Ideas & Resources

 

Smokin' Hot! Cooking with a Smoker.

The idea of grilling in a clay or ceramic container is not a new one; variations have been found throughout history. The nearest relative of the modern-day ovoid or egg shaped smokers were similar vessels used in China as early as 221 BC during the Qin dynasty. (Remember that word for scrabble – a “q" with no “u"!) The Chinese, and later the Japanese, used clay pots with domed lids to cook in a variety of ways, all involving heat from burning wood or charcoal.

Modern smokers, like the Saffire Grill, haven't improved much on that original design. Other than some modern-day hardware, the convenience of a stand and shelves and stainless steel cooking grids, the idea is basically the same; why mess with something that works really, really well? Really well. I have smoked the Thanksgiving turkey to prove it.

Smokers are heavily insulated and come with gasket seals; they use minimal charcoal, have virtually no flare-ups and sustain even temperatures. On top of that, they are self-cleaning and produce minimal ashes. You don't have to soak wood chips before smoking; you don't need water pans to preserve juiciness or volume; and you can get even better flavor by using natural lump hardwood charcoal.

What can you do with a smoker?

What can't you do with it? Okay, it doesn't make ice cream or smoothies, but other than that – along with the aforementioned turkey and a multitude of other roasted meats (including chicken, pork, beef, shellfish and fish), these ovens are ideal for pizza, baking bread, and traditional grilling.

If you have (or are getting) your own smoker, here are a few recipes for you to try:

Carnivore's Delight

1 Can Pizza Dough (like Pillsbury brand) or raw pizza dough (like Trader Joe's)

¼ c. Marinara Sauce

1 c. shredded mozzarella or pizza blend cheese

1 ½ c. Italian sausage

1 c. lean ground beef

1 ½ c. sliced pepperoni

1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms

Fresh basil leaves

Heat your smoker to 550 degrees; place the pizza stone in the smoker while it is heating up so it doesn't crack. Flatten the pizza dough, forming approximately a 14" circle. Spread the marinara evenly on the dough. Brown sausage and ground beef, drain. Place sausage, ground beef and pepperoni on top of marinara. Top with sliced mushrooms and basil leaves; finish with shredded cheese. Sprinkle about ¼ c. corn meal on the pizza stone, then place the pizza on the stone. Bake 10-12 minutes; using a large spatula, turn the pizza on the stone every few minutes to ensure even baking. Let sit for 5 minutes and dig in!

Henry the 8th Turkey Legs

6 Turkey Legs

Brine:

1 Gallon Water

3/4 c. Kosher Salt

1 ½ T Minced Garlic

1 T. Black Pepper

¼ c. Worcestershire Sauce

1/3 C. Brown Sugar

Bring brine ingredients to a boil; let cool. Add turkey legs; soak at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove legs and pat dry. Coat legs with olive oil and apply rub.

Rub:

3 T. Onion and 1 T. Garlic Powder

2 T. Paprika

1 T. Black Pepper

1 t. Cumin

½ t. Sage

Allow the legs to rest for about an hour before putting in smoker. Heat smoker to 200-225 degrees; use hickory wood chips for smoking. Smoke the legs for about 6 hours; internal temperature should be 160 degrees.



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