Posted by: Jacques | September 24, 2009

Harvesting Homegrown Tobacco

Hanging up to dry

Hung out to dry

A few tobacco plants grew on our rooftop this year. I harvested them on Monday -the last day of Summer. The leaves are now hanging in my apartment. Tobacco needs to air cure before being rolled -it should be ready to use in a couple of weeks, at that time I think I’ll try rolling a few homemade cigars.

I’m honestly not even that big of a tobacco smoker, so I guess I’m doing this more out of curiosity than anything else. What will grow on a Brooklyn Rooftop? In the process of answering that question I hope to encourage more green rooftops all over the city as well as simple diy rooftop gardening. It’s a hobby that a lot more people would take up if they could be shown a way to make it economically attractive. With cigarettes at ten dollars a pack I figure that I my seven little tobacco plants must have yielded a few hundred dollars in tobacco. Clean tobacco -organically grown and additive free.

Why grow tobacco? Putting my right to satisfy personal curiosity aside, if I have any problem with tobacco -like a lot of other people- it’s more of a gripe with the big tobacco companies and their deceptive advertising, additives, agricultural practices, etc. In my effort to make some diy smokables I feel like I’m throwing a small stone at big tobacco.

Smoking is not the only use for tobacco. It’s also nice to have fresh tobacco leaves to cook with. Here is a recipe for tobacco sauce that we serve with grilled pork.

serves six

3 lbs Pork loin

salt & pepper

1 large onion sliced

12 oz dark beer

1/4 c molasses

1/4 oz dried tobacco leaves

a little fresh green tobacco for garnish

1 qt dark pork stock

dried hot peppers

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Cut a little bit of fat off of the pork and save it, this will be used in the sauce. Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook over a grill that is not too hot. Cooking meat in large pieces over a slow flame keeps it juicy and flavorful. For a three pound piece of pork it might take up to 45 minutes. Cook it to desired doneness. Check this by poking it. As it cooks it will firm up. If you are new to this then just cut a very small incision and peek inside. Don’t over cook the meat. Pull it off the grill while it is still a little bit under done and let it rest. While it is resting it will remain hot and therefore continue to cook -this is called “carryover cooking.”

While the meat is cooking make your sauce. Render the reserved pork fat by cooking it in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once the fat has begun to liquefy use it to saute the onions. Let the onions caramelize and then deglaze with the beer. Add the molasses. Add the dried tobacco, hot peppers and allspice. Let the beer cook down at least half way before adding the pork stock. Simmer the sauce until it has reduced by two thirds.

Slice the well rested pork and spoon the sauce over it. Serve with starch and veg such as mashed potatoes and mustard greens or sweet potatoes and green beans etc. Garnish with fresh green tobacco leaves.

Tobacco Leaves on the day of Harvest

Tobacco Leaves on the day of Harvest



  1. Love the new site song. What is it? Who is it? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: