These are from a good friend who is an amazing cook. She also cooks 'by feel and luck', so getting a recipe out of her is not that easy. She once told me that she didn't even own a measuring cup until her daughter had to do some cooking for a homeschooling class and had to use specific measurements......
But these recipes WORK, and are an amazing base. I made them pretty close to what is written here the first time and then make a few tweaks for the second go. (Garlic makes everything better, I say!)
1 gallon of water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of honey
3/4 cup pickling salt (if fine grind, 1 cup if coarse)
1 tsp 'Tender Quick' (or follow package amount for whatever brand Cure you are using)
Boil water, add everything else, mix well, let cool. Mom used this for 17 1/2 lbs of meat about 1 1/2 " thick. Left the meat in the brine about a week, and then cold smoked. If your cuts are thinner, don't leave it in as long. If thicker, inject the brine into it about 1/2 way through and along the whole length.
Cold smoke for a couple of hours.
*My notes.....this is AWESOME! I used a bit less honey and a bit less salt my second time, but was scrumptious both ways! I look forward to trying to this on pork, but my experience so far is with beef. Also, I did not run out to buy a special syringe for brining. I happen to have them on hand, but you could go to a feed store and purchase a 20mL syringe and a 1 1/2 inch, 16 gauge needle.
1 quart water
1/3 cup pickling salt (if coarse, add 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 whole peppercorns
2 whole allspice (optional)
1 tsp cure (or follow package instructions)
If you don't have these individual spices, use a tbsp of pickling spice, and add peppercorns.
Boil water, add everything, mix well, let cool. This is a small batch and only covered one good sized piece of meat.
Soak for up to 2 weeks, turning every couple of days. Last time we made it, we soaked it for 3 days, hot smoked it for an hour and then stuck it in the oven for a couple of hours. Traditionally it is not smoked, only cured, but we like smoke. And we like it to be precooked as it makes a hand quick "oh shoot, there's nothing to eat" thing.
If you want to smoke it but not cook it, then you will want to cold smoke for a couple of hours. But smoking is not necessary, just delicious.
*My notes: I did not have the individual spices, so I used the pre-made pickling spice (but picked out the nutmeg) and then added coarse pepper (because I had no peppercorns either).
I'm not a huge salt fan, so after the brining ( I did it for about 6 days, because that is what worked out), I soaked the meat in a cold bath for a few hours before smoking. I've done a couple of big batches (more than 40 pounds total) and this is a huge hit! (I times this recipe by 4 and made it twice for each batch. Make enough brine that the meat it totally covered...you'll probably have to use something to hold it down into the brine...I used dinner plates)
I injected the brine in to all of the pieces of meat that I used (most were quite thick, 3 inches plus.)
There are lots of opinions about using 'cure' or just salt. I've done it both ways....I'll let you do your own research and form your own opinion there.
And now, my 2 experiences with the Bradley smoker..... (I've only had it working for 2 days).
I used a beef roast, but I'm sure this would be delicious with wild game as well.... it was originally for barbecued steaks, so I used much less oil for my roast......
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soya sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
(I used like 3 times the amount of garlic, but we like garlic.) The recipe says to marinade for at least 2 hours but for once I was organized enough to have it soaking overnight. Well worth it. The recipe does not mention smoking (I dried it well and then put it on for two hours with Mesquite before baking in my oven), but oh my goodness, it was amazing. And the GRAVY............
We went to a Christmas party last night, so I thought I'd try another experiment....smoked meatballs appetizers. I didn't really follow a recipe, but everyone knows how to make meatballs, right? Plus I added some heat....
As I made the balls, I inserted a small square of cheese in to each one. I don't think it is totally necessary, but I also rolled them in bread crumbs before hot smoking them. They were delicious, but I felt they were a bit dried out (but amazing with Thai sauce). Learning how to actually 'cook' with the smoker is going to be tricky (especially in cold weather) so I think I'm better off to do my smoking in the Bradley and my cooking in my oven until I get things sorted.
Do I have photos? Of course not! I was cooking, not cowgirling!
I try harder next time.........
Trust me, try these. They work.
All photos credit to Lisa H.