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1.) DParker - 05/26/2017

Costco just opened a new store right next door to the office building I work in, so I decided to pop in and get a replacement membership card (I lost my old one a while ago). Then I decided to walk back and check out the meat section...and before I knew what was happening I was putting...

3.76 lbs of pre-cut beef short ribs
6.36 lbs vac-pac uncut rack beef short ribs
10.4 lbs vac-pac slab of pork belly
3.3 lbs beef flat iron steak

...into my truck. Stay tuned...more adventures in sous vidin', smokin' and grillin' to come.
2.) billy b - 05/26/2017
Are you gonna boil it all????:grin:
3.) DParker - 05/26/2017
[QUOTE=billy b;49131]Are you gonna boil it all????:grin:[/QUOTE]

You're damned right I am. :p
4.) billy b - 05/26/2017
You do know that's a sin don't you????
5.) DParker - 05/26/2017
[QUOTE=billy b;49137]You do know that's a sin don't you????[/QUOTE]

Tasty, tasty sin....
6.) DParker - 05/26/2017
BTW, I'm contemplating using half of the 10 lb pork belly to make some homemade bacon (no sous vide involved with that one). Has anyone here done that before?
7.) Wild Bob - 05/26/2017
[QUOTE=billy b;49137]You do know that's a sin don't you????[/QUOTE]

To steal a quote from the Drive-By Truckers song: "I'm guilty of all seven and I don't feel to bad at all." :beer:
8.) Swamp Fox - 05/26/2017
I haven't, but I'm interested. Work up a good brine and spend a little skinning and refrigerator time, and a couple hours in the smoker...It would be worth a few shots.

The question is can you come out ahead compared to premium bacon on sale. They say the taste of homemade will be different because-- leaving special seasonings and flavorings aside--I don't think store-bought is actually smoked anymore. (Maybe some is).

And I would think homemade is a bit less expensive than even on-sale bacon. I wonder if there's any chance you could get it to premium-quality in terms of the minimization of fat, though.

(The reason I mention bacon on sale is that's about the only way I'll buy it any more. Has anyone else noticed the prices? Holy moly! We grow more pigs than anywhere else in the country, I believe, and the stores want almost twice as much for premium bacon as I pay for boneless pork tenderloin chops!)
9.) DParker - 05/26/2017
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;49149]I haven't, but I'm interested. Work up a good brine and spend a little skinning and refrigerator time, and a couple hours in the smoker...It would be worth a few shots.[/quote]

I've been nosing around the webz seeing how others do this, and so far I think I'm leaning towards 5 lbs of belly in a plastic bag for a week in the fridge with the following:

[*]5 tablespoons kosher salt
[*]1 teaspoon curing salt (aka Prague Powder #1, aka sodium nitrite)
[*] cup maple syrup
[*]4 tablespoons bourbon
[*]4 garlic cloves, smashed
[*]3 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
[*]4 teaspoons fresh thyme
[*]2 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted
[*]2 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted

[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;49149]The question is can you come out ahead compared to premium bacon on sale.[/quote]

That's a good question. Leaving aside the question of the value of one's time (which I'd probably just fritter away on some other non-essential pursuit anyway) I think I might...but not by enough to matter. The cheapest I can find my preferred commercially produced premium bacon brand (Wrights) at grocery stores is $16.98 for a 3 lb package, so $5.66/lb. In practice I don't buy it 3 lbs at a time because we don't eat it that fast, but I could if I wanted to open it up and freeze most of it for later...so that seems like a more fair comparison (seeing as how making my own is even more time and effort). Now, I'm going to do a 5 lb batch, but that's pre-cured-and-cooked weight. A quick consultation with the oracle of Google tells me that others tend to experience a loss of about 20-25% in meat weight by the end of the process (skin removal, water loss, etc). Taking the average means that the 5 lb chunk of pig I start off with should yield about 3.875 lbs of finished bacon. I think I paid about $3/lb for the pack of pork belly at Costco, so I paid $15 for the 5 lbs I'm going to use, which will end up costing $3.87 / lb of finished product. So I need to spend less than another $1.79 / cooked lb in order to declare a savings (even if a meager one). That's a fraction of a cent less than $6.94 in extra expense for the whole project. Factoring in the cost of the cure ingredients, the propane and wood chunks for the smoker, etc is going to eat a lot of that up.

So I'm going to let the prospect of a superior product be my motivation here, not the prospect of saving any money (kind of the same philosophy I adopted for ammo reloading).
10.) billy b - 05/26/2017
I have a 10# pork loin in the fridge curing since last Wed, gonna smoke it lightly next Wed. lots of Canadian bacon.
11.) Swamp Fox - 05/26/2017
Heck...I must be doing something wrong. I'm paying something like $8 for 12 oz. of Hormel Black Label when it's not on sale...Which makes it WAY more than twice what I pay per pound of pork tenderloin chops.

When I look up "premium bacon" on the store's website, I see prices more like $3 and $4 a pound ($4.50 for premium turkey "bacon")...I think this calls for an investigation. Somebody doesn't know what premium bacon is, and I'm not saying it's not me...But I'm not saying it is me, either...LOL

I deliberately was avoiding the question of the cost of time. Playing with fire and cooking meat is a pure reward...There is no cost exchanged for value...:grin:

However, I AM once again disappointed in my prospects of ever justifying getting into reloading...LOL
12.) Swamp Fox - 05/26/2017
P.S. About the best I ever do for that Black Label bacon on sale is 2-for-1, so still significantly more than pork tenderloin, which is $4.49-4.99 a pound, depending.
13.) DParker - 05/27/2017
"Cured ham? No thanks pal. Cured of what? What if it has a relapse on my plate?"

[I]~Tommy Sledge, stand-up comic[/I]
14.) crookedeye - 05/27/2017
i have 10lbs of featherbones, first i season them in a liberal amount of italian seasoning, then brown them in mrs stovers virgin olive oil.."by the way its walmart finest virgin olive oil". then bake them at 250 for a couple hours then latter on mr stubbs barbeque sauce the last half hour..

i would put my featherbones up against anything billy cooks..and win the gold medal..:hb:
15.) Swamp Fox - 05/27/2017
I'd never heard of featherbones until you mentioned them in a post a while back, and I don't think I've ever seen them in a store. I haven't been to every BBQ joint around here, either (but I think I'm close, LOL), but you'd think you'd find them more easily there. Well, no. Maybe they're serving them in the fancier "joints" ...But don't get me started on THEM...


Some places serve "riblets" but I'm not sure that's technically the same thing, depending on what you call a riblet. Wiki says there's a cut called a "button" that some people call a riblet but is not a riblet because it doesn't even come from the rib in the first place. However, a real button is apparently what some people call a featherbone, which seems to be a Midwestern thang from what I can tell.

Here. Try to make sense of this, and somebody straighten me out. All I know is I haven't been able to find what I think you're calling featherbones. (But I've only been in Costco once in my life, either. That one time scared me straight.)


Barbecue country style pork ribs

Smoked country style pork ribs
Riblets are prepared by butchers by cutting a full set of spare ribs approximately in half. This produces a set of short, flat ribs where the curved part of the rib is removed and gives them a more uniform look. Loin back ribs don't always have this removed. When not removed they have a rounded look to them and are often referred to as baby back ribs. Another product (imprecisely) called riblets is actually the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae. Riblets used to be thrown out by butchers, but have become popular due to their excellent flavor and lower cost.
[B]Button ribs (or feather bones) are often confused with riblets mostly because Applebee's sells these as "riblets". In fact, what Applebee's sells is found just past the ribs near the back bone, just underneath the tenderloin. This cut of meat actually has no bones, but instead has "buttons" of cartilaginous material with meat attached.[/B]
Rib tips (or brisket) are found at the bottom of the spare ribs by the sternum. The rib tips have a high proportion of cartilage. The rib tips give the spare ribs a rounded appearance. In an attempt to give the meat a more uniform appearance and make it easier to eat, this piece is sometimes removed, and the remaining spare ribs are referred to as Saint Louis style ribs.
Other cuts and preparations[edit]

Crown rib roast of pork with apples
[B]Button ribs are flat, circular-shaped bones located at the sirloin end of the loin. They are not actually ribs, as they are not taken from the rib cage. The button ribs consist of the last four to six bones on the backbone; they do not have actual ribs connected to them. The meat on the button ribs consists of meat that covers each button and connects them together.[/B][url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_ribs[/url][/QUOTE]
16.) DParker - 05/27/2017
Lordy, I don't know nothin' 'bout no featherbones Miss Scarlett. But I do know that I want some sous vide short ribs for lunch Monday, so I'd better get started now. So after a simple coating with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and just a little bit of Louisiana Cajun Spice...

...on 4 ribs averaging just a hair under 1 lb each (largely bone, of course) into vacuum bags and a 158F bath they went, where they'll stay for about 48 hours. After that they'll go into the smoker for a couple of hours with some mesquite at ~225F.

Hopefully we won't have any power outages for the next two days.
17.) Swamp Fox - 05/27/2017

So, Wiki says---if I'm comprehending that gobbledygook correctly---that "button ribs (or featherbones)" have no bones, but that they consist of "the last four to six bones on the backbone."

This is excellent information. Well done, Wikipedia.

Here's a pic of what some people who ought to know call a featherbone. I hope they're right, LOL.

18.) Swamp Fox - 05/27/2017
Just because I don't want to have to wait all weekend for someone else to come on here and say it, [B]I'll[/B] say it:

[QUOTE]"I bet Prissy wouldn't use no sous vide for no short ribs!"[/QUOTE]

19.) DParker - 05/29/2017
After ~48 hours in a 158F bath followed by 2 hours in the smoker the short ribs appear thusly:

I was surprised by how well they took on smoke flavor and formed a decent bark in such a short amount of time...which might be due to my decision to use pellets in my tube tube smoker rather than chunks of wood in the tray. And holy cow (bad pun intended) are they juicy and tender. They fall apart cutting them with a fork, and practically melt in your mouth. In fact they fell off the bones when I took them out of the sous vide bags, and I had to be extra carefull putting them on and taking them off the smoker grate.

All-in-all a success. In fact I think I'm going to treat the 6 lb vac-pac I have in the freezer the same way.
20.) Swamp Fox - 05/30/2017
Good thing you didn't try 159* or you probably would've ruined them....:p :poke:

Are pellets considered more potent/concentratable compared to chunks? That would make a bit of sense to me. Or are they just (arguably) easier to manage and thus more goof-proof and liable to produce a satisfactory result?

I ran across a chunks vs. chips debate a long time ago but I don't remember the gist. Longer smoke from the chunks with less tending? Who nos? :cf:
21.) bluecat - 05/30/2017
Mmm, oh Lawdy!
22.) DParker - 05/30/2017
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;49192]Good thing you didn't try 159* or you probably would've ruined them....:p :poke:[/QUOTE]

I'm just a simple kitchen soldier following orders (er, recipes).

[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;49192]Are pellets considered more potent/concentratable compared to chunks? That would make a bit of sense to me. Or are they just (arguably) easier to manage and thus more goof-proof and liable to produce a satisfactory result?[/quote]

Both, really. The pellets are compressed from...I guess...sawdust and other small fragments, so they're denser than chips/chunks of wood. As a result, when you get them going they produce a very dense smoke, which is just what I needed for a severely shortened time in the smoker. And they do burn at a more predictable and reliable rate than chunks/chips, though that hasn't yet served as a motivation for me to use the tube. In fact I typically want the slower smoldering of chunks when I use the smoker because I'm usually putting something in there for a long, slow cook. The exception is when I want to either cold smoke something or add a little smoke flavor to whatever I have going on the grill....or a case like this, where I want a low temp but relatively fast smoke because the meat is already cooked.
23.) Swamp Fox - 05/30/2017
Makes sense. Thx.