A few weeks ago, in anticipation of Jacinto’s upcoming birthday, Mary asked Jacinto what he would like for his special birthday dinner. As is the case with most of our Ecuadorian friends, Jacinto is unassuming and said he did not need a special dinner. We told him we were going to make one anyway and Mary ran through some options for the main course. When she came to chuletas, Jacinto jumped in and said he would like chuletas.
Over a year ago we first wrote about smoking chuletas (which are pork chops, but we get them in a roast form with the chops only partially separated). Chuletas are very good smoked and I was glad that Jacinto chose those for his dinner. So, early Friday morning I rolled the barbecue/smoker out onto the patio and started up some carbon in the side chamber.
We have a friend who writes a blog about barbecuing meats throughout the year in Minnesota: https://patronsofthepit.wordpress.com/ and he often comments that one of the advantages of slow smoking meat is that the cook is afforded time to stretch out on an easy chair and doze peacefully as the smoke and low heat does the work. In the past he has chided me when I have responded that it is more satisfying to stretch out on a hammock or lounge chair by the pool. In fact he has accused me of “rubbing it in” when I make mention of our year-round balmy temperatures and sunshine.
Well, it is almost June now and I guess it is fairly warm even in Minnesota, so I will confess that the blue pool float leaning against the wall was put to good use Friday as the morning hours drifted by with the pleasant aroma of hickory smoke and sizzling pork juices flavoring the eighty-five degree sunshine filled air. I could say more, but that really might be rubbing it in.
Anyway, I have learned a lot from my friends at PotP and they often speak of wrapping their meat (mostly ribs) in tin foil after several hours to lock in moisture and get that fall of the bone affect of well smoked pork. So I figured that I would try that even with the larger pork chuleta roast. After about five hours of smoking, I wrapped the whole roast in tin foil and continued to cook the meat at about two hundred forty degrees for two more hours.
We have a large cooking area, so we generally smoke some turkey or other meat for another meal at the same time. The packages on the right are turkey (pavo) pieces.
About an hour before serving time, I unwrapped the packages and let them brown up a bit more.
I was especially happy with the turkey as the wrapping made it so the outside remained soft and less chewy than it had been on other occasions.
The chuletas cut easily into five one inch thick chops.
Mary had been busy inside preparing potatoes, green beans and salad.
Our good friend Jacinto sat down to a king’s feast!
Mary and I felt blessed to have his happy spirit in our home as we celebrated Jacinto’s forty-eighth birthday complete with chocolate banana cake.
Jacinto works as the maintenance man and gardener here at our complex and can easily carry a fifty kilo (110 pound) bag of cement up and down stairs, but the next picture will give you an idea of his relatively small size.
We got him an electric bug zapper to help him guard against the mosquito spread chikunguña that has been prevalent in our area this year.
Another great meal and great company with our friend Jacinto here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!