Smoked Grits

Elliott Moss’ Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke is one of my favorite cookbooks. It actually contains more than just recipes, much more, but the recipes are usually very easy to make and yet still fantastic. Smoked grits are about as simple as you can get, but what you do end up with are grits (and I do so love grits) with just a nice hint of smoke. Not crazy overpowering smoke, you want just a hint of it.Smoked GritsOne thing I don’t go cheap on is grits. There are a number of small grist mills in Indiana (and in fact my father-in-law once worked in the grist mill at Spring Mill State Park which still operates today here in Indiana) where you can buy freshly ground grits, but you can also find quality grits in the grocery store. My motto is: don’t buy the cheap stuff. Grits are a magical thing and being cheap with them just isn’t necessary. To add even more great smoky flavor I use smoked grits to make my grilled corn grits.

I like smoking things that I haven’t smoked before, like these grits. I’ve also smoked peppercorns, which where a new thing for me too. They also came out great.

Also try my smoked tomato pimento cheese polenta.

Smoked Grits

Course Side
Cuisine American
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse ground grits

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker. Use a light or medium wood, such as apple or hickory. Make sure you have a good amount of smoke.
  • Spread the grits out 1/2" deep in a pan and place onto the smoker.
  • Smoke for 4 minutes.
  • Stir and smoke another 4 minutes.
  • Cook grits as you normally would.

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 correctly 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.

After a quick glance around the web and I found tons of great recipes for braising shanks. 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.
Smoked Pork ShanksI 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.

Smoked pork shanks also fit in well with my ‘no empty space on the smoker’ rule. That rule states that if you’re going to fire up your smoker you must use up all available room. No point in wasting smoke. Shanks are the perfect size for using up valuable smoker grate space in my opinion.

Also try my homemade tasso ham.

Smoked Pork Shanks

This recipe can also be used to make fantastic smoked ham hocks.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 3 days 1 hour
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 3 days 6 hours
Servings 8 shanks

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

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Bring the water to a simmer and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  • Place shanks into a large resealable container.
  • Add the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 1-3 days.

For the smoked pork shank

  • Rinse with water and place in cold water for 1 hour..
  • 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.
  • Remove the shanks from the brine and pat dry.
  • Transfer to the smoker and smoke for 3-5 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 F.

Smoked Eggs

I’m not sure why I was hankerin’ for egg salad, but I was. But I figured it was time for a little twist on the ole classic, so I decided to fire up my smoker with a few charcoal briquettes and a chunk of apple wood and make smoked eggs. I figured a little smoky flavor would really make for a special egg salad. I was right.
Smoked EggsEggs are also a great thing to toss (er, gently of course) onto your smoker after you’ve finished smoking a pork butt, ribs, brisket or whatever, and you still have a good fire going. They take just two hours. They can have just a hint of smokiness (use a small chunk of light wood). Or they can have a stronger smoke flavor (use hickory). But be careful because it doesn’t take much smoke to overdo it.

Smoked eggs make for great egg salad club sandwiches. Also try my Dragon eggs and smoked Scotch eggs.

Smoked Eggs

Cook Time 14 hours
Total Time 14 hours
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Eggs

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for smoking 225 F - 250 F.
  • Use a light smoking wood, such as apple. I used one fish-sized chunk of wood, which produced a lightly smoky flavored egg. Use more for stronger flavors.
  • Smoke for 2 hours.
  • Remove, let cool slightly then transfer to a fridge overnight.
  • Peel and eat.

Smoked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Sour Cream

I love smoked potatoes. Smoking them adds such a fantastic (but not overpowering) smokiness. And it’s cooler than just baking them in the oven. And since I also love sweet potatoes, why not just combine two of my favorite things? Smoked sweet potatoes are sweet (duh) and creamy, and oh so tender. To counter that sweetness just a bit I top them with a nice (also smoky) sour cream and chipotle mixture. And a little bacon for some more smokiness and a bit of crunch. Forget russet potatoes, smoked sweet potatoes with chipotle sour cream are better!
smoked-sweet-potatoes-with-chipotle-sour-creamDon’t have a smoker? You can use the technique for my perfect baked potato on sweet potatoes too. You won’t get all that smokiness of course, but the chipotle sour cream and bacon will help make up for that. They’ll be sorta smoked sweet potatoes with chipotle sour cream.

Smoked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Sour Cream

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F.
  • Brush the potatoes with the oil and place on the smoker.
  • Smoke for 2-3 hours or until soft but not mushy.
  • Remove from the smoker and let cool slightly before slicing open. Chop the insides lightly.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with the crumbled bacon.
  • Combine the sour cream and chipotles with some of the adobo sauce and spoon over the potatoes.
  • Garnish with the onions and serve.

Smoked Brisket Texas Chili

The North End Barbecue & Moonshine restaurant in Indianapolis is definitely one of my favorite restaurants. They have a fantastic menu, but for me, the best dish by far is the Texas red chili. It’s simple, spicy, and oh so packed with flavor. Smoked brisket, homemade bacon and a red sauce that I could just slurp up with a (big) straw. I can’t always make it to North End BBQ, so I decided to make my own (slightly different) version of their Texas chili. I was absolutely pleased with it. Nice and spicy, with a bit of smokiness.
smoked-brisket-texas-chiliNow, you could make this smoked brisket Texas chili with just cubed chuck that has been lightly browned in the Dutch oven first. Nothing wrong with that, not one bit, but if you have smoked brisket, it really gives the chili a completely different flavor than just regular ole chili.

I roasted a few jalapenos on the grill and chopped them to use as garnish. They added even more bite and flavor to what was already a great bowl of chili.

My green chile mac and cheese chili stew is also out-of-this-world crazy good. Give it a try too!

Smoked Brisket Texas Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 dried chiles I used guajillo, but just about any chile will work
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups beef broth plus more if needed
  • 2 cups water plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina if you don't have any masa, take a handful of plain tortilla chips and grind them in a food processor or by hand using a mortar and pestle
  • 2 pounds smoked brisket cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Garnishes sour cream, roasted jalapenos, grilled lime edges, etc

Instructions

  • Toast the chiles in a hot skillet over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Remove to a large bowl and cover in hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes, turning once.
  • Remove chiles (do not discard the water). Cut off the stems and remove the seeds.
  • Chop lightly and transfer to a food processor.
  • Add the cumin, pepper and a few pinches of salt, along with 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. Process until smooth. If needed add a bit more of the water.
  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add the broth and water. Bring to a simmer.
  • Whisk in the masa harina and add the processed chile paste.
  • Add the brisket and stir. Cover.
  • Let simmer for 2 hours or until the beef is tender, adding more broth if necessary.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and vinegar and add more salt to taste. Simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Serve with the desired garnishes.

Smoked Chex™ Mix

There are some things were self-control just doesn’t happen for me. This smoked Chex™ mix is one of them. Put a big bowl of it in front of me and it’ll be gone soon. Specially the bagel chips. There’s something about the bagel chips in Chex™ mix, specially after they’ve been smoked. The smoke flavor is not overwhelming, but it’s there, and it’s different in a wonderful way. The smoke compliments traditional Chex ™ mix flavors perfectly.
smoked-chex-mixThe cereal in this smoked Chex™ definitely soaks up the smoke, so do not go crazy with the wood in your smoker. Use a very small chunk, smaller than would fit in your palm, and use only a lighter wood. No mesquite or hickory here, go for the lighter fruit woods.

For another great snack idea, try my smoked olives and smoked Cheetos.

Smoked Chex™ Mix

For a slightly spicier version, add a few teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce to the melted butter and Worcestershire sauce mixture. Don't go crazy with it or the mix will take longer to get crispy.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Corn Chex cereal
  • 3 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
  • 1 cup small pretzels or pretzel pieces
  • 1 cup mixed nuts
  • 1 cup small bagel chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt I used some of my homemade mix, see below
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Homemade seasoned salt (makes more than you'll need for the Chex mix)

  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 250 F. Add only one small piece of light wood, such as apple or peach. If you are using a smoker that has a water pan, such as the Weber Smokey Mountain, do not fill the pan with water.
  • Combine the cereals, pretzels, nuts and bagel chips in a large bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir.
  • Combine the seasoned salt, garlic powder and onion powder and slowly whisk into the melted butter.
  • Drizzle the butter mixture over the cereal and gently toss to coat.
  • Place into a disposable 9" x 13" deep aluminum pan and place on the top rack of the smoker.
  • Smoke for 1 hour or until the mixture turns golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Remove and let cool completely before serving, or store for up to 2 weeks.

Homemade seasoned salt

  • Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container.

Burnt Ends

I made some poor man’s burnt ends not long ago, which really got my mojo going. So I ran out and picked up a gorgeous Wagyu beef brisket and proceeded to make the real thing, brisket burnt ends. And suddenly, all was good in the world again. Nothing compares to these in my book. Tender as you can get. Beefy good flavor. Every bite is a treat.
Burnt EndsI could eat these all day long. As much as I love sliced smoked brisket, or chopped smoked brisket, these little morsels pack more flavor into every bite. And they’re really great served on a hoagie bun with lettuce and tomato as a po boy!

Need to feed a crowd? Try hot dog burnt ends instead.

Burnt Ends

Cuisine American
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 22 hours
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the brisket

  • 3-4 pound brisket point
  • Peppery rub I used Tatonka Dust, but a mix of salt and pepper is perfect too
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce

Texas Crutch sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon more peppery rub

Instructions

For the brisket

  • Rub the rub all over the brisket.
  • Transfer to a resealable container or wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. Use whatever wood you prefer. I wanted a little stronger smoke flavor than I usually opt for so I used Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel chunks. Burnt ends need a little more smoke than say sliced brisket, in my opinion.
  • Transfer the brisket to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature (as measured in several spots) reaches 170 F.
  • Remove the brisket and place it onto a large piece of foil.
  • Combine the crutch sauce ingredients and pour over the brisket.
  • Seal the brisket tightly in the foil and return to the smoker until the temperature reaches 195 F.
  • Remove the brisket from the foil.
  • Cut beef into 3/4" - 1" cubes and place into a large disposable pan.
  • Lightly (very lightly!) drizzle the meat with the BBQ sauce. You just want the flavor from the sauce. Toss gently to coat.
  • Sprinkle with more of the rub and return to the smoker for 1 more hour.
  • Devour.

Texas Crutch Smoked Brisket

Some folks aren’t fans of the ‘Texas crutch’ method of cooking brisket. Some folks do the crutch with butcher paper. Some crutch with foil. This here is how I smoke my brisket using the Texas crutch, packed with flavor, tender and juicy. I slice it thin then pile it on buns for sandwiches or just eat it right off the plate. And yes, a good amount of it disappears while I’m slicing it.
Texas Crutch Smoked BrisketI do not sauce my brisket before slicing it, but you can if you like. Wait until it’s almost done to sauce it and don’t use too much sauce. You don’t want to hide the fantastic brisket flavor. The rub really adds fantastic flavor to the meat and you don’t want to miss out on that! You can also use my coffee rub for beef, which adds a totally different flavor profile to your brisket.

On the off-chance I have leftover smoked brisket, it often ends up in chili.

Texas Crutch Smoked Brisket

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 20 hours

Ingredients

Brisket

  • 1 4-5 pound brisket flat

For the rub

  • 2 tablespoons beef base
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Texas Crutch sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice

Instructions

  • Optional: Cut a small piece off a corner of the brisket perpendicular to the meat grain. This will make it easier to find and cut against the grain after the brisket is done.
  • Combine the rub ingredients and rub all over the brisket.
  • Transfer to a resealable container or wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. Use whatever wood you prefer. I wanted a little stronger smoke flavor than I usually opt for so I used Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel chunks.
  • Transfer the brisket to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature (as measured in several spots) reaches 170 F.
  • Remove the brisket and place it onto a large piece of foil.
  • Combine the crutch sauce ingredients and pour over the brisket.
  • Seal the brisket tightly in the foil and return to the smoker until the temperature reaches 195 F.
  • Remove the brisket from the foil and return to the smoker (and brush with BBQ sauce, if desired) until the temperature reaches 200-205 F.
  • Remove from the smoker and let rest 30 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Smoked Glazed Salami

I picked up a few fancy salami the other day while at Jungle Jim’s market outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. I didn’t get them by accident. Someone on an online BBQ group had recommended cutting them Hasselback-style, smoking them and glazing with an apricot glaze. The thought had my mouth watering, so I proceeded to make awesome smoked glazed salami. A little sweet, a little smokiness, and flavor-packed cured meat. Perfect.
Smoked Glazed SalamiThese sliced salami treats are perfect on crackers with cheese. Or even on sandwiches. Or by themselves. If you like a little spiciness, you can substitute jalapeno jelly for the apricot preserves. The heat really works well with the flavor of the salami.

Also try my salami chips with white bean dip.

Smoked Glazed Salami

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 -12 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 1 pound salami
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

  • Cut thin slits in the salamis, but do not cut all the way thru. Tip: I lay two wood spoons alongside the salami. Then, when I cut down thru the salami the round spoon handles keep me from cutting too far.
  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. Use a light wood such as apple or peach.
  • Smoke the salami for 1 hour.
  • Combine the apricot preserves and Dijon and brush half over the tops of the salami.
  • Smoke another 30 minutes then brush with the remaining glaze and smoke another 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the smoker.
  • Serve as is, with a knife for slicing, as a great topping for crackers. I also sliced the salami and served it on sandwiches.

Smoked Scotch Eggs

Smoked Scotch eggs have been on my bucket list for a while. I finally had a little room on my smoker so I jumped at the opportunity. As easy as they are to make, Scotch eggs are really amazing. It’s like breakfast in a bite. Perfectly hard-boiled eggs, smoked breakfast sausage, and a bit of BBQ sauce for dipping. They look great and they taste great. Awesome appetizers for your next cookout.
Smoked Scotch EggsIf you want a bit of kick to your smoked Scotch eggs add a bit of cayenne pepper or your favorite spicy rub to the bread crumbs. Not a lot, just enough to bring a little spiciness.

Also try my Dragon eggs and ‘normal’ smoked eggs. My pig shots are great too!

Smoked Scotch Eggs

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12 eggs
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 14 eggs divided
  • 2 pounds bulk pork breakfast sausage
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • BBQ sauce warmed, for serving

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F.
  • Hard-boil 12 of the eggs and remove the shells.
  • Combine the sausage and minced onion. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 12 equally-sized balls and flatten.
  • Place an egg in the middle of each flattened sausage patty and wrap the meat around the egg. The egg should be completely covered by the sausage.
  • Place the flour in a shallow bowl.
  • Beat the remaining 2 eggs in another shallow bowl.
  • Place breadcrumbs into another shallow bowl.
  • Roll sausage-covered eggs in the flour. Shake off excess.
  • Roll sausage-covered eggs in the egg. Shake off excess.
  • Roll sausage-covered eggs in the bread crumbs. Shake off excess.
  • Smoke for 2 1/2 hours
  • Slice eggs lengthwise and serve with warmed BBQ sauce for dunking.