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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Chille Blue Crabs

Hands down, blue crabs are one of my favorite things to eat. Well, maybe not as they compete with pizza, tacos, and nachos, but you know what I mean. There is something about the blue crab that I truly love. Granted there is not a whole lot of crab meat on these little suckers, but it’s finger food, and to me finger food is not only fun, but it’s somewhat sexy. As I noted in the past, it’s hard to find blue crabs in Milwaukee. As I dissed an Asian market I used to go to, Anh Chau, only due to their crappy customer service, I have been frequenting a local market known as Mei Hua. I’ve been there enough where I chat with the owner, and as I always do I ask a lot of questions about produce, and seafood. I recently asked if they were going to get any crawfish, or better yet blue crab, and she sparked up, like what the heck did I know about blue crab! She stated she orders once a week, and that’s when I was sold.

Chinese Chilli Blue Crab Recipe

I pulled in the day she ordered, I think it was a Tuesday, or Thursday, and knew actually where to go. The box with what looked like to be stagnant crabs, that is until you poke them with the tongs.

One of the workers looked at me like I had no idea what the heck I was doing, and funny enough she was trying to help me (I am experienced at this, trust me, but I let her help only for my own entertainment), and we began using the tongs to toss them in a double paper bag. She insisted.

The kids were not home from school yet, and my wife was still at work, and that’s when I decided to clean these live crabs. When you do this, depending on how you feel, it’s something that you may or may not want your family around for, as basically as you are using a knife to take out the crab, ripping it apart, and tearing out it’s lungs, etc. I figured I would move quickly, and just have what I needed for the chilli crabs.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 10-15 live blue crabs, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Sambal Oelek 
  • 1 large shallot, medium slice
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, torn (optional)
  • napkins
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by using tongs to grab your live crab. This is always fun as they like to attack your tongs. Flip the crab over onto it’s back, and puncture it with a sharp knife, right in the middle. Yes, this is often painful to watch, but it has got to be done. Now with your knife, split the crab in half, lengthwise. The important thing here is to remove the gills, up near the face, as well as removing the apron, near the bottom. Once those are removed, rinse the crab in cold water, and set aside, repeating the process.

Keep the crabs cold, covering with a bit of ice cubes. During this time, make the sauce.

To a small mixing bowl, add the ketchup, rice wine vinegar, water, and sambal oelek. Give a good stir.

Heat a large wok, or skillet on medium heat, and let this heat up for a few minutes.

Toss in the oil, and then toss in the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry that for a couple of minutes. Now add in the crabs.

How to make Chilli Blue Crabs

Toss those crabs in the garlic mixture, then add in the sauce mixture. Carefully stir, and toss until the crabs are coated.

Cook for about 15 minutes, if that, and then pour out onto a large serving dish.

Shower with the fried garlic and fresh cilantro, and dig in. Pull off the legs, split the body, pull and crack the claws, and go for it. Suck, splurp, and suck your fingers.

My wife and kids are not a big fan of the blue crabs, and as much of that is a bit of a disappointment,   I’m not going to point fingers and blame. That just means there is more for me!

Get a bib. Get some napkins. Dig in. This is a shell sucking, shell pulling, and little fork poker feat. Sweet, spicey, garlicky, and delicious. I felt bad when my wife came home, and I probably looked like a total mess as she was trying to have a conversation with me. Yes, it was that good.

If you are looking for a fun crab dish to eat, and a fun experience (cleaning crabs), go for it. You will not be disappointed, and by the way, I have yet to go back to Anh Chau, but they do still order blue crabs from what I understand, and with hope, they have picked up their service game.

Another one to try is my blue crab curry. Whoa.

 

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Yum Woon Sen – Thai Noodle Salad

Don’t you just love hearing new words, like this one, yum woon sen? I do, and what I love even more is trying new things and making them later on, because there are those days where you might crave these types of flavors. Yum Woon Sen is nothing short of flavor. It’s essentially a bean thread salad loaded with fresh herbs, vegetables, and roasted peanuts. You can go the route and add things like minced pork or shrimp, but to me I think leaving those out are just perfectly fine.

If you are looking for a light salad that is packed with great flavors, and one that is a great side dish on a hot summer day, then give this one a shot.

Thai Yum Woon Sen

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bundles of bean thread noodles, soaked in luke warm water
  • 1 whole roma tomato, pulp removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 whole shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 Thai bird chilies, stems removed, thinly sliced (add more if you like it real spicy)
  • 2 whole dried shrimp, pounded
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups of hot water

Start by making your dressing for the salad.

To a small bowl, add the juice of the two limes. Add in the fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Next, soak the noodles in warm water for about 10 minutes. These things can be a bit tricky so keep an eye on them. You still want them firm at this stage. After 10 minutes, strain the water, then add in the hot water. Stir the noodles, and let them cook for about 2-3 minutes, just until they soften, but not mushy. You don’t want mushy noodles. TRUST ME.

Once the noodles are softened, strain them and run cold water over of them. Strain again, gently squeezing any excess water from them, and place them into a large serving bowl.

Yum Woon Sen Ingredients

Now let’s make the salad.

Add in the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the dressing, and toss and turn to make sure everything is incorporated.

Now, pour in the dressing, and continue to lightly toss until everything looks great.

Dig in! This salad is so refreshing. It’s sour, it’s spicy, and it reminds me of som tam in a way, in a very good way. So if you are looking for a great salad that is really good on a hot summer day, this is the one! Hope you enjoy…

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Korean Style Quick Pickles

For dinner this week, I made a big bowl of my family’s favorite salad. It is basically grilled chicken, bow tie pasta, croutons, mozzarella cheese, and sliced cucumbers. It’s very basic, but it is not only great, but it is one that both of my non-salad eating boys devour. With that said, I had a bit of an English cucumber leftover that I was not going to let go to waste. At first I thought I would just slice it and put it in a salad for the next day’s lunch, but then it occurred to me to make a quick pickle, but Korean style.

Korean Style Quick Pickles

In the last couple of years, I have been a huge fan of a Korean fermented red chili paste known as gochujang. You can find gochujang in any Asian market, or online for that matter. It has this savoriness and spiciness that is so well balanced that it almost becomes addicting. I’ve been using it in stews and braises, and I can tell you it is now one of my top five ingredients. This is when I thought of making a Korean style quick pickle to be eaten for dinner the following day.

These pickles are so good, you will probably become addicted to them. Unlike a dill, or ‘butter’ style sweetened American pickle, these are balanced with sweet heat that just go so well with pretty much anything.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 3 tbsp gochujang
  • 1/2 cup mirin, or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Add everything but the sliced cucumber to a small mixing bowl, and stir to incorporate. Add in the sliced cucumber, and gently mix to distribute all of the ingredients into the cucumber.

Korean Style Pickles

Cover and refrigerate over night.

The cucumbers will soften slightly the following day. When you are ready to serve, place them as a side dish on the table.

Korean Style Quick Pickles

These Korean style quick pickles are so well balanced, and again, addicting. They pack this sweet heat, along with just that perfect bite of garlic that they have you going back for more. So go find yourself a tub of that gochujang and start exploring the many dishes you can add it to. Did I mention how good this stuff is in soup?

Korean Style Quick Pickles
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: Korean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into ¼ inch rounds
  • 3 tbsp gochujang
  • ½ cup mirin, or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp dark sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Add everything but the sliced cucumber to a small mixing bowl, and stir to incorporate. Add in the sliced cucumber, and gently mix to distribute all of the ingredients into the cucumber.
  2. Cover and refrigerate over night.
  3. The cucumbers will soften slightly the following day. When you are ready to serve, place them as a side dish on the table.

 

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