Thursday, March 22, 2012


Sopes, the thick little Tortilla with the pinched up sides that holds all that the imagination can provide in the way of Mexican food along with all those famous condiments, are very popular with about everyone that tries them. Home made is almost always better especially with Tortillas or the Sopes. That great corn flavor comes through triple good when these are home made. Unless you want to grind your own field corn, you will need to start with the Masa Harina which you will find the same as using Corn Meal for Corn Bread. You simply reconstitute it with water to make a dough. That is what was used here and something tells me that the better job you do with kneading the dough the better the result. I have been an avid Mexican food lover for a long time and make it a lot, and this meal was one of the best I have ever made. Of course the sauce was made from scratch, and I had smoked a couple of Chuck Roast a few days earlier so the meat was excellent, so there really were no excuses. All those wonderful condiments like radishes, pico de gallo, pickled and / or roasted Jalapenos, lettuce, and cilantro, etc were missing since it was a weekday work night but what we did have was so good it did not matter. I have to remind my self to always make these Mexican dishes on a weekend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ABT"S and Pizza

These Jalapeno appetizers have been very popular with BBQ'rs for a long time now but are still not well known in this bacon wrapped form to many people. It's simple choose a filling or combination of ingredients to make a filling and wrap the filled pepper with bacon and cook. We had Corned Beef leftover and used that with cream cheese. After stuffing those and finding just enough meat left for a pizza we assemble the pizza and both were cooked outside in the Pellet Cooker. Smoke goes real well on cheese.

Garlic Pepper Chuck Roast

I love Chuck Roast for it's beefy flavor - it's one of my favorite cuts of beef. I think of Sunday dinners at my Grandmother everytime I have it. Cooked long enough in some braising liquid and it will get very tender. I wanted this to be like I remembered so I only used slivers of garlic studded into the meat and coarse kosher salt and black pepper. Since one of the roast was nearly separated when I opened the package I tied them both with twine before cooking. Smoke + Meat is always the way to go, so I cooked these right on the grate of the pellet cooker set at 300 cooking temp until the internal meat temp was 165. The meat was transfered to a pan and about one inch of water added before wrapping with foil and into the oven for the rest of the cook. The chuck roast always needs to cook more then you think to reach that falling apart stage and I cook them to at least 205.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Onion Pie w/Chipped Corned Beef

This will surprise you! Most would believe a dish made predominately out of onions would be of a strong onion flavor and that is just not the case. Garlic is the same way - if you bake garlic it will actually become almost sweet and definitely savory. I first made this in 2006 or so and when I made it this time I planned to add crumbled bacon but realized I had just enough left over Corned Beef that I sliced thin, so I chopped it a little and used it instead. I use store bought deep dish pie shells but the recipe indicates you only need one shell and it actually takes two of them but when I buy they come in two packs anyway. If you would like the recipe you can find it here on my website where you might also take a look at some of the best bbq smokers made.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Corned Beef

When it comes to Corned Beef I really do not like a strong flavor and usually soak them at least 24 hours. Even with the long soak and rinsing before the cook, you still get plenty of that Corned Beef flavor. The interesting thing about this deli meat is the comparison with Pastrami and since I smoked this 4 lb roast, some would say that it is now just as much Pastrami as it is Corned Beef. Both are cured but the Corned Beef is brine cured and the Pastrami is dry cured.
The Pastrami is usually smoked then steamed but the Corned Beef is boiled. This was smoked with the cooker temp set at 300 to an internal meat temp of 170 and wrapped in foil with a small amount of water and continued to cook until the meat was 190. I have a electric meat slicer that was about 90 bucks and it was well worth that because deli meat is just better when sliced very thin. You could say this was my practice run for St Patricks Day next weekend where we'll do a much larger Corned Beef and cook in the pot with the traditional carrots and onions then slice thick for the plate.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Smoked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

I put these boneless skinless chicken breasts in the pellet grill for 25 min on smoke and finished at 325 which took about 1 hr 20 min total
to reach 165 internal. I made my own basic bbq rub using some good quality ancho chili powder along with other standard ingredients. The chicken breast were brined for 2 hrs, rinsed and dried with paper towel, rubbed, then set on the counter to come to room temp before going in the cooker. Many people have told me that you don’t want much smoke on your chicken and to that, I say, “to each his own”. Unless I have tasted it myself I have stopped taking things I hear like “don’t get too much smoke on your chicken” for granted.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Seeded Loaf Bread

I have been working real hard to find a way to bake bread without having it interfer with my normal schedule. With a nice stand mixer, I have found making the dough and kneeding it is not the problem, but you know the rise is going to be unless you do some serious planning. What has been working very well of late for me is to mix it in the morning and after the first rise take it in the loaf pan to work where I can monitor the progress of the second rise. I have a very inexpensive toaster oven with a little convection fan that is doing a good job as you can see. Better bread, home made, and now I'm able to do it and work, take my morning walk, etc.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cracklin Cornbread

All during growing up at our house my Mom would have cornbread probably 5 days of every week. Amazingly I still love it and we have it a lot too but not near that much. We do however vary our cast iron pans depending on how many we plan to serve. Normally it's just us two and we use a "wedge" pan most of the time because we like the additional crust on the sides of each wedge we get using this pan. Just for a change sometimes we use a 6 in pan. For more than two we have a 9 or 10 in pan. Sometimes we like to bake the same amount we use for the small pan in the large 10 inch pan for a thin crusty pone. Then there is the special treat of Cracklin Cornbread and oh how everyone loves the cracklins.