Category Archives: Pork

Spicy Pork Stuffed Peppers

I am quitting coffee right now, so I have been an absolute mess.


Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but I just don’t feel like doing much of anything, which is bad because we are having a dinner party on Friday(I’m making pork tenderloins) and I need to clean up the tribbles of pet fur on the floor and nose art on the windows.  Did I just make a Star Trek joke? Sh*t yeah I did!

You.....are.....not very....funny

You…..are…..not very….funny

Are we ready for a pork recipe?  Ok, then you better beam me up some:

  • Delicious ground pork- 2lbs
  • 1TB Liquid smoke
  • 3TB Fennel
  • 5 cloves of garlic- finely chopped
  • one small onion- also chopped
  • 1TB ground sage
  • 1TB crushed red pepper.
  • 4 large bell peppers.
  • Hickory wood


Soak your wood chunks in water for at least an hour before you start cooking.  Prep your pork by mixing in all of the spices and give it a generous amount of salt and pepper.  The spice mixture is kind of sausagey because of the fennel, so it has some heat but it is not too aggressive.  Go start-up your coals so they have time to heat up while you finish your food prep.  Make an even med-high heat fire with lots of wood for smoke.


Now, cut the tops off your peppers and scoop the guts out.  If the little f*ckers don’t want to standup straight like mine then cut a very small amount off the bottom to create a flat surface, be careful not to cut too deep though, or else all that yummy pork fat will not stay in the pepper.


Cook these in your dutch oven with the lid off for about 45 minutes, so they get a nice hickory smoke, then put the lid on and cook for another 35-45 minutes or until the pork reaches about 150-160.  I like to pull mine off at 150, because they continue to cook as they rest a bit.  I always think that the lid to my dutch oven is cool enough to pick up with my bare hands, as I instinctively pick up all other pot lids in my house without worrying, so I keep burning my fingers.  I will be able to pursue a career as a bank robber now, as I am sure I will soon have no fingerprints.

True love, thy name is Kabocha!

True love, thy name is Kabocha!

I did not feel that BBQ sauce was appropriate here, since they taste a bit like hot Italian sausage (insert inappropriate joke here), I drizzled with a bit of aged smoked balsamic from our local oil/vinegar store and served next to mashed kabocha squash, which is, in fact, the best squash on the planet.

Also for those of you who don’t know, Primal Smoke made it to the final round of a “best paleo blogger contest.”  I will give you more details once I start working on my recipes!



Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Pork


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Korean Marinated Baby Backs

I have been such a busy little bee this week, and what is even funnier is that a weeks’ worth of work is all going in to one meal.  Earlier in the week I roasted whole chickens because I needed the carcasses to make broth.  Then I butchered a deer leg into a few roasts and some stew meat.  Finally it is time to throw the whole thing together with some veggies in a big pot of chili-gasm.  Anyone who has ever had my chili is ruined for life, and can no longer stomach the inferior taste of other mediocre chili.  Do you want to experience heaven in a bowl?  Well you can, because I am nice enough to share.




I also butchered myself once or twice

I also butchered myself once or twice

Now, I have been meaning to share this recipe for a while, but with two other rib recipes up, I did not want you to think I was a one trick pony; besides…I just didn’t feel like it, so sue me.  This is an incredible non-traditional baby back rib recipe for those of you who are sick of the same old BBQ.  I don’t know why you ever would be, but hey it could happen in some bizzare fantasy land.

korean ribs

Instead of a dry rub, you marinate these ribs for about 24 hours or at least overnight.  For every two slabs of baby backs you will need:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Juice of one lime
  • 4 tB rice wine vinegar, sherry, or dry white wine
  • ½ cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce alternative)
  • 2TB water
  • 3TB honey
  • 2TB siracha
  • One small grated root of fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions. I used the white parts only and saved the tops for garnishing


Mix this all together and divide it up between the two slabs of ribs and let them soak.  Remove any chunks from the marinade before cooking.  Now, you CAN cook these indoors if you want to, but whatever you do, do not under any circumstances ever boil or steam roast your effing ribs.  Why do we boil bones? Well…to make stock of course, meaning that the flavor ends up in the water and not the meat.  If you love your family you will not serve them boiled ribs.  Just in case you are a new reader, I want to remind you that any grill can be turned into a smoker, except maybe one of those indoor George Foreman contraptions.

Pork Porn

Pork Porn

We experimented with a new method this time, the smoke-and-sear.  Basically, once you wrap your ribs in tin-foil they are done smoking, so you can finish them up over a hot grill in tightly sealed foil for 20-30 minutes, or you can throw them back on the smoker for a couple more hours.  It is up to you to find a method that you prefer.

In case you forgot, we like to cook the ribs between 250-275F, using cherry wood this time, until the ribs reach an internal temp of 170F

Like so...

Like so…

Then we wrap them up in tinfoil and continue to cook them until they reach 190F and feel like they are starting to pull apart from the bone a little.  Here is a more in depth description of rib technique

These seriously rocked my world

These seriously rocked my world

These ribs are infused with a kick ass Korean BBQ flavor and drizzled with a siracha-honey sauce, which is optional but please don’t skip it!

  • 3TB honey
  • 3TB siracha
  • 1TB sesame oil
  • and of course the rest of your green onions for sprinkling


Want to know what else I have been up to this week? Paleo-fied peanut butter balls, my all time holiday favorite remade with no sugar, almond butter, and home-made chocolate.  Maybe I will share the recipe, or maybe I will just hoard all my dessert recipes so my friends and family are at my mercy, I havent decided yet.

These did not last very long in my house

These did not last very long in my house


Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Pork


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Thanksgrilling Recap and a Smoked Ham

Now, we decided not to do a turkey for Thanksgiving, because turkey does not smoke very well.  It tends to get dry and tough, and the technique is still a work-in progress for doing an entire bird, but we got our hands on a beautiful raw ham shank from our farmer, and decided that the turkey would get a pardon this year.  We used about a 7 lb shank, I wouldn’t go much bigger than 9lbs because they are prone to drying out.

and we got yelled at for rough-housing by the grills

Ok, first you turn your pork leg into a ham by curing it.  We used a wet-cure method, which involves brining the meat with:

  • 3/4 C salt
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • water (enough to cover your meat, I didn’t measure)

Now, you can put this whole thing in a deep roasting pan and put it in the fridge, but who really has the space for that in the days leading up to thanksgrilling? I know we didn’t, so I used a brining bag and a cooler full of ice and topped with a 25 pound bumper plate to keep the dogs out of it.

Before You put your pork in the brine, cut any large hanging hunks of fat off and score a diamond pattern in the regular layer of fat.  This not only helps to release the fatty goodness into your meat while it cooks, keeping it moist.  As a bonus, it also makes for a nice presentation.  Did you hear about the pig who opened a pawn shop? He called it “Ham Hocks”.

Ok, that was really bad…sorry.  Anyways, put your ham in the brine and put it into a cooler for 72 hours.  You have to be careful bringing meat too long, or else it will lose some of its texture, so we decided not to risk losing the whole leg with a week-long brine.  To get the flavor infused all the way through without doing a long-cure you can bust out your trusty meat injector and shoot some of your brine into the ham shank. Also, try to remember to flip the meat around in the brine at least once a day to make sure that all the flavor gets evenly distributed.

Whoa, that is a lot to remember!

After the 72 hours is up, take your meat out of the brine and rinse it off lightly.  Put it in a pan lined with paper towels and then put it back in the cooler to dry for another 24 hours, then you are ready to smoke.  My husband would tell you to use apple wood, because apple trees grow in Washington state, but don’t do this.  This hunk of meat is too big and cooks for such a short amount of time that it does not really get a proper amount of smoke flavor.  Apple wood is a delicate smoke, as you will see from the lack of a bright smoke ring in our finished product.  If you want your ham to be even better than mine use hickory, which is what we will do the next time.

Dont listen to a word this guy says!

Sorry honey.  I love you.

We also bedazzled the ham with whole cloves

Ok, we ran the smoker at 275f for about four hours and forty minutes with the ham in a pan.  When your meat gets to an internal temp of 160 pull it off and let it rest covered for at least an hour.  For additional flavor, we added half a bottle of white wine to the water pan in your smoker, and drank the other half since it is a holiday, why the hell not?  Don’t forget to spray your meat ever 30-45 minutes with a mixture of half apple juice or cider and half cider vinegar.  We always have a bottle in the fridge.

Primal Smoke’s 50-50 spray

Thats it…you now have a basic ham technique for your next holiday.  Glaze it with a little maple and you are ready to serve.


I would like to add one more thing about the color of the ham before someone asks.  No it is not bright pink, store-bought ham is artificially pink from pink curing salt which is highly toxic if you use too much.  If I get a warning from my butcher that curing salt could kill someone I prefer not to add it to my food in any dose whatsoever.  If you want a pink ham feel free to dye it like an easter egg…but seriously you aren’t looking for color here…it is the flavor that is important.  Ok…got that out of the way.

Here are our other Thanksgrilling goodies:

Cranberry-ginger applesauce

Grilled squash

A green salad with figs, pomegranate and blue cheese and grilled sweet potato and poblano salad. The trick to the salad for me is adding a smoky heat, poblanos are not that spicy and to balance the flavor I add chipotle infused olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper.

there was lots of yummy snacks

Wow my kitchen is trashed!

Can’t forget about the pie.  Pumpkin pie gave me a hard time, because I tried other recipes that use arrowroot or gelatin to thicken…yuck.  Sorry people an ok substitution just doesn’t cut it for me, it just didn’t taste like authentic pie filling.  Then it dawned on me, the almighty coconut butter can be used to bake anything, so I added 1/4 cup of that in with my eggs and it was flawless.

Thats is…Thanksgrilling in a nut-shell!


1 Comment

Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Pork, Technique


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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Who Loves Ya Baby Back? Basic Rib Technique and a Holiday Preview

I have been sitting on a rib recipe since Saturday, but I was a little brain-dead from too much vodka at an open-bar wedding on Sunday.   In my hung over state I also had to give the dog a bath and scrub the whole house from top to bottom because little Kirk brought millions of his friends into the house.   Flea-bath and headaches don’t mix, really not fun!  So, now that I have reluctantly de-fleaed the kids and house, it is time to give you the basic rules for ribs.

Amazing ribs are one of the BBQ holy grails.  Like brisket, something that you will not get perfect the first time around, but that’s ok, barbecue takes practice.   Rib recipes are like fingerprints, everyone has them and they are all a little different.  This is not a specific recipe, but instead they are instructions for the novice to follow.  Once you have mastered the basic rib we will get all technical with the fancy recipes!

That beautiful pink hue is the smoke ring! Something you will never get if you take shortcuts!

We started with 2 slabs of pork ribs and carefully cut off the silver skin, also called the “membrane.”  We used hickory smoke for these little piggies, but just about any wood would work here except for mesquite, because it might be too bitter and intense for this particular cut of meat.

mmm membrane

Next we added the rub, which is a bit of a misnomer, because I don’t want you to actually rub it in, so it should be called a pat.  You can use whatever rub you like, or a generous sprinkle of garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and onion powder will do as well.  Pat your rub onto both sides of the meat really well and let them come to room temp while you start up the smoker.

Ribs are often referred to in Latin as Porkus Maximus

The ideal temperature of the smoker is 225F, but anything under 250F will do.  Once you are up to temp throw your ribs on for approximately three hours, being sure to monitor carefully.  This recipe could be done on a gas grill with a smoker box, or a large charcoal grill with a dual-zone fire and a water pan on the low side.

Once your ribs reach 190F, pull them off the smoker and place each rack in a piece of tinfoil.  Drizzle with a bit(about 2TB) of your favorite BBQ sauce, or mine, and wrap them tightly before placing back on the smoker or the grill. The ribs are ready to eat at this point, but the gristle-y connective tissue hasn’t fully broken down yet, so they need a bit more time.  If you are putting them on your smoker leave them on for another 1-2 hours, or you could expedite this process and throw them on a hot grill for 10-20 minutes, if youre super-duper lazy.  The reason for this is to let the ribs finish cooking without drying out from too much smoke.  Also, it will give the sauce a chance to caramelize into the meat a bit.  This is called the Texas Crutch, but there are many other techniques to experiment with(we will explain the sear and smoke for ya soon!)

The meat should pull off the bone easily, but should NOT under any circumstances just fall right off.  In competition BBQ that is considered a huge freaking failure, because you want the meat to have some “give.” Once they are finished you wont need to add much more sauce, because unlike an indoor(meaning incorrectly) cooked rib, you are tasting the smoke instead of just tasting the sugary sauce concoction that they are smothered in. No pink smoke = no bueno.  Lastly don’t forget to let your ribs rest for about 30 minutes in their foil, as they will be too hot to eat.

We are also practicing for a big holiday coming up…Thanksgrilling.  It is Thanksgiving dinner cooked entirely on the grill! We had a little practice run at some smoked turkey legs, here is a preview

November 22nd is right around the corner!

You better get your technique right before November, because we put a down payment on a pig, and when he gets into our freezer and this website will be a pork-a-palooza!


Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Pork, Technique


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How To Build The Perfect Sauce: Carolina Mustard Gas

There are only 5 words you need to remember when trying to creat the perfect BBQ sauce

  1. sweet
  2. sour
  3. salt
  4. smoke
  5. spice

The essential elements

Your sweet can be honey, molasses, maple syrup, fruit juice, or puree.  Combine that will some sort of vinegar (cider, balsamic, red wine, ect), citrus juice, or even pickle juice for your sour.  Salt seems pretty simple but it doesn’t have to be your boring ol’ sodium chloride.  You can also use liquid amino, bone broth, fish sauce, or worchestshire…worcestershire….grr…whatever! The spice is that little kick that takes a sauce to the next level.  It does not actually have to be painfully burning heat (although that is how I like mine). You can use black, red, or cayenne pepper, horseradish, wasabi, garlic or fresh peppers and chilis.  The final addition is the smoke, it is that funk that makes a sauce really unique, but be careful here, it is pretty easy to overdo it.  We like to use ancho chilis, chipotles, liquid smoke, bourbon, or mustard.  Cooking your sauce over smoke will also infuse it with some pretty b*tchin flavor.  Your choices are really only limited to your imagination.

Liquid gold baby!

Carolina Mustard Gas takes it name from a pork BBQ staple.  Carolina barbecue pork is usually sprayed with a mixture of vinegar and red pepper, but why stop there?  Seriously…I didn’t.  I married in some German tradition, a place where pork and mustard go together like bacon and chocolate (or bacon and anything really), and made this sauce really pop.


  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (sour)
  • 2 TB honey (sweet)
  • 4 TB dijon mustard (smoke)
  • 1 t coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt

I mixed all of those ingredients in a sauce pan and gave them a little whisk-y whisk-y.  Brought them to a rolling boil and then let is simmer for 3-5 minutes.  I don’t even like mustard and I thought this stuff was pretty effing fantastic.  We were going to call it Dijon Branch in celebration of the start of football…but ya know, he got cut.

We drizzled the mustard gas all over our slow smoked pulled pork, and keeping with the German theme I added some sauerkraut and sprinkled with red pepper.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Barbeque, Pork, Sauces, Uncategorized