Category Archives: Favorites

Summer Dessert Series: Strawberry Shortcake

This recipe brings me right back to my childhood.  My mom used to make strawberry shortcake as soon as the weather got nice every year.  This is, hands down, my favorite paleo dessert right now so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


For the biscuits:

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Thats it.  Easy enough to throw together on a weeknight! Preheat your oven to 400F and mix everything together.  Now a lot of people tell you to combine the dry ingredients and whisk the wet, then sift one into the other, blah blah, blah.  I don’t do that, just throw it all together and combine well and you should be fine.  All those extra steps just mean more dishes to wash.


Drop them onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.  When you check them, they should be brown on the bottom and very firm on the top with golden brown edges.  Once the biscuits are done move them to a wire rack to cool.  Don’t skip this step or else they could get pretty soggy, if you have worked with coconut flour before you know how well it soaks up liquids.  If you are not going to use all four of these right away store them on a wire rack on your counter or in the microwave, do not cover them up.



  • 2lb Sliced strawberries
  • Stevia or honey (just a small amount to taste)
  • Heavy Cream


Put the berries and sweetener in a bowl and let them marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  When you’re ready to serve whip up some heavy cream and divide the toppings evenly and enjoy.


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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Dessert, Favorites


Competition Spare Ribs

I bet youre expecting to see pictures of me and my husband on a beautiful Bahamian beach, right? Well, I don’t have any, and I suck at photohop so I can’t even fake any.  In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple weeks, there was a big hurricane that struck the east coast.  Yeah….so instead of fun in the sun,  it was more like no fun and no power.  What did I do instead?  Well, I got drunk, I mean really drunk as soon as I found out it was cancelled I was drinking straight rum until I throw up kind of drunk (Sorry about that Michelle!).  We did decide to put our travel money to good use and get another Rottweiler puppy though.   Here is little Sonya, the new baby.

Our other rottie is still a puppy too, he is just over a year old and nowhere near full grown, which we have to remind people of that whenever we go out in public because he gets jealous that she gets all the attention.

If you are a single guy living in the north VA area, she is also for rent for 100$ an hour.  The first day we took her for a walk in Alexandria 14 girls came up to pet her in the first 30 minutes.   If you really want to reel the ladies in, you should memorize the phrase, “she’s a rescue.”  She isn’t, but trust me, the ladies love it!

She is fearless!

Ok, on to the meat! We smoked our best-ever spare ribs last weekend, and I have been sitting on the recipe for days.   Why, you ask? Well my hubby was still on vacation and we were spending time together, duh!   The rub for these spare ribs was :

  • ¾ cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 TB garlic powder….actually more because everyone loves garlic in BBQ
  • 2 TB course ground pepper
  • 2 TB kosher salt
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 2 TB cayenne pepper

Mr. Primal Smoke with his new electric knife

We used spare ribs for this recipe, which are much larger than baby-back, but we still used the same basic method, laying the rib rack flat on the grates of the smoker.  We also sprayed the ribs every half hour to keep them moist and flavorful.  Spritz – 1 part apple cider, 1 part cider vinegar. Spray every half hour. Don’t leave the lid open gawking your ribs, you’ll let the heat out….even if they do look delicious.

There is also a picnic shoulder on there because we love pork!

We wanted the heat between 250-275F for this recipe, but it was really cold and windy out that day, so the smoker stayed on the low end at about 250F.  Don’t forget to add plenty of apple wood to get that nice pink smoke ring!  We added ours every 30-60 minutes as needed.

Cooking Time unwrapped – approximately 3.5 hours (until ribs reach 170) Then wrap your ribs in tin-foil and add a little bit of BBQ sauce, and throw them back on the smoker.

Cooking Time after they are wrapped – approximately 2-3 hours (until ribs reach about 190 and the meat is tender). If you lift the end of the ribs and they feel like they might break apart they are done).

If you are new to Primal Smoke, be sure to check out the basics here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and some info on lighting the smoker

Lastly, had to share halloween pics. We were Honey Boo Boo and Mama June!


Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Favorites, Pork




No clever title today, no quips, no sensationalization, “bacon” is all I need to say to set this post up for success!  Now, it is really hard for most people to picture foods like bacon, beef, and butter as health food, but if  you are already a convert then I am preaching to the choir.

This past weekend was a perfect time to make a big ass slab of bacon because the chilly weather drove us indoors and left me seeking some rich, warm comfort food.  Which last night meant a delicious pork and potato soup with leeks, bacon, and carrots that did not photograph too well.

For the bacon you will need

  • A big slab of raw pork belly (ours was 2.84lbs)
  • Lots of salt
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Water
  • Disposable foil pans
  • Maple and hickory wood chips

This recipe also takes several days to brine, so it  is best to plan ahead.  First prepare your brine in a disposable foil pan, combine a 2:1 ratio of sweet to salt.  I would say for every pound to use 1/8th cup salt and  ¼ cup syrup or honey.  Vigorously mix your brine with cold water until everything looks fairly dissolved.  It doesn’t have to be perfect you are going to throw this part out anyways.  If your pork has a thick layer of skin on one side you will need to remove that now (home-made pork rinds anyone?)  Throw your pork belly into the brine and fill with more water until it covers the slab of pork completely.  I find that putting a plate on top does a pretty decent job at keeping the pork belly submerged in the brine.

Briney goodness

Here is the not so awesome part.  You have to cover that big porky slab of happiness and leave it in the fridge for 48 hours.  If you plan on smoking your bacon on a Saturday it is best to start the brining process on a Wednesday night.  This is a super easy thing to whip up while you are making dinner.  After your 48 hours is up discard the brine, pat you bacon dry, line the foil pan with some paper towels and put it back in the fridge uncovered for 12 hours to cure.  This will be on Friday night if you are using my time frame.  I know it’s the start of the weekend and you want to party, but try to remember to discard your brine some time in between tequila shots.  Saturday morning your bacon will be ready to throw on the smoker.  You want to use a really low temperature here and lots of smoke. We selected a combo of hickory and maple because while the maple compliments the maple flavor in the brine, hickory just has a more intense flavor.  Try to keep the smoker around 200F, but always keep it under 225F.

We use a grillable thermometer probe to monitor temperature.

After about 2-3 hours it is typically done, if you are monitoring the temperature, I suggest taking it off at around 150F.

The finished product

Now, with all of that said, unless you have a deli style meat slicer in your home (if you do I envy you), you will not be able to get those perfect thin slices that you get pre-packaged in your grocery store, but if you buy your bacon that way the terrorists win.  Plus, even if I had a professional meat slicer, I would probably end up missing a finger or two.  Seriously, I cut myself nearly every time I cook, my husband even keeps a tourniquet in the kitchen (mostly as a sarcastic joke though).  I should have titled this paragraph “how to make sure no one ever eats at your house.”  Thick cut bacon is best cooked on a wire rack over a cookie sheet in the oven, or chopped up and added in to recipes.  So far we have been eating it with…

Chicken-Bacon alfredo

Adapted from the genius mind behind PaleOMG

Also in a beefy breakfast scramble



Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Bacon, Favorites, Pork


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How To Get a Perfect Butt: A Really Long Guest Post

I am Derek, the other half of The Primal Smoke, but unlike my wife, I prefer more traditional BBQ.  As great as her cooking is, she is actually such a control freak in the kitchen she gave me an outline for how she wanted this written up.  If you are a beginner there is no better cut of meat to get your confidence up and impress your neighbors than Boston butt, it is very forgiving and doesn’t take a lot of skill, although I totally have skills.

That pink hue is the delicious smoke ring from the hickory

The cut of pork I used for this post was a nine and a half pound, bone-in, Boston butt. Boston butt is a cut from the pig’s shoulder and has nothing to do with the pig’s actual butt.  Pork shoulder is best cooked slow over low heat.  On average plan about an hour to an hour and a half per pound of meat at 225-250 degrees.

My wife calls him R2D2

We use a Weber 18.5” Smoky Mountain Cooker for all our long, slow cooks (ribs, pulled pork, brisket…etc.).  Weber offers a great smoker for an affordable price(I sound like a commercial, huh?).  There are tons of different quality ceramic cookers and offset smokers, but for the price and convenience of storage nothing beats the Weber.  On a side note, the 18.5” cooker is easier to keep the temperature stable than the 22.5” cooker.

Preparing the pork shoulder is easy.  One side will have a layer of fat about 1/2” to 1 ½”.   Start by trimming this fat off.  Leave a little fat on the bottom, but not much.

Post-mortem liposuction!

Next, apply your rub.  Rub your meat real good, heh.   There are some people who like to apply their rub the night before.  I don’t think this is necessary, but it won’t hurt either.  Let the cut of meat sit out for about an hour.  It should be close to room temperature when you put it on, just do it, don’t ask me why.  That is a whole other post entirely.  My rub was:

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 TB ground ginger
  • 2 TB onion powder
  • 2TB cayenne
  • 2 TB black pepper

While you let you pork shoulder warm up, it is time to prep you smoker.  I like using hickory smoke for pulled pork.  Place a couple chunks of hickory (already soaked in water) in your cooker with some coals, light your charcoal chimney in a separate grill and dump it over top, and if you’re using a water smoker (like the Weber) fill up your water pan.  Make sure you line your water pan with aluminum foil or else you’ll have a pretty messy clean up.  Ready for a sh*t-ton of pictures?

Charcoal and wood goes in here, hot coals go over top.

This thing goes on top with some water to keep the heat low

Next comes your cooking grate and the meat

Once your cooker gets to 225 degrees put your pork shoulder on.  I highly suggest using a digital thermometer to monitor the temp of the meat.  A dual prong thermometer – measuring the smoker temp/meat temp are the best….btw don’t get a Big Green Egg thermometers, they make awesome ceramic cookers but horrible thermometers….mine lasted two uses.

R2D2 already has his own thermometer

Maintain the temp of the smoker between 225 and 250 degrees, adding a handful of hickory chunks every hour or two.  Smoking is half science, half art….bottom line you’ll be the judge of how much smoke you want.  Avoid using too much though or your meat will be bitter.

Also, get your ass up early, this could take a while

When the temp of the meat hits about 150 it will “stall” for an hour or two.  This is normal, don’t be a jackass and increase the temp or worry your thermometer is broken.  Just maintain your cookers temp and you’ll be fine.  Some folks wrap their pork shoulder in foil after it hits 170, but I don’t think this is necessary (we’ll talk foil when we cook ribs and brisket). This cut of meat has enough fat in it to keep it nice and moist.  Once your shoulder approaches 190 it is time to come off.  If it still seems tough at 190 leave it on for an extra half hour.

Also, when your meat turns black on the outside it is not burning.  This is called the “bark” and is the best d*mn part! It is a combination of caramelized meat rub and spices with the smoke.

This thing barks better than DMX

This nine and half pound Boston butt took about 11 hours, but that includes a brutal summer rain/wind storm which probably effected the cooking time. Once you remove the pork shoulder let it sit for about 45 minutes to an hour or until it cools…..or you’ll end up like me with blistered fingers. Pull the pork with forks or your hands, pour your favorite BBQ sauce over it and enjoy.

juiciest pork on the planet


Posted by on September 10, 2012 in basics, Favorites, Pork


Smoketacular Brownies

Smoketacular Brownies

So, do you ever have an idea that seems totally freaking crazy and it actually works out perfectly? That is what these brownies are for me. The only thing that popped into my head after the first bite was, “holy crap I can’t believe that worked”

These are aztec brownies, which means they have a little kick to them which I thought was appropriate considering the cooking method.  If you dont like spicy food, or are just a boring old traditionalist then feel free to leave them out, but I promise you it isnt overpowering.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter (or coconut oil if butter is not an option)
  • 2 medium sweet potatos
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey (you can add more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon saigon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (less if you dont like want a strong dark chocolate flavor)
  • 4 ounces of baking chocolate- no i dont have a scale, I just used the whole bar…ya know…figure it out
  • 3/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • dash of salt

triple chocolate = triple delicious…also there is a pen, don’t put that in the brownies

Ok, time to start your grill.  I used 3/4 of a chimney of pure hardwood charcoal and made a fire in half of the Weber 22 inch grill.  Slice your sweet potatoes in half and brush them with olive oil, then throw ’em on the grill, I cooked mine off to the side of the direct flame so they wouldn’t totally burn.  Just cook them until they “give” on the sides, even if you are an amateur cook you can squeeze a tater and tell if it is done.

Feel free to start making your batter while your taters are cooking, takes about 20-25 minutes.  Melt the chocolate bar and the butter together, then whisk them with the other wet ingredients.  I strongly recommend having an electric mixer here unless you want a really good upper body workout.  After you incorporate all of your dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and mix some more, you can get started on your sweet potatoes.  If you’re smart, and I am not, you will wait until they have cooled completely to try to scrape the flesh away from the skin, but I was in a hurry.

I put my sweet potato flesh and my batter mixture into a Ninja, but you can use a blender or food processor.  This gets all the chunks out…super duper important!  Next I set up the pan…I am not sure if this is paranoid or genius but I put a 7×11 Pyrex baking dish into a foil pan so that they brownies wouldn’t burn on the bottom from being directly on the heat, and so my pan wouldn’t get ruined.  I know…I thought of everything!

my setup

I put some foil in the bottom too, so there is actually a space between the Pyrex and the foil.  Also the handles rest nicely on the edges.  How freaking awesome is that?

Don’t forget to lick these clean!

Next step is so easy a caveman could do it, I greased my pan with some coconut oil, poured the batter in and mixed in most of my chocolate chips.  I reserved a few for sprinkling over the top just because it looks pretty.

oh look my shadow!

Before you throw these babies onto the grill, check your coals.  You might need to add more to heat it up.  You should be able to hold your hand over them for at least ten seconds, but they should still be hot.  If yours arent add in another 1/3 of a chimney full and check the temp again.  If you’re one of those a-holes that uses a gas grill then you could set it to 350 and bake for 25ish minutes.  This is of course where the art of grilling comes in because they will have different cook times at different temps, you have to do the high-tech “butter knife shoved in the middle” test to see if they are done.  Mine took about 35 minutes, if yours are cooking too fast on the outsides but raw in the middle you can move them off of the direct heat to finish.

I suppose you could bypass this and just bake them in the oven, but if you wanted to do that you could have just found a regular recipe on a site that isn’t about grilling.

oh yeah baby!

On a side note…I think i have a sweating problem…I dress in very comfortable clothes because it is hot as hell here in Virginia and I see people with long sleeves, jeans, and knee-high boots on.  How in the hell aren’t these women sweaty in all those clothes.? I am wearing freaking moisture wicking fabric and I still feel nasty!  Jeez

Addendum: store these brownies uncovered in a microwave or oven.  If you cover them tightly they get soggy. You can of course solve this problem by eating them all in one sitting.


Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Barbeque, Dessert, Favorites, Random


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