This salty and spicy pork treat has its roots in Creole cuisine. Creole cuisine is really a style of cooking that blends many cultures flavors together. Including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Asian, as well as the taste of the South. No wonder why there is so much going on with this meat. Tasso Ham is not meant to be eaten on its own, it is more of an ingredient. As well it is a meat poser, being that it is not even a ham at all. If you look back to my previous post on Primals, you will see that the ham comes from the rear leg of the pig, when tasso is made with the shoulder, or butt, which is on the front of the animal. Here is a boned out shoulder.
I was proud of this one. I have been practicing my butchery skills a lot recently and was able to get this blade out in a couple minutes and was able to maintain the integrity of the shoulder. Not to shabby I must say!!
- 2250g Pork Shoulder or Butt,
- 450g Basic Dry Cure (See past post for directions)
- 4g Cayenne pepper ground
- 2g Fresh thyme, leaves only, stems removed
- 4g Crushed Black Pepper
- 5g Crushed garlic(I use a micro plane)
Notice how dry the meat looks. This is crucial for the next step, hot smoking. If your meat is wet, the smoke flavor will not adhere well, and you will be left with a bitter, burnt taste to your tasso. I used a mixture of Ozark hickory and alder wood in my electric smoker. These smoked at 175 degrees F, until they reached an internal temp of 150 degrees F. About two and a half hours.
This picture did not come out very well, but you can see the smokey bark on the outside of the meat. There is a well defined smoke ring, and the meat is bright and pink. I sliced off a couple pieces, I could not resist and popped them in my mouth straight away. The initial taste is amazing, bright, savory, smokey then the peppers hit you. Not over powering, but the white pepper and the cayenne come through. The nice part is that the finish you get is the Cinnamon and allspice. Don't get me wrong I am not going to be eating this straight, but it is great. This is really going to be good in some gravy, and some Jambalaya.
I have been a meat making machine as of late. Have been making lots of fresh sausages, trying my hand at pickling some vegetables. And creating more salumis. This hobby is really turning into an obsession for me. I am working with some friends, to get my little company I am starting, the Burning River Meat company off the ground. Will be posting a lot soon, I have about ten things just waiting to make it to the blog. Remember, Source local and Love your Meat!!