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Sous Vide Deep Fried Chicken

I am always looking for quick and easy ways to meal prep. A local chef shared with us that sous vide cooking is the best way to cook meat in advance without losing the tender and juicy texture of the meat. Sous Vide cooking is sealing food in an air tight container, like a vacuum seal bag or a regular zip seal bag, then cooking that food in temperature controlled water using a heated metal coil to warm the water to a constant temperature and keep the water flowing so there are no hot or cold spots. The cooking process is gradual and controlled. You can set the temperature of the Sous Vide machine to the exact desired temperature of doneness and it doesn’t over cook. After your food reaches the desired temperature, you can refrigerate the meat and heat it up later or you can give it a quick sear on a very hot skillet after removing it from the bag. In the case with these chicken legs, we Sous Vide the legs at 145 degrees for one hour and 45 minutes. Once they were done, Farmer Erik deep fried them outside on our turkey fryer just until the skins got crisp, giving us fall off the bone tender chicken. I tossed them in our favorite wing sauce and we had delicious “wings” that had a whole lot more meat and much less work and mess! The best part of sous vide cooking is that you can add marinades and seasonings to your bag along with your protein and can develop great flavors with minimal effort!

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Pork Shoulder

Pulled Pork is a staple here at Goodness Grows Farm. A Pork Butt (which actually is a cut of meat that comes from the shoulder of the hog) is the cut of meat that I believe offers the best value for your dollar. I can often get two or three meals out of a pork butt. That’s amazing value for a family of seven! The simplest way I like to slow roast a pork butt is:

1) Season all sides of the pork butt liberally with your seasoning of choice. I am a simple chef and usually just use garlic salt if I know the pork butt is going to be used for several different meals. If I am planning to use it only for pulled pork, I will season it with a dry BBQ seasoning rub.

2) Heat some oil in my largest enameled cast iron dutch oven (I believe it is 12 quarts) and once the oil is hot, place the pork into the pot allowing the pork to sear for about four minutes. Repeat on all sides of the butt so there is a nice sear all over.

3) Add about a cup of water to the pot. (If I am going to make gravy from the drippings, I will add two cups of water and two beef bouillon cubes.) Place the lid on the dutch oven and put it in a 200 degree oven. Cook a minimum one hour per pound of pork. Pork is considered safe to eat at temperatures of 165, but to get the tenderness desired for pulled pork, get it to a temperature of 180 -190. I simply do the fork test. If I stick a fork in it and it pulls apart easily, it’s done!

4) Use two forks to shred the meat until it is all pulled from the bone.

Once you have your shredded pork, you can simply add your favorite BBQ sauce for pulled pork sandwiches, use the drippings to make gravy and have pork with mashed potatoes and gravy, or our favorite, add our favorite taco seasoning, black beans and corn, and serve over rice for a burrito bowl or add to a flour tortilla for tacos!