It is known, bacon makes everything better. Yet, I’ve discovered bacon’s Cajun cousin and let me tell you, she can dramatically spice things up. She is definitely a ham. Her name, is Tasso and she wants you to cast her in your next dish.
When Oliver and I both shot the same pig, one of our bullets caught the shoulder. After cutting away the ruined portion, I was left with a a few oddly shaped hunks of meat. Tasso didn’t mind.
Cut from the shoulder of a pig, Tasso is heavily spiced and hot smoked. This is an easy afternoon project. Moreover, commercial spice mixes work well with her. My buddy Coby from near Rayne, Louisiana is making his own spice mix called Cajun Fiya and it’s out of this world good. Lots of spice but not overwhelmingly salty or hot, I’ve been eating this on everything from steaks to popcorn. Today I used it for my Tasso.
Anytime your dish could use a little more spice, smoke, or fat, invite Tasso. Remember, she brings her own salt, so reduce the salt in your recipe. She’s accustomed to supporting roles in dishes like red beans and rice, gumbos, and jambalayas–but don’t typecast her because she’s shines in soups and stews, cornbread, and sliced thin as part of a charcuterie plate with fruit.
- Deboned shoulder of a pig, cut in portions 1 -3 inches thick.
- 1 pound of kosher salt
- 13 ounces of dextrose
- 3 ounces of pink salt
- 8 ounces of Cajun Fiya
- Combine salt, dextrose and pink salt. This basic dry cure is the same I used in my wild boar bacon recipe.
- Dip the pork shoulder in the cure, making sure to entirely coat the meat. You will have more dry cure than necessary, so save it for the next batch. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.
- Remove from fridge and rinse under cool water. Pat dry.
- Cover each piece with Cajun Fiya and hot smoke to an eternal temperature of 157. I chose apple wood for my smoke flavor, but hickory, pecan, or oak would be acceptable too.
- Vacuum seal or package in saran wrap and butcher paper. It keeps well in the freezer and for about 2 weeks in the fridge.