I set out to prove to myself just how easy it can be to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving (or any time of the year). That meant no brining, no basting, no rubs, no oils, no injecting. Nothing. Just a turkey breast. To achieve what ended up being a fantastic result, I used a turkey breast that was already in a basting solution. Turkeys that are already pre-brined (or ‘pumped’) are common and they do save you a lot of time and hassle. I was very, very happy with this easy smoked turkey breast. It was completely fuss-free. The skin was nice and crunchy. The meat was tender and moist. All that greatness and all I did was put it on the smoker and make sure the cook temperature stayed around 325 F. I used plenty of wood to get plenty of smoky flavor, which I think made up for the spices or basting sauce I would normally add. This is a great way to make a turkey breast for a crowd while still leaving yourself free for other things.
This recipe uses a 'pumped' turkey breast, or one that has already been brined. The package will state 'contains up to 8% of a solution of water, salt, spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness'. Normally I would use a natural turkey that does not contain such a solution, but the goal was to make as easy a turkey breast as possible.
This is my year-after-year go-to technique for making gravy for turkey. Smoked turkey wings make an absolutely delightful turkey broth that, with just a few more ingredients added, makes a gravy that is perfect for Thanksgiving turkey. Or turkey any time. Making this gravy takes a little effort, but it is very much worth the time. If you want to skip the trouble of making smoked turkey broth, you can make a gravy using roasted turkey wings instead. In a pinch you can use store-bought turkey broth instead, but it truly won’t be as magical. Using smoked turkey to make the broth really adds a tremendous flavor to the gravy. It is something I look forward to all year long.
What fun these smoked spiral hot dogs were to make and devour! I’ve made spiral dogs before, but this technique is much better than my old way. The key is inserting a skewer thru the dogs to keep them together after slicing. And of course, the skewer keeps you from slicing in too far. I smoked my spiral dogs, but you could just as easily grill them. Anita and I recently ran across The Mustard Man at an event at the Jungle Jim’s market in Fairfield, OH. After sampling each of mustard I instantly picked up a bottle of each one. They are truly fantastic. I squeezed a bit of the Simple Pepper and Simply Maple on each of our spiral dogs. The mustard runs down into the spirals, filling each bite with mustardy goodness. We cannot recommend The Mustard Man’s mustard enough!
Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.
Fire up your smoker for 225 F. You can also make these hot dogs on a grill
Carefully guide the skewer through the center of the hot dogs. If you get the skewer crooked at it pokes out of the side of the dog just pull it back and try again. I found that laying the hot dogs down on a flat surface and sliding the skewer in from the side, parallel to the counter top, worked best.
Lay the skewered dog down onto a cutting board or flat surface.
Holding a knife at a 45 degree angle, starting at one end of the dog, cut into the dog down to the skewer. Start rolling the hot dog, keeping the knife inserted into the hot dog, making cuts that are about 1/2" apart. Continue rolling and cutting until you reach the other end of the hot dog.
Gently pull the dog apart, separating the cuts. Be careful, you don't want to break it.
Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.
Place dogs onto the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. If grilling grill until done as desired.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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!
Fresh chopped green onions or cilantro, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
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.
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).
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.
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.
In a bowl combine the chorizo and cheese and spoon into each potato.
Wrap a halved piece of bacon around each potato and secure with a toothpick.
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.
Serve topped with a small dollop of Mexican crema or cream cheese and garnish with green onions or cilantro.
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.
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.
Place the wings onto the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. No need to rotate or flip them.
When done, remove from the smoker. You can deep fry them immediately or freeze them for thawing and frying later.
To fry, heat canola oil to 350 F.
Working in batches, add the wings and fry for 1-2 minutes or until they are the desired color.
Let cool slightly. Serve tossed with your favorite sauce and your favorite dipping sauce on the side.
Optional: Toss the wings onto a hot grill for 1 minute after saucing them to set the sauce.