Flank Steak September 06 2016
Life continues to be more than interesting and I seem to have not been able to find time to write recently. That being said I always find time to cook. So here is a little update on my learning curve into the world of smoking. My big brother found me a lovely smoker and delivered it to my house so I could try moving outdoors over the summer to experiment with various cuts of meat, marinades, rubs, etc.
A good Flank steak is hard to beat any time. Rubbed up with a blend of various spices and then rolled and tied, it fits nicely onto the smoker and gives you a juicy bite and paired with a nice salad, some sauteed zucchini fresh from the garden, a crusty baguette and a good glass of red wine, it is hard to beat. I even had time to relax a little in the back yard with a good book, a glass of that red and my trusty side kick, Louie. Here is how I did it:
1 – Using my new smoker, I found a nice spot away from the house with good air circulation.
2 – I got a nice bed of coals going. I think it is important to use real wood charcoal which is available almost everywhere these days. You want to keep the heat on the low side so that your meat is slowly cooked through the smoking process and not flame broiled.
3 – I added my soaked wood chunks above the coals.
4 – I placed a drip pan above the chunks to prevent the fat which will render out of the meat from dripping onto the soaked chips as we want smoke not fire from the chunks.
5 – Time to add the meat. I rubbed the Flank steak with a blend of spices and let it marinade for several hours before placing it in the smoker. My recipe follows but use your favorite rub or experiment with different spices till you create your own new favorite.
6 – Relax! This is going to take several hours if you have the coals nice and low and maintain an environment for perfect smoking.
7 – Bring the meat off the smoker when it hits your desired temperature for your taste. Let it rest a bit so that the juices return to the center of the meat and don’t run out as soon as you slice in.
8 – Plate it up. I recommend a nice salad and some fresh veggies sauteed till just cooked. Pair it with your favorite beverage and a nice bit of bread and it will be fabulous.
9 – Dig in!
I love Bob! He knows I love to cook and will come up with some great recipes. He also loves to cook and like myself, he has passed that love onto his son. We are blessed to have these guys in our lives and we celebrate through our food. Here is to the Bobs in our lives, especially the ones at Bob’s Smokin Hardwood.
Lori’s Dry Rub Blend
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Onion Powder
1 Tsp. Paprika
1 Tsp Crushed Rosemary
½ Tsp. Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Salt
¼ Tsp. Ground Pepper
Blend together using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and rub into all surfaces of your meat. Let the meat absorb the spice blend for several hours or even better, overnight.
Ready for the Fourth of July June 29 2016
Time to celebrate summer and the independence of our great nation. Even if it rains, I’ll be ready for the Fourth of July with a feast that is a True-Blue, All-American Tribute to the bounty of this country. I just tried my hand at indoor smoking on my stove top. So easy and the results are delicious.
Grab a big pot with a tight fitting lid. I used a nice stainless steel stock pot which I think I have just found an entirely new use for that is amazing.
Soak some wood chunks for a couple hours then put them into the bottom of the pot on a nice layer of foil, or do as I did and use a disposable foil pie plate. I used Small Apple Wood Chunks from Bob's Smokin' Hardwood, Apple wood brings out some great flavors on pork!
Next place another layer of foil or another foil pie plate on top of the wood layer and load in your meat. I rubbed a 2+ pound piece of Pork Loin with my own spice blend (recipe follows). You can use fresh Garlic and Onions and just about any spice blend which you like. I serve a sweet BBQ sauce on the side instead of putting too much moisture into the smoker.
I washed up a bag of Red Fingerling Potatoes and placed then in a mesh colander and that went in right on top of the pork.
Put the lid on the pot and then wrap the lid gap tightly with a good heavy foil, with the intent being to seal the smoke inside the pot.
Turn the burner on your stove to Medium High for 10 Minutes. This will bring the temperature of your wood layer up to produce smoke.
Turn the burner down to Low and walk away for 2 hours.
Turn off the burner and carefully unwrap the foil from your pot. Lift the lid slowly away from you with your exhaust fan running and carefully remove the colander of potatoes.
Re-wrap the pot lid with foil and turn the stove back on to Medium High for 10 minutes and then turn things down to Low for an additional 2 hours. While you are waiting, you have time to make all your side dishes and desert. Recipes follow.
Repeat the process of turning off the heat, unwrapping and taking the lid off with an exhaust fan running and this time you will have the most tender, juicy, smoked pork that will simply fall apart and be ready to load onto nice buns or right to the plate.
I paired my pork with Smokey Potato Salad (as a nod to our supporters in achieving independence from England I did a twist on a tasty French Potato Salad) and a crisp Spinach Salad and for dessert: Berry Shortcakes with fresh Whipped Cream.
Now all we need is something cold to drink and a great fireworks display to make the day a real celebration!
Happy Fourth of July!
Pork Spice Rub
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- a large pinch of fine Sea Salt.
Simply blend and rub into the surface of the pork.
Smoky Potato Salad
- 1 Tablespoon Grainy Mustard
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Rose or White Wine (Nothing to sweet)
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon fine Sea Salt
- 6 Green Onions, sliced up to a nice size (not to small but not huge), green portion only
Stir this together and when the potatoes come from the smoker, slice them into the mixture while still warm and they will absorb the liquid and taste amazing.
Berry Shortcakes - Combine 4 cups of the freshest fruit you can find at your local farm stand or grocery store or if you aren’t blessed with such offerings, you can even use frozen berries you have thawed. Sprinkle with a little sugar or honey to get the juices flowing and let stand for at least an hour. I used Strawberries, Cherries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Peaches. Make sure to cut things up into nice bite sized pieces. My shortcakes are essentially sweetened biscuits. I have used Jiffy Brand baking mix and Bisquick both, but the trick is to add a bit of plain old sugar before you rub in the butter. The butter should be really cold and you can even freeze it and then grate it into the dry mixture before adding your milk or even better, buttermilk. I even use soured milk if I have it! Here is my recipe:
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
- 2 Cups Baking Mix
- 1/4 Cup of Sugar
- 1/2 stick of Butter (4 Tablespoons)
Combine rubbing butter into dry ingredients till pea sized crumbles form. Do not overwork it or it will get tough.
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
- ½ Cup Milk
- Or if you have actual soured cream use 1 Cup.
Combine with dry ingredients and form into a loose log. Cut into 8 equal pieces and pat gently into rounds about ½-1 inch thick. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar or plain white sugar if it is all you have.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until just beginning to turn golden at the edges.
We like to slice the shortcake in half and put our berries in between and on top of the layers and top it all with a giant dollop of Whipped Cream. Yummmmm!
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Wrapped up in a neat little package June 22 2016
Being new to the smoking world, I decided to start out gently and build my abilities. First up is the use of wraps. This method is so easy and the results are the prettiest little package you can put on a plate.
Start by soaking your wraps in water for 30-60 minutes.
Next, pile on the veggies ( I used sugar snap peas, match stick carrots and slivered sweet onion dressed with a little drizzle of soy sauce, olive oil and a grind of lemon pepper).
Top the pile of veggies with a nice meat serving (I had a package of baby back ribs that came pre-cooked and slathered in BBQ sauce).
Fold the wrap up over the food and tie it with a length of cotton cord (included with your wraps).
Place it into a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes on a shallow backing dish or jelly roll pan. Alternately you can place it on tin foil with the sides gently folded upward to catch any drippings. This can also be done directly on a medium heat grill. Close the lid if you use the grill and sit back and wait.
All that is left to do is plate it up and watch the eyes of your guests when they see the gorgeous little bundles. But, wait for it, soon you will hear the moans of delight at they dig in.
Why wood quality matters; a great article by Scott Thomas October 14 2015
I've been trying to write a good article on wood for smoking and the important details thereof, plus a wood smoke pairing guide for a long time. Before I could manage to finish my own, the folks over at Fix.com contacted us about a similar article they had recently published by Scott Thomas (the gentleman behind grillinfools.com), called "Up in Smoke: All About Smoke Woods for Grilling". They also offered us use of the infographics on our own site to assist interested folks when they are selecting woods for purchase based on intended fare.
Like most of Scott's stuff, it's a great article and helps illustrate why you want the best wood possible when you are preparing food in the presence of wood smoke. We know that it doesn't take much foreign debris to change the flavor of wood smoke, it's literally in the Parts Per Million (PPM) which is an extremely fine measurement by it's very definition. Poor quality wood, wood exposed to various chemicals for preservation or colorizing, hydrocarbon contamination, and poor storage can all contribute to poor quality wood smoke that translates to poor or unhealthy food attributes when you BBQ or smoke.
These are the reasons we work so hard to bring you the highest quality product. We know the history of the wood we produce, we work closely with the growers to ensure the highest possible quality from the time it comes off the tree to the time it lands on your doorstep. We naturally season our wood and then wash it before we store it in a controlled environment where it awaits your order to be cut. When we produce wood chips, we use the same hand selected wood we bring you in our chunk products, no compromise on the quality of the wood is made whatsoever. We don't add "junk" wood or pallets to our production line, so you can be assured you are getting what you paid for when you order wood chips from us.
I'm hoping to add the infographics to our site next week in a more useful location, but here is the main one from the article for reference below. Go check out Scott's article, it's spot on!
BSHW is now offering Premium Wood Chips! August 14 2015
We have been busy working to bring requested products to the store, and today we are happy to present our Premium Hardwood Chips in Apple, Cherry, and Pear varieties! These easy to use and convenient format wood chips are great for grilling and smoking your favorite foods.
These are produced by us, using the same hand selected hard woods we bring to you in our Wood Chunks format. We screen them after production to remove any dirt or debris and then they are brought to our processing facility for protected storage until we ship them to our customers. We have managed to bring these to market at a price comparable to the wood chips you would find in your local big box store, even after shipping costs! We offer 512 and 792 cubic inch boxes of chips, shipped USPS Priority Flat Rate Service for only $5 and $10 respectively. These volumes are multiples of the standard 190 cubic inch offering found at most local retailers, which is why we can keep the price down while still delivering the quality our customers have come expect from us.
To celebrate, we are offering a 10% discount on our already competitive prices to the first 100 orders that use this code: BSHWCHIPS - during checkout.
Thank you for your support!
Here is a picture I took of the new Apple Wood Chips I took when we were doing the product photos for the store: