Finished smoked banana double bites (combining smoked bananas with chocolate and crushed nuts)
SMOKED BANANA DOUBLE BITES
If you joined us for our series on a 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:
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.
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 the 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 ways. 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 for smoking, we gave them a bath in luscious dark chocolate. Then the roll – into the crushed almond and shredded coconut – 2 fantastic flavor pairings for the 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 hint of fresh cream. Get your imagination going and expand on the great use of the smoked banana.
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 the 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 the 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.
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 crispings 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, the 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 break down 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 for Smoking a Beef Brisket:
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 and smoking a Beef Brisket!
Dr. Smoke-Smoking a Beef Brisket Texas Style with Red Oak Wood chunks!