Working in a business that is pretty committed to sustainability and seeing the emergence of foraging for food amongst chefs and communities this recipe makes so much sense! Around my area there are two times of the year the streets look like dumps: hard rubbish week and January. The leafy streets of the inner eastern suburbs are transformed into a cemetery for brown, sad Christmas trees who’s days of sitting on presents are over, and they are destined to sit on peoples nature strips until the council gets around to picking them up. What if there was a way of using unloved Christmas trees? yeah I guess that’s kinda cool….. firewood? Lame. What if there was a way to use unloved christmas trees for pork products. ZOMG, now I’ve got my own full attention. So with much dodgyness last week i drove down mailing road on the way home from work much like a predator stalking its prey, pulling over and quickly shoving Christmas trees in my boot. My car now smells of delicious Christmas tree. Winning.
There is a reason why i confused a few residents in Mailing Road, and might have appeared like a deranged criminal. The needles from the humble Christmas tree can be used to smoke things, and not in the shtickies of the icky kind, for food. So if you fancy yourself a bit of a hot smoker for fish, meat or vegetables (smoked mushrooms yes!). Get your stealth on and pick up a Christmas tree from the nature strip.
Hot smoked pork.
1 x piece of pork (i’ve used leg but next time a nice piece of shoulder will be the cut of choice)
1 cup dry rub
1 x Christmas tree.
3. Take the piece of pork and rub the dry rub into it, leave it to marinate (the longer the better).
4. Fire up your oven/BBQ to its highest heat. I believe the setting on the woodfired oven at home was “hell”. The wood used to light and create the coals was redgum.
6. Cover with alfoil to stop it burning and leave it roast for 1 hour.
7. Bundle the pine needles with string, for convenience yo.
8. Hurl the bundles into the oven and close the door (makes it smoke instead of burn).
9. Hot smoke for a few hours. I went with 5 but it would benefit from 6-8 hours. No need to add extra wood, allow it to burn out.
1. The dry rub i used was a gift from a friend at work who brought it back from Texas. You can use a mix of paprika, dried garlic, dried onion, salt, pepper, cumin powder, mustard powder and pepper). Adjust the amounts to your taste.
2. For a kickass potato salad simmer 1kg of kipfler potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and chop into pieces. In a bowl combine 1 tbsp of good mayo, 1 tbsp of mustard(my fav is Pommery Moutarde des pompiers, nice and hot), 5 large rashes of bacon grilled and chopped, 2 large spring onions chopped finely and 4 hard boiled eggs chopped roughly. Add potatoes while still hot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. If you don’t have access to a woodfired oven use your bbq like an oven. Light the grill side of the BBQ, and place the pork on the hotplate(cold) side. When you’re ready to smoke use a aluminium baking tray and place ove the hot side with the pine needles in it.