I’ve been making homemade pastrami for years. I make what is commonly called ‘cheater’ pastrami, or ‘fauxstrami’ since I don’t start with a brisket, brine (or ‘corn’) it for ages and then smoke it. I cut to the chase and start with a corned beef brisket. The end result is absolutely fantastic. I load up on corned beefs any time they are on sale. My relatives and neighbors absolutely love it when I make pastrami. It’s a huge hit. I took a slightly different approach than my traditional method and I’ve found this way to be even better than the old. You still get that slight peppery bite, but the pastrami-like flavor seems more pronounced and further penetrates the meat than when I use a more coarse spice grind.
Note: I usually buy reduced sodium corned beef to make pastrami. If you have concerns over the amount of sodium, soak your brisket in cold water for 2 hours, replacing the water every 30 minutes.
1 corned beef brisket (try to get a flat one that is consistent in thickness, such as a corned beef brisket flat)
2 tablespoons (plus more, if needed) yellow mustard
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3-4 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
Rinse and dry the corned beef.
Whisk together the mustard, brown sugar, coriander and allspice. You want the mixture to be slightly wet so that it adheres to the meat. If it does not, add a bit more mustard and mix.
Rub the mixture all over the brisket, then cover completely with the ground pepper. Place in a large resealable bag or wrap tightly in foil and keep in the fridge overnight.
The next day, fire up your smoker for 225-250 F. Place a chunk or two of light fruit wood in the smoker (I used cherry). Cook the brisket for at least 8 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 195 - 205 F.
Remove, wrap in foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Thinly slice the brisket against the grain using a meat slicer or sharp knife. Serve.
I go thru a lot of chipotles in adobo sauce. I have an entire section of one of my pantry shelves devoted to cans of them. So it occurred to me that I should try my hand at making them at home. These chiptoles in adobo came out fantastically. Great smoky flavor and a bit of heat. They do take a bit of time to prepare, but they are oh so worth the trouble. I dried my smoked jalapenos in my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can place the jalapenos on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Rotate the jalapenos every few hours until dried.
You can also skip the smoking and drying of the jalapenos and buy dried chipotles at your marketplace. In our grocery store the dried peppers can be found by the produce section.
One of the first recipes I made out of John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day was homemade frosted corn flakes. As soon as I saw it I was like wow…. how cool would it be to eat a bowl of cereal that I made? So I did. And it was fantastic. So much more corn flavor than the stuff in a box! I mean they were super corny! These homemade frosted corn flakes were also a lot crunchier than the ones out of a box. They can definitely hold up to milk. You know how with the store-bought flakes you only have a few minutes before you have bowl of soggy sadness. Not with these. You’ll be crunching until the last flake.
Oh my, how much fun were these homemade gummy bears to make and eat! They have the exact same texture as store-bought gummy bears and are absolutely packed with flavor. Some gummy bears were ‘normal’, and for some I added a bit of citric acid to make them nice and sour! I purchased a few gummy bear molds from Amazon (you can see the link below the recipe). The molds came with droppers that made filling the molds much easier. You’ll still make a little mess, get a bit of the gelatin on top of the molds and not in them, but that’s ok. They clean up easily.
The only think you have to watch for when filling the molds is air bubbles. You don’t want bubbles to form or your candies won’t look as fancy. They’ll still taste great, of course, but you want them to be pretty too! When filling the dropper make sure you get only liquid and not air or any of the bubbles that tends to form on top. If you do get bubbles I’ve found that you can usually pop them using the tip of the dropper.
The citric acid adds just a bit of sour flavor, but the candies will not be overly sour. I started by adding 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid and found it barely detectable. A 1/4 teaspoon amount is about right for me, but if you want your gummy bears super sour you might want to try 1/2 or even 3/4 teaspoon. Citric acid can be found in your grocery store’s canning section.
Here’s how one of my molds looked after being filled. The recipe below will make 120 (more or less) gummy bears so be sure you have room in your freezer for 3 of the molds before starting.
Klondike bars are a very dangerous thing. Whatever gene you have to be born with to control yourself around them is one that I do not have. I thought that the store-bought ones were tempting enough until I made red velvet Klondike bars at home. Now I know what true temptation is. I’m not a baker or chocolatier or anything like the experts that make chocolate treats. I was lucky to get the chocolate on these bars in an even remotely even manner. But they came out tasting fantastic, so I couldn’t care less if some had a bit more chocolate than others.
You can, of course, substitute any ice cream flavor you like. Red velvet ice cream was only available here for a limited time, so I had to grab it while I could.
Note: Well-frozen ice cream is key to making sure the chocolate sticks well. Also do not rush cooling the chocolate sauce. It needs to be at room temperature. Any warmer and it will melt the ice cream and not adhere.
I have been making a lot of pizzas on the grill this year. After a long time of testing, trying, and testing some more, I’m very happy with our homemade dough and homemade sauce. And now I can say I’m also happy with our homemade Italian sausage. It’s very easy to make but still packs a nice spicy flavor. It’s perfect for pizzas, calzones, or hoagies. Nothing beats a pizza hot off a charcoal- or wood-fired grill.
I’m a big fan of making and using my own chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is so much better than store-bought, and it’s incredibly easy to make. Since cooler months are here, I decided to haul out my Bayou Classic burner along with my Bayou Classic stockpot, which has an insert that makes it super simple to remove all the ‘stuff’ that goes into making great homemade chicken stock.
You can actually make stock for free, or close to free. Just keep the vegetable and chicken trimmings you accumulate thru the year in a bag or container in the freezer. Things like onion and carrot ends, less-than-ripe celery, and the tips off chicken wings make for great stock. They don’t have to be pretty. They’re going to cook all day and flavor the stock, and in the end, when they’ve served their purpose, they’ll be discarded. Sadly, our cats do not like the chicken after the stock is made. Most of the flavor is gone from the meat since it’s in the liquid itself, so I can’t really blame them. But you can save it if you like.
I do not recommend adding salt to the stock as you make it. Save the salt for when you use the finished stock in recipes at a later time.
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!