Smoked Beef Brisket

Here’s the low-down on Smoked Beef Brisket.

8 hours of marinating (minimum), 8 to 10 hours of smoking (in a Masterbuilt smoker), 1 to 1-1/2 hours in a 300 degree oven, 30-40 minutes of resting (cool down time)

One 7-10 lb Beef brisket

1/2 Cup Mustard

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1-2 cups Water Soaked wood chips (do the soaking about an hour before you start your smoker up)

Note: Some people like to add some bourbon to the water while soaking the chips. This makes it smell really good while your smoking but doesn’t change the flavor of the meat much.

Beef Brisket is a tough meet that likes to be pampered and slow-cooked! Perfect for smoking!

To prep, rub mustard all over the brisket. (leave the fat-cap on the brisket! very important!) Then rub the brown sugar all over the brisket. Wrap in plastic, place in refrigerator, and let marinate over night. You might be able to get away with a few hours of marinating with a pork shoulder, but not a brisket. Make sure you give it a full 8 or so hours of marinating before you put it in a smoker.

About an hour before you’re ready to smoke your brisket, take it out of the fridge. Heat up your smoker to about 225 degrees. Place your soaked chips in the smoker box and a pan of hot water on the lowest shelf.  When smoker comes to temp, place the brisket (fat side up) on the middle shelf. If you have an oven-safe meat thermometer, place that in the center of the brisket. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the smell of your dinner cooking! You want the internal temperature to be about 175-180 degrees. When it does get there, take the brisket out and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Heat your oven to 300 degrees and place brisket in there until it reaches 195 degrees. The reason for this is to keep it from drying out while getting the meat as tender as possible (the fats break down at 195 degrees). Leaving it un-covered and in the smoker to this temp would dry it out. You could wrap it and put it back in the smoker but you’re looking at a much longer cooking time.

When your brisket is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest (still wrapped) for a good 30 to 40 minutes to ensure juices stay with it. When cool enough to work with, take a good sharp slicing knife and slice the meat with the grain into thin strips. You can cut the fat cap off before slicing but I never do. I think it looks better sliced with it on. Serve with your choice of sides (See my other recipes) and enjoy!

Pineapple Chicken

This is a pretty easy (and scrumptious) grilled chicken recipe

4 chicken breast (pounded to even thickness)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 tbsp olive oil

4 slices of fresh pineapple

Teriyaki sauce for garnish/dipping

In a zip-top baggy, add (pounded) chicken, soy sauce, and pineapple juice. Let this mixture marinate in the fridge for at least one hour (up to eight hours). Heat grill up and brush chicken breast with olive oil (for the non-stick factor). Place freshly sliced pineapple on upper grate of grill.  Place chicken on hot grill for about 5 minutes and turn a quarter turn with tongs. Brush uncooked side with olive oil and flip after (total time) 10 minutes of grilling on first side. Turn another quarter turn after cooking for 5 minutes on second side. Another five minutes and the internal temp should be around 170 degrees (the safety zone for cooked poultry) Remove cooked chicken, set aside, and scrape grate to clear for browning the pineapple. Place pineapple (uncooked side down) on hot grill. Cook until heated through and grate marks are prevalant. Serve chicken with grilled pineapple (pineapple rice.. see additional recipe for rice) and vegetable of choice.

Rice with a pineapple twist

Ok.. so I realize this looks like a regular ol’ brown rice. Don’t be discouraged! It’s one of the most delicately sweet rice recipes I’ve ever come up with! I was on a mission to find a rice recipe to go with my grilled pineapple chicken and couldn’t find anything that met my needs. Though I’m slightly impatient when looking for something I’m in the mood for on the www, persistence in my ideas tends to pay off.  Hawaiian/Carribean type rice recipes on the net (for me) seem to have too many extras such as spam, ham, and vegetation my family doesn’t appreciate or simply isn’t available at my local grocery.  Sorting out the sweet/salty combination I was after and fumbling through my pantry/fridge, led me to this recipe.

1- 1/2 Cups Jasmine rice

2 tbsp salted butter (not margerine)

2-1/4 cups water

3/4 cups pineapple juice

1 small diced onion (white is more delicate)

1 clove garlic crushed

1 tbsp coconut cooking oil

2 tbsp teriyaki sauce (your choice)

1/4 cup soy sauce

Heat butter on medium in non-stick pot (one with a lid for later use) and be careful not to burn. Add rice and heat through. Add water and pineapple juice. Cover with lid and turn heat to low. Simmer rice until it has soaked up all the liquid. Remove from heat and set aside. In a non-stick skillet, heat coconut oil to just melting point on medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is opaque. Add rice mixture and stir ingredients to blend. Add soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, stir, cover and remove from heat, leaving covered until ready to serve.

finishedsmokedsalmon

Grilled Salmon on a Cedar Plank

 

 

 

 

 

Ok here’s one of my latest obsessions in cooking..

 

Salmon smoked on a cedar plank over a hot grill

 

1 large cedar plank (you can find a two-pack at Kroger for about 7 bucks)

 

1 Large skinned-de-boned Salmon filet (20 bucks or so @ Sams)

 

Olive oil for brushing

 

Salt and pepper for seasoning

 
This is one of the easiest most satisfying meats to make. And it’s pretty good for ya too!

So here it is.. Soak your cedar plank in water for about one hour.

Turn your grill on high. Cut the salmon into serving size peices (about 3oz per person)

Once the grill is good and hot, place the cedar plank on the grill for about 5 minutes.

Turn the plank over using tongs and lightly brush the ungrilled side with olive oil to coat it.

Place the salmon on the plank and lightly brush with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper for taste lightly.

 

Insert your thermometer (it’s ok if you don’t have one, just skip this step for now)

 

Now my thermometer tells me that fish is done at 137 degrees Farenheit. My fear of getting sick from under-cooked

meat, especially seafood, leads me to cook it to 170 just to be on the safe side.

And so far this dish has always been delicious when cooked to that temp.

 

Close the lid and let the grill and cedar plank do the work for you.

Let it cook for about 20 minutes or so, if you’ve got your thermometer in place, theres no need to peek, it’ll tell you when it’s done.

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell that the salmon is done when the natural oils start to protrude from the layers of meat.

And the meat is no longer clear in the center.

Carefully pull the plank, salmon and all off the grill with some tongs and an oven mitt.

Use a spatula to separate the fish from the plank and Wha-La!

There you have it! Easy huh?

 

Enjoy and Happy cooking !!

Smoked Pork Shoulder II (In the Masterbuilt)

So my pork shoulder recipe has changed a bit after making a few. It’s still the same basic technique, just a little more perfected. Not as much ingredients are needed for the marinating part.

One 6 to 8 lb pork shoulder

1/4 C mustard

1/2 C brown sugar

1/4 C apple glaze (found in vinegar section @ Kroger)

Marinating is the key for good flavor! Smoking meats takes a little planning and prep. So rather than making a big mess with slathering all this stuff on my pork shoulder, I’ve found an easier way to get it going.

The night before you plan to smoke your shoulder, place two long sheets of plastic wrap in a baking dish, one legnthwise and one sideways. Spread 1/4 C brown sugar to cover bottom. Squirt mustard over sugar and squirt apple glaze over that. Remember, it doesn’t need to be alot (and no I don’t really measure). Place shoulder on top. Squirt apple glaze and mustard on top of shoulder and sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar over that. Pull your plastic wrap over and seal tightly. Put the shoulder in the fridge.

In the morning, take your shoulder out of the fridge and let it come to room temp while your firing up your smoker.

When your ready to start smoking, unwrap the shoulder and place on the rack fat side up (I like the middle of the smoker). If your having baked beans, put those on the rack below the shoulder. (see smoked baked beans recipe) Put your thermometor in the center of the meat without touching bone. Relax and enjoy your day while dinner is cooking….

The time for this pork shoulder was just under 6 hours. Huge difference from the other smoker! I like mine to be a good 190 to 195 degrees before I take it out of the smoker. All those flavor boosting fats get nice and broken down and give the meat a tasty tenderness that you can’t get until that happens. Let the meat rest a good 30 minutes or more after you take it out. Shred the meat apart and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce. Enjoy!! Til next time, Happy Smoking!!

Smoked Baked Beans

 

Ok, so there’s really not a whole lot of effort for this one. The most important thing to remember with this recipe is… Your definately not on a diet today!!

Here’s what’s in the pan..

1 Large can of baked beans (I like Bush’s)

2 or 3 strips of raw bacon

1 medium onion sliced

3 tbsp mustard

1/4 C brown sugar

Fat drippings from pork shoulder

Place all ingredients in a large aluminum pan except the fat drippings (that will come from your pork). Stir and place in smoker under the pork shoulder. (I’ve made these with a beef brisket too) Leave pan in smoker for about three to four hours undisturbed. Take pan out and stir. Remove onions and bacon. Keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. The sauce may be soupy at first and you might want to drain some off. It’ll thicken some in the oven.

masterbuiltsmoker

Masterbuilt smoker

So here’s the new Masterbuilt digital electric smoker v/s the old Meco smoker.

It’s so much easier than the little Meco. The shelving style racks are easy to load and clean. It also takes about half the time for delicious smoked foods than the old unit.  I have had one issue with it which was minor. The digital control panel doesn’t like to be cold. It is detachable if you havn’t mounted it. So warm it up or detach it and keep it indoors during the cold weather and it’ll fire right up when you plug it in.

If your considering a purchase, here are some of the features..

The digital control on the top is so nice for temperature reading and it features a timer. The unit will shut itself off after the set time is done.

The wood chip loader..

Rather than the layer-cake type of loading as in the Meco, there is a small hole in the side with a woodchip loader. This is such a nice feature. You’ll use the chips rather than big chunks of wood and you’ll be using only about a cup of chips. You can add more chips if your in for a long smoke without even opening the door which is great for minimal temperature disturbance.

Inside…

The basic set up of this baby is a refrigerator style door that locks on the side and has several racks for the food. On the bottom rack, there is an oval pan for your water which sits just on top of the smoker box. I really like the smoker box rather than the open smoking wood chunks because you don’t get that burnt taste on your food. The smoke surrounds your food without charring it.

The pan in the bottom tilts to the back with a little hole for grease drainage. There’s a small catch pan that slides on and off of the back for easy grease removal.

One thing I would like to suggest is that you invest in a wireless remote meat thermometer. I found mine at the local hardware store for about 30 bucks. It’s well worth it and it’s great for using in your oven too. I love not having to open the door just to check the temperature of the meat.

I’m smoking a pork shoulder and baked beans today, so I’ll have another post later. Until then, happy smoking!

Butternut Squash

Trying something new tonight! Butternut Squash. When I think of squash, I think of sweet potatoes. Maybe I need to change that.. hmmm Well, for now this seems simple enough for a week night dinner side.

So it’s pretty easy. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the top and bottom off of the squash. Peel the outside off. Slice down the middle. Scoop out the seeds. Chop the squash into chunks and place in a baking dish. Put some butter or margerine on top along with some brown sugar. Cover and bake for an hour.

Not bad! Yeah it is a bit like sweet potatoes. I’ll have to try a few other recipes with this one.

Alfredo Sauce

 I love this sauce and it’s mutually loving to my hips! 
1 Quart Heavy Whipping Cream
4 Tablespoons Butter (not margarine)
1 Clove Fresh Garlic (crushed and minced)
1 Teaspoon Salt
¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup Cream Cheese
* NOTE: Do not leave this sauce un-attended or the heat too high while cooking, it will boil over the pot or scorch if let to sit too long.
Use a large heavy non-stick pot to put all ingredients except the Parmesan and Cream Cheese. Turn heat on medium and simmer, stirring occasionally until cream is bubbling slow and butter is melted. Do not boil (that will scorch the Alfredo). Stir in the Parmesan slowly. Add the Cream Cheese (in small pieces). Stir and heat until melted. Turn to low until ready to serve. Serve hot over your choice of cooked noodles.

Chicken n Dumplins oh my!

Now that fall has drifted closer and summer winds down, I start craving those comfort foods.  I’m going to start this fall’s cuisine off with Chicken n Dumplins

That left over chicken is perfect for this dish! Here’s the basic recipe…

1 Cup diced onion

1 Cup diced celery

3 Cups Chicken broth

2 Cups Water

2 tbsp butter

2 to 3 Cups diced cooked chicken (breast or thigh or both)

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp poultry seasoning

2 Cups milk

2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

In a stock pot, combine all ingredients but the milk and cream of chicken soup. Heat to just boiling and turn down to med/low.  Simmer until onion and celery are soft.

Meanwhile, prepare your dumplins. Let me just say that I am very picky about dumplins. I like light fluffy buttery tasting dumplins, not the flat noodle-like ones. I prefer buttermilk biscuits over any other because of the flavor. You can sub your favorite biscuit recipe here if you wish.

1/2 Cup shortning

2 Cups flour

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Cup buttermilk

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl except the buttermilk. Cut shortning into flour until pea size and mix ingredients well. Stir in buttermilk and mix until you have a good thick but sticky dough. Sit aside.

When your onions and celery are tender, add milk and cream of chicken soup. Turn heat up slightly. When mixture is boiling, drop bite-size pieces of dough in. Cover and turn heat down to low. Let mixture simmer until dough has puffed up, about 5 minutes or so. (don’t be tempted to stir).

Serve while hot. And enjoy!!