This was my smoker's induction run. I did this *just* before I joing the SMF, and as I was getting the pics together for the ABT's I did this weekend, I found these pics too and thought some people might like to see them.
First, I made two batches of brine, using a version based on Ruhlman & Polcyn's smoked meat brines in Charcuterie.
The one for the 5lb of pork loin was full of garlic, sage & thyme.
The one for the turkey breast was full of rosemary, garlic, tarragon & peppercorns.
Once the brines were made & cooled, I soaked the meat for 48 hours. I had to weigh both meats down with plates to keep them submerged. It is worth noting that I have three fridges in my house: One in the kitchen for food, one in the garage for beer and brine pots & a busted one in the basement for dry-curing.
I patted the meats dry with paper towels and racked them back in the fridge overnight to develop a nice pellicle.
Next morning, I fired up the Weston with a belly full of hickory chips (water smoked, 30 minutes) The meat looked nice and had that nice tacky pellicle feel.
I started the smoker up, inserted the thermometer probe into the thickest chunk of pork and slid both trays in. There was much fiddling by me in the way of OMG NEW SMOKER WHAT DO I DO NOW!!!! But I didn't die, the smoker didn't explode and things got to smelling really good.
Wow... the stress. Dampers open or closed? How far? Which ones? Where should the flame be at? Wait... its two hours later and all my chips are ASH? Yikes! I just burnt my fingers! I won't have time to smoke more, but can I open the door? WOW!! I tell you, this experience was a good one to learn on and it made me seek out this forum.
But the smell... oohhhhh... See it was the SMELL that kept me going. Burnt & dirty. Sighing over temperatures. Whining about adding more chips. The smell was inhumanly good. Pork beeped done at about 3.5 hours.
Sliced one just to try it and it was a little like a first kiss. You're nervous as hell, but you wanna try it so bad. You just hope you don't get burnt and that it tastes good. Yeah, I fell a little in love.
It is worth mentioning that the Canadian Bacon was about 100x easier to slice once the meat was chilled in the fridge overnight. I put it on my meat slicer and it just whirred into perfect skinny slices. I am bummed I didn't think to snap a picture of it.
But... there is still a bird to talk about.
I re-inserted the probe into the turkey thigh, it came out about an hour later. It looked so good, and with a tummy full of Canadian bacon, I couldn't wait to try it.
I hate to end the post on a bummer note... But I was really disappointed in the turkey. The texture was fine, but it was SO salty. I brine birds all the time, so I was stunned. Then, on a whim, I dug the package out of the trash. Yeah, I screwed up and used an "enhanced" bird. Brined a brined bird. Damn.
Didn't stop The Husband and his friends from devouring it though.