Smoked Peppercorns

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 these I also learned a lot along the way. I kept some of the peppercorns whole for grinding or cooking later, and some I ground fine for this week’s dishes.
Smoked PeppercornsThe first thing I needed 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!

Smoked PeppercornsHow 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.

After the peppercorns are done (and you’ve also smoked some sea salt), open up your smoker vents, get the temps up a bit, and try smoking some grits!

Smoked Peppercorns

Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Peppercorns

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Remove and let cool before storing or grinding.
  • Store in an air-right container.

Review: Ray Lampe’s Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue

Review: Ray Lampe's Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking BarbecueDo not let the word ‘beginner’ deter you from reading Ray Lampe’s Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue. Whether you’re just contemplating low-and-slow cooking or you’ve been doing it for 30 years or more, this book is so full of great recipes and approaches that you’ll find yourself going back to it again and again. I do. I’m pretty sure that this book shattered my previous record for how many recipes I bookmarked.

The first chapter of Slow Fire concentrates on rubs and sauces. I made my own variation of Lampe’s Basic Rub #67 and it has now become my go-to rib and pork butt rub. You’ll find yourself doing the same thing. I recommend you make the rubs or sauces as Ray intended, then taste and add whatever you want to make them your own. Or you might find yourself making substitutions for something else you prefer. No matter what, the recipes in the book are fantastic starting points (and they are perfect they way they are too!).

The next chapter is all about ribs. Great ribs done tons of different ways. Including a fantastic Asian-inspired rib. Ribs are my favorite meat to smoke, and I’m always on the lookout for new variations. Slow Fire did not disappoint.

Next up, pork. Glorious pork. Butt, shoulder, chops, tenderloin, you name it. My rule when smoking pork: always make extra because it’s always good. Slow Fire has a great mix of recipes for pork.

Beef is next, including a great recipe for homemade pastrami, which is next on my to-do list. I make a cheater pastrami, which starts with an already brined brisket (corned beef). Slow Fire shows you how to make a real pastrami, beginning with a brisket.

The section on cooking poultry is next. It includes a recipe for Buffalo turkey wings, something I hadn’t even considered and will definitely make soon. You’ll find recipes for every part of a chicken (or turkey or game hen or duck) that you can want.

The book wraps up with recipes for miscellaneous dishes, like kielbasa or lamb, and a number of side dishes too, including some of the staples for a good barbecue, such as slaw or potato salad. All of the recipes are well-written, thought out and bulletproof. And good. Very good.

Ray Lampe’s Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue rates high on my ‘Mater Rater. My only complaints are I wish there were more pictures and maybe a few more recipes included, but what there is there is fantastic.

'Mater Rater
For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

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.

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.