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Good to Go

Danby chest freezer defrosted and empty

Danby chest freezer defrosted and empty

I was sittin’ around last Tuesday evening when I got a text from Marciegirl.   “I am off tomorrow.  Do you still need me to fill in while you go to town?”   Pshaw!!  Is a 50lb baby fat?!?

In reality, I had given up on a supply run for the week and when you are running close to the edge like I was; you best double down.  That very day she texted me I had just received two full Amazon Prime Pantry boxes.  Prime Pantry is a great way to go for dry goods and non-perishable items. Most of the goods they offer are bagged, boxed, canned or plastic bottled and there is a reason for that.  If you order up 6 cans of vienna sausage, 9 cans of Wolfe Brand Chile, 7 cans of Spam and a box of Strawberry Pop Tarts it is gonna go like this here.  They are just gonna toss every thing in that box with mebbe 2-3 of those airbags and send it out.  By the time it gets way off down here in the Puckerbrush a good half these cans are dented up and that box ‘o’ Pop Tarts looks like somebody been throwing a baseball at it.  Just the way it is I reckon since I never recall receiving one single Prime Pantry box that somethin’ wasn’t boogered up.  It is curious that my regular UPS type stuff including normal Amazon Prime orders don’t end up at my door lookin’ like the UPS Mafia has had a go at ’em.  I finally figured out these boxes are always heavy, says it right on a big red sticker on the box itself.   So maybe it pisses off those UPS Mafia monkeys and they throw the boxes around extry.  I know one thing –  if Amazon plans on delivering Pantry boxes via drone they best have the C-130 drone equivalent.

King Arthur Kontamination

King Arthur Kontamination

One of my Pantry boxes came in with the typical damage but the other one was hemorrhaging King Arthur flour.   I had ordered 3 bags of flour hoping the law of averages would give me two good ‘uns – which is ‘zactly the way it worked out.   Mostly on the Prime Pantry stuff, I let the damage go unless it is totally heinous.  This box was packed with such malfeasance I fired a note off to Amazon and told them if they couldn’t do any better than this they should just quit selling the shit.  I guess the worst part of the deal was flour all over everything but when you think about it, ain’t that much different than that fine caliche dust now is it?

Amazon may package their stuff for ass but their Customer Service is generally stellar when you complain.  Wasn’t long till I got back an email that I assumed was from a red dot Indian somewhere overseas because the ass kissin’  was just a little over the top and sorta weird.  End result was they refunded the $$ on the entire box and I didn’t have to return anything.  $92 folks; I can live with a little flour dust floatin’ around for almost a hunnert bucks.

So the next day after that fracas, Marciegirl shows up right on time and I am on my way to the SUPER HEB in Lytle  with a grocery list long as my leg. 2 hours later, I wheeled out of there with an overflowing cart that set me back $355 – that on top of the $200 in Amazon Prime Pantry that came in the previous day. Stuff like 10lbs of chicken leg quarters, a whole chicken, 10lbs of tilapia, some shrimps, potatoes white and sweet both, greek yogurt, chuck roast, whole pork loin, 3 dozen eggs, mucho cheese and more of the same.  I am betting $250 of the total bucks was perishable stuff – and it was hot.  Knowin’ what I know, I had cooled the Yeti Tundra 50 cooler down the night before. Fact is I coulda filled 3 Yetis and still had cold goods left over.

10lb pork loin - Future peameal bacon

10lb pork loin – Future peameal bacon

Now listen up, you just don’t go 111 days without going to the store and not  learn  somethin’ about long term food storage and what works and what don’t.  A key element is  my workhorse Danby Chest Freezer which hasn’t missed a lick in over 3 years now.  It also plays nice with the solar panels when I am off grid at the Secret Hideout – the Vissani residential fridge not so much.  But when I am sucking free electrons off a gate guard generator the two work out just fine.  One of the requirements I have found for freezing stuff long term is a Foodsaver machine.  So much so that I just picked up a spare FoodSaver Automatic Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Kit to hold in reserve. It IS  that important and not some late night infomercial gimmick.  I ate chicken and ground beef recently that was put away back in 2013.  I ate a tasty smoked brisket from last summer and it was all damned good!  Now, if I had the space and the equipment I would probably pressure can some goods but so far I have not been able to figure out a good way to work that onboard the NO Princess Palace.

It seems like I been sayin’ forever you just don’t buy somethin and set it in the corner unused or figure if push comes to shove you can get your how-to off the internets.  Sure appears to me like we have seen some better days and there damned sure ain’t no more Walter Cronkite’s that you can depend on to give you the straight skinny.   After all,   if the cat has kittens in the oven, you don’t call ’em biscuits!  Have we forgot that?  Do we now believe anything and everything those MSM talkin’ heads are programmed to tell us?  The world ain’t all ’bout gettin’ the latest iPhone or chasin’ Pokemons!  No sir!  There is stuff being lost to the generations every single day just because them that has the know how are passin’ on.  These skills are close to being lost completely at a personal level.

My custom smoker sittin' at its' birthin' place in Gonzales,TX

My custom smoker sittin’ at its’ birthin’ place in Gonzales,TX

I am talkin’ stuff like HAM radio, bread makin’,  pressure canning, putting in a garden and preserving food by smokin’ and curin’ it.  Food doesn’t magically appear on the shelf at HEB or Sprouts for you to be havin’. Somebody, somewhere produced that food and I ain’t real sure anymore they produced it in the healthiest way possible.

Country folks smoked and cured meat back in the day out of necessity.  There was no way a family could eat up a fat hog before it went bad so they had to come up with a way to preserve the meat sans refrigeration.  It was either that or starve. I am a fair hand at smokin’ meat and it has taken a lifetime to learn all I know.  I have always wanted a custom smoker built to my specs and early this year I set out to make that happen.  It is done now and will end up at the Secret Hideout long before I get up there in maybe late winter to burn it in and throw some meat on the cookin’ grate.  Made out of sturdy oilfield pipe I figure it will pass on to BFF Cait when I leave this earth.

Old school smoker goodness

Old school smoker goodness

Hand in hand with smokin’ or barbecue is curing meat in old school fashion.  I actually took a year of college level meat science back in the 70’s and I can tell you the processed meat products you buy in the store these days have been injected and massaged with all sorts of artificial hoodoo technique before it is packed up for you to eat.  Hell, even the ‘fresh’ products are injected with water and chemicals to make ’em look purtier and last longer on the shelf.  It ain’t right and it ain’t natural in my book. Chances are those chemicals don’t do your body any good either.

 

 

I am takin’ my own best advice and gettin’ back to old school means much as I am able.  There is a pork loin sittin’ in prague powder and sugar brine in my fridge right this minute.  Hopefully in 10 days or so, I am going to have some tasty peameal bacon.  You learn by doin’ folks.  Always been thataway and it ain’t gonna change. If ya even care, I expect these subjects will be the meat (LOL)  for many future blog posts. Stay tuned!

 

End Note: Canned Heat by Rory Block from the Women in (E)motion CD. Betcha never heard of this gal -EVER. Worth some listenin’ if you dig the Blues

“Tommy Johnson’s blues song, “Canned Heat” from Rory Block’s “The Early Tapes 1975-1976” released in 1989. The 60’s rock/experimental group took their name from this song to honor Johnson. The canned heat is sterno. Apparently Johnson liked alcohol and would use whatever was available at the time. It sounds like he wasn’t happy with his addiction from the lyrics of this song.

Rory has won five W.C. Handy Awards (now called Blues Music Awards). She has won Traditional Blues Female Artist two times, and three times for Acoustic Blues Album Of The Year.”

 

Holy Cats!  Check out the guitar work!

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12 comments to Good to Go

  • Mike

    Now that’s a d*mn fine Texas smoker! Good job! Only problem with those is they are a bear to move. I do see the tow hook on the sled feet, so maybe you can just winch it aboard a trailer. Your family will enjoy that one for many decades to come.

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    • Andy

      Thanks Mike!
      Tow eyes on each end plus a center lift point. It will fit inside the wheel wells on my military trailer

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  • I have owned and, or built a variety of smokers. The one that stuck is this one.

    http://greenmountaingrills.com/products/grills/davy-crockett-pellet-grill-wifi/

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    • Andy

      HA! I never even imagined a grill controlled by your phone! Not for me for sure but I did learn something new.

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      • I must have an older model. All mine has is the meat temp probe and a box temp probe. It runs on 12 and 110 volt and uses Traeger pellets. I am no longer cooking for but maybe 5 on a rare occasion so this one does the job while also traveling and storing nicely. It also turns out excellent smoked meats too. I have had the big offsets- one that I modified extensively, the cheap wet smokers like the Weber and a Bradley. the little Davy Crocket does the job the best of all. I bought mine for around $75. Must have been marked down for the lack of blue-tooth connectivity. Please post that brine recipe. I’d like to try that out.

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        • Andy

          I wanted something that would fit 4 briskets or 4 pork shoulders at the same time. My little propane smoker would do two at a time if you shoe horned them in. The neat thing about a smoked brisket is you can take it off the smoker and let it rest for an hour or so and then put the whole thing complete right in a Foodsaver bag. One year later, it still tastes like it just came off the smoker. I never cook for one -even here on the job in the Palace. I always cook for 4 and put the leftovers in the freezer. Didn’t take me long to figure out what froze good and what didn’t.

          My people in West Tennessee cooked pig in holes in the ground covered by discarded pieces of tin. There weren’t any secret rubs or injections or fancy crap. The ones that were in charge of these cooks were masters and knew how to barbecue. These days we try to cover our lack of ability with fancy add ons or equipment. hell, in Texas, EVERY male has his special brisket recipe that is better than anybody else’s – just the way it is.

          The most popular barbecue place in Austin doesn’t prep the meat other than salt and pepper. Nada mas. They start out with top quality meat and the pitmaster is an artist.

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  • Roger!

    I use a simple rub but and a few favorite sauces. Mostly ribs and chicken. Easy Peasy. The littke smoker gets plenty hot and I do a final sear on the weber with a baste then wrap the meat in foil and a towel and into a dry cooler for a slow rest.

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    • Andy

      What general part of the country are you in Outback?

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      • I am in southern Nevada far NW part of the Vegas valley.

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        • Andy

          OK – the reason I ask is Texas is WAY different. The first time I cam here driving a truck about 1976, I pulled off at a little roadside barbecue place in East Texas and ordered pork barbecue. I didn’t know anything else growing up in West TN where the only barbecue you got at the time was pork shoulder.

          The Texas folks served me a plain ol’ slice of ham. Pork barbecue was an unknown in Texas back then. Back in the day. like the 1840’s and 1850’s when Texas was being settled by the good Southrons from TN, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, they brought their hogs along. But those southern hogs could not deal with the Texas heat and they died PDQ. Even to this day the closest hog raising operation is somewhere up in Oklahoma. They still can’t grow ’em here commercially.

          About the same time, the meat markets in the cradle of Texas barbecue south and east of Austin down around the Lockhart area were trying to decide to what to do with less than desirable cuts of beef that did not sell in their stores that had no refrigeration. Some of the leftover meat was cut up and made into sausage and then smoked for longer shelf life. The beef brisket never did sell worth a damn fresh so they figured what the hell, Let’s smoke it too.

          So that is why any Texas barbecue joint is going to have brisket and sausage–probably ribs too but they will be BEEF ribs. Pork barbecue is much more common place now than it was 40 years ago but it is still not routine. One of may favorite joints up outside of College Station has normal fare every day and then on Sunday and Sunday only they have pulled pork. It is so-so but they STILL sell out every Sunday. Go figger.

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  • Joel

    “Hell, even the ‘fresh’ products are injected with water and chemicals to make ’em look purtier and last longer on the shelf. It ain’t right and it ain’t natural in my book. Chances are those chemicals don’t do your body any good either.”

    LOL!

    Well, I’m not one to fetishize the “organic” label (what’s the alternative? Inorganic meat?). But smokin’ tobacco sure doesn’t do your body any good. And smoked and preserved meat is a major cancer risk as well. Back when folks only looked to live 40 or 50 years, that sort of thing didn’t matter. With refrigeration, the risk of preserving/smoking meat is far higher than the risk of infection from spoiled meat.

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    • Andy

      Joel
      Nitrites, nitrates, nitrosamines…….. yeah, all that college stuff I learned about what happens when meat is cured.

      I am not going to eat tofu and sprouts…. ain’t happening.

      “When it comes to food, vegetables are the primary source of nitrites. On average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables. It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs. “

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