Normally the Christmas break gives me the chance to make several batches of sausage. I even planned on doing so this year. But, we all know about the best laid plans of mice, men and chefs. All I managed to get done this year was a batch of Tasso, which I had also planned on. None the less, I will not complain. The 5 pounds of Tasso will make for some good eating.
Tasso is used primarily as a seasoning meat, much like you would use bacon in a pot of beans. I must admit that I also like to eat it as is as a snack. Think of thick cut, highly seasoned, smoked, pork jerky! To me this is the best description I can think of.
It takes four days to make Tasso from start to finish. Most of that time the Tasso is resting in the refrigerator curing. I smoke mine using Mesquite lump charcoal for heat and pecan wood for smoke.
Here are some pictures of what it looks like during the process.
Here is the recipe:
Homemade Tasso Recipe
5 lbs Pork loin cut into 1 inch square by 5 inch long pieces
3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Cayenne or To Taste
4 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp White Pepper
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Mix the seasoning together well. Rub
the seasoning into the meat, you want a lot on there, call it 1/8 inch, use it
all. Place on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate 3 days.
Before smoking put the Tasso on an
elevated rack so that air can circulate around it this allows it start drying and form a pellicle. Allow it to dry for at least two hours. You can do this in the refrigerator.
I used mesquite lump charcoal for the heat and pecan wood for the smoke.
I smoked it for about 4 hours at approximately 160 degrees and then increased the heat to 190 degrees for 2 hours.
I hope you enjoy.
Until next time.
Bon Appetit Ya"ll
Chef Leslie Bartosh