Tasso, intensely flavored and heavily smoked pork butt adds a unique flavor to many Cajun dishes. Tasso is seasoned with cayenne pepper and garlic and although it can be eaten alone, it is mainly used in vegetables, gumbos and soups.
|pork butt||1000 g||2.20 lb.|
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
|salt||18 g||3 tsp.|
|Cure #1||2.5 g||½ tsp.|
|black pepper||4.0 g||2 tsp.|
|cayenne pepper||1.0 g||½ tsp.|
|garlic||3.5 g||1 clove|
- Cut pork butt across the grain into 1” thick strips and remove excess fat. Mix together all ingredients and coat the pork strips on all sides. Place in a container (plastic Zip-Loc® bag is fine) and keep in refrigerator for 2 days. Turn pork strips over once a day or shake the bag.
- Remove the pork pieces and hang them on S-hooks for 1-2 hours until dry.
- Preheat smoker to 130º F, (55º C) and if meat feels dry apply smoke for 3 hours. If the surface of the tasso is still wet, hold it inside the smoker (no smoke) until it feels dry. Then in the last hour of smoking try to gradually increase the temperature to about 160º F, (71º C).
- Increase temperature to 170º-180º F, 77º-82º C, (no smoke necessary) and cook tasso to an internal temperature of 154º F (68º C).
- Store in refrigerator.
Making tasso resembles making jerky. If you cut the pork pieces into 1/2” strips it will be much easier to dry them out after cooking. Once the moisture is gone the tasso pieces will be considered a dry product and like jerky will last a long time without refrigeration.
There are different Tasso recipes and some include sugar, allspice, cinnamon, sage, thyme. That we leave to your individual preference. Worcestershire sauce gives jerkys their specific tangy flavor and there are some Tasso recipes that include that sauce, too. You may mix all ingredients with 1 cup of Worcesterhire sauce and marinate tasso in it for 2 days. Make sure it is dry when you smoke it.
In case you decide to smoke an entire pork butt Tasso style, the wet curing method should be chosen and the curing times will be longer ( 5 - 7 days).