I don't have a grill, a Green Egg, a tiny stove top smoker box or a gigantic Bradley smoker. Hell, I don't even have a wok. I've never smoked a food product before now nor do I have a general fondness for smoked foods, even cheese(which all seem to remind me of bologna). So, when it was announced that the next round of Charcutepalooza would be: Hot Smoke, I was challenged on a few levels, most importantly not having a damn thing to smoke in.
I am a smoker of a different type, one that would choose the Grateful Dead from Lake Placid (10/17/83) as proper background music for these shenanigans. Catch my vibe? Now being from that school, where early on you learn to make a smoking device out of any and everything, the wok method was the most obvious choice(and the one that would cost me nothing to use).
The NYTimes guide had a set up like this:
And mine, opting for an on hand stock pot, looked like this when it was done:
Just imagine the above diagram wedged into this pot. It's the exact same thing. The difference came in the wood chips, where Mrs. Wheelbarrow suggested using a saw dust powder for the smoke, I kind of missed that part and had a bag of wood shavings arrive at my door. Little details, right? This presented a challenge to me as the wood chips would not naturally smolder on their own so my only option was to check on the smoke every 10-15 minutes and relight the wood chips as needed.
My pork of choice for this month, because I had already brined and cooked some Canadian bacon, I opted for the spicy smoked pork loin and, toying around with the suggested recipe from Ruhlman's Charcuterie book and threw together a rub that consisted of the following:
- Toasted and ground Coriander
- Ghost Pepper Salt
- Light Brown Sugar
- Cayenne Chile Powder
- Ceylon Cinnamon
- Kosher Salt
So, when the time came, the flames were lit, the loin placed and the pot was sealed and I sat, like a guard dog, watching for any escaping wisps of smoke and was silently praying that my apartment not fill up with a tremendous amount of smoke. And somehow it didn't, though the constant relighting of the chips did manage to nearly blind me a few times with the thick smoke. But, an hour later, without a single smoke detector in the building going off, it was done.
And the results were a smokey success. Not only had the spice rub penetrated the meat and left a subtle sweet and spicy flavor but the fruit smoke, particularly the apple and maple, was prominent without being dense.
The meal, made of this gorgeous meat, was to be a spicy play on eggs benedict using a mustard cream sauce in place of the hollandaise. Sadly, though, something went awry in the pan and I lost the sauce(I'm blaming not cooking down the wine enough). Luckily, I had some beautiful Quadrello di Bufala on hand to stir into the eggs for a creamy texture.
The high fat cheese imparted a button mushroom flavor to the eggs as it melted down.
Served on top of some homemade biscuits, using From Away's Buttermilk Biscuit recipe, opting for a sharper flavor of cheddar instead of brie, to cut through the smoke and earth of the other pieces of the dish.
Every bite was worth the effort and embarrassment that I endured, finding myself having to answer my landlord's question(as I happen to run into him in the building while he was fixing a plumbing issue and I was making the upper floors smell like a Down East campfire) if there had been a small fire in the back hallway.
"No, I'm just making a pork loin," I said, half truthful, as I snuck back up stairs and opened just a few more windows.