Smoked Beets with Balsamic Glaze

Wow. I love beets, but I really wasn’t expecting these smoked beets with balsamic glaze to be so amazing. The perfect combination of flavors, starting with just a hint of smoke and ending with goat cheese drizzled with a fantastic balsamic glaze. The more I cook, the more I find myself using balsamic vinegar in my dishes, and it certainly was a star in this one.
If you don’t have a smoker you can still make these beets. Just toss them in a 375 F oven and roast them until tender. They won’t have that light smoky flavor, but they will still be great with the glaze and cheese.

In a pinch you can skip using fresh beets. Grab canned or jarred, slice and serve with the remaining ingredients. Or just make my non-smoked beet but-still-really-great beet salad.

5 from 1 reviews
Smoked Beets with Balsamic Glaze
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
For the beats
  • 4 large beets
  • Your favorite herb goat cheese
  • Balsamic glaze, from below
For balsamic glaze
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Instructions
For the beats
  1. Fire up your smoker for smoking at 250 F.
  2. Meanwhile, boil or steam the beats until just tender. Let cool completely then peel.
  3. Transfer beets to the smoker and smoke for 30 minutes-1 hour. You just want a hint of smoke flavor.
  4. Remove from the smoker and let cool then slice thin.
  5. Serve with the cheese drizzled with the balsamic glaze.
For balsamic glaze
  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer, stirring often, until thick. The glaze should coat the back of spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and cover until ready to use.

Grilled Cornbread with Jalapeno Honey Butter

Boy, where have I been that I haven’t grilled cornbread until now? Grilling adds a nice lightly smoky flavor, but more importantly it adds a terrific crunch. Add in spicy and sweet jalapeno honey butter and you have some fantastic tasting cornbread. I’m not sure I’ll ever eat ‘normal’ cornbread again.
I started with a big pan of already-baked thick (I used two packages of Jiffy) cornbread. You can also make muffins. You do have to be careful handling the cornbread on the grill since it will want to fall apart on you. The moister and thicker your cornbread is, the less problems you’ll have.

You can make extra of the jalapeno honey butter and keep it on hand for more than just cornbread (I recommend it on biscuits!). It’s delicious and not overwhelmingly hot.

Did you know you can also grill macaroni and cheese? It’s crazy good too!

5 from 1 reviews
Grilled Cornbread with Jalapeno Honey Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 batch your favorite cornbread (I use Jiffy)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (4 ounce) can fire-roasted jalapenos (you can substitute a finely-minced fresh jalapeno (roast it first for even more flavor) that has been seeded)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. Cook the cornbread per package instructions. You can use squares or muffins.
  2. Fire up your grill for direct cooking.
  3. Melt the butter and stir in the jalapenos and honey.
  4. Brush cornbread liberally on all sides with the butter mixture.
  5. Place onto the grill over direct heat for 3 minutes until grill marks start to appear.
  6. Carefully flip and grill on the other side.for 3 more minutes.
  7. Serve hot with any remaining butter.

Barbacoa-Style Smoked Chuck Roast

It’s an understatement to say I’m a big fan of smoking chuck roast. When it’s on sale it’s big time cheaper than brisket and yet still tender, moist and ‘beefy’. Sometimes I slice my smoked chuck roast, but more times than not I chop it for sandwiches or cut it into chunks for use in a chili or stew. This barbacoa-style smoked chuck roast packs fantastic flavor and juiciness, with a nice hint of heat. Perfect on a chopped beef sandwich!
I do not trim my chuck roasts before marinating them. I want all that fat to still be on the meat when I smoke it, adding flavor and moisture. After the meat is done I slice or chop it, leaving off the fatty pieces.

5 from 1 reviews
Barbacoa-Style Smoked Chuck Roast
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3-4 chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 3-4 pound chuck roast, untrimmed
Instructions
  1. Combine all but roast in a bowl.
  2. Place the chuck roast into a large resealable bag or container.
  3. Add the marinade. Toss to coat, seal, and marinade overnight.
  4. Fire up your smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use a medium wood such as hickory.
  5. Remove the beef from the marinade. Shake off the excess and transfer to the smoker.
  6. Smoke until the roast reaches 145 F., about 1 hour.
  7. Transfer the beef to a large piece of foil. Seal up tightly and return to the smoker. Smoke until the temperature reaches 200F, 4-5 hours more.
  8. Remove from the smoker and let rest 15 minutes before slicing of chopping. Add any juices from the foil back into the meat for extra flavor.

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Bacon-Wrapped Mexican Potatoes

Boy, crispy bacon… spicy Mexican chorizo sausage… cheese… I could actually just have these bacon-wrapped Mexican potatoes for dinner. By themselves. Nothing else. Just give me a platter of them and check on me in 15 minutes to see if I need more. They’re like grilled potato skins taken to a whole new level.

Bacon-Wrapped Mexican PotatoesI love the spicy kick from chorizo. But, if you don’t, you can easily change these potatoes up to be a little more mellow by making them Italian-style. Substitute crumbled cooked mild Italian sausage for the chorizo, mozzarella for the queso fresco, and sour cream for the crema. Excellent!

Bacon-Wrapped Mexican Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 potatoes
 
Ingredients
  • 20 small new red potatoes, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled Queso fresco
  • 10 pieces bacon, halved
  • Toothpicks
  • Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • Fresh chopped green onions or cilantro, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Brush potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, 20-30 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  3. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking (you can also make these in the oven, so keep your oven going if you're going to cook these indoors).
  4. Meanwhile, crumble the chorizo into a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned. Remove from heat. Note: You want to get the chorizo fairly well crumbled. If you are having trouble doing so, just let the cooked chorizo cool a bit then pulss a few times in a food processor.
  5. Cut just enough of the bottom of each potato so that they can stand up straight. Then cut just enough off the top so you can scoop them out. Take a small mellon baller or spoon and spoon out the insides.
  6. In a bowl combine the chorizo and cheese and spoon into each potato.
  7. Wrap a halved piece of bacon around each potato and secure with a toothpick.
  8. Place on the grill over indirect heat and cook until the bacon starts to crisp, about 20 minutes, or bake in the oven at 425 F.
  9. Serve topped with a small dollop of Mexican crema or cream cheese and garnish with green onions or cilantro.

Fried Smoked Wings

Wonderfully smoky, tender meat with a lightly crispy skin, these smoked and then fried chicken wings were a thing of beauty. These are one of most dangerous things you could ever put in front of me. I don’t even need any sauce to toss or dunk them in, either. Just give me a big basket of them and get out of the way!
The process is simple. Season your wings, and place them onto your smoker. No messing around with them either. Just smoke for 2 hours.

When the wings are done you toss them into a deep fryer for a minute or so, until golden brown and lightly crispy. You can also make a big huge batch and freeze the smoked wings (before frying). All you have to do is thaw them and deep fry them when you’re ready to serve them at a later time. I was worried that making them from the frozen smoked wings would result in over-cooked, tough wings, but oh no, they were fantastic!

There’s a brewpub by our house, Redemption Alewerks, that makes crazy-good chicken wings. They smoke them first over a mix of mesquite and cherry woods, then flash fry them. They sauce them then place them over a hot flame to finish them off. My approach is similar, but I don’t always put them onto the grill at the end. They are fantastic either way, but grilling them real quick does help set the sauce.

For smoked wings that seem like they were fried, but weren’t, try my almost-fried smoked wings. Same great crunch and flavor without the oil.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

5 from 1 reviews
Fried Smoked Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded or saved for making chicken broth
  • Your favorite rub (I used Albukirky Seasoning's Green Chile Rub)
  • Canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for 225 F. Use any wood you like. I used Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel chunks because I wanted a good, noticeable smoke flavor. Use a lighter wood if you want your wings to be a little less smoky.
  2. Place the wings onto the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. No need to rotate or flip them.
  3. When done, remove from the smoker. You can deep fry them immediately or freeze them for thawing and frying later.
  4. To fry, heat canola oil to 350 F.
  5. Working in batches, add the wings and fry for 1-2 minutes or until they are the desired color.
  6. Let cool slightly. Serve tossed with your favorite sauce and your favorite dipping sauce on the side.
  7. Optional: Toss the wings onto a hot grill for 1 minute after saucing them to set the sauce.

Scorpion Tails

I’ve made ‘normal’ jalapeno poppers on my grill, smoker and using my Char-Broil Big Easy many, many times. These scorpion tales are like jalapeno poppers, but they’re a bit more fru-fru shall we say. Instead of cream cheese I used velvety smooth Havarti cheese (the favorite cheese in our household, often found on our sandwich wraps and grilled cheese sandwiches). Instead of smoky bacon I used prosciutto. You still get that same wonderful pepper flavor, and a little kick, and pork yummy-ness. Just a bit more special, and definitely something different to amaze and wow your guests!
I often dust my jalapeno poppers with my favorite rub before cooking them. I decided to skip doing that with these scorpion tales. I didn’t want anything to mask the flavors of the cheese and prosciutto. You can certainly add some rub or seasoning if you wish. But if it was me, I’d skip it or keep it very light.

5 from 1 reviews
Scorpion Tails
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18 bites
 
Ingredients
  • 9 jalapenos, halved, membranes and seeds removed
  • 9 ounces jalapeno Havarti cheese, softened
  • 18 slices prosciutto
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use a medium wood such as hickory.
  2. Fill the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese. Iv'e found that I can spread the cheese in with a knife if it has softened enough. If not, just cut the cheese into thin slices and then fill the peppers.
  3. Wrap each pepper in a slice of prosciutto.
  4. Smoke for 20-30 minutes or until softened.

2-2-1 Smoked Baby Back Ribs

I’m a huge fan of spareribs trimmed St. Louis-style and smoked low-and-slow. I have to admit, my favorite part are the rib tips that come from trimming the spareribs. And that’s why, until recently, I haven’t really smoked a lot of baby back ribs, which have less fat and no tips. Well, now I cannot stop making them. This is my go-to method for making the most tender, juicy, flavor-packed baby back ribs in around 5 hours. They’re truly easy to make and are about as fool-proof as you can get, and you get the same results time after time.
Don’t be afraid of the mustard on these smoked baby back ribs. It’s there to help the seasoning adhere to the ribs. Trust me, you won’t taste it a bit when the ribs are done.

So why are they called 2-2-1 ribs? Because you smoke them uncovered for 2 hours, then smoke them wrapped in foil for another 2 hours, and finally finish them off uncovered for another hour. Now, depending on the size of the ribs and the temperature of your smoker, they might be done a bit earlier or later, but a minute here or there won’t make a big difference. Just make sure they’re nice and tender before removing from the foil.

If you prefer spareribs, check out my technique for making 3-2-1 smoked St. Louis-style ribs. Need a great homemade sauce? Here are just a few of the ones I’ve made and love: smokehouse, southwestern, atomic, Sriracha and sweet-n-spicy.

5 from 1 reviews
2-2-1 Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 rack
 
Ingredients
  • 1 rack baby back ribs, any loose meat removed, membrane on back removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • Prepared yellow mustard (generic is fine)
  • Your favorite BBQ rub
  • Honey
  • Chili sauce
  • Margarine (the kind in a squeeze bottle works best)
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for 225 F. Use a medium or light wood. I prefer hickory, cherry, apple, peach or maple.
  2. Spread a thin layer of mustard on both sides of the ribs. Dust lightly with the rub.
  3. Smoke for 2 hours, bone-side down.
  4. Lay out a large piece of thick foil (double it if using thin foil). In center of the foil squeeze out a thin line of honey, a few teaspoons of chili sauce, and a line of margarine.
  5. Place the ribs bone-side down onto the center of the foil.
  6. Squeeze out another line of honey, a few teaspoons of chili sauce, and some more margarine along the meat side of the ribs. No need to spread out the ingredients.
  7. Seal the foil tightly and return to the smoker for 1 hour or until you can easily slide a toothpick between the ribs.
  8. Carefully open the foil (the escaping steam will burn!) and remove the ribs, placing them directly on the smoker grates. Reserve the basting juices and brush them onto the ribs.
  9. Smoke another 30 minutes, brushing with the basting juices every 10 minutes.
  10. Now, brush the ribs the BBQ sauce and smoke another 30 minutes or until the sauce is set as you desire.
  11. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Chipotles in Adobo

I go thru a lot of chipotles in adobo sauce. I have an entire section of one of my pantry shelves devoted to cans of them. So it occurred to me that I should try my hand at making them at home. These chiptoles in adobo came out fantastically. Great smoky flavor and a bit of heat. They do take a bit of time to prepare, but they are oh so worth the trouble.
I dried my smoked jalapenos in my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can place the jalapenos on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Rotate the jalapenos every few hours until dried.

You can also skip the smoking and drying of the jalapenos and buy dried chipotles at your marketplace. In our grocery store the dried peppers can be found by the produce section.

5 from 1 reviews
Chipotles in Adobo
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 54 hours
 
Ingredients
  • 12 jalapenos
  • Boiling water
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
Instructions
  1. Fire up a smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use a strong wood such as hickory.
  2. Add the jalapenos to the smoker and smoke until browned and shriveled, at least 4 hours.
  3. Remove and let cool slightly then transfer to a dehydrator and dry at 135 F for 24-48 hours or until completely dried.
  4. Remove the stems (and seeds, if desired) and transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Cover with hot water. Cover with a plate to weigh the peppers down into the water and let soak for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove 4 of the peppers and transfer to a blender.
  7. Add the tomato puree and honey and 1/2 cup of the soaking water.
  8. Blend until you have a paste.
  9. Take the remaining peppers and the soaking liquid and transfer to a pot. Add in the paste.
  10. Add the onion, garlic, vinegar, salt and peppercorns.
  11. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 hours until thick. If the sauce gets too thick add a bit of water.
  12. Store in the freezer or use within a month.


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