I wasn’t sure how I was going to word this post. I mean, yeah, it’s just honey, salt and pepper. But boy, was it ever good on a few toasted English muffins. I never thought about just how much salt and pepper really could make honey even better than it already is. It’s just that easy. Great anywhere you use “regular” honey.
My great uncle kept bees for a while when I was younger. I was (and still am) fascinated by them. It’s amazing how much different fresh honey tastes than the mass-produced honey you find in the grocery store. It’s like night and day.
Don’t you just love when an incredibly simple dish comes out so fantastic? I was looking for a little something to take to dinner at Anita’s sister’s house. Nothing big, just something fresh. Since strawberries were in season I picked up a few pints and made these delicious black pepper strawberries. The perfect combination of citrus and berry with a nice peppery twist. I even added a bit more pepper than the recipe called for (because I love freshly ground black pepper). Yummy! You can’t skip on the time these black pepper strawberries need to sit in the fridge before you serve them. They need that hour to absorb some of pepper and citrus-flavored juices. Toss them just before serving.
I really love ‘dry’ chicken wings. By dry I mean not pre-sauced. Not ewwwy dry. Good dry. And they don’t have to be complicated either. Like these black pepper wings. Salt. Pepper. Wings. Well, ok, I did have a dipping sauce, but it’s the fantastic out-of-the-bottle Stubb’s Black Pepper Anytime sauce, which is also great as a marinade. You don’t want to be shy with the black pepper on these wings. You want that pepper kick, and even a bit of pepper heat, to come through in every bite.
I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.
After my first time making homemade bacon (a very successful first time, I must say), I decided I’d up my game and try different flavors beyond maple. The maple bacon was a little sweet, as you’d expect, so this time I went a more savory route by making this black pepper bacon. The end result was absolutely fantastic. My goodness, what great bacon. A great pepper flavor, but not overwhelming. Not only great for breakfast, but this bacon easily made for the best BLT sandwich I’ve ever had.
Some of the credit for the success of this black pepper bacon goes to my butcher, Moody’s Butcher shop. The folks at Moody’s got me the most fantastic pork sides ever. They were absolutely perfect for making bacon. I mean, look at that slab. That’s just gorgeous bacon!
Making bacon at home is really easy, much easier than I ever expected. I love making it and eating it. And don’t worry about slicing it, just get your knife really sharp (I sharpened my Wusthof knives with the sharpener below) and you can cut bacon thick or thin, like it’s butter!
After making homemade bacon on my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker, I figured the next logical thing to try would be making homemade jerky. The curing process for jerky is similar in ways to curing bacon, but it doesn’t take as long. The smoking process is different, since the jerky needs to dry out on the smoker.
The end result was fantastic. A great peppery flavor, with a little kick of heat. The meat was tender, with a little bit of tug, as you’d expect from jerky. We loved it. Everyone loved it. The most important things to keep in mind when making jerky is to start with a lean cut of meat (I used a lean top round), sliced super thin, and smoke at a fairly low temperature, 150 – 175 F.
I lit just a handful of charcoal using my charcoal chimney. The easiest way to do that is to turn the chimney upside down, putting the charcoal where you’d normally put newspaper, and putting newspaper where you’d normally put charcoal. I put just enough unlit charcoal in the bottom of the WSM to cover the bottom grate.
To make slicing the beef easier, I sat it in the freezer for about 30 minutes first. Then I used a very sharp knife to get very thin slices.
To fit as much jerky on my Weber Smokey Mountain as I could, I suspended the meat on skewers. I have to admit that skewering the meat and feeding it through the grill grates took some time, but I was able to easily fit 3 pounds of jerky on my 18″ cooker (I made two different flavors). I could’ve probably fit 5 or so pounds on without any trouble.
I was surprised with how easy making jerky was. I’ll definitely be trying different flavors out soon. You can follow this recipe for making jerky at home, in the oven, but you’ll want to add a teaspoon or two of liquid smoke to the marinade to get a smoky flavor. If you can’t get your oven down to 150 F, set it as low as it’ll go and then put a wooden spoon in between the door and oven to let some air out as the jerky cooks on racks.