If you have been thinking about adding a smoker to your outdoor kitchen, now is the time to do it! Just because it's fall doesn't mean you won't use it. My husband uses his Saffire Grill/Smoker more in the fall than he does in the summer. Those crisp evenings lend themselves to outdoor grilling and smoking, bonfires, burning leaves; its all part of the experience.
You can also use your gas grill to smoke meat, utilizing a smoker box, or the built-in smoker box if your grill happens to have one.
Smokers are ideal for turkey; the taste and texture of turkey lends itself to smoking, as do many other meats and poultry items. If turkey isn't to your taste, think about instituting a new tradition with smoked Cornish game hens or wood smoked trout! According to the Smithsonian Magazine, although turkey was present at that first Thanksgiving, it probably wasn't the centerpiece of the meal. Records and research indicate that they served waterfowl, wild turkeys, venison, passenger pigeons, eels and shellfish. That first feast also lasted three days! I love my extended family, but, wow, three days? Maybe Benjamin Franklin was thinking of the first Thanksgiving when he said "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."
Here are some smoker recipes from Saffire and Fornetto and allrecipes.com to try this Thanksgiving or anytime at all.
Get smoker ready with charcoal and wood chunks; pecan, maple and apple are good for turkey. Heat smoker to 250 degrees then add turkey .Turn up heat to 500 degrees for 30 minutes to crisp skin. Turn down heat to 325 to finish smoking. Smoke for about 2 hours or when internal breast temperature reaches 160 degrees.
SMOKED CORNISH GAME HENS
Rinse and dry the birds inside and out.With a fork, punch holes around the lemon then cut in half. Mix paprika, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Rub the inside and outside of the birds with it. Push lemon and bay leaf inside the cavity of each bird. Prep the grill for indirect medium heat (350° F) using the heat deflector. Consider using a rack for the birds & placing a drip pan beneath the grate to catch drippings. Add cherry or apple wood chips when the grill temp reaches 250F. Place the Cornish Game Hen on the rack and you’re ready. Increase Grill Temp to 375F by adjusting the bottom and top temperature controls to finish cooking. Remove the Cornish Game Hen when the internal temp reaches 165F degrees. Let the Cornish Game Hen to rest for five minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute you’ll have a juicy bird. Discard the lemon and Bay leaf from the inside of the bird. Plate and serve.
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