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Cooking with JoJo: Barbecue, bacon and Brussels sprouts

Joey Morasse • Oct 17, 2017 at 10:38 PM

Brussels sprouts are a member the cabbage family and from our friends in northern Europe. They became more popular in latter years near Brussels from where the name came. 

Whether you call them brussel sprouts or Brussels sprouts, both of which are correct, cooking these edible buds is easy. I started eating Brussels sprouts in the last few years, which is unfortunate, because they are delicious. I have roasted them whole in the oven with salt, pepper and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and have sautéed them various ways, as well. 

For this recipe, I wanted to elevate it from a simple side dish to a meal. I am a big fan of smoked meats and own a large mobile barbecue pit that is strictly wood fueled. If you do not have a smoker, I highly recommend getting one. There are some great and inexpensive ones on the market. Not only is it fun to use, but the flavor is also to die for. 

For this recipe, I used some chopped pork butt that I cooked over hickory for eight hours, however, if you do not have the time or the tools to do so, grab some pork from your favorite restaurant or grocery store.

What you’ll need:

• 1 pound of Brussels sprouts.

• 8 slices of smoked, salt-cured jowl bacon with the rind removed and diced.

• 1 pound of chopped pork barbecue.

• ½ onion, finely diced.

• 1 tsp. salt.

• 1 tsp. coarse black pepper.

The tedious part of this recipe is the preparation of the Brussels sprouts. First, remove the hard tip. Turn the sprout so that you are cutting them longways. While holding between your thumb, index and middle fingers, the back of the knife will be on your palm, slice carefully into thirds. Some sprouts are smaller than others and you may be able to get only two cuts, which is fine. You’ll notice as you slice, some of the leaves will fall away. Do not throw them away. When the leaves cook, they become tender and flavorful. After slicing, set aside.

In a medium-hot skillet, add jowl bacon and cook until almost crispy. The bacon fat will be the oil for the entire dish. Next, add the onion and sprouts and stir to mix well. Only add the pepper at this time. The bacon, depending on salt level, may be just enough salt for you. As you cook anything, always taste to see if any added spices are needed. 

When you see the sprouts getting a nice brown color on them, add the pork barbecue, stir, reduce the heat to low and cover. Let the sprouts cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. 

This dish has great flavors of savory, salty and smoky. 

I hope you enjoy.

Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.

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