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Cajun Tasso

Tasso is a Cajun/New Orleans style smoked pork that is brined and heavily seasoned. It's a great flavoring for soups, gumbos and jambalaya. It can also add a kick to cream based sauces. This is the first recipe I made that wet brines/cures the meat before final smoking. I will also use the same brine listed here in my second brined recipe, sweetheart ham. That recipe is also on the site. Enjoy them both.



4 cups water

1/4 cup Kosher Salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp. black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

1/2 bunch fresh sage

3 star anise pods broken apart

1 small onion peeled and quartered

5 crushed garlic cloves

1 tbsp. juniper berries

8 grams curing salt #1

2 1/2 pounds of boneless pork butt cut into 2 inch thick chunks

Tasso spice:

1/2 cup paprika

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. ground white pepper

1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. garlic powder


1. Combine the brine ingredients into a pot and boil over high heat for 5 minutes, then cool to room temperature.

2. When the brine has cooled transfer it to an extra-large resealable plastic bag or sealable container. Add the pork ensuring its covered/submerged in brine and seal or cover the container. Place in refrigerator for 3 days to cure.

3. Remove the pork chunks from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Stir together the tasso spices in a large bowl and add the meat. Toss until the meat is completely covered in spice.

4. Return to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours and then hot smoke at an approximate temperature of 200 degrees F. for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature is 150 degrees F.

5. The tasso is then fully cooked and can be used in recipes or frozen until needed.

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