Category Archives: Smoker Fare

Favorite Dishes of 2011.

Bread.

Spent Grain Bread.

Salad.

Fall Chopped Salad.

Soup.

Smoked Celery Soup.

Pasta.

Veggie Yakisoba.

Veggie Yakisoba!

Meat.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Strips.

Love!

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Filed under Bread, Chicken, Grains/Rice, Pasta, Salad, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew

Smoked Cream of Celery Soup.

Do you ever make something really good, but find yourself at a loss for how to use it all? I did exactly that with last year’s Thanksgiving duck. We smoked the duck to serve alongside our grilled turkey. It was very good, and I rendered the fat, and that was very good…especially in gravy. And then I made broth out of the bones and skin, and put it in the freezer…and left it there. What exactly does one do with a delicacy like smoked duck broth? Well, I have determined if they are doing anything, most people are not posting it on the internet!

So as the world turns and the autumn air brings in a desire for warm, comfort food, I started thinking about soup. I found this bacon cream of celery soup over on The Kitchn and started thinking about my smoked duck broth. If smoky bacon tastes good in this soup, smoked duck broth should too. And it does! It tastes so good, in fact, that I am no longer intimidated by the duck broth, instead, I am going to see what else I can make with it.

Smoked Cream of Celery Soup.

Ingredients

4 thick cut strips of bacon

5 C celery, chopped into 1 inch long pieces

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 large or 2 small/medium shallots, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 T fresh thyme, removed from stems

1 large potato, cubed

2 C smoked duck broth (can sub smoked chicken or turkey)

2 C chicken broth

2 C milk (you can experiement with how fatty you get-1%, 2% or whole, the soup is pretty creamy without the milk, so you could even try leaving it out)

kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat a large stock pot over medium heat. Ass bacon slices and cook slowly until done. Remove bacon and set aside and chop when cool. Add celery, onion, shallot, garlic, and thyme. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the celery is soft. Add potato and broth. Increase heat to medium-high, bring pot to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion circulator puree until smooth. You can use a blender here, but I highly recommend purchasing the immersion circulator…less chance of burning yourself.

Fold milk and bacon into soup. Serve hot with your favorite garnish.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Appetizer, Outside of the Box, Side Dish, Smoker Fare, Snacks, Soup/Stew

Smoked Tri-Tip Two Cheese Sammy.

Made smoked tri-tip for the Memorial Day long weekend and in typical fashion we made sammies again. I thought against posting this because it is redundant to the last one I posted and it is not really a recipe. But this one is so much more that I had to share. My god this sandwich was good.

Ingredients

4 oz Smoked Tri-Tip, very thinly sliced

2 T buttermilk blue cheese dressing

1 handful of fresh greens

1 slice of  swiss cheese

1 bakery quality bun, preferably with an egg wash to promote crisping on the top

Thinly slice greens and toss with blue cheese dressing. Toast bun and remove from toaster oven. Place swiss cheese on top and put back in toaster oven on broil until cheese is bubbly. Place meat on bottom half of bun and top with blue cheese lettuce slaw. Place cheesy top on top of sandwich and enjoy.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Beef, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Sandwich, Smoker Fare

Totally From Scratch Chicken & Dumplings.

So I know we all grew up eating chicken and dumplings. This dish is the epitome of comfort food for people everywhere. It reminds me, as it does a lot of people, of my childhood. That said, I suppose when I am old and grayer than I am already, it will remind me of my adulthood. I tend to make this about every other month and it is usually on the heels of smoking chickens. So we really only have smoked chicken and dumplings. The recipe below is written for just one of these times!

Ingredients

Soup base:

2 smoked chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

6 medium crimini or button mushrooms, cubed

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4-6 C smoked chicken stock

4-6 T flour

6 T butter

Salt

Pepper

Parsley

Prep all of your veggies and chicken. Heat 3 quart stock pot over medium heat with 2 T butter. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, the carrots will still be a little hard, but will get to cook again in a minute. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Remove from pot and reserve in a bowl.

Add 4 T butter to the pot and melt. Add flour until all of the butter is absorbed and a paste forms. If you add too much it will get really crumbly. You should add some more butter to loosen it up, or else you will be whisking forever to get ride of the lumps. Let the roux cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, moving it with a whisk or spatula frequently to avoid burning. Using a whisk, combine the broth a cup at a time until the roux is completely incorporated and no lumps exist. Turn heat to medium-high, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles. Reduce heat to medium and allow the mixture to cook, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Add veggies and chicken and reduce heat to medium-low so the pot just maintains a simmer. Stir occasionally.

Dumplings (thank you Tyler Florence):

2 C flour

1 T baking powder

1 t kosher salt

2 eggs

3/4 to 1 C milk

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk until the dumpling mix is thick like cake batter. Add batter to simmering soup one spoonful at a time. Cover and allow soup to cook for 20-30 minutes, ensuring the dumplings get light and fluffy all the way through and are not doughy!

Enjoy!

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Filed under Chicken, Midwest Inspired, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew

Smoked Tri-Tip Roast.

We love to smoke, which you already know if you read my posts with any frequency, and you also know that I mean meats. We love to smoke meats. But I want to branch out. One thing I am really looking forward to this summer, when the garden gets going, is experimenting with smoked veggies. In the mean time though, we have to smoke something, right? Poultry is getting old so we decided to branch out to beef.

When I think of beef on the smoker I think of two things, beef ribs and brisket. But the hubs and I had a different idea. We have a go to cut of beef when we want steak or roast. Our favorite for grilling is the tri-tip roast, for steaks too. This was not a cut I was familiar with until coming to the West Coast, but one everyone should seek out and add it to their repertoire. Lean, tender, and a fantastic replacement for any steak, if cooked properly. There are two roasts per animal, so you won’t find these just anywhere. I suggest a specialty market or butcher shop.

They come as a whole roast, or you may see shops cut them into steaks. Do not buy the steaks, it is a bad thing to do to a good cut of beef. Instead purcahse the whole roast and grill the whole thing or cut in half and do two seperate meals. Either way, do not make steaks, slice after cooking. For the purpose of smoking, we will be using the entire roast.

Ingredients

2.5-2.75 lb Tri-Tip roast

1/4 C Pappy’s Choice Seasoning

2 light beers

Presoak oak chips (we used bourbon barrel chips) for at least an hour, overnight works too! Get the smoker cooking, fill the water container with two beers and water and rub the meat with the Pappy’s.

Our smoker is electric so it does not take to much time to heat up and get smoking. Smoke at 220 for 2 to 2.5 hours for medium-pink roast (best way). Internal meat temperature should be about 140.

Add more wood chips after one hour.

Love!

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Filed under Beef, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Smoker Fare

Chicken Smoke-a-Tilla Soup.

We love smoked meats and we make a lot of smoked chicken because it is quick, relatively inexpensive, and we can make several meals out of the meat as well as make stock from the bones and whatnots. As a result of eating a decent bit of smoked chicken we are always thinking of new ways to use it.

As we contemplated how we were going to use our smoked chicken meat this week, the hubs came up with the idea of using it in some tortilla soup, then he promptly named it Chicken Smoke-a-Tilla Soup! How could I resist?

Chicken Smoke-a-Tilla Soup.

Ingredients

8 C chicken broth (I used half smoked and half regular)

8-12 oz smoked chicken pieces

2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 medium red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1-2 T cumin

1-2 T chili powder

1 T Mexican oregano

1/4 t cayenne

1 t kosher salt (if you have any jalapeno salt I recommend that!)

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

10 oz frozen or fresh sweet corn

1 large red pepper, diced

1/4 cilantro, finely chopped

Topping ideas: sour cream, cheese, avocado, tortilla chip strips

Process

Simmer broth, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices in a stock pot over medium to medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, or until the onions are fairly soft. You can cover the pot to speed this along, just be sure to adjust the heat down so you don’t boil over.

Once the onions are as soft as you are going to want them reduce heat to low and add corn, red pepper, cilantro and chicken.

Top with your favorite yummy toppings.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Chicken, Dairy Free, Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew

Smoked Duck.

Yes, this is a repeater! Wanted to get it on the new blog…in any case, you should make this!!

This is an item you don’t find many posts about. For whatever reason there aren’t a lot of people out there that are willing to put information about smoking ducks online. I found more Peking duck recipes than I did standard smoked duck recipes. I feel compelled to share because I think that duck is one of those most delectable items that is as equally intimidating to the home cook as it is divine to eat. Duck is not chicken. It has a thick layer of fat between the skin and the meat. This fat is rendered and used by chefs all over the world. Duck is best cooked in its own fat, whether by methods of traditional French confit or by the method I used today.

I admit, I was hesitant and nervous to make duck. First of all, you have one option for store bought duck and it is $20 a bird. It is illegal to sell wild duck, so that leaves one option, farmed. It is ok, there are many duck farms out there that produce sustainable meat, but you have to purchase it frozen no matter what. Second, since the investment is so large, you don’t want to screw it up and since there are not a lot of recipes out there, it makes you nervous!!

So I took the simple route. I read that you should smoke the duck for 60 minutes per pound or until the bird is 170 degrees. I also read you can brine or marinade them, or that you should not do this. I read that you should finish them in the oven, or that you should not…… I just rinsed the duck, tied the legs and tail, scored the skin and put it on the smoker for 3.5 hours. I put a drip pan beneath it to catch the fat to use later and away we went. I will note that I made my scores in the skin very shallow and did not try to cut into the fat at all. This lets the fat out but does not let the meat dry out.

I took the four pound bird off the smoker after 3.5 hours when it was at 160 degrees. The FDA says it has to be 170 degrees, but the liquids were clear so I pulled it. I do the same with chicken and have not died yet. We used apple wood and it really gave just the right smoke to the duck skin.

I removed the fat from the drip pan and put it into the refrigerator in a mason jar. Apparently it is more healthy than butter and can be used the same way. I will chronicle my cooking with it and post more on that later.

We butchered the bird and had a lovely dinner of duck and Brussels sprouts.

Now, I have to say that this is the first time I have really had a whole duck dinner. I have had confit at restaurants and whatnot, but they give you such a small portion, so after having just straight duck, I have a couple of notes to make. 1) Duck is rich. I can still taste it in my mouth. 2) I did not make duck just to make it. This was a practice run to see if this is something we wanted to include for Thanksgiving. 3) Duck is amazing and I want to learn more about cooking it and using the fat. 4) I am making smoked duck broth and will be following the general recipe for smoked chicken broth.

Think you might try it? If you do please share any tips you come up with. Also, please share the “don’ts”. I find those just as helpful.

**Sorry about the photos. The camera is broken and had to be sent in for repairs so these were all taken with the cell phone!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Poultry, Smoker Fare

Smoked Chicken and Stock.

This is a really easy way to use the whole chicken. We start by buying organic, free range chickens. These are a little more expensive (around $5-8 a piece), but  it is totally worth knowing where your meat came from and that it was raised the way it should have been. They also cook faster because they are naturally smaller.

The night before you are going to smoke your chickens remove them from their packaging and pat them dry. Place them in large stock pots, or a bucket if you have a kitchen (food grade) specific one you use. Make a standard brine. I do this with water, kosher salt, unrefined cane sugar, bay leaves, black pepper corns, and dried chile de Arbol. I use two stock pots because they will fit in the refrigerator, which is much easier than finding space for my turkey to brine for Thanksgiving!! Anyhow, refrigerate over night. I like to brine poultry because it adds to the tenderness of the final product. It is also a good way to ensure that the white meat stays as moist as the dark.

In the morning, remove the chickens from the brine and pat dry. Rub the birds in a mix of the following (for two birds, I would say you should go with 1-2 teaspoons of each, using more of the spices you like best):

granulated garlic

granulated onion

Mexican oregano

ground cumin

paprika (no need to use smoked since you are smoking the meat)

red chili powder

ancho chili powder

2 T brown sugar (light or dark)

4 T kosher salt

a dash celery salt

Note: I tied this chicken before I learned how to truss one! Makes me laugh now.

Let the chickens sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes while the smoker heats up. Add the chickens to the smoker for 4-5 hours, or until they are to temp (165 degrees) using a simple kitchen meat thermometer. I alway smoke my chickens breast side down. Now this is a debated topic, but I think that it makes the breast more juicy and tender.

Remember to add wood to the smoker throughout the cooking process, but note that this is the only time you should open the smoker (we add wood about every hour with the electric smoker that we have, using chips, this will vary based on your smoker and the type of wood you use).

When you remove the chickens from the smoker you should let them sit under foil for about 20-30 minutes. I have done a lot of different things with the chicken. I have made tamales, chicken and dumplings, chicken tortilla soup, tacos, or you can eat it just as smoked chicken. Anyway you do it, it is sure to be good!

After you have taken all of the meat off the bones, put all of the discarded bones, skin, and other inedible pieces into metal strainer in an 8-10 quart stock pot, larger if you have it. Rough chop onions, celery, carrots (you don’t have to skin any of this!), add 6-10 sprigs of thyme and a bunch of black pepper corns. You can also save your compost waste (ends and peels of carrots, onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms) and add it instead of using whole veg that would otherwise put in another dish. Fill the pot with water to cover. You may need to skim fat, but I have never had to while cooking. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover….and simmer….and simmer….and simmer. You want to see just the smallest bubbles coming up, just the most minor movement of the liquid. Do not violently boil. Do this for as long as you can, 4-6 hours. Continue to add water as the broth boils down and concentrates, if needed.

When you are done simmering, cool the mixture for an hour. Then remove the strainer and press the liquid from it and back into the stock. If you need to strain the mixture further put it through cheese cloth. When you are finished straining and the stock is the clarity level you are looking for divide it into containers and freeze until needed, or can using a pressure canner (I have not done this but resources like Well Preserved have–I will update you when I get there). The last time I made this I put the broth in plastic freezer bags and froze it on a cookie sheet. This led to a much more compact storage method and it did not use up all of my jars!

I used both quart and gallon bags so that I could have my choice to fit recipe needs.

Happy smoking!

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Filed under Chicken, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Outside of the Box, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew