cure

  • 16 oz Kosher Salt
  • 8 oz Sugar
  • 8 tsp Pink Salt (Insta Cure #1)

A dry cure is one of the few things we weigh out around here. We are big fans of standard measurements, but when it comes to beating back the botulism fairy we don’t fool around. The Pink Salt has nitrates in it, which inhibits the growth of botulism spores. There is a bit of controversy when it comes to using nitrates, but we are big proponents of it.  Botulism isn’t something to fool around with.

The Directions

  1. Spread some cure out on a baking sheet.
  2. Firmly press the Pork Belly into the cure on all sides. You are shooting for a nice uniform coating.
  3. Place the coated belly into a large Zip-Loc bag and place it flat in the refrigerator.
  4. Turn the soon-to-be bacon every other day. This redistributes the liquid which aids in the curing process.
  5. On the 7th day feel the bacon, it should have a new found firmness to it.
  6. Soak the bacon in cold water for 10 minutes, then change out the water and soak for 10 more minutes.
  7. Pat the bacon dry.
  8. Pre-heat your smoker to 200 degrees and smoke the bacon to 150 degrees internal
  9. While it is still hot use  a large knife to remove the skin.
  10. Wait for it to cool, wrap, and place it in the refrigerator.

Home made bacon

This round of bacon we added 1/4 cup of honey to the Zip-Loc while the bacon cured. We also threw a handful of hickory chips into the smoker. The bacon came out with a nice sweetness to it and just enough smokey flavor. Making bacon is a fun and rewarding exercise. We generally make a pound and a half a week around here. It is awesome in all sorts of recipes, we especially like it in a big Dutch Oven full of beans.

For further reading on bacon check out Amazing Ribs. . .

Making Bacon at Home on Punk Domestics

 

 

 

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Smoking a Beef Brisket

Beef BrisketSmoked Beef Brisket is practically a religion unto itself in Texas. The names of the great pit-masters are up there with Sam Houston and Tom Landry. To be able to take that mammoth hunk of beef brisket and turn it into something that is extraordinary is quite an undertaking. First you have a piece of meat that should have it’s own zip code, then it lacks the marbling that helps other cuts of meat stay succulent. In fact, the muscles that make up a beef brisket actually help to support 60% of the weight of a cow, next time you’re looking  at a twelve hundred pound steer take that into consideration. As the brisket is a load bearing muscle, it is lean and filled with connective tissue. It takes a long slow smoke to start to break these down. The problem is the long cooking time can dry out a beef brisket till it is tough like an old boot. So smoking a beef brisket is like taking a walk on a tightrope, cook it too long and it is  dry, under cook it and it might be moist but it is tough. What makes a brisket extra terrifying is, at 12 to 15 pounds, you’re not whipping one up for yourself. So usually your closet family and friends are around for your great failure or great triumph!

Smoking a Beef Brisket

Great barbecue beef brisket starts with great beef brisket. Getting a hold of one of these usually requires a trip to the butcher. Your local grocery store is most likely not stocking these monster cuts. A whole beef brisket might seem like a daunting task but we think the whole piece is the way to go. You get two distinct cuts with a whole brisket, the point and the flat, they are separated by a nice layer of fat. Some pit-masters separate the point and the flat during cooking. We like to leave them together as we feel that the nice pocket of fat between them contributes to the flat remaining juicy. We do separate them before slicing, the point will get tucked away for later while the flat goes to the unwashed masses.  We have our butcher trim a little bit of fat from the brisket, an 1/8″ is just about right to leave on.

There are many good rubs out there, Big Bad Beef Rub from Amazing Ribs is one of our favorites. Rub the beef brisket on both sides, you need to get it into all the nooks and crannies. Slap on a pair of gloves and get elbow deep. Just like our smoked pork butt ,the beef brisket gets wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and placed in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Our briskets go into a 225 degree smoker with the fat cap up. There is a ton of debate on fat up versus fat down, we are squarely in the fat up camp. We believe that as the fat cap renders down it acts as a self baster for the brisket, helping to keep it moist.

Once your brisket is on the smoker (with a handful of hickory chips) the LONG wait begins. A full brisket with a minimum of trimming will go on the smoker weighing in the neighborhood of 12 pounds. That is a lot of meat, so get comfortable for the next 12 – 14 hours that you’ll be baby sitting it. We spritz our briskets with Apple Juice every hour on the hour until it reaches an internal temp of 150 degrees. At that point it is time for a tight double wrap in foil with a heavy squirt of apple juice. The foil helps to power through the stall that these huge pieces of meat can encounter. The added juice helps to braise the brisket and keep the temperature moving upwards.

We have found the best results with taking beef brisket to an internal temp of 200 degrees. If you are more familiar with grilling steaks this will seem like an insane temp for a piece of beef,  but those heavy connective tissues need time and temp to break down. The brisket comes off the smoker and goes straight into a clean empty cooler. It is covered with towels, to help keep the heat in, and allowed to rest for at least 1 hour. We find that the long hot rest lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat. This helps to make sure that the brisket is uniformly juicy.

Beef Brisket

 

The brisket will have a nice smoke ring and will be succulent. It can be served sliced or chopped. We like to serve it sliced pencil thick, it should pull apart easily with your fingers. It can also be chopped and served with a tangy sauce on a sandwich, this might get you shot in Texas but we go with what tastes  good.

Turning out great beef brisket at at home puts you near the top of the food chain for backyard grillheads, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot. Use our tips, take your time, and enjoy the accolades of your guests!

Let us know what you think!!!

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep the content train rolling

How to make Awesome Smoked Pork Butt

Smoking, Pork Butt, Pulled Pork

The smell of a large hunk of Pork Butt slowly cooking over a hardwood fire can only be described as heavenly, experience it once, and you’ll want to know how to make awesome smoked pork butt for yourself.

Pork Butt or Boston Butt, is a cut that comes from the upper part of the the front shoulder on the Pig. Ironically the name has nothing to do with the behind of the pig. It actually comes from the fact that this piece of meat wasn’t highly valued in Pre-Revolutionary War America. So the pieces were thrown into barrels, which were also known as “butts”, and shipped out. The butchers in Boston had a particular way of cutting this piece of meat so,the name Boston Butt stuck. This cut is known for it’s ample marbling and prominent fat cap. It is a big, hard working muscle so it needs a long slow cook to turn it into something to be proud of. It is perfect for Southern style BBQ, Mexican Carnitas,  or Puerto Rican Pernil. Those who take the time to show this hunk of pork it’s due reverence, will be rewarded with a buttery, and velvety dish that will wow guests!

There are many different combinations of spices that can be rubbed onto a pork butt before it goes into the smoker, but sometimes the simplicity of salt and pepper can’t be beat. If you are going to go this route you are going to season the meat and not rub it. The difference is subtle but important! A rub will be put on rather heavy where a seasoning is only to enhance the natural flavor of the meat (Don’t worry here at Flames and Food we embrace both methods!). After the meat is seasoned wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but over-night is better.

When you are ready to start smoking do yourself a favor and take the meat of the fridge. Starting with a 40 degree piece of meat will needlessly lengthen the cooking time. An 8 pound Pork Butt can stand for an hour while the smoker heats up with no adverse effects.

Start bringing your smoker up to temp. Pork Butt loves a nice slow cook at right around 250 degrees. This Pork Butt loves a nice handful hickory chips thrown in. Hickory gives a strong traditional flavor, and the fatty richness of the pork just laps it up.

Unlike a brisket a Pork Butt goes into the smoker fatty side down. The ample marbling of provides a built in cushion against drying out the meat and it doesn’t need the extra self basting that the fat cap provides. You should figure on at least an hour a pound of cooking time. Careful monitoring of the meat and grill temperatures is important. A good wireless thermometer that does both is awesome for this (we like the one from Ivation ).

Every hour or so give the Pork Butt a spritz with some Apple Juice. Juice has extra sugar in it versus cider and this helps to build a good “bark” on the meat. The “bark” is a signature of a lovingly smoked pork butt.  When the meat starts to get up near 190 – 195 degrees, it is ready to come off. Now if you aren’t accustomed to smoking,  you might be concerned with such a high temp, but it is necessary to get the fat to render out of the meat, and for the tough muscle to break down. This is what gives good BBQ it’s characteristic tenderness.

Wrap the Smoked Pork Butt tightly in foil and let it rest for at  least half and hour. It will be hard! You’re the cook so pulling off a bit of the “bark” before you wrap it is only fair. Throwing an old towel over it to hold in the heat is welcome as well. (Note: after the Butt is wrapped in foil it can be wrapped in towels and placed in a cooler. It will stay hot for several hours. This is a great way to prepare BBQ ahead of time. It is always better to have your food waiting on the guests instead of your guests waiting on the food.)

The best part of a well made Smoked Pork Butt is the time when you grab the piece of shoulder blade still in the meat and pull it out with a flourish! It should slide easily and cleanly out. Then it is up to you whether to slice the meat, shred it with claws, or pull it by hand. It will be delicious either method you go with. However you decide to serve it this  meal needs a quality sauce. This one with it’s humble salt and pepper seasoning, loves a bold sauce like an Eastern North Carolina vinegar based sauce. Those Eastern NC sauces are nothing but vinegar, heat, salt and hate. Around here, our house one is known as Demon Spit.

Smoked Pork Butt, the Details:

Smoke between 225-250 degrees

An hour a pound (give or take)

Cook to an internal temp of 195 degrees

REST the meat for at least 30 minutes.

Have fun

 

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep the content train rolling