Fun Facts: Backyard Invasions

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Have you ever sought something so elusive that the mere fact it is so elusive begins to make you wonder what in the hell you were looking for in the first place? Well, this situation is half right for my situation because I know what I am tracking, I just don’t know where its hiding. Seems every spring for the last nine years or so the wild hogs come up from the river and into the woods on my property. I started hearing them a few weeks ago and upon investigation I found where at least one of them had recently been. I have yet to spot one with my own eyes, but I know they are there because I can hear them. Problem solved, I put up a couple outdoor cameras where there was evidence of their presence. This tactic finally paid off and I caught one on camera. Analyzing the picture reveals this female just gave birth or is going to soon. Which is a greater reason that it doesn’t need to be here, I don’t mean it needs to be dead, just not here tearing the damn place up. The actual plan is to catch her and any others and relocate them up the river quite a ways.

Over the years I have been able to catch them and successfully relocate them. However, a few rather large hogs (over 300 lbs) have met their demise which directly resulted in them literally being smoked. Damn they tasted great too. I am good with either result which presents itself. I will be sure to post an update, but for now I need to catch this elusive little bitch, and fast.

Bow Our Heads For Words Unknown

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Saturday became the day that was decided where many people who are otherwise too busy could get their schedules together and spend time with one another. I hosted this get together of family and friends. The purpose? Nothing more than for everyone to get together, eat, maybe have a drink or two, let the kids run wild, and for everyone to catch up with what is worth catching up with. I spent the morning preparing all of the meat, smoking it all to perfection, and all of this was paired with side dishes brought by many people. I would say in total there were 60 men, women, and children all spending their precious Saturday together for absolutely no reason.

Finally, it was time to feast. I look all around me and see my family and friends and it dawns on me that there are many different faiths attending my supper. At this moment my father stood up announcing that I would be leading us in prayer and for everyone to rise with heads bowed low. Immediately in my brain I’m yelling wait! I don’t pray so how will I be the one to lead the prayer? I stood there, frozen, for what seemed to be eternity, and then my mouth opened. It was like the dam opened and I couldn’t, no mater what I tried, stop the flow of words coming out of my mouth. It was like me standing outside my own body watching me deliver this prayer before our meal.

When it was complete all I heard was a rumbled amen, then seeing everyone sit, and everyone plowing into the food. I ate there quietly wondering what in the fuck just happened. What did happen? What did I say? Why would my dad take it upon himself to announce me at the prayer giver? The whole meal I was thinking of what I was going to say to the man who put me on the spot in front of so many people. I could have declined leading the prayer but with my wife at my side squeezing my hand I wasn’t going anywhere fast. In fact, when it was done I got a wink of approval from my son across the table. What did all of this mean? Was this an intervention? Was this going to be a forcible conversion? Was there going to be pain and blood? Did I just die?

After the meal everyone was mingling on the back deck, the kids were running amuck in the yard playing hide and seek, and I found myself standing alone stoking the outdoor fireplace. My fathers actions still weighing heavily on my mind wondering what he could’ve possibly been thinking. My dad ended up walking over to where I was, standing beside me, resting his arm around my shoulders. We stood there for a moment. The silence spoke volumes. He started talking to me where he thanked me for taking the opportunity to leading the prayer, acknowledging that I did it perfectly. When I ask why he laid it out for me in his own special way. He told me this meal was being served at my house and traditionally the male head of the house leads the prayer for meals. I told him he had put me in an awkward position because I don’t pray. He said he knows but knew I would have something inspirational to say.

Some of y’all are probably wondering why this is even a point to write about. Some of y’all have been around here long enough that y’all know why. In the end, it’s over and I learned a valuable lesson. Part of that lesson was that I will never cease to amaze myself what I can pull out of my ass to sound like I know what I’m talking about. I have never had a problem speaking to a crowd, large or small, but I felt uncomfortable this time because this isn’t part of who I am. Out of respect for my family and friends I did dig deep, real deep, and tried to make things appear normal. Normal? What’s normal anymore? Overall, we all had fun, we all ate well, and nobody burst into flames. Yay me!

Smoked Wild Turkey For Thanksgiving 2013

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Y’all can consider this to be part two to Our Family Thanksgiving Tradition which was published on 25 November 2013. I provide the link only if y’all need to catch up, refresh, or both. Whichever y’all decide to do, just hurry up, we have allot to discuss. When I left off last time I mentioned that we dressed out our wild turkey and set it to soak in a magic recipe. But, before I give y’all those details so y’all might try it out some day for yourselves, y’all must make sure you have one very specific item, and that is a 5 gallon bucket with a tight sealing lid. I prefer to get mine from Home Depot because, to date, they have yet to ever, and I mean ever, fail me for having a leak proof tight lid. But, y’all make that call when I’m not looking. Also, for the meat haters who love to hate it when I write about meat I just want you to know, specifically you, yes, a wild turkey was harmed (killed) to complete this recipe. There, I said it, now get over yourselves and either turn tail and leave or read on. Now, wash the 5 gallon bucket and lid real well, scrub it good. When it is clean and dry place it on a chair and make sure it isn’t going to fall off of it. Place one dressed wild turkey in the bucket, neck up and tail down. Pour two 750ml bottles of Wild Turkey into the bucket with the turkey. Y’all can use the basic run of the mill Wild Turkey if you please, I had a case of Rare Breed leftover from a party when I worked at the club, so I used it, well, two bottles of it anyway.

Open two large cans of whole berry cranberry sauce and pour those in as well. Wash 4 good sized oranges and slice them into 1/4″ thick slices leaving the peels on. Take all of the slices and slice them in half then put them in the bucket. Wash and cut 1 each red, yellow, and green bell pepper. Put those in the bucket now. Wash and cut 4 jalapeno peppers and place those in the bucket. I also added 1/4 cub Tabasco Sauce, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce,  1 cup (packed) brown sugar, and 1/2 cup (finely chopped) mint leaves. Whatever space remains in the bucked fill with cool water until the liquid level is about 1 1/2″ from the top. Securely put the lid on and I mean make sure it’s on tight or you will have a mess to clean up. Carefully remove the handle from the bucket and set it aside for now. Lay the bucket on the floor on it’s side and roll it back and forth until you think everything has blended well. As tempting as it may be do not, under any circumstances, take that lid off until you are ready to smoke it. Now, I happen to have a refrigerator that I have taken the bottom shelf out of so my bucket fits just fine, you’ll have to see what works for you as it needs to sit this way for a few days. Mine sat like this for 96 hours (4 days).

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After you get your smoker up to temperature it will be time for the turkey. I began my fire with red oak until the smoker would maintain about 500F, then I added some hickory and mesquite which had been soaking in a bigger bucket for a few days that was filled with water. When you are ready for the turkey just pry the lid off the bucket, reach in there barehanded, grab the turkey, and slap it on the smoker. Do not discard the remaining contents in the bucket, some of it will get smoked and some of it will be used in a bit. The remaining contents need to be strained so all of the liquid is removed. One can also “dip” everything out as well. Split the solids in to equal portions. Take one portion and put it in a blender or food processor and puree the snot out it. If it is really thick, add a little Coke. It should come out the consistency of ketchup. Set that mixture back in the fridge. The remaining portion can be placed on a cookie sheet, covered with something, and placed into the fridge. Those will be put on the smoker when there is only about 2 hours remaining. Now, do not open your smoker to look at the turkey because it is doing just fine without you looking at letting the heat and smoke out. Mine cooked for 12 hours. At the 6 hour mark I took the puree mixture and slathered it all over the turkey. Close the smoker. Discard all remaining puree.

Now that you have around 2 hours remaining of cook time, put that cookie sheet of peppers and orange slices on the smoker uncovered. They will be removed when you remove the turkey from the smoker. When the time is up, carefully remove your smoked turkey. Use “hot gloves” so you can grab the whole turkey and keep it together. Place the turkey on your selected platter, leave uncovered, and let it “rest” for around 1 hour. The peppers and oranges can be used as garnish, ground up and put into something, or just eaten, the choice is yours. We cut ours up and make a salsa concoction out of it. Your turkey will slice very easily and should have a deep smoke ring as well as a nice crust on the outside. Now has come the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Making a turkey this way is time consuming and requires quite a bit of patience. Unfortunately there are no short cuts if you want it to come out right. I hope everyone enjoyed this information provided here today. Feel free to share it with family and friends. The more people smoking means the more opportunities there are to explore the best ways to come up with great creations.

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Now, I feel inclined to add some things for the meat haters and the anti-alcohol people. First, this isn’t the only way to make a turkey, it is however, my personal way, one that works for me. First, a note about alcohol content in the meat. Since the meat is smoked at a temperature well over 172F (the boiling point of alcohol) for pretty close to 12 hours the remaining alcohol contained in the meat is way less than 5% if any at all. You will be, however, left with all the flavor that the Wild Turkey provides when used in smoking. Don’t believe me, just look it up and the answer will be revealed to you. As mentioned, yes, a turkey was killed, in fact it was killed by my 12 y/o son using a compound bow. You may not think so, but bow hunting has become a lost art with very few in the next generation being taught the skills and techniques. It’s a way of life in my family, we are not city folks, we live in the outskirts of society where being able to provide meat for the table is a gift not a curse. I’m sorry that so many people are against killing animals to eat because it makes it hard for people like myself and my family to enjoy a passion which we have all grown up loving. Unfortunately, you bastards attacked me when I published a post about the hunt, and unfortunately some of y’all will feel inclined to bitch at me and lecture me once again. Well, make sure what you say is worth a shit so I have something worthy of writing about, because if it’s not than you’ve just wasted both of our time. I’m not writing here to offend anybody, I’m just writing about a big aspect of my life, hunting and smoking meats. I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a safe holiday and had an enjoyable time, I know we did. Until Next time, remember to eat it every day.

Rub It Before You Smoke It

Before I actually get started I would just like to remind everyone that y’all will be reading about the butchering, preparation, smoking, and consumption of a pig. So, if eating meat or reading about meat is offensive to someone this would be the place to turn around and exit. For everyone else, follow me and let’s see if I can sort all of this out for you. Doing this post was actually not planned however I was asked to do a post on this subject since I knew what I would be doing this Memorial Day weekend well in advance. Otherwise, this probably would never have happened for you to see. Let me start by saying that the pig involved was butcher house slaughtered and then purchased by my dad somewhere in Katy Texas. My dad is old school when it comes to cooking outdoors, he prefers an open fire pit which no matter where he has lived we have always dug out and built up. Oddly enough, I didn’t actually learn to much of anything about cooking/smoking/grilling from my dad. There is an exception tho, growing up I was exposed to it by him on a regular basis, however, in his words, “smokin’ is for adults” and I was barely allowed to watch anything. So, I learned most of what I know as I traveled the world. However, in the last ten years, my dad and I have gotten kinda close and therefore things we like to do sort of overlap. In the end, we have been able to show each other new tricks and twists in the way we cook. That goes in many directions tho, as y’all have read here before, we build and remodel quite a bit together as well. So, lets get this ball rolling so I can explain what the hell happened.
 
As mentioned, there was a considerable amount of preparation that took place before this pig ever hit the pit. Unfortunately, I don’t have actual recipes for everything I will be discussing, but I have faith in the cooks out there that they will understand and be able to duplicate it if they choose. First of all, there was a two step preparation to the pig, an all over injection and all over rub. What can I say, I like deep, deep flavor, flavor beyond the smoke, flavor that goes down to the bones. We will need to talk about the dehydration of some things first. As always I will let you know you are free to Google things that I tell you to because the process is too long and sidetracks the conversation. With that being said, I had to prepare my personal pork meat rub. It’s tried and true, yet very time consuming to prepare because of dehydrating the tequila. Yes, you heard me, I use a meat (jerky) dehydrator and I essentially “crystallize” or “powder” tequila. I am sure there is a scientific term for it but I have no idea what it is. What I can tell y’all is that I started with two 750ml bottles of Jose Cuervo Silver tequila and after dehydration it yields just under 4 cups. Sounds like allot of work but there is plenty to keep doing for that 5 hour process. Other ingredients in my rub include, but are not limited to, cayenne, habenaro, chiles, lime rind, orange rine, salt, pepper, and some chili powder. All ingredients are ground together with in a pestle until it has the consistency of fine grain sugar or somewhere close. I also do an injectible where pretty much every inch gets a deep flavor injection so there is flavor to the bone. Using four 750ml bottles of Jose Cuervo Silver tequila and a handful of hydrated spices the mixture becomes a slurry about the consistency of cough syrup. Some of the items used are salt, pepper, habenaro, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, Tabasco sauce, and some liquid smoke. Before this pig gets the rub down of a lifetime it gets injected with my concoction from head to toe.
After it has been injected and rubbed down it needs to rest for a few days in a refrigerator or in a freezer set in the 50’s F. In my case, I did all the prep work of the injection and rub the weekend before and then prepared the meat Thursday night. After that it sat until early, early Monday morning where it was placed on the open pit for 14 hours. It was cooked at an average temperature between 225F to 255F the entire pre-dawn and well into late morning. Other than flipping this pig every 4 hours nothing else was added as far as seasonings. I used a combination of two woods for this smoke, Hickory and Red Oak. I like allot of rich smoke which in turn penetrates deep into the carcass and makes the meat fall off the bones every time. If you have never open pit smoked anything then you don’t know what you are missing. However, I understand great food isn’t for every person’s taste because that is just life sometimes.
I mentioned this entire ordeal was completed at my parents house for the Memorial Day holiday. In addition to my family, my parents, both sisters with kids, a family my parents are friends with next door to them, we also had some yankees (northerners) that were in town on a break from RV’ing and also friends of my parents. In the area of the United States we live, southeast Texas, sites like this are fairly common. But, as I was informed, the yankees found it to be a ghastly site and in all their years of life and travels  have never seen anybody pit smoke an entire pig in their backyard before. Well, Welcome to Texas you traveling yankees. Their tune changed after they began eating and then the smiles were everywhere. I still don’t know if it were all the margaritas they were drinking or if they actually liked the smoked pig. Matters not to me actually because I really only about one person liking what I cook and that person is me.
 
Overall it was a fabulous weekend and holiday to spend with friends and family. We had allot of great food as well, we could have easily fed 10 more adults. Luckily, we had no injuries and no mishaps occur so that was a total bonus. I got a little sunburned according to my wife but as I looked this morning I didn’t see anything and neither did I because that is just how I tan. I am tired tho, I slept very little this past weekend and I am definitely feeling it today. As summer comes into full play now y’all can expect to see more of me smoking it up and so forth. Anybody wishing to have more details on my methods, ingredients, or additional information can comment on this post or e-mail me and I will see what I can do to accommodate those requests. Until next time……………