Gardening · Pork · Smoked

The Fog is Lifting

Most of yesterday is a blur.

I’d had great plans to continue posting about the whole overnight pulled pork adventure, but it got harder for me to form coherent thoughts after a while, and so I gave up.

Bill got up around five thirty and made coffee, and I went downstairs to sit on the couch – just to get off my feet for a little bit – he brought me a big mug of coffee, and I fell asleep without even taking a sip.

Two hours later I awoke with Julia standing beside me, staring at me.  She had probably touched my head or something – she said she would take care of me, but too late – I was awake.  Kind of.

A bit later, I did my Farmers’ Market run, and when I came back, it was time to get going on other food-projects for the day. 

I took some of the mozzarella I’d made overnight and put that in the smoker.  I thought the pork would be ready around one, so if I put the cheese in the smoker at eleven, that would give it a nice two hours’ worth of smoke.

I had braided the mozzarella, and I thought if it was braided like that – and therefore larger than the little balls I made the first time – it could just sit across the rack in the smoker and I wouldn’t have to waste more cheesecloth.

WRONG!

Here’s how the cheese looked after two hours:

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Very droopy.  And some little bits had fallen through completely.  They were on the bottom of the smoker and in the little pan of cedar shavings.  Ah well.  Live and learn.  MOST of the cheese was still on (or under) the rack.  And it tasted good.

We also had decided to make another garden slaw to accompany the pulled pork sandwiches, so while I was at the Farmers Market, Bill and all the kids at the house pulled and picked an assortment of goodies from the garden.

Here’s the bowl:

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We’ve got a couple of beets, a half dozen or so radishes, a scallion, four kohlrabi, and three broccoli stalks.  Oh, and two baby carrots.

We had some success with the broccoli – the plants themselves grew nice and big and leafy, and we had some small heads form, but that was about it.  However, we discovered that the main stalks are really tasty.  I like them better than the broccoli florets, actually.

But first, you have to remove the outer, fibrous, “bark.”

Here’s what I’m talking about:

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I peeled away a layer of the outer skin in the picture above, and you can see the softer inner portion.  I’ve read this referred to as “poor man’s asparagus,” and it’s got a milder flavor than the rest of the broccoli. 

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So what we’ve been doing is peeling off that outer layer and then thinly slicing the center portion.  We don’t even cook it – we just throw it into our garden slaw du jour.  (And as I look back at that original slaw post, I see that I’ve already shown you the whole broccoli stalk thing.  Clearly I need more coffee.)

I did kind of the same thing with the kohlrabi, peeling the outer skin off the bulbs and then slicing it in thin matchstick strips.  I also rinsed and sliced up the leaves.  Repeated this with the beets, and sliced up the radishes (but not the leaves – they’re rough and scrachy and unpleasant), too.  In went the baby carrots, too.

Then I tossed it all together with a dressing made of equal parts mayo and plain yogurt, with some salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, tarragon, and…some other herb only I can’t remember which one. 

And – of course – I didn’t take a picture.  I’m sorry.  If you go to that other garden slaw post, there’s a picture there, and it looks pretty similar to the one I made yesterday. 

The cool thing about this whole garden slaw kick we’re on, is that it’s different every time.  We’re just using whatever is ripe at the time.  And it’s a great way to utilize parts of some vegetables that we wouldn’t have thought about eating last year.  Like the kohlrabi leaves, for example.  Just trying to get the most out of everything we plant this year.

So.  Back to the pork.

Here’s how it was looking just before 8, after Julia woke me up and I decided two hours of sleep was enough (hahahaha):

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Only five or six more hours to go! 

The smell – no, the aroma – is torture. 

And finally, after we’d made the slaw, I’d peeled mozzarella off the electric smoker grate, and I’d cooked chicken nuggets and french fries as backup food, we removed the pork from the smoker.

It had been on there for 13 hours and 17 minutes.  It still could have gone a bit longer, but the starving children were getting rambunctious, and it was either feed them or lock them in the garage.  Feeding seemed the more humane option.

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Oh, deliciousness!

And – for now – that’s all she wrote.   

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