Cheesy Corn Casserole

Summer is almost over <sigh>, but with that said, there has been some really, and I mean really good corn this year. We have tried a variety, but there is one batch that my coworker brought in from Fondy’s Farmers Market that was probably hands down the best corn I’ve had in quite some time. The texture was spot on and the sweetness just blew our mind, plus they were some of the larger types of corn I have seen in some time now. With that said, my coworker brought in two large paper bags of corn, loaded to the top and said take what you want. I probably took about 12 or so ears of corn, and this recipe was inspired not only by the corn, but a conversation my colleague and I had about a cheesy corn casserole. His idea sounded so good I was going to go out on a limb and try coming up with my own version.

Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe
Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 lb thick cut ham, cubed
  • 2 whole banana peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted, mashed
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

Start by heading a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the butter and let it melt until it comes to a bubble. Next, toss in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon so that all of the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Now add in the milk and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce.  Once the sauce thickens, add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, as well as the garlic salt. Lower the heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted, and you have a smooth consistency.

Cheesy Corn Casserole Ingredients
Cheesy Corn Casserole Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a large mixing bowl, add in the corn, the cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine everything. Next, pour in the cheese sauce, and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.

Add the mixture to your casserole dish, top with the bread crumbs. Place into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and the casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

The end result is nothing short of fantastic. You get the sweetness and the pop from the corn, the cheese blend (don’t get me started on how good that is), and the savoriness from the ham. Did I mention the garlic? Good Lord this stuff is great and is perfect for your backyard gathering, plus this one feeds a small army. Comfort all around, even in the summer. Hope you enjoy and hoping everyone has a great rest of your summer!

Cheesy Corn Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 lb thick cut ham, cubed
  • 2 whole banana peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted, mashed
  • ½ tbsp garlic salt
  • 1½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Start by heading a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the butter and let it melt until it comes to a bubble. Next, toss in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon so that all of the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Now add in the milk and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce. Once the sauce thickens, add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, as well as the garlic salt. Lower the heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted, and you have a smooth consistency.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add in the corn, the cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine everything. Next, pour in the cheese sauce, and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.
  4. Add the mixture to your casserole dish, top with the bread crumbs. Place into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and the casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

 

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Smokenator 1000 – Product Review

I was totally surprised this past Father’s Day. Not only did my wife and kids treat me like a king, but they surprised me with some awesome gifts. Who would have thought that my wife knew I needed to upgrade my smoker! As they brought me out to the van (I knew they were up to something), my son opened the back, and low and behold there lied a smoker. Excited? Yes! completely excited. As I had no knowledge of the brand, nor type of smoker, I said I would do some research and see if this was worth keeping for the long run. Unfortunately the reviews were not all that great, and we agreed to do some research and find one that would fit my needs, and work within budget. She was not disappointed, however I kind of was because I wanted to break that smoker in like you would not believe!

Anyway, after some research, I decided that I would pursue the Smokenator 1000. Yes, that’s what it is called. I was a bit cautious at first as their website is a bit dated, however, the reviews were rock solid, so I went ahead and purchased it. The Smokenator 1000 works with my Weber Kettle, 22 inch grill, and that is perfect as I did not have to have another large item to store in my garage.

Smokenator 1000 Product Review - Pulled Pork Sandwich
Smoked Pork Shoulder Sandwich using the Smokenator 1000.

I was anxious for the product to arrive, and it arrived rather quickly as I ordered it from Amazon.com. The setup was totally simple. Basically attach the supporting grill to the support tabs of the grill. It snugs up against the grill perfectly. Then, add coals into the holes, and heat about 20 coals in your chimney starter. Once the coals have heated through, add them to the middle section where the water container goes, and move around with the metal rod that comes with it. Add in the thin wood chips to your liking, insert the water pan, fill with water, and then you are good to go.

It does note to keep the bottom vents open, which I did, and also when placing the cover on, to keep the top vents facing away from the Smokenator 1000. I should also note they somewhat stress to keep the top of the vents open only about the size of a pencil, I believe it was 5/8″.

I tried my luck with a pork shoulder, rubbed the way I like, and I’m not joking, this was probably one of the best smoked pork shoulder’s I’ve made to date. Even my wife and kids agreed.

They note to check the water container about every hour. I did, and the water held it’s own. I should note that I did add more water about two hours in, and after recently smoking other meats, I did have the water evaporate within the hour, so go ahead and check every hour.

I’m not sure how this holds a steady heat, but it held for hours at around 230 degrees, and to me that’s a great temperature for low and slow cooking.

After my second attempt at using the Smokenator 1000, I was completely sold. A great investment, especially for those using a 22″ Weber Kettle grill. You can find out more information from their website.

Question. Are any of you using the Smokenator 1000, and if so are you pleased with the results?

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Smoked Meatloaf Sandwich

An old friend of mine recently sent me a picture, with words of excitement, of his smoked meatloaf. I always get excited about things like that, and it was funny that he sent it as it was on my list of things to make. With that said, I had recently updated my Weber kettle grill with the Smokenator 1000 (a product review will be posted in the near future). So as I was smoking a pork shoulder using this new accessory, I decided to whip up a quick meatloaf in a small pan, and smoke that as well, just to see how it would go. Holy moly, this friend was right. A perfect smoked flavor on what you know as a classic meatloaf, and one that was super tender and delicious. My wife and I had it for dinner this week, and just fell in love with it. She warmed it up and ate it as a classic meatloaf, and I decided to make a sandwich out of it, and let’s just say they were both phenomenal.

Smoked Meatloaf Sandwich Recipe

If you are busting out the smoker this week, give this one a shot. It was really great.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 3/4 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 slices white bread, crusts removed, diced
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • aluminum pan to fit the meat loaf
  • buns, optional
  • BBQ sauce, optional

Start by soaking the bread in the milk, then get a large mixing bowl out and add in the remaining ingredients.

Once the bread is soaked, add the bread to the mixture, and then using your hands, combine to make sure all of the ingredients are nicely incorporated, but not overly mixed.

Add the meatloaf into your aluminum pan, and place into your preheated smoker (mine was stable at around 235 degrees). Cover, and let this smoke for about 2 hours, or until your internal temperature of the meatloaf is at around 165 degrees. Once that internal temperature has been met, carefully remove the pan (careful as it is hot, and there are plenty of juices. I use a couple of pair of tongs to do this.)

How to smoke a meatloaf

 

Once the meatloaf has slightly cooled, remove it from the pan, and cut it into slices.

Again, I made mine into a sandwich, and lightly seared it on a nonstick skillet for a few minutes. I then slathered some of my favorite barbecue sauce on the bottom bun, topped with the smoked meatloaf, and garnished it with a pickle.

The end result is nothing short of amazing, and I’m glad my old friend nudged me to move a bit quicker to make the smoked meatloaf. I used apple wood chips for the smoke, and it left just the right amount of smoke to make this not only a great meatloaf, but an awesome sandwich to boot. Hope you enjoy!

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Bacon Wrapped Fatty

I know the name of this recipe is pretty hilarious, but recently I joined an online barbecue forum, and everyone was talking about the ‘fatty’. I can see why they call it that, most likely due to all of the bacon, and pork, but trust me on this one, this thing is nothing but awesome. There are a few great things about making this, as one you get to make a bacon weave, lay out some great ground pork, and stuff the pork with whatever you have in mind, then roll it up, and place it on the smoker. I got really excited when making this, and the end result was something my entire family loved.

Bacon Wrapped Fatty Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 16 slices of bacon
  • 2 lbs Italian sausage, or ground pork
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 3 small cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pizza sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • wax paper
  • gallon size sealable bag
  • smoker

Now let me start by saying you can stuff this however you want. I went more of an Italian style stuffing because I wanted to finish the bacon wrapped fatty with pizza sauce rather than barbecue sauce, but take the general layout here and make it your own.

Start by making your bacon weave. I will not go over those details, but it only takes a few minutes. There are many online instructions how to make one. One resource is this one, on YouTube.

Once the bacon weave is made, lay it on a large sheet of wax paper.  Next add the Italian sausage to a sealable plastic bag, and with a rolling pin, gently roll the sausage back and forth and side to side to level it out.

Once the pork is nice and even, using a scissors, cut along side the edges of the bag. Carefully flip it over and onto the second piece of wax paper.

How to make a bacon wrapped fatty

Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, cheese, and jalapenos to the top, center of the flattened sausage. Carefully start rolling the pork mixture into a log using the wax paper as your guide. Once you have it in log form, using your hands, seal up the edges, then add the log onto the top of the bacon.

Repeat the process with the bacon. Now you have a bacon and pork log!

Place this onto your smoker. It’s going to smoke for a few hours. I smoked it on low for about 3 hours, then finished in the oven after lathering some pizza sauce onto it. You want the internal temperature of the pork to be about 165.

Smoked Fatty

When you are ready to serve, slice into rounds, and serve with any of your favorite sides.

The end result is a great smoky flavor, along with an exterior of crispy bacon, and an interior of super tender pork, melted cheese, and great vegetables. It was surprising, to say the least, how great this was. I had it as a sandwich the following day, and don’t even get me started on that one! If you are looking for a new item to put on your smoker, and one that will serve many, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Fatty
Author: 
Recipe type: Barbecue
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 16 slices of bacon
  • 2 lbs Italian sausage, or ground pork
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 3 small cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pizza sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • wax paper
  • gallon size sealable bag
  • smoker
Instructions
  1. Start by making your bacon weave. I will not go over those details, but it only takes a few minutes. There are many online instructions how to make one. One resource is this one, on YouTube.
  2. Once the bacon weave is made, lay it on a large sheet of wax paper. Next add the Italian sausage to a sealable plastic bag, and with a rolling pin, gently roll the sausage back and forth and side to side to level it out.
  3. Once the pork is nice and even, using a scissors, cut along side the edges of the bag. Carefully flip it over and onto the second piece of wax paper.
  4. Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, cheese, and jalapenos to the top, center of the flattened sausage. Carefully start rolling the pork mixture into a log using the wax paper as your guide. Once you have it in log form, using your hands, seal up the edges, then add the log onto the top of the bacon.
  5. Repeat the process with the bacon. Now you have a bacon and pork log!
  6. Place this onto your smoker. It’s going to smoke for a few hours. I smoked it on low for about 3 hours, then finished in the oven after lathering some pizza sauce onto it. You want the internal temperature of the pork to be about 165.
  7. When you are ready to serve, slice into rounds, and serve with any of your favorite sides.

 

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