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It was a small wood shed tucked in the trees. The door swung outwards and an adult would have to duck to get inside. From the rafters would hang assorted cuts of meat and an old stove would supply the flavoring. The Smoke House was my Grandpa Louis’ domain – even after my grandparents moved to town and my parents moved onto the farm, Grandpa was the man in charge of this particular piece of the property.
Spikachit – though he made other dried fare, that’s what will always come to mind when I think of the old smokehouse. The name may have been Native American or bungled Norwegian and the spelling we were never exactly sure of. Basically, it was moose jerky – and it sure was tasty.
The moose would have been hunted in the fall, then butchered and placed in a crock pot to brine for 3-4 days. It was sprinkled with salt and cut into long 3 by 10-inch strips to hang by a hook for 3-7 days. The wood stove would be filled with hickory logs and checked several times a day for smokiness. Once the meat was cured it was taken down and cut into smaller pieces. The resulting meat was a deep wine red, dry and chewy with a salty, smoked flavor – a lip smacking treat.
I don’t have a smokehouse on my farm, but I do have a Pit Boss pellet grill that takes me back to those smoky flavors of my childhood. Here’s a modern day recipe for pork lovers like me.
Depending on the size of your pork belly strips, you may have to slice them in half vertically before you cut them into half inch cubes.
Add your seasoning and mix together.
The pork belly cubes are best done on a mesh grill mat or tray with holes to allow the smoke to permeate the meat without losing any of the smaller bits through the grill.
My smoker is usually filled with Pit Boss Competition Blend, which has hickory, maple and apple pellets. It gives a bit of sweetness from the apple and maple as well as that strong hickory flavor to complement the meat.
After the sauce is poured over the meat let it smoke covered for an hour more, then remove the foil and smoke for another 30 minutes.
The sauce makes the pork belly sweet and sticky. Eat it as is or use in a bun or soft taco.