Salt & Pepper Smoked Pork Belly


Texas Salt & Pepper Pork Belly

Recipe from “Barbeque: A Home Chef’s Guide.”

LargeSalt, pepper and a long slow smoke created an unctuous, amazing belly with an intensely flavorful crust.

Total Time: 7 Hours 5 Minutes     Yield: 8 to 12 servings

  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 4-5lb piece boneless pork belly, skin removed
  • 3 chunks of a medium smoking wood, such as oak or hickory

In a small bowl combine pepper and salt to make the rub.

Season pork belly all over liberally with the rub.


Preheat smoker, grill, or La Caja China to 225F, smoking with oak or hickory.


Place the pork belly in the smoker and smoke to 195-203F on an instant read thermometer, inserted into the thickest section of meat (6 to 8 hours).

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Wrap the belly tightly in butcher paper or foil, place in a cooler or oven, and let rest for 2 hours.

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Slice pork belly and serve.

(Save some to make my favorite Pork Belly Burnt Ends! ~ See my recipe in “Barbeque: A Home Chef’s Guide!)


~Chef Perry




Barbecue: A Home Chef’s Guide Now Available!


LargeBarbeque, REAL barbeque, is more than a cooking style, it’s a lifestyle choice.

It’s a consuming passion that we never perfect, but only improve upon. BBQ is NOT the same as Grilling (we’ll cover THAT is the next guidebook!) Low and show, indirect heat, and clean smoke…that’s the mantra of the pit master.

From bacon weaves, to melt-in-you-mouth brisket, to whole roast pigs…if you can cook it, low and slow, in sweet, sweet smoke…

I’ll show you how.

There are plenty of cookbooks out there, but this is a Home Chef’s Guide, and that means more than instructions on how to make single dish.


It means learning the tips, tricks, and techniques the pro’s use to become a better cook…to understand cooking, it means advancing your culinary skills.

It means becoming a Home Chef.



Do you really know what you really know? (off topic)

28al3nFIRST OF ALL…for those who don’t know me, I am NOT a Muslim.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only son of God, and I believe in the Holy Trinity (God the Father, Jesus his Son, and the Holy Spirit), and that salvation is solely dependent on the personal acceptance of His sacrifice on the cross as an atonement for mankind’s sin.

It’s important that you know that, or what follows is going to be VERY confusing. 😉

End of sermon.

I stumbled across the top image, while searching for something on a completely different topic.

It originally only had the top picture, the boy with the knife, and the line, “This is Islam.”

It was in an article titled, “Defend yourself, America!” (that will be important, later…)

It had been shared on Twitter, just from that page, 1003 times.

It made me angry.

Very, very angry.

You see, I’ve read the Koran. I have a copy on my bookshelf that I’ve used to point out the differences between Islam and Christianity (and more than one similarity, btw).

The passage most often quoted against Islam is the fifth verse of the ninth sura, long known to Muslims as the “Sword verse.” It’s often translated colloquially, both by foreigners and militant Islamic leaders as:

“Kill the idolaters (or “infidels”) wherever you find them.”

Unfortunately, this is not the literal translation of that sentence.
The word “mushrikeen” that is manipulated into “idolaters” actually translates into ““those who join other gods with God” which is to say, polytheists.

This is specifically referring to the ruling polytheistic Quraysh* tribe of Mecca, who had declared war against Muhammad and his community, killing and torturing many of them. Many more were sent, by Muhammad, to take asylum in the Christian kingdom of Abyssinia, where they could safely practice their religion (even though it disagreed with the accepted religion of Abyssinia), and who refused to turn them over to the Quraysh, who came looking for them.

Think about that for a minute…

If Christians were the infidels, why would they flee to them for protection, if the very religion that they (the Muslims) we’re being killed for preaching, ordered them to “kill the infidels wherever you find them”…?

*The tribesmen of Quraysh were not traders; instead, they were entrusted with religious services, from which they significantly profited. They also profited from taxes collected from incoming pilgrims who were required to make an annual pilgrimage to their city.

Sound familiar? 😉

I’ve heard the incorrect translation from plenty of Christian pulpits, as Muslims have from theirs.

How different is this than the 2nd century Romans (or modern atheists) who claim that Christianity requires ritualistic cannibalism, by twisting the meaning of “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

Both are a manipulation of intended meanings.

Both are a lie.

In the case of the Koran, it’s a lie that was spread far and wide, both by ignorance and design, by everyone from Richard the Lionheart, to Osama bin Laden, to create hatred, mistrust, and fear of a perceived enemy…and always toward an end goal.

How much suffering and death could have been avoided, if the ignorant on both sides had just looked that up?

How much still can?

The vast majority of Muslims are not jihadists. The vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, and the vast majority of Muslims do not prescribe to a “religion of hate.”

…just like the vast majority of Christian’s are not members of the Klu Klux Klan.

Again, I’m not a Muslim, and I don’t believe it is “the one true faith”, but I’m not arguing for or against ANY religion in this post, as that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

(Though I must wonder how many folks still don’t understand that both Islam and Christianity started as Judaism, and like Judaism and Christianity, only diverge, historically, between the Old and New Testament. (We’ll come back to that…)


Am I defending terrorism, or Jihad, or hate? No!

Am I preaching Islam? Certainly not!

I’m arguing against the REAL threats, the two common enemies that are so often the root of wars, and hatred, and suffering throughout history.

The same to two enemies that are being used to divide our great nation, as well.


(and in MY faith, who do we call “the father of lies?”)

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to share some thoughts on how (I believe) the division between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all boil down to the interpretation (and misinterpretation of ONE word.

Until then, I leave you with these…

“In the battle between the races, there is no truce. If you are determined finally to defend yourself, German people, then be pitiless!”
~ Adolf Hitler

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ Jesus Christ


~Chef Perry

Happy Grilled Cheese Day!

 Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I love all things caprese (tomato/mozzarella/basil), so when I found a lovely block of white cheddar labeled “Tomato-Basil”, it didn’t event require a second thought…(if you can’t find it, a couple of thick slices of provolone are pretty awesome, too!)

Yeah, it rocked.

Oh, and if you can find this “Everything” Italian bread…it was amazing!

Chef Perry

The Ultimate Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
4 thick slices of rustic artisan bread (your choice)
3.5 oz Cabot Tomato Basil Cheddar Cheese (sliced ½ inch thick)
1 firm beefsteak tomato, sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Coarse sea salt, to taste

Brush each sliced of bread (both sides) with a little olive oil.

Layer 2 pieces of the bread with cheese slices and chopped basil.

Pre-heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat, and drizzle with a melted butter. 

Grill sandwiches until golden brown, add tomato, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, to taste.

Top both pieces with remaining bread, flip and grill until cheese has melted.

DO NOT cover the pan with a lid to melt cheese, it will make your bread soggy!

The Roast Beef Po’Boy


The Roast Beef Po’Boy
Recipe by Emeril Lagasse

When it comes to these tradition New Orleans sandwiches, I usually go straight for the oyster po’ boy, but sometimes you just get a jones for something different.

Today, it’s a gravy drippin’ roast beef!

If you’re going to smoke a brisket, you learn from Aaron Franklin. Nasty Bits? Fergus Henderson. And, if you’re needing some Mardi Gras in you mouth, (in my opinion)… you find out how Emeril does it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 4 1/2 hours Yield: 6 servings

Warning: bring napkins!

1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 to 4 pounds)
10 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups strong beef stock, plus more if necessary
Six 6-inch lengths po’boy bread or Italian or French bread
Mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
10 ounces provolone cheese, grated
Thinly shredded iceberg lettuce
Very thinly sliced tomatoes
Thinly sliced dill pickles
Louisiana red hot sauce (optional)

Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make 20 evenly spaced small slits, about 1 ½ inches deep, all over the pot roast. Insert the garlic cloves as deep into the slits as possible.

Season the roast on all sides with the salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat. Add the oil, and when it is hot, sear the meat until it is very well browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side (don’t be afraid to let the roast get very brown—this is where a lot of the flavor comes from). Then carefully add the stock and cover the pot.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook, turning the meat once or twice during cooking, until the roast is falling-apart tender, 3 to 31/2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure that there is always at least 1 inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot, adding additional stock as necessary.

Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest briefly. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.

Using two forks, pull the meat apart into thin shreds, mixing the meat with the accumulated drippings in the bottom of the pot. Allow the meat to cool slightly and absorb the juices before making the po’boys.

(The meat can be cooked and shredded up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve; if prepared in advance, it will need to be rewarmed—covered and in a low oven—before assembling the sandwiches.)

Halve the po’boy bread lengthwise, and spread both sides of the bread liberally with mayonnaise. Place the bottom halves of the bread on a baking sheet, and spoon the meat filling over them, drizzling it with extra drippings.

Note: I like to whisk a little roux into my drippings, and cook them down into a thick gravy before tossing it with the meat.

Then top the meat with the grated provolone. Bake in the oven just until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.

Sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired, and top the po’boys with the top halves of the bread.

Serve immediately.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

~Chef Perry



In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as “oyster loaves.” They were hugely popular.

The most accepted local theory says that the name “po’ boy”, was adopted in New Orleans restaurant, “Martin Bros.,” which was owned and operated by two former street-car conductors. In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers, in a sign of solidarity, served their former colleagues free sandwiches.

The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name.

In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to “po’ boy”, and eventually can to refer to pretty much anything stuffed into a bread roll.

Yes, the story might be apocryphal…but I like it!


Regarding “American” Food


As much as I bleed red, white, and blue, I tend be be a little hypocritical when it comes to the subject of food.

With major exceptions (like BBQ), I tend to be, if not disdainful, at least dismissive of what I consider “traditional American food.”

But first, let me define that phrase (as I see it)…

American’s (an obvious generalization), have an obsession with taking things that are complicated, and simplifying them. And we’re very, very good at that, and it’s a GOOD thing…usually.

The problem comes in when we apply that mentality to food.

spaghetti-meatballs-can-31919It’s that “how can we make it easier” mindset that leads to ideas like “Hmmm…people like spaghetti, people like meatballs…let’s use a bunch of preservatives to create a shelf-stable version, add a bunch of sugar (to feed THAT addiction), stuff it into a can, and make it cheap so folks can microwave and serve it as quickly as possible.”

Oh, and let’s put a Italian-looking chef on the label, to legitimize our evil greed.

Jesus doesn’t want us to do that.

Also, let’s face it…there’s not a lot of food that, from a historical standpoint, can really be classified as “American” (at least not “North” American), as they are either a mass market-simplified version of a recipe that originated elsewhere, or they’ve been Americanized with each passing generation until they bear only a superficial resemblance to the dish that an immigrant brought to our shores originally.

Dishes like:

  • Spaghetti & Meatballs (which are two separate dishes)
  • Pizza (though this is improving)
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage
  • 90% of “Chinese” Food
  • Taco’s and other “Mexican” food
  • Sushi

For a great example, watch the “risotto scene” in the movie Big Night.

Many of these foods come from the first waves of immigrants to hit these shores: Italians, Irish, Mexicans, Africans*, Chinese, etc.

(Obviously calling early African-American’s “immigrants” is a gross misinterpretation of history, but given the huge influence that those cultures have had on how and what we eat, I felt they needed to be included to this list).

I’m not talking about just ingredients. I’m talking about using local, regional foods (the backbone of any great food culture) but to use them in combinations, and flavors, and presentations that are honest interpretations of the culture they supposedly represent.

Logo-nha-hangThe good news is, more recent ethic groups that have made major migrations…the Vietnamese and other SE Asian groups, Japanese, Middle Eastern, etc., remain much more “unadulterated” by Americanization, largely do to the social shrinking of our planet, and more open and adventurous mindsets that have developed because of it.

At the same time, an unpopular as the concept may be in certain circles, the effect of war (especially WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) has had a HUGE influence on our acceptance of “traditional” foods and cooking techniques.

Korean food, especially, had avoided any reinterpretation of itself, mostly due to the fact that Korean’s in general, just plain refuse to change their recipes, and don’t particularly seem to give a crap is Americans will accept or buy it. I salute this!

Invented in Canada, btw (but I love it anyway!) 😉

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of “gateway” foods in introducing people to new cuisines (the California roll being, arguably, the best example), but I think these foods need to be recognized for what they are…training wheels, and training wheels are great as long at their NEEDED, but the goal is to eventually take them OFF.

Let’s face it…you don’t see a lot of training wheels in the Tour de France. 😉

The problem comes in when people refuse to graduate to the real thing, and the gateway becomes an acceptable REPLACEMENT for the original, and becomes our definition of the real thing.

I’m brave enough to admit it…

fVzwtZSI enjoy a Taco Bell soft taco on occasion, but I understand that it’s an AMERICAN TACO (as does my 10 year old daughter), and don’t accept it as being either as good as, or a replacement for the “real thing”. (For the sake of disclosure…I am a hopelessly addicted street-taco junkie, lol, even the ones with “scary” ingredients!)

But, if Taco Bell eventually leads you to a good taco truck (as it has for many people), then I say God Bless ’em!

But, back to my point…

The reason I tend to be dismissive of “American” food is, in some part that I feel it’s often a disservice to it’s original version, and is an “enabler” that allows people to not experiences the REAL, and amazing, food of other cultures, or worse, dismiss it because it “doesn’t taste right”.


MOSTLY, though, it’s because it just doesn’t taste as good.

In a marketing-driven attempt to please as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, most of these foods end up over-salted, under-seasoned, poorly cooked, bland, and boring.

I’m not advocating food snobbery, I eat and enjoy many of these foods (well, not canned pasta…ever) and, for me, the point of food is enjoyment and experience.

If you love it, EAT it!

Just don’t make it something it’s not…and don’t settle for what’s easy.


~Chef Perry

“The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen.”

Junk Food and Obesity are NOT just “an American Problem”


MemeI keep seeing this video comparing what American’s eat, to the “healthy” lifestyles in Europe, implying that if only we yanks would follow Europe’s healthy eating habits, we would be as skinny and healthy as THEY are…and, frankly, it ticks me off.

In fact, I’m calling BS!

This might have been true of “Europe” (and the rest of the world) 20 years ago, but things have changed, the average European diet is no longer significantly healthier, or “better”, than ours, and the rest of the planet needs to stop pointing their chubby fingers at US, and start dealing with the problem in their OWN kitchens!

What we ARE guilty of, here in the US, is accepting every piece of BS idiocy that pops up on our Facebook pages as though they were written in stone by the finger of God, and then mindlessly sharing this “fake news” without any effort to confirm it, because we’re too damn lazy to look it up ourselves.

Now, I’m sure Aunt Marge is a very smart, caring, nice person…that doesn’t make her an expert on world healthcare (or any other of a number of subjects.) And hitting the SHARE button certainly doesn’t make YOU one either.

While the world (and US Media) loves to tout about America being “the fattest nation in the world“, the fact is…that’s a baldfaced LIE.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in a 2015 study and world ranking of obesity (NOT “overweight”, “Obese”), listed the US at #12 in the world. As far as overweight, we drop to #22.

Don’t rush out to DQ to celebrate that, btw…12 is still bad.

But, it’s NOT #1, as we keep hearing…which means we’re receiving, accepting, (and worse), perpetuating false information! (Very likely on a wide range of subjects…)

Who profits from the spread of that false information?

Media ~  The website’s, newspapers, programs, and papers that are being PAID to convince us that we deserve all of that unhealthy crap, and then getting paid AGAIN, to tell us how to fix all of the consequences of stuffing that crap into our gaping maws.

Big Pharma ~ It’s being forecasted that American’s will spend over 3.5 BILLION dollars, on prescription drugs alone, in 2018. Do you really think these “drug cartels” are interested in curing their cash cow?

Drug Cost

US Annual Spending (and this is just the “prescription” drugs)… in BILLIONS:

Perscription Drug expenditures

Healthcare: You thought the drug number’s were steep? In 2016 we Americans spent 3,337.2 BILLION on healthcare, and is estimated to rise 5.3 percent a year between now and 2024. 

If you think for a minute that any of these groups is going to trade their profits for the sake of our health…you need a firmer grasp on how capitalism works. 😉

Here are the Wordwide FACTS:


  • Italy’s rate of childhood obesity has now reached one in three.
  • In France, fast food swiped 54 per cent of the food market last year for a turnover of 34 billion euros (£29 billion)
  • According to a recent report by the British Parliament, more than 50 percent of British children will be obese by 2020.
  • In Wales, residents of the Welsh capital spend £86.80 every month (£1,041 a year) on takeaways and fast food.
  • Paradoxically, India has high rates of both obesity and undernourishment. According to the World Bank, the number of malnourished children is double that of sub-Saharan Africa; at the same time, India ranks third in the world for obesity.
  • The UK’s reported purchases in the category “chips” (French fries – frozen and not frozen)” were three times higher in 2014 than in 1974.
  • The European Association for the Study of Obesity states: “there will be over 20 million overweight children (of which 5 million will be obese) within a decade, despite a decline in the European population of children.”


  • Obesity rates among children and youth in Canada have nearly tripled in the last 30 years.


  • With a 32.8 percent adult obesity rate in 2013, Mexico inched past the 31.8 percent obesity rate in the United States, according to a study released by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.
  • Barry Popkin, an obesity expert at the University of North Carolina, attributes much of the spike in Mexican obesity to increased consumption of cheap sugary drinks and mass-marketed snack food.


  • As of 2015, 2 in 3 adults (63.4%) were overweight or obese, as were 1 in 4 children.
  • Twenty-two percent of Aussies in 2012 had cardiovascular disease.
  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every single day.


  • Germany has incidence of overweight and obese adults as a percentage of the total population at 54.8% as in comparison with France at 60.7%, Spain at 60.9% or the United Kingdom at 63.4%.
  • A survey in 2007 had Germany listed as the country with “the highest proportion of overweight children in Europe.” However, despite dropping in the rankings, the number of truly obese children have doubled in the past decade.


  • Obesity rates across the continent are projected to increase to 50% by 2030 and 60% by 2050.
  • Egypt and Ghana also experienced a significant increase in obesity over the past 25 years — from 34% to 39% (13% increase) in Egypt and 8% to 22% in Ghana (65% increase). The increase in obesity doubled in Kenya, Benin, Niger, Rwanda, Ivory Coast and Uganda, while Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi and Tanzania experienced a three-fold increase.


  • Intercountry comparable overweight and obesity estimates from 2008 show that 62.0% of the adult population (> 20 years old) in Spain were overweight
    and 26.6% were obese.


  • If trends continued, the mainland is expected to have 48.5 million overweight children in 2025, more than the population of Spain.
  • That compared with a projected 17.3 million overweight children in India and 16.7 million in the United States.
  • China is eighth on a list of 20 countries with the fastest increases in the prevalence of overweight children, with Vietnam, Azerbaijan and Serbia being the top three as of 2013.
  • The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology recently published a report that found the prevalence of overweight boys in China jumped from 0.74 per cent in 1985 to 16.35 per cent in 2014; and from 1.45 per cent to 13.91 per cent for girls.


  • In Nauru, the Cook Islands and Palau, more than 30 percent of children and teenagers were obese in 2016.
  • In Polynesia and Micronesia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caribbean, more than 1 in 5 children are obese.

It is clear, statistically, the we ALL have an obesity crisis, all due to the same external factors, world-wide:

  • The significant decrease in learning about and practicing “Home Cooking” and related activities, over multiple generations.
  • The expansion and availability of “Fast Food”
  • The expansion and availability of “Junk Food”
  • An increasingly sedentary lifestyle, largely due to an addiction to technology.

None of that, however, changes the fact that we, as Americans, are eating outselves to death right along with the rest of the world.

We have a GLOBAL problem, and we need to find a solution better than…”well, at least we’re not as fat as them!”

It is not the government’s responsibility, it’s not Healthcare’s responsibility, it’s OURSYOU and ME, to stop letting the media (who are getting paid to do so) tell us what we crave or “how much easier our lives can be”, or that “we deserve a break today!”

Our children DESERVE to not be taking Diabetes medication at 14, our grandchildren DESERVE to have living grandparents, our nation DESERVES to not be bankrupting our schools and our social-security system to pay for the consequences of our laziness!


1. LEARN how to plan, shop for, and cook real food! (and I’m not talking about sitting on the couch sucking down Doritos while watching “Iron Chef!”

2. UNPLUG! Turn off the TV, the video games, the iPad, the $%#$% CELL-PHONE… exercise more than your eyeballs and thumbs.

3. Get off the COUCH! You don’t need a new gym, or the latest video, or a bunch of equipment! God gave you everything you need to get healthier…they’re called LEGS.

Just because we can’t see them anymore, doesn’t mean they’re not there.

For God’s sake…JUST GO FOR A WALK!

Ed - Copy4. PRIORITIZE! No matter how “busy” we all think we are, each of us has 24 hours in our day. Choose how you spend them wisely (Do you REALLY need to binge-watch Sopranos, AGAIN?)

You CAN do it! Believe me, I know. This is me in 1997, when I topped out at 387lbs.

5. MODEL IT! The most important thing we can do to improve our children’s lives isn’t getting them into the best college, or paying for their popularity…it’s making sure they KEEP LIVING! SHOW them. TEACH them. Create healthy, fun family activities so that 20 years from now, you’re kids memories of you won’t just be the back of your iPhone.

This isn’t about looking good in a pair of jeans, or who goes to the coolest gym, or even feeling better, day to day, so we can just plain enjoy life more!

This is about the survival of our species.

So, please don’t try to sum it up in a meme…especially if you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

~Chef Perry