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.
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.
Fire up your smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use a medium wood such as hickory.
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.
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.
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.