New Smoker/Grill

I’ve been wanting one for a while. This week seemed like a good time (why, how would you celebrate your new book?).

It was easy to put together and a breeze to operate. It is electric and uses wood pellets. It has a flame feature so when you want to sear that steak, you can do so easily.  It has temperature settings and a great meat probe.

I’m not sure Bixby approves. He’s suspicious of anything bigger than him.

I’ve grilled chicken, hot dogs and Italian sausage. Tomorrow I’m having a get together and I’m doing Chicken Kebabs.

Looking forward to a lot of summer grilling and I might even try to smoke a brisket.

I’m going to have a house-full all next week and then I’ll be on the road for a while, but I’ll have my computer with me, so I’ll try and do a few posts. I’m sure there will be a lot of good food. I’m wanting to try and create a strawberry-lemonade cake.

Until then…


DSC_8012 (1600x1060)I put a chicken into the electric smoker yesterday afternoon and jolted myself out of bed, just as I was closing my eyes, when I remembered it was still in there.  The skin was black and the bird was pretty dry but we salvaged what we could and chopped the meat for sandwiches.  A good soaking in bbq sauce heals a lot of dry.DSC_4535 (1600x1060)Ginger kitteh pesters Toby all the time.  Tobe squalls and hisses and smacks him around and retreats to the top of the tree.  Toby’s tail is quite an attraction.  He lets Ginger get away with stuff that he will not abide from Homer.DSC_4537 (1600x1060)We often get geese at the front pond.  These two showed up today and have been hanging out.  We’ve never had any try to nest, the dogs would preclude any attempt at that.  I wonder if a raft out in the middle would attract a pair to nest?  The back pond is more secluded, we get ducks on it pretty often, there are several Wood Ducks back there now.PICT6349 (1600x1060)The males are very colorful, I wish the camera back there was better.  The light wasn’t very good, either.  The green box holds corn, the little box under it holds a timer and a little spinner motor to spread the corn at set intervals.  The raccoons are all over it at night.DSC_8013 (1600x1060)It has turned off cold again, it will be down into the twenties tonight.  Perfect weather for a good Irish stew!  I went with this recipe today.DSC_4525 (1600x1060)Mrs J sat the dogs down in the laundry the other day for a little light clipping.  We hang the hair out front in a device that lets the nest builders grab hanks for their constructions.DSC_4538 (1600x1060)The tree with the yellow flowers is a Cornelian cherry.  It’s a neat little tree, puts out loads of red berries in the fall.  It’s usually the first thing to flower, beating out the forsythia for that honor.


DSC_5886 [1600x1200]We had some leftover beef from those lunch time burritos and a couple tortillas left in the package so quesadillas seemed doable.  I was hoping to make a meal of roast pork but it just wasn’t going to be ready in time.  I rigged a smoke box from a heavy foil loaf pan and filled it with wood chips to turn the new grill into a smoker – you cover the pan with more foil and poke a few holes into it, then place it next to or atop one of the burners.  It worked pretty well.

DSC_3706 [1600x1200]The pork shoulder spent all day in there at around 250-275, I changed the wood chips out three times.  I decided to finish it in the regular oven and it’s in there now, covered with foil, looking for 190 degrees.  Pretty happy with the rig as a smoker, knowing I can get more heat just by turning a knob.  It has enough burners to get easily past 500, I haven’t gone past that yet but a pizza project I have in mind will test the limits.  My pizza stone will fit right in there.

Smoked Brisket

I thawed a beef brisket and was thinking corned beef but changed my mind.  I have a fresh made pastrami on hand so I decided on a straight smoked brisket.  The procedure is much the same as with making a pastrami except you are starting with a fresh beef beef brisket rather than a corned one.  I suppose you could use the same dry rub for both but I wasn’t sure how the juniper berries in the pastrami rub would taste so I went with a more traditional rub.  I was tossing various ingredients in and didn’t keep track of the amounts of each so I can’t do more than list them from memory:  Black pepper, kosher salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, ancho powder, regular chili powder, fresh ground cumin, some powder out of a bottle of Goya “Adobo Seasoning” (it’s yellow – go figure), creole/Cajun seasoning, oregano, and probably a few more. I placed it on the top rack of my electric smoker, threaded the temp probe through the vent and into the thickest part, placed a drippings pan with an inch of apple cider under the meat, added the soaked hickory to the smoke chamber, closed the door and fired it up.  It’s been cold and snowy so I knew it would take a good while to get to the “done” temperature but I wasn’t thinking 23 hours.  That’s how long it spent in there before I pulled it.  The probe was registering 176 degrees.DSC_5234 [1600x1200]I pulled the first drippings pan out because I think it was keeping the inside temperature in the smoker too low and replaced it with a dry pan after about 12 hours.  The quart of cider plus the drippings was reduced to what you see above.  If I could make it by the gallon I’m pretty sure I would be a millionaire in short order.  Awesome stuff.

New Food Goddess is Born

Just a few photos of my niece and her 6th birthday, she received a baking set and had to try it out:

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My brother has been trying out his new smoker. He and my sister-in-law made dinner for my parents and my niece made the dessert. This was from my SIL’s facebook post Sunday:

Well we had the parents over for supper. Smoked Cornish game hens mashed potatoes and they brought over baked broccoli and cheese and D. made individual chocolate cakes covered with cherry pie filling and powdered sugar

Cooking…it runs in the family.

Smoked Meal

My brother bought a smoker and tried it out this weekend. He’s practicing before he smokes a turkey for a pre-Thanksgiving family get-together next week.  Looks good little bro!

I love the idea that he smoked the mac ‘n cheese. I hear it was very good.

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Beef Salami

I mentioned this yesterday, a beef sausage made with the recipe that the Morton people put out for using ground beef and cooking it in the oven.  That recipe calls for it to be rolled into logs and cooked without a casing but since I had casings and a new stuffer I stuffed most of it.  The photo above is the result using the leftovers from the stuffing operation.  I cooked it in the smoker with the meat I stuffed.Shrinkage!  I noticed mention of a soy protein powder additive that helps keep the volume up in these situations but I haven’t researched that at all.  I figured the meat would shrink but I guess I was thinking that the casing would keep pace.  Looks like it will not.I didn’t twist these into links but I think next time I will, or else not even bother to case it at all – the bit that cooked bare was perfectly fine.  I did tweak the recipe a tad, more pepper, granulated garlic, whole peppercorns, a few more mustard seeds and also some red pepper flakes along with a half cup of red wine to help it pass through the stuffer nozzle.  I think these will look good sliced and served with cubed cheese on a toothpick.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Smokin’

JeffreyW bought a new smoker recently so tonight’s recipes are all his. He wanted me to point out he’s in the experimental stage and open to all kinds of suggestions. He’s smoked ribs (featured below), smoked a chicken (recipes and photos here) and smoked pork (photos and description here and here). EDIT: To add recently posted Pastrami (photos and description here).

I know what I’m doing tonight, although I can’t imagine how it’s going to top the last two nights. Have any exciting plans tonight?  Got any good suggestions for JeffryW’s next smoking endeavor?

From JeffreyW:

I’ve been wanting to get a smoker for a long time and finally pulled the trigger on this one.  I looked around for a while and decided on this model after surfing Amazon reviews.  Almost uniformly excellent reviews, most of them five star.  I can add my first impressions to that list:  It’s a keeper, well built from good materials and seems well thought out.  We fired it up, empty, with some of the included hickory chips to season it as per the directions.  It got hot and we saw smoke rising from the top vent, it seemed good to go.

This morning I placed some cherry wood into the smoke box and turned it on, then loaded two slabs of spare ribs when it reached temperature.  The slabs were a tad too long to fit easily so I cut them in two.  Four hours later they were done.

Pretty good eats!  The smoker did need some cleaning up.

The racks and their hangers all come out for easy cleaning, as did the smoke box.  I was able to scrape the black splatter from the top fairly easily, and a scrub with a green nylon pad put a shine back on it.  The same scrub pad worked well on the interior, and I used a garden hose to flush everything afterwards.  It’ll never be shiny new again but I think I can keep it presentable with minor effort.  Mrs J is thawing a chicken for tomorrow.