After a short vacation from the Blogosphere, we’re bringin’ the Barbecue back to the Interwebs! The picture above is out first batch of Boudin, which was a fun (albeit pain in the keyster) experience to make. For the uninitiated, Boudin is a pork sausage made with Pork Shoulder, Pork Liver, Rice, and a magic blend o’ Spices.

Having never made sausage before, the first step was to get all the stuff together to hit the ground running. Kind of. I may have tripped a couple times. First – since it is sausage – casing was required. Where does someone find and procure slightly used pig intestine these days? Good question. I figured that people who enjoy killing stuff would probably also enjoy stuffing those dead things into tubes. To this end, my guess of Academy Sports and Outdoors was the first, and fortunately last stop. The casings were procured!

The next hurdle was finding liver. I can honestly say that I have never looked for pork liver. I knew what it looked, and I knew that the meat packer I worked for would box them up and sell them to somebody. To my chagrin, this somebody wasn’t a meat market or standard grocery or even a local supermarket. They only carry calf and beef liver. Maybe chicken livers if you wander into the hood (yes, I wandered into the hood in my pursuit). After canvasing the Interwebs, Friends, and Friends on the Interwebs, I found the House of Obscure Meats and Meat Parts – the glorious Hong Kong Market (which also happens to have the best produce in town). They pretty much sell everything here but the oink.

The adventure progressed to the kitchen. On that fateful day of August 26, 2012, the range was fired up, the scale was busted out, and the creation of twenty pounds of Boudin began. If you’re in the greater New Orleans area, you may remember this date as three days before Isaac. After starting the process, it was off to wrangle up plywood and a generator. After another ten hours went by, it was time again to keep playing with the Boudin. All was blended by the kitchen with care, and the sausage was stuffed in the casing in hopes that Isaac soon wouldn’t be there. Nothing quite says friend like helping another man stuff his sausage.

For a former Yankee, the Boudin turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself (and I do). A few of the neighborhood coonasses even gave me props – sup with dat?!?! Twenty pounds of Boudin was made that day, and as of today, almost all has been consumed.

The next meat experiment? Bacon. The harnessing of ancient and magically tools and knowledge needed to change a humble Pork Belly into Deliciousness…

And so the research begins… *AKA Meat Alchemy*

Two days and one hundred pages later, the adventure continues. After being inspired to find “pink salt” by a friend about two weeks ago, I am now researching the reading about how to cure and smoke meats. What I have learned in the last two days is nothing short of amazing, disgusting, awesome, and a pain in the butt.

For instance, I am slowly starting to understand the protein composition of animal muscle and other assorted tissues. Did you know pink salt is that color so you don’t accidentally poison yourself, or that nitrites are three times more deadly than nitrates? Or that curing with nitrate requires the meat to be nice and warm and covered in bacteria? Don’t ever use nitrates in bacon, only nitrites. The nitrates (if super heated) will cause cancer, but only in bacon. Or something like that. The best was reading about natural casings… All of the natural casings… You may want to think twice about that braunsweiger.

Anyway, it is still a pretty slick process, and sort form of Meat Alchemy – who wouldn’t want to try something that sounds that cool?

I am still waiting to see how actually cure and smoke meat, which will probably be a bit of a shock – what I thought was “smoking” at 200 F is completely misguided. I barbecue like a mofo. Smoking, it turns out, can happen at a wide range of temperatures, such as Cold Smoking at 70 F, Warm Smoking at 104 F, and Hot Smoking at 140 F+. Oh, I forgot about Wet Smoking.

On the bright side, one get build a “sweet” smokehouse out of two cardboard boxes.