I had a bunch (and I do mean a bunch!) of ham leftover from cooking a big ham on my Char-Broil Big Easy. I could’ve made more sandwiches. Or I could dice up some ham for omlets. Instead, I decided to warm up some nice thick slices and top them with this wonderful pepper onion beer sauce. It looks like your pretty standard vegetable topping, but with a twist: orange marmalade. Whoa! I wasn’t expecting that! This pepper onion beer sauce really goes well with ham, but I also think it’d compliment grilled chicken just as well. Don’t like orange marmalade? I bet you could substitute your favorite marmalade or preserves.
Smoked peppercorns is something I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time. I was waiting until I used up the last of the bottle of smoked peppercorns I picked up at Jungle Jim’s outside of Cincinnati. The end result was definitely a lot better than and a lot cheaper than store-bought. This being my first time making smoked peppercorns I also learned a lot along the way. I kept some of the smoked peppercorns whole for grinding or cooking later, and some I ground fine for this week’s dishes. The first thing I needed for smoked peppercorns was some sort of rack to place them on when I put them on the smoker. Someone suggested using a grease splash screen. I found one at Wal-Mart, twisted the handle up, and bam! The perfect tool for smoking peppercorns! I also think this screen will work well when I give smoked salt a try soon!
How long you should smoke the peppercorns is up to you. Obviously the longer you smoke them the stronger the smoke flavor. You can go for quite some time, just make sure you keep the temperature around 90 F. You want a cold smoke for the peppercorns, similar to what you’d do for smoking cheese.
Set up your smoker for cold smoking, 80-90 F. I used 4 lit charcoal briquettes and a large piece of hickory wood. Keep some unlit charcoal on hand for when the charcoal starts to burn out, you may need to add more depending on how long you smoke the peppercorns. You can add unlit charcoal, just make sure you do it soon enough that it gets time to get well-lit from the already-burning coals.
Add the peppercorns to a food-safe screen and place onto the smoker.
Smoke at least 4 hours depending on how much smoke you want. You may want to remove a few peppercorns and grind them to taste for smokiness.