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Basic Instinct

Future Italian coppa

Future Italian coppa

I took a boston butt (pork shoulder) out of the freezer this week and prepped it for curing.  My intention is to dry cure it for Italian coppa.  If you were a Soprano’s fan, they call it gabagool in New Jersey.  So have you asked yourself yet if I have gone over the edge?  Too long in the puckerbrush maybe?  Well, it is like this…..

In January of 2012, I decided I was going to learn to cook for real.  Little Blondie was truly a good cook but sadly, some people were worthy of her talents and others were to just be ridden hard like a rented mule.  I was the recipient of some few favors from her,  gourmet cookery being one of ’em.  Maybe I saw the handwriting on the wall, who the hell knows?  Back in the solo days, a supply run was easy peasy.   Grab a buggy and head for the frozen food aisle.  Fill up that buggy with Lean Cuisines, Hungry Mans and Stouffers and then go to the soft drink aisle and get a dozen 1 liter bottles of leaded Pepsi.  Done.   Problem was when the freezer emptied out,  I was hungry.

Lodge dutch oven yardbird

Lodge dutch oven yardbird

So sometime in late 2011, the mindset changed.  Maybe it was due to Little Blondie feeding me real food on scarce occasion; maybe it was the whole world getting scarier by the day.  I dunno.  Back then the plan was to be able to feed myself for extended periods on or off grid with what I had available; the less dependent on frequent trips to the store the better.  Whatever the reason, I haven’t had a Lean Cuisine or bought sodas for daily consumption since.   Since the Plan was a little more challenging than what might face a suburban housewife,  I had to think it through.  When Little Blondie headed south for good and cleaned out the kitchen wares it presented me the perfect opportunity to start fresh.  Since I wanted to cook inside and outside, on a stove or over coals, the only good choice was cast iron cookware.  Lodge cast iron was the go-to company and what is not to like?  The same family has been making the cast iron in South Pittsburgh, TN for 120 years.  I am glad I started picking up the various dutch ovens and skillets when I did because the price has certainly gone up lately.  You still find a bargain occasionally — I just picked up a Lodge L10CF3 5 Quart Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet for $29 on some crazy Amazon sale price. I see the today best price is back up $49 and one Amazon vendor has it at $118!!!

One of the things I preach ad nauseum is you can’t buy something new and different to learn and just let it sit in the corner of the garage until it becomes needful.  That rule applies to many things in life including feeding yourself!  The 5 months off grid at the Secret Hideout during the heat of a Central Texas summer was both a good test of my preparations and an invaluable learning experience.  The more recent 100 days plus with no supply run was a good way to rotate my pantry and to gauge just how long the larder on the NO Princess Palace would last.  Sure, that last couple of weeks became somewhat boring as far as menu selections but it was NOT a true hardship by any measure.

Lodge dutch ovens on a Lodge steel cooking table

Lodge dutch ovens on a Lodge steel cooking table

Now for you folks thinking I have lost my ever lovin’ mind with all this curing and smoking business, let me remind you it is one of the oldest methods of preserving food.  This part of my overall plan has been in the works for quite awhile.  Heck, I have been planning that new smoker for well over a year and it is an integral part of the plan.   A product like cured ham or bacon will keep for months with no refrigeration.   A brisket straight off the smoker and into a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealed Bag will keep good for a year in the freezer – been there and done that.  I am looking forward to some wild hog and deer meat to work on here in just a few weeks.

Plenty of you folks know how to smoke a tasty brisket or dish up some fine pulled pork barbecue.  It is great for long holiday weekend get togethers ain’t it?  I am not sayin’ I espouse going hardcore survival hermit but I do think the times are comin’ when  more and more folks are going to realize bacon doesn’t originate from the meat case at HEB.  Maybe Hurricane Matthew emphasizes my point best.   I saw more than one video of Wal Mart mayhem this last week when the prize was a simple case of water or gallon of gas.  Some of those pitiful folks didn’t even have 48 hours of food and water put back.  Gives ya something to think about, right?

End Note: A Country Boy Can Survive by Bocephus.  Re-visit this

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6 comments to Basic Instinct

  • Ken

    I think there is a normal evolution that we all experience. We get older and out focus changes from work and providing to, shall we say, kitchen crafts? I know I have evolved over the years. I have moved from scorching water to being a pretty good cook. I do breads without looking at the recipe, meats and other proteins without recipes, What I am not is gourmet. Just tasteful and built for our liking.
    A country boy will survive.

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  • Joel

    I’ve always enjoyed cooking for myself. Many biochemists I know do. Closest thing in the real world to alchemy, when done successfully. Enjoy!

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  • Joel

    *tap*

    *tap*

    Is this thing on?

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    • Andy

      Nothing new here Joel. At least I know somebody is monitoring the channel. Thanks

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  • Joel

    Of course. That’s what friends are for.

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  • Joel

    Here’s something to write about: our robot future.

    You were a truck driver, right? And then a dispatcher. Here is the future.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/10/long-haul-truck-drivers-are-scarily-close-being-put-out-business-4#disqus_thread

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