Ham


Ham.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of different stories floating around the world wide super-web at the moment all tell you how to cook a decent ham… well, in actual fact that may be more applicable to the couple of weeks prior to Christmas but, as we all know, I am not the most talented at being super organized for this sort of thing so for now I shall just be pretending I am super organized and on the program (and not just the methadone program for a change).

So, about that ham…

Like I said, there is a lot of different ways to cook a ham much like say, skinning a cat or pleasuring a lady-man. I am not here to tell you my method is more righteous and will light the path to the heavens for you, but let me tell you it is pretty damn good and I am feeling more than just a little enlightened right now.

Hallelujah!

The other thing about what I did is, well, I cooked the ham from scratch which automatically gets you 300% more kudos than just glazing a store bought smoky leg o’ pig. Also smoking a ham is not nearly as hard as you think it might be, as long as you have a smoker (Bullet/barrel or off-set is what I have used) and a probe thermometer.

You will also be needing a brined (or pickled) leg of pork for this exercise. You should be able to hook this up from your local decent butcher if you give him a little notice.

This recipe is for 9kg of pure porcine glory. If you have a smaller leg, or even half a leg, the cooking time is going to be reduced. Just keep an eye on that internal temperature and hoist it when it hits 170F.

You’re gonna need a smoker
This is a very sexy sight
Get the skin off it (but save it for something like baked beans at the end of the week), glaze it up and get it back into your heated barrel
Carve it at the table like a boss because let’s face it, you are definitely a boss

SMOKED HAM

(serves a small village)

1x 8-9kg leg of brined (pickled) pork
A smoker
Lump charcoal
A few bits of flavoursome smoky wood. I used ironbark

Get your smoker on and get it up to 225-250F. The ham will take somewhere in the vicinity of 8 hours to cook, so bare this in mind when you are setting up your pit.
Add a piece of smoky flavour wood.
Get that leg of pork into the smoker, insert temperature probe into thickest part of the leg and put the lid on so it may do its thing.
Drink a beer.
If you are happy your pit is going to hold its temp for a few hours you could go and have a nap or watch I little bit of that carnival folk pornography I know you love so much.
Now it’s all about keeping that temperature and chucking a bit of smoky flavour wood on the coals every hour.
Once that internal probe tells you it’s 170F in the middle of that leg it’s time to pull it out.
Now you have ham.
Rest the ham for half an hour or refrigerate for a later date. Remove skin, leaving as much of the fat as you think you like (I like to leave it all for flavour and moistness), score (I gave it 10 out of 10 ;)), place in a baking dish and glaze with something sweet and sexy – this year I used 1 cup of honey and a little rosemary.
Whack it back into the pit or a suitably heated oven for another 1-1.5 hours, reglazing with the pan juices every 15 minutes.
Carve that thing at the table like a boss.
Amen.

Enjoyed by parents and children alike

Singapore noodles with smoked pork


Sometimes I forget how much I love noodles. Especially Singapore noodles. Oh, how I love Singapore noodles.

This is pretty easy, mid-week (should possibly read; great for late evening after maybe one or two too many beers when you forget that a man, and of course woman, needs to eat) cooking that is tasty as fuck and can certainly be toyed with as much as your sweet little heart desires. This time ‘round I had some leftover pork ribs that I took all the meat from like a white man taking land in centuries past, but this could easily be made with pork, chicken or beef mince, or prawns that are cooked off at the start and then returned to the pan as per the recipe, or you could even crumble in a little tofu with the vegetables if that’s your scene.

But for now – less talky, more cooky.

Put all ingredients onto a chopping board to photograph them before you cut them up

…and then maybe cut it all up and take anther photo
High heat sizzle sizzle
Noodles and condiments is good times for my face

So much about this makes me happy to be alive

SINGAPORE NOODLES WITH SMOKED PORK (serves 4)

400-500g smoked pork (or some kind of meat or non meat substitute)
Rice vermicelli
1 medium brown onion or a few shallots (scallions), sliced
2 cups of chopped vegetables – today my refrigerator had celery and zucchini for me and then I found some sugar snap peas in the garden
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated or chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped chilli, crisp eshallots and fresh shallots to serve

Place noodles into a bowl that is big enough to fit them plus some. Cover noodles with room temp water for 20 minutes.
Now for another opportunity to impress your friends with your smoking hot wok antics. So yes, you will be needing a smoking hot oiled wok… or possibly a very large pan… or maybe even two regular sized pans.
Add the vegetables, garlic and ginger and give them a couple of minutes of fiery stir frying.
Now add all remaining ingredients plus the pork (or substitute meat or non-meat product) into the pan.
Give that a quick heat through and get it on the table… or possibly on a plate followed closely by onto the table, garnished with chilli and shallot.

Goodnight

Cowboy beans! Yeehaw!


So I made some cowboy beans.

Actually, I’m not even sure what cowboy beans are, but this is what I imagine they may be. But they may not be this at all. Definitely do not tell your friends these are OG cowboy beans as that may not be fact. I would even go so far as to say there is a high chance it would not be fact. It could even be said that you pretty much just shouldn’t take any of the words on these here pages, or indeed those that pass my lips, as being fact. I’m pretty much a big fat faker. This is not gospel and I am not the lord. Onto those beans…

I feel they would be most authentic served from a big pot on the back of the chuck wagon. That is a fact.

Time for oven loving

Now it’s get into my face time

COWBOY BEANS

(For the family. Like the whole family. Like extended family, neighbours, stray kids and those carnie folk just barely clinging onto life in the cage under your back stair case… and then there will probably still be some to freeze down for later.)

500g navy beans, black beans or whatever the frick kinda dried beans you have floating about in the back of your wagon, soaked over night and then cooked until tender
500-800g whatever meat you have floating about in the back of your wagon. BBQ leftovers are the best for this – smoked brisket, pork ribs, actually any cut of pork or sausages… roast left overs… or just some nice smoky porky things from your local man
1 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder and hot sauce
1 tablespoon each American ballpark mustard and Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Big Red Rub or your favourite BBQ dry rub
½ cup tomato ketchup
3x 400g tins crushed or chopped tomatoes or something similar
Salt and pepper
Fried eggs (or crack them straight into the beans and bake for an extra 5 minutes for tasty-assed one pan glory), chopped fresh herbs, jalapenos and toast to serve

Chop meat/s into bite sized chunks.
Heat a splash of oil in a large oven pan over medium heat. Add meat/s and sauté until browned a little.
Add all other ingredients and cook out for 5 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary (that’s what your salt and pepper is for).
Place into 180-200C oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add a splash of water if mix starts to dry out – kinda saucy is kinda good I reckon. (You could finish these beans totally on the stovetop if you don’t feel like lighting your oven… or you just don’t actually have an oven… but they really do benefit from a little oven bubbly caramelized tomato bits. Jus’ saying)
That’s it. Serve it up – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty simple, just how the cowboys would’ve liked it. Yeehaw.

Bahn mi tron sandwich

bahn mi
Yes I have just just returned from 3 weeks in the North Eastern reaches of Western Australia and yes I’ve got some stories to tell about fish and crocodiles and cooking on the coals of an open fire. Proper Crocodile Dundee shit. But that’s on hold for now. It’s a time thing. It’s not you it’s me. You know?

Besides, we had bahn mi for lunch today so I thought I could quickly tell you about that. That will be plenty easy, right?

We had a bit of cooked pork belly, prawns, some home made pate and a baguette all congregating in our kitchen. All at the same time.

Do you know what that means?

I will tell you what that means through a direct quote straight from the mouth of my 9 year old son, Obi.

“We should make bahn mi for lunch”.

Yes Obi, yes we should.

I understand that it’s not going to be too often the occasion that these ingredients just happen to be hanging out in the kitchen, like those robot lions, just waiting to form Voltron… or in this case, bahn mi tron. So it is totally feasible to go to the shop or the market or where ever it is you buy things to eat and purchase a little sliced roast pork, cooked prawns and a bit of pate… and you can get yourself a baguette while you’re there, ay.

Then you can put it all together pretty easily and let the memories of your Vietnam holiday come flooding back.
IMG_7256

The cucumber is best if it's sliced with the same type of hand held double mandoline thingy that is used all over the streets of Vietnam. This invention would've charged a few finger tips for sure...
The cucumber is best if it’s sliced with the same type of hand held double mandoline thingy that is used all over the streets of Vietnam. This invention would’ve charged a few finger tips for sure…
We had some left over roast pork belly which I crisped up in the pan
We had some left over roast pork belly which I crisped up in the pan
Getting crazy with all that pate and shit
Getting crazy with all that pate and shit

Can you see what I was so excited about?
Can you see what I was so excited about?

BAHN MI (per sandwich)

1 single serve baguette or a long baguette for 4 people (and then quadruple this recipe)
3 slices roasted pork of some description. Belly, shoulder, leg, neck… they all work well
3 medium cooked prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon pate
3-4 thin slices cucumber
A few sprigs each fresh coriander, mint and basil
A good splash of bahn mi dressing (recipe follows)

• Slice baguette open
• Spread pate over the inside of the baguette
• Layer pork, then prawns, then cucumber and then herbs in the baguette and then dress with a good splash of that bahn mi dressing
• Dear good lord that is some delicious shit, non?

BAHN MI DRESSING

3 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon fish sauce
a splash light soy sauce
1 tablespoon chilli vinegar
(All available from your local friendly Asian super market)

• Mix it all together
• Remaining dressing will last for at least a couple of weeks. Use it to dress a chicken salad or toss through some noodles or just dip a carrot or an actual stick in it for some low-cal eating if that’s how you’re rolling

It got all smooshed up and doesn't look too crash hot but believe me this is some tasty shit
It got all smooshed up and doesn’t look too crash hot but believe me this is some tasty shit

Really tasty campfire pork and other campsite stories

campfire roast pork
It should be known that it is not very often that we will set up our tent at an actual caravan park. Very seldom in fact. I would (will) go so far as to say unless it is the only option, we ain’t going to do it.

This was one such occasion when it was our only choice, kinda like being left with that one 56-years-young cougar when the nightclub lights come on…

Jennee did the righteous thing by going out early to set up camp, as I would be catering for a party in the hills, and it would most definitely have me well into the night.

I did finally make it to that campsite though. After battling darkness, tiredness, a bad sense of direction (something I can only now far-from-happily admit I possess) and attempted ambushing’s by several bridge trolls, I got there. Safe arrival in the middle of the night is always an occasion that requires a mild celebration at the very least, so I cranked the fire back up to a small sun and consumed a few beers.

In the spirit of all things holy I was having myself a good time.

Sometimes, when you venture into that mysterious Stepford Wives-esque world that is the inner circle of the caravan park (trailer park. Yeah, you’re getting the gist of what I’m saying now, right?) in the middle of the night, you awake to a totally different world.

The night dwellers, carnies and swamp rats had scurried back into the underground homes prior to being licked by the first rays of morning sun, but there was still “the others”.

“The others” resided almost solely in caravan parks. They were renowned for their hoarding of volumes upon volumes of 1980s Mills & Boon novels and collections of random little side-show-alley-prize fluffy toys (paraphernalia from their time on the big top circuit, no doubt). From the moment they would awake each day they waited eagerly to get their daily dose of “the Hoff” in his glory years as some bloke on that one show about the lifeguards… Our neighbor for our stay was nothing short of poster-woman for these people.

As soon as Jennee pulled up next to the semi-permanent dwelling in her semi-suburban mostly-soccer mum car the neighbor was up off of her rocking chair on her recycled pallet wooden verandah questioning the very notion that someone would be camping next to her van. “They said there would not be any one camping near here,” she said. “They said they would not let anyone camp near here.”

Jennee had no solution except to quickly erect our tent like the boobies “au natural” would erect a certain part of a young man’s anatomy.

I did not know it yet but I was definitely afraid of the lady next door.

In the same breath I spoke about my fear of the strange woman next to us and how she would possibly come into our tent this night and horribly dismember us with her neighbor’s garden spade, I realised that she was probably so desperate for her solitude as she was sheltering her half goat, half man son from a world that couldn’t love him, and he was truly the one I should fear for he has tasted human before and he was damn keen to taste it again…

What was I talking about? It didn’t really matter. It never really matters…

I did start this little anecdote with the purpose of telling you about a lovely piece of pork I was given by a lovely lady named Sally who farms a few old breed pigs and was curious to know if I would like to use those very pigs in the restaurant. Yes Sally. Yes I would like to use your pork. Very tasty shit indeed!

There, I’m done.

If you can be assed, it's pretty nice when you make some bread to go with your dinner
If you can be assed, it’s pretty nice when you make some bread to go with your dinner

Tasty, crunchy crackle up front, fields of green out back
Tasty, crunchy crackle up front, fields of green out back
Really tasty pork
Really tasty pork
Roasty vegetables with a bit of dukkah so they know we love them
Roasty vegetables with a bit of dukkah so they know we love them
Carve it up. Do it quickly
Carve it up. Do it quickly
Just eat it all up now
Just eat it all up now

CAMPFIRE PORK ROAST with VEGETABLES & ZA’ATAR (serves 4)

1.5kg rolled pork shoulder roast from Sally
1 onion, sliced roughly
3 medium potatoes, chopped kinda chunky like you would for a roast
1-2 carrots, chopped kinda chunky
2-3 zucchini, chopped kinda chunky too
5 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat edge of a knife
Salt & pepper
Za’atar
1 camp oven or witches cauldron

• Season the skin of the pork. When you think you have seasoned it enough you should probably season it a little more
• Place pork into camp oven resting in medium (170-180C) coals, rotating every 30 minutes for 2 hours
• Add vegetables, and a splash of cider if you have some in your hand, to the bottom of the camp oven and get it back into some coals. Put a few coals on the lid so the crackle starts to get a little sexy
• After 30-40 minutes it should all be smelling pretty fricking nice so maybe carve that piece of pork up, sprinkle some za’atar over the vegetables and eat it in your face
• A very nice piece of pork indeed

Have some billy tea
Have some billy tea

Pork Ribs in the Ghetto Smoker

smoked pork ribs
Last week I got into a big jet plane… all the while never ever being able to get the song of the same name by Angus and Julia Stone out of my fricking head… they owe me money for that for sure. Anyway, I get into the plane and in turn that same plane took me from Brisbane in Southern Queensland as far as it could travel west to the worlds most isolated capital city; Perth, Western Australia.

The people on the plane were very nice. They even fed us while we were in the air.

But what gets me is, well, even on the same airline, for the same money, a flight from one destination may have some pretty average food and not much of it, yet when you head back the other way the food is almost bearable and it just keeps coming. No consistency… it’s like the meals are produced on rotating roster by the local Women’s Auxiliary Crochet Society, the Hospital canteen and possibly even the local footy club, using whatever was in the fridge and looking like it was getting close to it’s use-by date… and yes, I am seriously critiquing airline food.

I am learning to move on though… step by step… one day at a time.

So… it may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I do not carry a barbecue where ever I travel, but oft the occasion does arise where I find myself donning someone else’s kitchen apron – usually with something novel on the front like bare bosoms or “cooks do it in the kitchen” – and getting saucy with whatever barbecue apparatus it is that they may have.

How though? What if you want a bit of smoky goodness but what they have is the barbecue equivalent of a Lada Niva, what are you gonna do? Ghetto Smokehouse to the rescue! What the fuck is Ghetto Smokehouse, you ask? Also, you’re probably curious to get some kind of evidence that I have shown some kind of commitment to being permanently off the “glass barbecue”. For the answers to these questions and more you will need to read on my friends… read on…

Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff
Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff

In the Ghetto Smoker. That's the wood chip parcel on the right
In the Ghetto Smoker. That’s the wood chip parcel on the right

And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people
And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people

GHETTO SMOKED PORK RIBS WITH BIG RED RUB & CAROLINA MUSTARD SAUCE

• First you need to procure yourself some pork ribs from your favourite butcher. We got the nice man/lady/lady-man to leave a bit of extra meat on a few little pork riblets , but you can use this same method for whatever it is you would like to smoke. Unless it is a cigarette, you will need a mouth to smoke one of those
• Give your ribs a good coat of Big Red Rub* or your favourite BBQ spice rub. Set them aside to marinate while you get your “Ghetto Smoker” sorted
• To get your “Ghetto Smoker” up and running you need a barbecue with a lid, woodchips (hickory is good and also available at just about every barbecue store or the larger hardware stores, but there are heaps of other woods you can use – google “smoking wood” to suss a few… actually “smoking wood” is not a good thing to put into the big search engine) and a little alfoil (aluminum foil)
• Wrap a few large handfuls of wood chips in a little foil basket/package. That little package goes over a low flame on the grill bars until it starts smoking, and then your ribs or whatever it is that you want to be smoking go on the hot plate or grill bars just next to it. Once again you want to have little to no heat at all directly under your ribs – they are going to get most of their heat from the smoker flame once the lid goes down. If you put the heat up things can go pear shaped pretty damn quickly and your shit will end up looking worse than Anakin Skywalker after he decided it would be a good idea to head into the Jedi temple and start killing younglings… so yeah, low heat
• It’s going to take 2 ½ hours or longer for your ribs to be cooked and delicious, but if they are not quite ready when you check them (and you will mutha effing check them) you will put them back in for another half an hour or so
• NB. YOU NEED TO TAKE A PEEK EVERY HALF HOUR OR SO. You want the temp inside the chamber to be 150-160Cish. If it’s getting a little cool turn the in direct heat up a little (not the heat under the ribs… remember Anakin). If the wood chips burn out put some fresh wood chips back in to ensure your smoky satisfaction. If you need your dinner in 20 minutes head down to Micky D’s drive-through for a bagful of guaranteed disappointment
• Once ready slice ribs, brush with a little Carolina mustard sauce* and serve
• Bam. Effing bam!

*I know I said I don’t take a barbecue travelling but a man needs his condiments. Sending home made condiments to friends who reside in your holiday destination (best sent to peeps you are reasonably sure won’t use them so they remain unopened until you arrive) is also a sound way to ensure your homemade goodness is ready and waiting for you.