This simple but delicious recipe combines smoked bananas with chocolate and crushed nuts

Finished smoked banana bites (combining smoked bananas with chocolate and crushed nuts)

 

SMOKED BANANA DOUBLE BITES

If you joined us for our series on smoking banana, now it’s time to learn just what you can do with this flavorful fruit.  This recipe for Smoked Banana Double Bites makes for a perfect snack, kid loving dessert, or even a sweet party item.  Gather together the following:

Ingredients:

You’ll also need a saucepan for melting the chocolate or a microwave safe bowl, popsicle sticks or similar disposable handle for inserting in the banana segments, and a small cake spatula for spreading the chocolate.  I would also keep on hand some hot water in case the chocolate should seize or harden on you.  If that occurs, simply add 1 teaspoon of hot water at a time, mixing well, until you restore the smooth consistency.

Preparing:

It’s important that you get the other ingredients ready prior to melting the chocolate as you want to prevent the chocolate from hardening.  Take your 4 ounces of slivered almonds and add to a storage bag.  I am old school so I will crush my almonds using a canned good.  You can use a kitchen mallet or rolling pin, whatever is the easiest for you.  Be sure you just crush the almonds – don’t make almond dust or flour!  Then prepare a sheet pan with wax paper and get your popsicle or other wood stick ready for putting the Smoked Banana Double Bites together.  I named this recipe after the average bites it takes to get one of these little flavor explosions into your tummy.

Melt the Chocolate:

Once the other ingredients are at the ready and your sheet pan with wax paper is set, it’s time to melt the semi-sweet chocolate.  You can do this a couple of way.  In a double boiler which is the preferred method, in a saucepan set to a low temperature, or in a microwave.  Your choice just be sure you get a consistency that is not too thin or thick so the banana will coat easily.  I add 2 tablespoons of butter to the chocolate to produce a shiny result.  Melt until just smooth being careful not to go beyond that stage or the chocolate will harden.  If you do go too far, simply add 1 teaspoon of hot water to the mix to thin and recover it.

Assembling the Bites:

With the chocolate melted we are now ready for assembly of our Smoked Banana Double Bites!  Taking your popsicle stick or similar wooden item, insert into the center of a banana segment.  Remember, I had cut my bananas into 2-inch segments when I did the smoking process.  Now dip into the melted chocolate and begin to spread into an even layer using a small cake spatula.  Just get the top and sides coated so they can roll in the next two ingredients.  Again, if your chocolate should seize or harden on you, simply add 1 teaspoon of hot water to bring it back.

With our banana segment covered in chocolate, we are now ready for “the roll”.  First, place some crushed slivered almond on a piece of wax paper.  Then roll the chocolate covered banana into the almonds being careful not to press down.  Just allow the almonds to stick on their own.  Next, a trip to the shredded coconut.  You can put the coconut on a wax sheet as well or leave in a small container that can accommodate the size of your banana.  Let the coconut fill in all the spaces between the almonds then lay on a sheet pan covered with wax paper.  These will need to harden a bit in the refrigerator.

The Yummy, Creamy, Chocolate Finish:

So here we are.  The finale!  After taking our bananas to a smoky place using SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips, we gave them a bath in luscious dark chocolate.  Then the roll – into crushed almond and shredded coconut – 2 fantastic flavor pairings for banana.  Then off to the sheet pan covered with wax paper to set everything up in the refrigerator.  You just need about 45 minutes of setting time then it’s off to the party, or for a snack or that great dessert.  Don’t forget to put your own spin on this recipe by swapping the dark chocolate for white, the almonds for pistachio or pine nuts.  Always keep the holidays in mind too.  Use pastel dyes for the coconut or white chocolate for a great Easter dessert, green and red dyes for Christmas, and blue for Hanukah.   Make this great, simple recipe your own.  You can even do whole bananas, set them up, and then slice them over ice cream or pound cake with a hit of fresh cream.  Get your imagination going and expand on the great use of smoked banana.

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke “you will love this take on bananas”

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look at the great juices on this perfectly smoked brisket done with red oak

The perfect smoked brisket with red oak wood chunks

 

Smoking a Beef Brisket

We receive a lot of questions about preparing and smoking a beef brisket on different equipment. There is no question, that people in North America love their beef and anyone who has sampled prime BBQ knows that brisket has a truly unique flavor that puts this food experience on many people’s bucket list.  Let me share some of the key tips we offer as well as some of the interesting questions posed regarding this infamous meat.

What’s With All The Names?

Whole packer, Flat, Point, Deckle, Burnt Ends.  These are likely names you’ve heard or seen float around.  Let’s start with what brisket is – pectoral muscles (there are two) of the animal.  They get a lot of work, bearing more than half the animal’s weight, which causes them to get tough. Thus, the reason for a low temperature, long cook time to get this cut of meat tender. Oh, and yes, you can use a slow cooker but that just isn’t BBQ!

When purchased, a whole packer often called Texas Style Brisket will weigh 9-16 lbs.  Let’s be clear – the whole packer contains two muscles; the flat and the point.  So, there are really 3 cuts offered in most butcher shops: a whole packer brisket (which includes the next two cuts), a flat (1st cut), and a point (the 2nd cut or deckle).   These 3 cuts are not the same and will require some changes in cooking.  Also, don’t confuse corned beef.  Yes, it is brisket but it is a preserved cut that should not be used for barbecue!

Don’t you need all the fat left on to make it tender?

When brisket is sold whole, it will contain a fat cap side that can be up to an inch of fat.  This requires trimming!  Fat is oil and meat is essentially loaded with water, so the two do not readily mix.  However, fat can add a flavorful component to dishes especially when cooked over or with hardwood.  Therefore, I recommend you trim all the outer fat layer to ⅛” or at the most ¼”.  Regarding the fat cap, my preference is to remove it, but if you want to add some extra flavonoids to your cooking environment, you can always cook the fat cap separate from the meat, allowing it to drip into the water pan and add flavor to the condensation/steam that develops.

If you elect to cook with the fat cap intact, cook the meat with the fat cap down so it renders into the water pan, or coals depending on what equipment you’re cooking on.

There is silverskin so trim any that you see, much like you do with ribs, as this is stiff connective tissue.  Remember, the fat needs to be trimmed for flavor to penetrate the meat.  Too much fat, and nothing will get through to the meat!

Size: Can I cut it up to reduce the cooking time?

Sometimes I think the biggest obstacle to a successful brisket is the thinking that you must keep this cut of meat as one large piece (if purchased as the packer cut).  Generally, you end up with a dry thinner portion and undercooked thicker portion given the long cook time.  Why not try cutting this so you have two more equal thicknesses to deal with?  That is, instead of attempting the whole packer, purchase the flat and point separately.  It’s always a good rule of thumb that if you don’t possess great butchering skills, have the butcher do the cutting for you.

Always Foil?  

Known as the “Texas Crutch”, this is a technique of wrapping the meat in heavy duty foil with 1-2 ounces of liquid.  The purpose?  Aiding tenderization of a muscle meat and speeding the cooking process.  You will compromise some of the crisping of the bark (outside of the brisket) with this method but not the flavor.

Brisket = All Nighter?

Not necessarily.  Although you need to plan 45-60 minutes per pound at an average temperature of 225° F, and that the meat will likely stall around 150° F (when connective tissue and internal fats liquefy), the average full smoker/grill time will be 12-14 hours.  You can do a partial smoke on the grill/smoker and then move to the conventional oven.  Here’s how – Smoke until the internal temperature is close to 130° F or when the meat stalls at about 150° F, ensuring great wood-fired flavor.  Now, you can move that beautiful meat to the oven.  Set is still for a low temperature oven say 200 to 225° F.  I recommend tenting the pan.  Keep in mind, you won’t get a crunchy bark but you will get the peace of mind of a flavorful meat and the ability to enjoy family and friends.  If you need the oven for other food items at a higher temperature, just pull the meat, tent it well and allow it to sit untouched until you’re ready to carve.

Rub/Brine/Injection?  What do I do?

Food is personal so experiment and find what works for you and the people that you serve.  Plus, no one said salt and pepper can’t be your rub so don’t feel pulled to have to add a ton of ingredients for a rub.  The key is to marinate the meat with whatever seasoning/rub you choose for at least 6 hours or overnight to ensure that some of the water is rendered out and tenderizing begins.  Plus, cold meat will attract smoke vapor. Also, beef does not like sweet so any combination of ingredients you use for a rub, include only a small quantity of sugar.

You can consider injecting the meat with a brine to breakdown the intramuscular fat.  The application of salt allows the muscle of the meat to retain moisture and gives the final product greater flavor.  Always cook it fat cap side down to the heat.  This allows the fat to act as an insulator and keep more moisture in the meat so you don’t have a dry meat result.

Final Tips:

Purchase only USDA Choice or Prime beef.  Start with 4-6 ounces of wood and add more every 30 minutes for the first 2-3 hours.  If you notice a considerable color difference between the top and bottom of the meat, go ahead and turn it.  If you plan to foil, do this at 150° F.  Shoot for a finished internal temperature of about 200° F.  At that point, let the meat sit in the foil for up to 2 hours on the closed cooker or move to a cooler.  If you prefer a crisper bark, you can unwrap the meat from the foil following the 2 hour rest and broil for a few minutes on each side or put on a hot grill.  It just takes a few minutes on each side.  Always slice the meat with the fat side up, across the grain, preferably with the flat and point separated first.  Add any sauce or mop after the slicing.

Now, go get your beef!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke “I love Brisket!”

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The Yummy Ingredients to Make a Perfect Smoked Pear Bellini

The Yummy Ingredients to Make a Perfect Smoked Pear Bellini

THE SMOKED PEAR BELLINI COCKTAIL

Taking the popular Bellini cocktail featuring Prosecco to a new level, this recipe features smoked pear.  Once you’ve followed our segment on smoking fresh pears, you’ll be ready to try this distinct cocktail.  Be warned, this is not for the light, fruity drinker as this has a strong, smoky undertone giving it more of a savory flavor.

Ingredient List:

Here’s what you will need for Smoked Pear Bellini:

Making Simple Syrup to Sweeten Things Up:

The first step to a balanced Bellini is to make the simple syrup which will provide the sweet flavor to the smoky undertone.  Place a saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar.  I am using organic sugar which will give a yellow-amber hue to the finished syrup.  Be sure to keep stirring the mixture until a low boil occurs.  The sugar will be completely dissolved at that point.  Remove from the heat and pour into a measuring cup for ease in adding to the blender.  The simple syrup must cool complete prior to using in the fruit puree.

Making Smoked Pear Puree

Now it’s time to take the previously smoked pears and begin preparing for the blender.  Although the skin of the pear is high in nutrient value, when smoked with the skin on, the skin can become quite dense.  I will be removing most of the skin for this reason since we want a smooth puree.  Using a paring knife, I remove the skin of each pear half and then cut into small cubes.  I add these cubes to my blender.  Be sure there are no hidden seeds.  You will see the golden hue to the pear meat which resulted from the smoking process. If using a lower power blender, you may need to do this step in two parts to ensure a full puree.

Starting with the blender set to a low setting, begin blending the cut pears, slowing increasing the speed to a medium setting.   Beginning adding the simple syrup in a steady stream until completely combined.  Increase the blender speed to medium-high and blend until the pear puree appears fine and smooth, with no evidence of chunks.

Constructing the Smoked Pear Bellini

I like to pour the pureed pear mixture into a serving pitcher to make it easier to make each drink serving.  Get a bottle of Prosecco that has previously been chilled already.  Add about a 1/3 of a glass of smoke pear puree to each serving glass and top with chilled Prosecco.  Then skewer a sliced smoke pear and rosemary sprig to each glass.  Serve while still chilled.

Saluté

Using seasonal pears, in this case Bosc variety, we bring a smoky version to the standard Bellini featuring Prosecco sparkling wine.  With a simple puree of previously smoked pears, the addition of simple syrup, and a blending of the two with Prosecco, the result is a distinct, savory version of the Pear Bellini cocktail.  Enjoy the Smoked Pear Bellini cocktail and don’t be afraid to add your own special additions like pomegranate, cranberry or even a bit of vodka for those who like a strong fruity cocktail.  Cheers!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

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A New Twist- the Techniques for Smoked Maple Syrup

A New Flavour Twist- Smoked Maple Syrup

NOT JUST ANY MAPLE SYRUP!

The Gourmia® Mini Smoker or any hand held smoker is the perfect equipment for those who want to infuse smoke flavor into raw and cooked foods, beverages, herbs, and spices.  Using SmokinLicious® Minuto® or Piccolo® Wood Chips ensures maximum flavor infusion from a clean, 100% bark-free hardwood.  Select from 8 hardwood species and combine woods for your own customized flavoring.

We are taking a step on the intense side and preparing to smoke pure New York State maple syrup.  I am using SmokinLicious® Sugar Maple Minuto® Chips in Size 8In addition to the smoker and chips, you will need a container to hold the syrup, some plastic wrap and a lighter.  Keep in mind, this smoked syrup is not intended to be used on waffles, pancakes, or french toast due to the intense flavoring.  Get ready, for a fun, quick way to smoked maple syrup!

So simple to do, cold smoke generators let you direct the smoke just where you want.  With the maple syrup placed in a glass bottle, the tubing of the Gourmia® Mini Smoker or any hand held smoker is inserted into the bottle and then sealed with simple plastic wrap.  This ensures that all the smoke vapor produced is contained within the bottle and exposed to the syrup.  You can fill the smoke to the level you want – just a little or right up to the top, like we did.  Remove the tubing and tighten the plastic wrap or secure the bottle’s cap, and the flavor infusion begins.

Once the smoke is retained within the bottle, we gentle rotate the bottle, turning the liquid within, so that it mixes with the smoke vapor.  Remember, the more smoke in the bottle, the stronger the flavor will be as you mix it in.  You can see how the amber color of the syrup darkens as it is combined with the smoke vapor.  That’s it!

Now, you can take this smoked maple syrup and use it in place of simple syrup for cocktails, add it to marinades and sauces for a balance of flavors that are unique.  We will be using this batch in a special maple glaze for pork (see our recipe blog for our recipe and technique).

Unlock your imagination and get smoking with SmokinLicious® and Gourmia®!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Ingredients Are Used for This Savory Smoked Pear Salad with Gorgonzola

Ingredients to make a savory smoked pear salad

SMOKED PEAR SALAD WITH GORGONZOLA

When your craving salad but our tired of the same boring options, take it a step further and feed all your senses with the Smoke Pear Salad with Gorgonzola from SmokinLicious®!

This is a very simple salad once you’ve followed our segment on smoking fresh pears.  With pears in season during the colder months, it’s a great time to get your serving of greens.  So, let’s get started with what you will need for Smoke Pear Salad with Gorgonzola:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 smoked pears (see our previous series on smoking pears)
  • 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar – I prefer a flavor infused one – I am using tangerine balsamic vinegar but anything in the citrus line would work well
  • 1 head of lettuce in my case, I am using Boston lettuce
  • fresh pepper
  • ½ cup of SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips Size #6

Preparing the Salad:

Taking your previously smoked pear halves, time to remove the skin and prepare to cut these for the salad.  Now, this is where you need to make some decisions on how you want your salad to look.  You can either slice the pears to add to whole Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves or you can cube them to add to chopped lettuce.  I will be chopping my lettuce and cubing my smoked pears.  Ideal sizing is ½ inch thickness for your pears to provide the right balance between the boldness of the smoked pear and the savory bite of the Gorgonzola.  I’ll be balancing the two out with my vinaigrette.

Specially Diced Lettuce Arranged in a Bowl

Chopped Boston Lettuce

Boston lettuce is ideal for forming its own bowl and is an ideal choice for this pear salad.  If you want to use the leaves whole, lay 1-2 for a good personal size salad.  I am chopping my lettuce for a full side dish platter.  Be sure to clean the lettuce and pat dry prior to using.  The lettuce, if cut, should be rough cut in order to hold the pears and hold the vinaigrette.

Assembling the Salad:

Once the lettuce is cut or laid in whole leaf form to the plate, it’s time to add the cubed or sliced pear.  Be sure you try to keep the pears in a single layer.  Now it’s time to add the Gorgonzola cheese.  Depending on your preference for this very strong cheese, begin sprinkling it all around the salad or if using the lettuce as a bowl, providing an even layer of cheese.  It’s that simple!  Now you’ll see just how well these colors all work together.  Pleasing to the eyes and mouth!

Specially Diced Smoked Pears Placed on Lettuce Awaiting the Zesty Gorgonzola

Adding Gorgonzola

Making the Vinaigrette:

Now that the salad components are plated it’s time to prepare the vinaigrette.  I like to mix my dressings in a 2-cup measuring cup in order to make it easy to add to the salad.  You will need a small whisk as well.  First, add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil to the measuring cup.  Then add 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar – I am using a tangerine infused balsamic vinegar for a citrus flavor to this salad.  To the liquids, grind some fresh ground pepper and then whisk until combined and thickened.  Do not mix the vinaigrette unless you’re ready to serve the salad otherwise you’ll get a breakdown and thinning.

 

The Finish:

Vinaigrette Spritzed Over Smoked Pears and Gorgonzola- Adding the Finishing Touch to a Savory Salad

Finished Salad

Here is the final component to this great salad – drizzling a tangerine vinaigrette over the smoked pears, Boston lettuce and Gorgonzola.  It’s your choice how much to add but just be sure you get most of the components coated with a bit or you’ll be missing out on the fantastic balance of all the flavors.  Smoky depth of the pears, bite of the Gorgonzola, crisp freshness of the lettuce and the tang of the oil and vinegar.  A perfect way to get heartiness in a salad while enjoying the benefits of healthiness.  Bon appetito!

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

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SMOKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH BABY KALE

One Taste Will Make You a Smoked Squash Believer!

One Taste Will Make You a Smoked Squash Believer! – Dr. Smoke

If you joined our SmokinLicious® Instagram series on stove top smoking of butternut squash, then it’s time to take your wonderful smoke-infused butternut squash to the next level and make a fabulous soup just in time for the holidays and cold season.  Smoked Butternut Squash with Baby Kale Soup. This recipe will serve 4-6.  Gather the following ingredients:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium smoked butternut squash that was smoked in ½” slices
  • 1 cup of baby kale with stems and membranes removed, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup sour cream or crème fraiche (I prefer the crème fraiche for extra smooth texture in soups)
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup broth (you can use chicken or vegetable but water is fine too)
  • 1 medium white onion, diced

Keep in mind, you can keep this vegan but omitting the bacon and cream. For equipment, you will need a food processor or blender, cutting board, chef’s knife, frying pan for the bacon, and soup pot.

 

Cooking Process:

Bacon Adds That Special Flavor Touch

Bacon Adds That Special Flavor Touch-Dr Smoke

 

To start, place a frying pan over medium high heat and allow to heat completely as this will ensure crisp bacon.  Add the 6 strips of bacon and cook until well done, about 6-8 minutes. You will want to flip the bacon after the first 3-4 minutes. Take the cooked bacon from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to remove the excess drippings.  Reduce the heat under the frying pan to medium keeping the fat renderings from the bacon.  To the bacon drippings, add the diced white onion.  Cook until slightly translucent.

 

 

Processing Ingredients:

Smoked Butternut Squash- Yum, Yum Yummy!

Smoked Butternut Squash- Yum, Yum Yummy!- Dr Smoke

 

While the onion is cooking, place the previously smoked butternut squash slices into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the lumps out as this will be processed a second time.  Add this mixture to the cooked onion and combine.  After 3 minutes, reduce the heat to low and add the ¼ cup of sour cream or crème fraiche, mixing in well to ensure creaminess throughout.

While the onion, squash, cream mixture is simmering on low heat, add 1 cup of baby kale leaves to the food processor and pulse until reduced to fine particles.  Add the chopped kale to the squash mixture and combine well.  Then remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool slightly. While the mixture is cooling, chop four slices of the crisped bacon into small pieces.  Add to the squash mixture and combine well.

 

A Velvet Smooth Finish:

Blend to a Smooth Velvety Texture

Blend to a Smooth Velvety Texture- Dr Smoke

 

Add the slightly cooled smoked squash mixture to a blender or food processor, and start the machine on a low setting.  As the mixture is pureed, slowly add 1 cup of broth to thin out the puree. You may use water if you prefer. You may add additional broth until the consistency is at your preferred level but 1 cup should be about the mark.  I like this particular soup to coat a spoon which means it will coat my insides!  Take your reduced smoked squash mixture and pour into a soup pot and place on a low setting for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.

 

The Finish:

 

Finished Squash Soup Topped with Crispy Bacon

Oh My Gosh! Unbelievably Tasty!- Dr Smoke

Now, ladle this silky, smooth soup into serving bowls and place a small amount of the chopped bacon from the remaining two slices to each serving bowl.  As you put this luscious soup into your mouth, your palate will pick up the subtle sweetness of the cinnamon and light smokiness from the stove top smoking process, while the silkiness of the cream provides a balance to the heartiness of the bacon.  This is a great way to use seasonal squash and keep those of us in the cold portion of the world warm this winter.  Bon Appetito!

 

 

 

 

Bon-Bar-B-Q!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

Dr. Smoke & the Culinary Crew

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BBQ Shrimp Smoked with a Hand Held Smoker

Shrimp Smoked with a Hand Held Smoker- Gourmia® Mini Smoker- Dr Smoke

 

BBQ SHRIMP- INSTANT GRATIFICATION!

 

The Gourmia® Mini Smoker is the perfect equipment for those who want to infuse smoke flavor into raw and cooked foods, beverages, herbs, and spices.  Using SmokinLicious® Minuto® or Piccolo® Wood Chips ensures maximum flavor infusion from a clean, 100% bark-free hardwood.  Select from 8 hardwood species and combine woods for your own customized flavoring.

SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips and the Gourmia® unit.

Minuto® Wood Chips and the Gourmia® unit.

We are going to show the versatility of cold smoke techniques by infusing smoke into some raw shrimp that have been marinated in BBQ sauce.  I’m using SmokinLicious® Sugar Maple Minuto® Chips in Size 8.  In addition to the smoker and chips, you will need to place your marinated shrimp in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a food storage bag, and a lighter. Get ready, for a fun, quick way to fabulous smoked BBQ shrimp, in an instant!

Tip-Using a bag and the smoker unit to infuse the flavor

Tip-Using a bag and the smoker unit to infuse the flavor

So simple to do, cold smoke generators let you direct the smoke just where you want.  I’ve taken my uncooked shrimp and marinated them overnight in my favorite BBQ sauce.  Any sauce will do whether homemade or store bought.  I set up my Gourmia® Mini Smoker with Size 8 Minuto® Wood chips from SmokinLicious®, inserting the smoker’s tubing directly into my marinade bag.  I seal the bag around the tubing, turn on the smoker, and light the wood chips.  As soon as I see the smoke start to the fill the bag, I turn the smoker off, pull the tubing out, and seal the bag completely.

 You can leave the smoke sealed in the bag until you are ready to cook the shrimp.  Any method of cooking will do – in the pan, baked in the oven, on the grill – whatever your pleasure!  So much flavor you will think you just smoked for hours on a traditional smoker.  Unlock your imagination and get smoking with SmokinLicious® and Gourmia®!

 

Finished product- Yum! Delicious!

Finished product- Yum! Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

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Stove Top Smoked Butternut Squash

Smoked Butternut Squash

You Can Do It! Smoked Butternut Squash- Dr. Smoke

It’s squash season and that means you have a tremendous variety of product available to do many styles of cooking.  How about trying your hand at stove top smoking?  Today, I’m featuring the very popular butternut squash. You’ll need a stove top smoker or a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with an insert pan and lid, Minuto Chips® in Size #4 from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products, and about 1 hour of time. Be sure you also have a hood vent where you will be using the stove top smoker. Now let’s gather our ingredients and get ready to infuse great wood-fired flavor!

Ingredients

I’ve decided to add a little spice to this smoked butternut squash so here are the ingredients you will need to do this flavor:

  • Curry powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • And 1 medium size butternut squash

Cast iron does take a bit of time to heat up, so you can start the medium high heat under the stove top unit made of cast iron as you are preparing the squash, so by the time you have everything cut, cleaned and seasoned, the smoking pan will be ready to go.

Peeled Squash with Seeds Removed

preparing the squash

Preparing the Squash

 In addition to the food ingredients, you’ll also need a small saucepan for melting the butter or you may use a microwave safe bowl and melt the butter in that manner.  A chef’s knife, cutting board and vegetable peeler are also needed. First, I cut both ends of the squash off so that I have two flat ends to work with.  I then peel all the skin and white skin beneath the peel from the squash until the yellow/orange meat is revealed.

Once all the peel and white skin is removed, I cut the squash in half lengthwise revealing the seeded inside.  With a spoon, I remove the seeds and membrane strings.  I like to pat the squash dry with a few paper towels to remove the excess water as once this vegetable hits the heat, it will start to steam out the water held in the cell membranes.  Now, we’re ready to start slicing the squash into ½” slices.  Taking each half, I lie it on the flat side on a cutting board and slice into ½” pieces.  I add these to a bowl in preparation for the flavor ingredients.

Spicing Things Up

 Now it’s time to add the spices to these beautiful slices.  I take about a tablespoon of cinnamon, 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder, a ½ teaspoon of coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.    I then melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Be sure you simply melt the butter and do not let it go to the brown stage.  I then pour the melted butter over my spiced butternut squash slices and mix well.  I like to do this part with my hands to ensure everything is mixed well.  Now, we are ready to get these beauties on the grill grate of our pre-heated stove top smoker.

cast iron stove top smoker

cast iron stove top smoker

 Stove Top Pan Preparation

 Be sure your smoker base pan is clean of any previous wood chips or food scraps.  Add the SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products Minuto® Wood Chips in the base of the unit, about a handful is needed.  I’m using Sugar Maple Minuto® Chips in Size #4 to bring a balance to the squash with my other flavor ingredients. Because I plan to use my smoked squash as an ingredient in other recipes, and squash has a large amount of water naturally in it, I’m using the stove top smoker unit without soaking my chips.  This is commonly how stove top smokers are used as the chips will combust easier in the dry state and provide perfect smoke infusion.  I also make sure to turn my hood vent “on” to help reduce the smoke aroma.

Fueling Up the Stove Top Smoker with SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips

Fueling Up the Stove Top Smoker

Smoking

I gently lay each squash section on the grill pan doing the best I can to keep everything from being too crowded.  A medium sized squash will fill the pan easily.  I then cover the pan and let it cook for about 20 minutes without lifting the lid.  Remember, squash contains 94% water weight so once you lift the lid to check the squash slices, you will see the accumulated condensation on the inside of the lid.  Do the best you can not to allow the water to pool into the lid and go back into the smoking pan.

 You will see the squash slices take on a shiny appearance and soften from the water vaporization and smoke vapor infusion.  Depending on what you will use the squash slices for – using them as is as a side dish or in another recipe such as a soup, pureed side dish or even a sauce – will determine how long and how tender they need to be.  I like mine to be knife tender but not to the point where they fall apart if picked up with tongs.  Notice the condition of my Minuto® wood chips when I finish – perfectly carbonized.  In fact, I likely could use them for another batch of squash!

Beautiful Grill Marks on the Smoked Squash

Oh My Gosh! Ready to Please the Palate- Dr. Smoke

 

The Finish

With just a handful of Minuto® wood chips in size #4, 1 medium butternut squash, and 1 hour of time, I produced golden, rich flavor with a gently touch of smokiness. Notice the grill marks I still achieved by not fussing with my squash.  Using cast iron units allow you peace of mind in knowing the chips are safe so you can walk away and not open the lid.  That allows that 94% water to vaporize and give gently crusting to the squash.  I’m ready now to take these slices into a recipe that will be extra special and memorable.  Find out for yourself how easy it is to smoke on the stove top!

Bon Bar B Que!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to audio instructions

Listen to audio instructions

 

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Smoked Pea Salad with Cucumbers

Smoked Pea Salad with Cucumbers-Dr. Smoke

SMOKED SUGAR SNOW PEAS WITH CUCUMBER SALAD

With four select ingredients readily available throughout the year, you can make this flavorful and healthy salad anytime of the year.  Perfect on its own for lunch or as a side dish to beef, pork, poultry, and fish, you’ll find your own variations to keep it unique.

Start out by gathering these ingredients:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of smoked sugar snow peas (see our previous posting on smoking)
  • 2 mini cucumbers, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • ½ pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup of fresh dill chopped (or use a quality jar dill if fresh is not available)

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper
Nothing But the Most Fresh Ingredients

Fresh & Savory Ingredients

Preparing The Salad:

Add the smoked snow peas to a salad bowl.  Stir in the cucumbers, tomatoes, and dill.  Be sure you stir gently to prevent breaking up the cucumbers and tomatoes.  Stirring will allow some of the char flavor of the peas to reach the juices of the cucumber and tomato.

Adding A Pop of Red Color to the Cucumbers and Peas

Adding Tomatoes

Preparing The Dressing:

 In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and lemon zest until smooth.  You will see the dressing thicken as you whisk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until coated.

Thickening the Dressing

A Quick Whisk

The Finish:

 I simply love this salad for a healthy lunch, snack, or as a side to dinner. Feel free to add some additional crunchy items like pumpkin seeds, dried fruits, or even tortilla shell strips.  And DON’T FORGET to take a picture of your masterpiece and send along to us at SmokinLicious®.

Bon-Bar-B-Q!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke & the Culinary Team

Enjoy a Scrumptious Salad

Enjoy a Scrumptious Salad-Dr. Smoke

 

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Ember Cooking/Roasting Garlic In A Skillet

 

Ember roasted garlic for the ages!

Ember roasted garlic for the ages!-Dr. Smoke®

One of my favorite herbs is garlic due to all the applications garlic has in cooking.  One technique that you may not have tried is ember firing the garlic using a wood for flavor and a cast iron skillet for smoke control.

 

Here’s what you will need to do this technique:

  • A cast iron skillet – Lodge™ has a great model
  • Garlic purchased with the stalks on as you’ll need these for presentation and control during the cooking process
  • An LP/gas grill – any model or size

 

Grill Preparation

Ever wonder what else you could do with the cast iron skillet other than fire place cooking?   Well, use it to ember roast garlic but on your LP/gas grill!  That’s right.  We will use the gas grill for fire proof cooking and air control without need for the LP/gas.

 

Place the iron skillet on the grill grates and prepare to add the wood chips.   We will be using Grande Sapore® wood chips from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products.  The species selected is Ash for its ability to produce hot heat level and an even bed of coals.  It is one of my favorite hardwoods to use for ember cooking of vegetables because of its coal-ability and mild flavor.  You will need a ¼ cube of the chips.  Remember, we are developing a bed of coals for this cooking technique so unlit and lit coals will be used.

 

Adding Wood for Flavor

Grand Sapore wood chips added to skillet

Grand Sapore® wood chips added to skillet

It’s time to add the wood chips to the skillet!  Take the Grande Sapore® Ash wood chips and fill the cast iron skillet.  Light the chips using a cooking torch or match but remember not to use any other materials for lighting the wood; no newspaper and certainly no lighter fluid which is petroleum at its best.  Once the chips ignite, you need to monitor the depth as you want to end up with a 3-inch depth.  That means, add wood chips as need during the buildup of the embers.

 

Adding the Garlic

Once we reach a depth of embers of approximately 2-3 inches in the skillet, it’s time to add the garlic by placing them on top of the hot embers.

Take the stems and twist the whole garlic so that each garlic head seats completely in the embers.  Almost instantly, you will see smoke from the embers all around the outside of the garlic.  This is the flavor infusion at the start.  It’s now time to close the top of the grill to control the amount of airflow to the embers.

 

Ember Roasting Cooking Technique

Once the garlic is added to the hot embers, you will see the dry outer covering of the garlic ignite.  This is the main reason why the outer covering and stems are left on the garlic heads as its sole purpose is to protect the cloves!  You will see the great char coloring on the outside of the garlic.  The stems will either fall off and burn or burn off during the roasting process.  The entire roasting process will take 45-60 minutes depending on the overall heat level and depth of the embers.

 

Wood embers ignite garlic

Wood embers ignite garlic

The Break to Garlic Heaven

Now, remove the garlic heads from the pan and allow to cool before the peeling process begins.  This is the heavenly part – breaking apart all the charred outer portions and revealing the tenderized, wood charred garlic cloves!  Get ready!  These beauties are ready to be minced, diced, added whole – just about anything you can think of to add depth of flavor you’ve never experienced before.  Now, go on.  You know you’re just dying to try this technique yourself!

Bon Bar B Que!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke®

Dr. Smoke and The Culinary Team

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For step by step video instructions go to qfhmasbquczwgqy-1600x900-nopad@smokinlicious and follow #smokinliciousmenu for this recipe and many more!

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