Tasso ~ Foamheart

Discussion in 'Pork' started by foamheart, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Tasso is probably the least known Cajun cooking secret. Why, because people have embraced andouille. I am a great example. Both andouille and tasso are seasoning meats. Tasso is used for flavoring veggies mostly. I never saw it in a dish with another meat, like a chicken and tasso gumbo, nope. Tasso jambalaya, nope.

    Tasso is more a Cajun pickled pork. Thats what its used for. Of course this is only my humble opinion.

    I have been trying for a long time to figure out how to get that taste I remembered as a child. And tasso was a rarity, you didn't see tasso in a grocery store back then. You had to be a friend of a friend or somebody really favored or in good graces to get tasso! I never understood why, it was nothing more than something to use like bacon in mustard greens, green beans, cabbage, corn, peas, etc etc etc....

    I was in the 5th grade first time I ever saw any and it was the first time I knew of its existence.

    The neighbor who was coonass from the tip of her toe to the top of her head had gone home to Bunkie La to visit and came back bearing gifts. One if which was tasso.. Mom opened up a piece of meat which was wrapped in the Sunday Comics. LOL It was ripe, green, seriously had green growing on it. Mom thinking it was bad tossed it and swore me to secrecy not wanting to hurt Ms. AnnaLee's feelings.

    I played ball with her sons, and she had a passle of daughters I learned were fun too later. Mom would always send me over to their house anytime she could, so I could learn what and how to eat the local fair. Seriously think about a West Texas born woman, that had moved to the Kansas prairie, then on to NC. now in South Louisiana. Crawfish, crabs, oysters, and all the cajun dishes. LOL  I'd come home and explain what we had and how to eat it. LOL The next week or two, we'd go to a resturant and order some and it was hands on training duty. 

    But as always I babble..... Lets talk tasso.

    Cured or not?? I have seen both ways. Smoked or not, again no clear winner. Flavors brined? Rubbed?

    I thought back to the green meat my Mom threw out. You know that sounds like a Carolina Ham, doesn't it? Those Carolina hams are sugar cured. Ah ha! Cured it is. I am guessing a dry cure with some #2 cure. 

    Here we have some pretty pork chops which have been brine cured. Getting flavors in the meat was the reason for the brine cure, its tender, definately a heavy cured taste. 

    Note you can see that cured look to the chops although not bright red. Two weeks in a brined cure (Its smells good enough to just eat raw).

    Tasso is rubbed very heavily with strong spices. So heavy it reminded me of my cajun sausage spice. Hey, none of my other experiments worked so lets give it a try. After a day drying in the reefer, some fan blowing it was as dry as was gonna happen. It was still slightly wet from the brine. I rub in sausage spice, I really rubbed it in with a double dose. Back in the reefer over night.

    Today, I renewed the rub.

    Prepare the smoker, I decided to smoke it. Most of what is store bought these days for tasso uses 'liquid smoke' Ewwww. But a country cured or green Carolina ham gets smoked, so why not? Preparing the smoke of pecan and corn cob.

    I do love the new expandable oval pellet smoker!

    And into to smoker. And the first hour door cracked to dewater.

    Just like on Gilligan's Island, it was a three hour tour ( I was inside making jelly)

    And it comes out, smelling great, how could it not?

    This is the closet thing I have made to real tasso. I have tried 4 or 5 times that was ok, but it wasn't just right if ya know what I mean.

    The spice although hot doesn't remove the skin from the tongue but you get thirsty quick and sweating will follow, it is damn spicy!

    I am gonna give this a A, but not an A+. Its close, really close. The chop is cured, spicy, tender, and even juicy.... I know it seems impossible.

    I wonder if it being a nice pork chop has anything to do with it. See that green piece of meat my Mom threw out not knowing what she had, well it was a center cut pork chop also. Not your normal 'cut' for tasso.

    I will continue to refine, but I am considering it a success.

    Thanks for listening to me ramble. Its taken a few attempts to get where I am happy. But that is good tasso.

    ROFLMAO someday I'll relate the story of a contractors gift to my Pop of a full bushel of softshell crabs which he let rot for lack of knowledge...
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
    tropics, c farmer and dirtsailor2003 like this.
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Interesting story. Being a Northerner I don't know the history behind tasso.

    They look great. I used #2 when curing mine, as per a well known recipe.

    I am bout out, need to make more
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice post Kevin! No store in my neck of the woods carries it. I'll have to make some one of these days.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great story! Looks like there will be some good cookin' going to be coming from you in the near future. I have had Tasso, shipped North from LA, bought from a tiny store that carried specialty food from all over the world. Real Prosciutto de Parma, choice of 100 cheeses none domestic, 25 different EVOO's to choose from. The Tasso was spicy, heavily smoked and too salty to eat more than a thin strip. I swear it seemed like the coating of Rub was near 1/4 inch thick and the flavor that Tasso gave a pot of Collard Greens or Black Eyed Peas was Magical! What was in the Rub?...JJ
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well it was supposedly the left over scrapes of meat at the boucheire, they just rolled it in what ever spices were left on the table. I can't verify cured or smoked. But this was and it does taste right. BUT I also brined this, not just a liquid cure, and it has made a huge diffrence.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Remember that Tasso and andouille are really basically the same thing and used for the most part the same. The are both just seasoning meats.

    Although andouille can accompany another meat in a stew, gravy, or soup, tasso is basically used strickly to season veggies, and  not even beans. [​IMG]  

    Making andouille a much more versitle  seasoning.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Salt, sugar, mustard, MSG. paparicka, cayenne, cracked black, garlic, sodium erythorbate, Amesphos, you know all the goodest spices.

    Its so you are not supposed to worry about seasonings. Put mustard greens on a large pot, add a little water a piece ot two of tasso and you needn't worry about having salt or pepper or any other spice.

    We always hear the story about ......

    Red beans & rice is traditionally a every Monday lunch. Why? Cause in dem olden days, Monday was always wash day.  You had to have water to wash so usually it involved a short trip to a local water source. But a trip none the less. You could also bring a dutch oven, a stick of sausage or andouille and a hand full of bean and cook lunch in that same fire. Easy no fuss, beans water and seasoning meat. AND it didn't take any time from the washing.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have made Red Beans a few times. The local Andouille is more like Kielbasa with Cayenne and Paprika. I had to kick it up with my spices...JJ
  9. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Foam that is a funny story,I have no experience with Tasso Points for trying

  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You know Chef, when I was out spreading myself around the country I oft times had that same problem, but I did find that Keilbassa was the closest I usually could get to Cajun smoked sausage.It goes fine in gumbo's and jambalaya's. Like other things, it ain't exactly right but its close when you've exhausted your reserves in the freezer and ya need a fix of homecooking. LOL

    If it looked like gumbo and smelled like gumbo, so what if the taste was slightly off. Adapt & evolve, you might find something you like. Who ever thought you could eat cactus leaves? Probably the same guy who was hungary enough to try an oyster. LOL
  11. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great thread and info, Foam.


  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank you Disco

    I have tried a bunch and failed alot. Was kinda nice to get one that tasted close. The only reason I did them was I had cured chops wasting away in the reefer.
  13. Looks Good Kevin,  I'll bet the taste was Fantastic    Nice job

  14. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank Gary

    It was excellent.  Tasso is great stuff but with a freezer fulla andouille, it doesn't get the call from the coach very often because its sooo spicy.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  15. Just a thought !!     If you need more room in your freezer you could ship me some of both  [​IMG]


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