Smokehouse BBQ Sauce

I’m always on the lookout for a different sauce for my smoked ribs, pulled pork, or whatever meats I’m cooking on my smoker. It’s not because I don’t already have a good collection of sauces that I love, but because sometimes you just want something different. This smokehouse BBQ sauce intrigued me when I first saw it because it had both chile peppers and lemon juice. I thought, well, that’s new. So I made it and it came out great on a nice big rack of smoked spare ribs!
smokehouse-bbq-sauceThick but not too thick, this sauce has a hint of spiciness, a hint of smokiness, and a slight vinegar kick. In a ways it’s a combination of many BBQ sauces, from Kansas City to Memphis to the Carolinas. Different, but different in a good way.

5 from 1 reviews
Smokehouse BBQ Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: BBQ Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 4 dried ancho chile peppers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Liquid smoke, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the chiles and toast for 2-3 minutes. Turn and continue toasting until softened.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove peppers to a cutting board, but reserve the water.
  7. Remove stems and seeds from the peppers and chop lightly. Transfer to a blender and add the reserved water. Puree until smooth and return to the skillet.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon and butter.
  9. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 30 minutes until the desired thickness is achieved.
  10. Stir in the lemon juice and add the butter and stir until melted.

Slow Cooker Chili Cheese Corn

One of my favorite things to do in the summer (around July 4th here in Indiana) is to buy a lot of sweet corn and put it up for the winter. And I do mean a lot of sweet corn. For the two of us that often means 100-150 ears at once. It’s a good day’s work, but well worth it later in the year, specially when I can use it to make great-tasting dishes like this slow cooker chili cheese corn. I really enjoy cooking corn in the slow cooker. The corn keeps it’s light crunch, and all of the sweetness. Add bit of roasted green chiles and cream cheese and you have a truly fantastic side dish.
For a little more kick, use diced roasted jalapenos instead. Or for less kick, roast a poblano (or even green bell pepper) under your broiler until blackened, then remove the burnt skin, seeds and chop. No matter what you use, it’ll add a nice contrast to the sweetness and creaminess of the corn.

5 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker Chili Cheese Corn
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (4 ounce can fire-roasted chopped green chilies
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into the slow cooker in the order listed.
  2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the cheese has melted.

Campfire Burgers

Wow, talk about a burger that just rocketed to the top of our favorite-to-make list. These campfire burgers are just packed with flavor, inside and out. The patties are not boring, combining ground beef with cheese, bacon, Worcestershire and just a hint of smokiness. And then there’s the caramelized onions. Caramelized onions are a wonderful thing but adding balsamic vinegar to them makes them spectacular. And finally, a lightly smoky creamy sauce to top it all off.
I recommend making more of the onions than the recipe calls for. On the off-chance that you have leftover onions they are also fantastic on grilled hot dogs. I also recommend making more of the sauce. It’s great to have on hand for, well, hot dogs again, but also po boy sandwiches or even as a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets.

5 from 1 reviews
Campfire Burgers
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 burgers
 
Ingredients
For the Caramelized Onions
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
For the Campfire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
For the burgers
  • 1 pound ground beef (I prefer 85/15 beef/fat mix)
  • 1/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns
Instructions
For the Caramelized Onions
  1. Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Toss to coat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are brown and caramelized.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
For the Campfire Sauce
  1. Whisk all ingredients until smooth.
For the burgers
  1. Fire up your grill for direct and indirect cooking.
  2. Place meat into a large bowl.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the buns and mix well.
  4. Form into 4 equally-sized patties.
  5. Grill as desired.
  6. Assemble the burgers by adding cooked patties to the bun bottoms. Add onions and plenty of the Campfire sauce.
  7. Serve with plenty of napkins!

Beer-Can Cabbage on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I’m a big fan of making beer-can chicken on my Big Easy. I end up with tender, moist flavor-packed chicken every time. That’s why I was so intrigued with the idea of making beer-can cabbage. Just like with chicken, the cabbage came out tender and tasty. Absolutely perfect, chopped and mounded on top of a pulled pork sandwich.I used a head of purple cabbage. You want to make sure you get one that is big enough to hold a beer can. The can doesn’t have to fit entirely inside of the cabbage, but you want it to go at least three inches. The hardest part of making beer-can cabbage is definitely the process of hollowing out the center of the cabbage. You don’t want to hollow out too much, so be careful.

Of course, the stronger the beer, the stronger the beer flavor will be in the cooked cabbage. I used a very light American beer. Since I was using the cabbage on a pulled pork sandwich I didn’t want something overwhelming.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

5 from 1 reviews
Beer-Can Cabbage on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cabbage
 
You'll want to use a beer can chicken holder from Char-Broil to help keep the cabbage from falling over.
Ingredients
  • 1 head purple or green cabbage
  • 1 can beer
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Cut out the core of the cabbage.
  3. Open beer. Drink half and then place the can in the holder, if using.
  4. Using a spoon, carve out enough of the center of the cabbage so that the beer can (and holder) fit at least halfway inside the cabbage
  5. Insert the beer can.
  6. Rub the outside of the cabbage with a little bit of oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to the Big Easy basket and lower into the cooker.
  8. Cook for 1 hour or until tender. (Test by carefully inserting a skewer).
  9. Carefully remove the basket from the Big Easy. You don't want to spill the hot beer on yourself.
  10. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the cabbage to chop or slice as desired.

Smoky Chipotle Wings

Anita and I recently spent a few days in lovely Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while attending a conference. I made sure I had my ‘to-eat’ list down before leaving, because one thing you can be sure of finding in Pittsburgh: good food. At the top of my list was dry chicken wings. No, not dry like ‘ewww, this meat is dry’. Dry as in the wings aren’t tossed in sauce after being cooked. Instead they are dusted with seasoning. The end result is almost like roasted chicken, but with much more pronounced flavors. Since our trip I’ve been seriously addicted to making dry wings, like these smoky chipotle wings

.When you first taste the rub for these wings you might think they’ll come out super spicy. Maybe too spicy for grandma. Well, no actually. The heat mellows a bit while the wings cook. You’re left with a slightly smoky, slightly sweet, and a bit-of-heat flavor that is absolutely crazy good. Good enough for grandma, though you might want to run the idea by her first.

Smoky chipotle wings would be absolutely perfect served any time, but they’d really make a great appetizer for the big game. They’re easy to make and packed with flavor.

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
Smoky Chipotle Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8 servings
 
Ingredients
For the wings
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded or saved for making chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) Smokey Chipotle Rub #1, divided
Instructions
For the wings
  1. Place wings into a large resealable bag.
  2. Add the oil and toss to coat.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the Smoky Chipotle rub, toss to coat and seal.
  4. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
  5. Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
  6. When done, place wings in a large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining rub. Toss to coat and serve.

Crab-Stuffed Shrimp

It was one of those days where I wanted to seriously up my game. I figured (correctly) that a stop at our local fish mongers, Caplinger’s, would inspire me even more. And so I set off to make crab-stuffed shrimp on the grill. Large shrimp are butterflied, the meat separated from the shells but still connected, and then stuffed with an absolutely delightful mixture of crab and seasonings that reminds me very much of crab cake. I cooked the shrimp over charcoal in a cast-iron skillet, giving the shrimp a light smoky flavor. The end result was out-of-this-world delicious.
For appetizer-sized crab-stuffed shrimp use smaller shrimp, like the 16 count shrimp I used. For main dishes, get some 6-8 count shrimp. The larger the shrimp the easier they are to butterfly and the easier it is to separate the meat from the shell, which is definitely the most difficult part of making these shrimp. The rest is easy peasy.

As I sit here and remember just how fantastic the crab stuffing was in these shrimp, I recall back to the best crabcakes I’ve ever had, at Timbuktu’s in Hanover, Maryland. Their crabcakes have the largest and most delicious chunks of crab in them… mmmmmm….

Crab-Stuffed Shrimp
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound jumbo (6-8 count) shrimp (I used smaller, 16 count shrimp)
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (plus more for the skillet)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crumbled
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 pound lump crab
  • 1 lemon,halved
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for two zone (direct and indirect cooking). Alternatively, you can cook these shrimp in the oven at 350 F.
  2. Cut a slit down the backs of the shrimp. Do not cut all the way thru.
  3. Butterfly the shrimp and remove the vein.
  4. Separate the shell from the meat but do not remove it. The shell will still be attached at the tail, but the meat will not be attached to the shell.
  5. Lightly butter a 7" cast iron skillet. Add the shrimp, butterflied side up.
  6. Melt 1/2 pound of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
  9. Crumble the crackers into a large bowl. Add the bread, Old Bay seasoning, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  10. Add most of the melted butter. Do not add any of the onion or garlic, you just want to add the liquid.
  11. Mix and add the mayonnaise. Try to squeeze the mixture together. If it holds together, it's ready. If it's too dry add more of the melted butter and a little bit of mayonnaise and mix and try again. Keep adding more butter/mayonnaise until the mixture holds together.
  12. Lightly chop the crab and fold into the cracker mixture.
  13. Working in batches, squeeze a tablespoon or two of the stuffing into a small log shape and place inside the butterflied shrimp. Don't be shy with the stuffing, you'll have plenty.
  14. Place over indirect heat or in the oven and cook 20 minutes or until the shrimp is done. The shrimp will be pink in color on the outside and the flesh is opaque. If cooking on the grill rotate your skillet once to achieve consistent cooking.
  15. Place the lemon halves over direct heat on the grill and grill until seared. If cooking in the oven, just use the halves as is - don't cook them.
  16. Remove skillet and serve with lemon wedges.

Smoked Pork Shanks

Sometimes what you think might be a mistake can end up being one of the best things that you have ever done. I ordered some pork shanks from our local butcher. My goal was to make pork wings, which are made from the shank. Well, I didn’t explain myself well and what I ended up with was a big bag of shanks that had been cut in half, which definitely weren’t going to work for pork wings. Well, a quick glance around the web and I found tons of great recipes for braising shanks, which I will do but I also found the idea of smoking them and using them in the place of smoked hocks. Now that’s an idea I can get excited about because I love hocks and beans. So I took 8 of the shanks (trust me, I have plenty more), brined them for a while and then smoked them. The end result was tender, perfectly smoky-flavored shanks that were amazing in a big pot of beans.
I wouldn’t hesitate at all to get more shanks from my butcher for no other reason than to smoke them. They’ll be great this fall and winter in soups and stews. They also fit in well with my ‘no empty space on the smoker’ rule, which says if you’re going to fire up your smoker, use all available room that you have. No point in wasting smoke. Shanks are the perfect size for using up valuable smoker grate space in my opinion.

5 from 1 reviews
Smoked Pork Shanks
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 shanks
 
This recipe can also be used to make fantastic smoked ham hocks.
Ingredients
For the smoke pork shanks
  • 4 pork shanks cut in half (ask your butcher to cut them for you), so you'll end up with 8 smoke shanks in the end
For the brine
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Tender Quick
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled dried thyme
Instructions
For the brine
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring the water to a simmer and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  4. Place shanks into a large resealable container.
  5. Add the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 1-3 days.
For the smoked pork shank
  1. Rinse with water and place in cold water for 1 hour..
  2. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. I used hickory wood and added a few more chunks than I normally would for say ribs so that I got a good strong smoke flavor in the shanks.
  3. Remove the shanks from the brine and pat dry.
  4. Transfer to the smoker and smoke for 3-5 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 F.

Beer Can Chicken Jambalaya

I made a lot, and I do mean a lot, of beer can chickens on my Char-Broil Big Easy last weekend. So, I had a good amount of chicken on hand, and that got me to thinking jambalaya. I took the classic jambalaya recipe from Chef John Folse and used my tender, incredibly flavorful beer can chicken instead of browned fresh chicken.

There’s no loser in this beer can chicken jambalaya, but for me the winner is the rice (well, and me for getting to eat it). It absorbs flavors from the vegetables and meats and broth and spices and turns out just flat-out incredible.

You can add shrimp to this jambalaya if you want, but I prefer mine without it. It’s hard to re-heat shrimp leftovers without them becoming way too tough. Since this recipe make a big, big batch and there’s only two of us, I was guaranteed to have leftovers and then some.

Beer Can Chicken Jambalaya
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14-18 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pounds cooked beer can chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and cayenne pepper (I used 2-3 tablespoons), to taste
  • Louisiana style hot sauce (I used 1/4 cup or more), to taste
  • 5 cups uncooked long grain rice
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a very large (7 quart or larger) Dutch oven.
  2. Add the sausage and brown lightly on all sides. Remove.
  3. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  5. Add the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken, reserved smoked sausage, mushrooms, green onions, parsley, salt, cayenne pepper and hot sauce.
  7. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes.
  8. Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring every 15 minutes.