Quick double cheeseburger done on stove in cast iron. Each patty a 3oz ball of 80/20 chuck topped with the best cheese for a cheeseburger: American cheese.
Haven’t seen a $.99/lb butt sale lately and with all the Holiday cooking I have not made sausage for a bit. While at Costco noticed their boneless butts were back down to the regular price of $1.99/lb AND happened to find two 2-packs that came to almost exactly 25lb. Destiny.
Should have paid more attention but when taking out of fridge today to start cutting up I realized one pack had bones - even though sold as boneless. Jerks. Anyways, since you can’t get hi-temp Whiz I used 2.5 hi-temp cheddar and 25lb pork butt.
And will say it sure is nice to be able to use the back patio as a fridge again to chill grinder head and stuffer, meat block after grind, sausage mix after filling stuffer, etc. Thinking I may hang these outside tomorrow to freeze before cutting and vac sealing.
I have a few co-workers that subtlety bring up the topic of my smoked beef jerky fairly often. One of them is not so subtle and will be in town (Chicago) from NY this week. So when I was last at Costco I grabbed a few packs of eye of round. This is one time I don’t mind the “mechanically tenderized” beef from Costco as I figure it helps slices absorb more seasoning.
Sliced it all up on Monday eve and and split into 4 x 4-1/3lb piles. I used PS Seasoning Sweet & Hot on 3 of them and PS Maple Jalapeno on 1 of them (each seasoning pack covers 5lbs so wanted to try a bit stronger flavor). More for my own recall I had my slicer dial set to 10 for 1/4" but seemed a tad thicker than normal.
This morning (Wednesday) I laid the Sweet & Hot out on my 6 PK100 racks and as you can see by last one it just barely fit. I patted it all dry with paper towel to help speed the drying along.
Currently running in my PK100 at 150F with vents 90% closed for 1 hour. Then will bump up to 160F and add some Cherry smoke and open vents up.
On my last jerky thread I mentioned that I rarely pick up the “sweet” in a recipe over the smoke. twilliams mentioned he often uses his PK (big brother to mine) for jerky without any smoke with great results. Based on that, I plan to tone way down on the sawdust compared to normal. Hoping for more a “hint” of smoke this time.
The Maple Jalapeno batch all fit on the top rack of my Pitts & Spitts Maverick 1250. They recently posted the controller commands to set the smoker low-point to 140F vs previous 160F. So currently running it at 140F and will for a couple couple hours. The convection of a pellet smoker seems to cook MUCH faster than my PK100 so will just bump it up a bit as need till I hit 170F or so.
One day I swear I will be able to walk by a $.99/lb pork shoulder sale and not toss 60/lbs+ into my cart. One day…
Anyways, haven’t made much sausage lately as most of my free weekend days this year have gone to small resto projects on my '88 Land Cruiser. It is garaged for the winter and am waiting on some backordered parts from Toyota for my last project (new headlights and headlight wiring harness) so had some free time for a batch or two.
For these batches did a single 6mm grind on 25lb pork butt each. For each batch I ran the mixer for 8 total minutes adding the seasoning, cure, and 6oz Sure Gel mixed into 5 cups ice water. Added 2.5lb mostly frozen hi-temp cheese with 2 min left on mix and 2oz ECA for last minute.
Getting ready to debone and grind:
Mixing made easy! Only negative is needing a ladder to reach into the top of it when on counter:
Jalapeno Cheddar post mix:
All stuffed. Jalapeno Cheddar in the 2.5 x 20" and Spicy Garlic in the 2.4 x 12":
Garage fridge loaded up to hold till smoke/sous-vide tomorrow:
The less glamorous side of this all: Cleaning. Hurt more since we were meeting up with family for a delayed Thanksgiving meet-up. Was cutting close so had to leaving cleaning till after. Made it 2-3x harder than getting to it right away.
So no matter how much sausage, BBQ, bacon, or jerky I give to friends and neighbors, they ALL say that these smoked Cheez-Its are the best thing I make. It is kind of like Chex-Mix in theory and they are fantastic.
I basically make 3 Costco sized (48oz) boxes at a time with them split evenly between two hotel pans.
2/3c Avocado/Olive Oil
1/3c Kikkoman Soy Sauce
3 TBSP Hidden Valley Ranch Powder (reg or spicy)
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Onion Powder
1 TBSP Black Pepper
3 TBSP McCormick Honey Sriracha Seasoning (found at Sam’s club)
The Honey Sriracha is the wildcard and can be a swapped for anything you like. Have done Weber Garlic Jalapeno, BBQ rubs, etc. Just watch salt content. The rest is the “base” of the recipe.
Just combine the liquids and pour over Cheez-Its stirring to coat evenly. Then mix all dry ingredients and sprinkle over Cheez-Its and toss to combine (do this in 2-3 batches).
Then I smoke at 200F for 2 hours stirring every 20 min or so.
First butt I’ve cooked vs turned into sausage in some time. Sales lately have been on 2-packs and since I only need 3 to do 25lb sausage I hade this one left over. Did it overnight and is now resting in foil. Will pull it for some lunch in a bit.
Also funny how small a single 9lb butt looks on my smoker!
Funny that auto-fill reminds me how many of my posts start with “25lb batch of…”. Well, I guess here is another one!
Anyways I was literally at Costco with a cart full of eye of round at $4.69/lb when a buddy I had earlier complained about the price to sent me a picture of a local grocery (Jewel) that had a app coupon for $1.99/lb bagged whole eye of rounds. Limit of 15lb so after creating an account for my wife I was able to grab what I needed for this 25lb batch. My guesstimate puts it at $2.75/lb when you account for loss due to trimming.
Did an “8” which is around 1/4" on my slicer. 25lb isn’t easy to marinate overnight and I wanted good coverage so I split the seasoning/cure in half and mixed up 12.5lb at a time in a huge stainless bowl with 3.5 cups water. I dredged each piece in the bowl liquid as I added it and then gave it a good mix by hand before laying it into my 12QT cambro. It was layered like an eggplant parmesan. Dumped remaining liquid on top and repeated with second half.
The meat had a 12 hour cure before loading it up this morning. This batch filled my Pitts & Spitts 1250 (threw winter jacket on it too), my PK100, and 4 trays in my Excalibur dehydrator. Have never made beef jerky in a dehydrator so will be curious how it is.
Currently have the dehydrator at 160F and the smokers each at 180F. I had preheated the smokers to 250F for awhile before loading. The P&S recovered instantly. The PK100 is taking some time and was at 140F a bit after loading. The trays were all filled inside so was just open enough to load 6 trays in. Currently all vents are closed on PK100 and may leave like this for 2 hours before adding smoke depending where smoker temp is. Outside temps are in low 20s with a decent wind.
Jonathon I like the fact that 32/35 are also $10 cheaper.
AND they do an extra batch per bundle:
28-30mm - 80 lb
30-32mm - 105 lb
32-35mm - 125 lb
35-38mm - 125 lb
38-42mm - 150 lb
42-45mm - 160 lb
My favorite part is that I can run my entire 15lb stuffer into a single casing run. Nice to only have to load casings 2x for a 25lb+ batch
OleSmokey Man that looks killer! Something I do a lot on soups with vegetables is hit a small part of it with my stick blender to puree. When mixed in it gives even more body/thickness to it. <Not saying your soup needs it - just triggered me to share>.
So the cooks were as follows:
And the pic with all of them the P&S 1250 is left, PK right and dehydrator middle on plate.
To me the P&S 1250 was the best looking and best tasting. Nice smooth smoke flavor and great red color.
PK100 was quite a but stronger on smoke (used 1/2 pan mixed hardwood dust). The color was more dull and I think it has to do with evaporation. During the PK smoke you end up with a puddle of liquid and protein “goo” on top of each piece. I pat his dry and then flip each piece but I think it then dries the salt on the surface back onto it. In the pellet smoker I never see this as I think the convection handles evap better. Wondering if next time I leave vents open entire run to clear moisture better.
The Excalibur was interesting as you could really taste the seasoning and was a good baseline for just how much smoke adds to the flavor.