So this is a cool random discovery.

Pork is an interesting meat. In my experience it’s often dry and funky. And there’s a variety of cultural reasons for and confirmations of this:

  • Trichinosis – a parasite that develops in pigs when they’re used as garbage disposals. Killing the parasite requires cooking pork to temperatures that make it dry.
  • Pigs fed garbage diets develop of funky flavor.
  • Heavy seasoning is often employed to mask funky flavors (brine, sausage, smoke).
  • Marketing pigs to the mass consumer population led to the development of streamlined pig diets that reduce funky flavor and trichinosis. This also led to pig meat becoming less fatty in nature, but with less fat the meat dries out even quicker.
  • People were slow to change their cooking habits to account for trichinosis elimination and drier meat.

Ergo – the pork we’re used to now is either heavily processed or very dry and lacking depth of flavor.

Then I discovered kurabuta pork!

Perusing the meat cooler at my local upscale grocer, I noticed what appeared to be beef due to its deep red color, but in the form of pork shoulder chops. Fortunately the internet was available in my pocket and revealed the mystery: a specialty breed of pig fed a non-grain diet. Free-range/grass-fed or something to that effect.

It’s juicy and meaty in flavor.

The pork revolution is at hand! Keep an eye out for this stuff. Down with boomer pork!


Canine Yuckies

A dogger does love a stinky treat. So for a minor project I fried up the salmon skin from the Lox.

They are smelly to the point of nauseating, and apparently so delectable to a furry carnivore that their odor induced uncontrollable salivation onto the kitchen floor. Fantastic. The price of being a dog dad.


Vernal Anticipations

Spring is coming, and to celebrate I smoked a salmon! This time, I used quick cure (the kind I make bacon with – the one with sodium nitrate) instead of plain salt for the brine.

Few fish preparations are as tasty as Nova Lox – brined, cold-smoked salmon. On a bagel. It’s also something that can be closely replicated at home! I don’t technically cold-smoke, since I don’t have that equipment and don’t want to rig something up. Cold-smoking is technically done around 80 degrees, but you can’t generate smoke at that temp so you have to create hot smoke and then cool it before it touches the fish.

Or, you can smoke at a temperature just high enough – say 150 – on very cold fish that’s only barely fully thawed. Combined with the brine, it’s juicy and salty, and the sodium nitrate preserves the bright orange-pink color. Cooked to an internal temperature of 130 (I deep-froze it to -40 beforehand to make it safe for “raw” consumption), then cooled, it’s a damn close facsimile to true Lox. It made for a nice faux-spring day.


The Deep Chill

I would hazard to say that safe food storage temperatures are general knowledge. If you don’t know what they are, then I’d encourage you to pay more attention to food safety, unless you enjoy full digestive purges:

  • <0 F for frozen food
  • >32 to <40 for refrigerator food

But these temperatures are for static storage. 0 F isn’t cold enough for the act of freezing, because it’s too slow and allows big ice crystals to develop in the food during the process. Sure it’ll still be safe to eat, but the quality will suffer. This dilemma has long bothered me as a gardener, hunter, and possessor of meat-cutting skills. How do I freeze that which was never frozen without adversely affecting its cellular integrity?

Vitrification would work, but I’m apparently the first person to ever search the internet for “how to vitrify beef”. So I’m guessing it’s not practical, or perhaps it’s very expensive.

That option ruled out, I’m left with one choice: cool things as quick as possible. I surmise 3 methods:

  1. Flash freezing
  2. Blast freezing
  3. Just freeze things in as low a temperature as possible

I’m not going to source liquid nitrogen, so option 1 is out. Nor will I go buy dry ice every time I want to freeze things. Blast freezers are more assembly line industrial systems, so obviously I’m not going that route either. Which leaves option 3.

Sushi restaurants accomplish option 3 with medical-grade freezers, which get as cold as -123. They also cost thousands, which I didn’t want to spend. But in my searching, I found a growing market for ultra low-temp consumer grade freezers. Apparently enough people wanted these that they’re available for reasonable prices. And so, I got this little number:

Cute, isn’t it? I like the frostbite warning placard.

3.5 cubic feet, with a low temperature setting of -40. Not bad. And after adding some cold packs to stabilize it, and using an expensive thermometer that could actually read temps that low without malfunctioning, it goes even lower.

That’s pretty darn cold.

So far I’ve only used it a couple times, and I haven’t eaten what I froze in it yet, so the verdict is still out. I’m hopeful though. Here’s to some non-mushy frozen food!



I make pancakes a lot more now that I started storing the dry ingredients pre-mixed. It’s easy, and the kid loves them.

But how creative can one get? Such is my nature to experiment.

So I wrapped one around a rabbit sausage and stuff with onions and American cheese.

I apologize to the culinary community for this.