Category Archives: Smoker

Easy Pastrami Recipe

I’m making an attempt at purging my freezer in the basement so that we can get it cleaned out and thawed. On my way to doing that, I came across some corned beef that I wanted to use up. My initial thoughts are always to make corned beef hash, as I really do like corned beef hash, but then I decided to make an easy pastrami. I love a good pastrami sandwich, so I figured why not take my spin on an easy pastrami recipe. To say the least, it was dynamite!

Easy Pastrami Recipe

Now you can go a bunch of different direction with this and make your own spice blends, and brine it if you want to, but the brisket was already brined, so I went with just a lot of cracked black pepper. Again, super simple, and extremely delicious.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pound corned beef brisket
  • Black pepper, enough to generously coat the corned beef
  • Smoker

Start by rinsing the corned beef with cold water. Pat dry.

Cover the corned beef with black pepper. I used some great pepper I purchased from the Milwaukee Spice House. Once the corned beef is rubbed, cover and place in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Homemade Pastrami Recipe

Next is the smoke. Prepare your smoker, and get it going to about 225 degrees. You can probably go with your favorite wood, and in this case I used apple wood chunks. Smoke the brisket, fat side up, for about 4 hours, then continue cooking for about another 4 hours. You want the internal temperature to be about 180 degrees.

How to make pastrami

Remove it from the smoker, and place it into a large pot to let rest, and cool. Once cooled place it in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, place the corned beef onto a steamer rack, adding water to the bottom of the pan, and cover. I used my Chinese steamer for this. If you do not have one, just add it to a wire rack on a large baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil, and steam for about 2 more hours, adding additional water when needed. Just make sure the water does not come in contact with the corned beef.

Remove, and slice.

I cannot tell you how awesome this was, and trust me, it did not last long. My boys loved it, and I was already in heaven. I served it onto a sandwich, slathering a bit of Dijon mustard on it.  I wish I would have made about twice as much!

It is a process, but it is well worth the time and effort. Hope you enjoy!

Barbecue Burnt Ends

I first fell in love with barbecue when living in Texas. It was probably the first time I really had that perfect smell of what barbecue should have smelled like when eating at Sonny Bryan’s. The chopping away at ribs, brisket, or pork shoulder, piled onto a paper lined tray and served with legitimate sides, let’s just say I was in heaven. As we all know Texas is not the only place for barbecue, and as I have grown older (sigh), I’ve experimented enough with my smoker, and coming up with sauces to come up with some really great barbecue.

But there is one thing that I really love when making barbecue, and that is burnt ends, and let’s just say that doesn’t happen all that often. I usually smoke things like fish, ribs, and pork shoulder, but burnt ends are the golden nuggets of barbecue in my opinion, and brisket is that source. With that said, I set out to smoke a brisket and get some burnt ends going.

Barbecue Burnt Ends

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb beef brisket
  • salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • your favorite wood for smoking, I used cherry, soaked in water for at least 3 hours
  • smoker

There are barbecue purists out there when it comes to brisket, among other items, but I went the route of seasoning overnight, and injecting right before I placed my brisket on my smoker. It worked really well, but I will let you decide.

Start by adding a generous amount of salt and pepper all over the brisket. Place into a sealable bag and place in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, remove your brisket and let it come up to room temperature.

During this time, add the beef stock and garlic powder to a sauce pan, and mix. Set one cup of the mixture to the side to be used later.

Inject the brisket in a variety of places. Let it rest, and prepare your smoker.

Once your smoker has come to temperature, add in a few chunks of your cherry wood, and place your brisket into the smoker. Cover, and take a rest. Add a bit more wood about 45 minutes into the cooking process. I like to smoke early and let it cook on low the remainder of the time. Adding smoke towards the end gets a little bitter in my opinion.

burnt-ends-ingredients

Smoke the brisket until you have an internal temperature of 170 degrees, then remove and let it rest in a baking dish.

During this time, add the remaining beef stock mixture, along with the barbecue sauce to a large pot, and give this a good mix. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once the brisket has cooked, but into bite sized cubes and toss into the sauce mixture. Cover and place into the preheated oven for one hour.

Dig in. These burnt ends not only had a great smoke flavor but they were even more caramelized from the barbecue sauce mixture. So good, and so simple, you will probably want to repeat this process the following day. They go quick! I hope you enjoy.

Barbecue Burnt Ends
Author: 
Recipe type: Barbecue
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 lb beef brisket
  • salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • your favorite wood for smoking, I used cherry, soaked in water for at least 3 hours
  • smoker
Instructions
  1. There are barbecue purists out there when it comes to brisket, among other items, but I went the route of seasoning overnight, and injecting right before I placed my brisket on my smoker. It worked really well, but I will let you decide.
  2. Start by adding a generous amount of salt and pepper all over the brisket. Place into a sealable bag and place in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, remove your brisket and let it come up to room temperature.
  3. During this time, add the beef stock and garlic powder to a sauce pan, and mix. Set one cup of the mixture to the side to be used later.
  4. Inject the brisket in a variety of places. Let it rest, and prepare your smoker.
  5. Once your smoker has come to temperature, add in a few chunks of your cherry wood, and place your brisket into the smoker. Cover, and take a rest. Add a bit more wood about 45 minutes into the cooking process. I like to smoke early and let it cook on low the remainder of the time. Adding smoke towards the end gets a little bitter in my opinion.
  6. Smoke the brisket until you have an internal temperature of 170 degrees, then remove and let it rest in a baking dish.
  7. During this time, add the remaining beef stock mixture, along with the barbecue sauce to a large pot, and give this a good mix. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Once the brisket has cooked, but into bite sized cubes and toss into the sauce mixture. Cover and place into the preheated oven for one hour.
  9. Dig in. These burnt ends not only had a great smoke flavor but they were even more caramelized from the barbecue sauce mixture. So good, and so simple, you will probably want to repeat this process the following day. They go quick! I hope you enjoy.

 

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings

My oldest kid has become a true fan of chicken wings. I’m OK with that, only because he has been a picky eater for the majority of his childhood, so when he wants something that has a bone in it of all things, I’m cool. Normally during a busy week we might order chicken wings because after a long day at work, I really don’t want to come home and heat up a bunch of oil, trim chicken, and fry it. I just don’t. When we do order out though, this kid will take on the chicken wings, not six, but probably ten to twelve of them. To me, that’s impressive for a kid his age, and it’s always a sign that he is growing, not only in size but age. He’s a great kid, and I love him. So with that said, when I do have a bit of time to slow down, I like to focus on low and slow food on the smoker.

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings

There were a couple of reasons why I wanted to make these chicken wings for the kid; one is that my neighbor hooked me up with a ton of cherry wood, which I totally appreciated, and I needed to make a batch of my spice rub. I’ve smoked chicken breasts in the past, but never have I smoked chicken wings, so I was up for a challenge of not over smoking the chicken wings, while at the same time trying to impart a great cherry wood smoked flavor, while keeping the chicken moist. I think I won on that front.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 24 chicken wingettes, wing tips removed, drumette is optional
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ spice rub
  • 2 cups, approximately cherry wood, soaked
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Smoker

Start by seasoning your wingettes with the spice rub. Massage it all over the chicken, then place in a plastic, sealable bag, and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The following day, get your smoker ready. Cover the cherry wood chunks with water, and let them soak for a good hour or so.

Prepare your smoker however you do that. I use a charcoal chimney to light the charcoal, then pour that into the base of a drum based smoker, using a water pan in the middle, then grill grates on top, only to cover and trap on the smoke.

How to make smoked chicken wings

Once the coals are heated up, in my case, dump them into the bottom. Top with a handful of the soaked cherry wood, I added a couple of dry chunks as well, then assemble the rest of the smoker and lay the marinated chicken wings onto the grill grate. Cover and walk away. Or, stay there and begin to smell how amazing that smoke smells, then walk away.

Smoke the chicken wings for about one hour, then carefully flip them over, and let them smoke for another hour, then remove from the smoker and onto a baking sheet. Once you remove them, let them rest, then brush on your favorite barbecue sauce. Place in a preheated 275 degree oven to finish cooking for about 20 minutes. The sauce will get nice and caramelized, almost sticky, and very delicious.

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe

Remove, plate, and serve. The result are truly great smoked BBQ chicken wings. They were nicely glazed, and the meat had that great pink color from the smoking process that you only get from the smoke ring. This pink was through and through but not overwhelmed by the amount of smoke. Let’s just say my kids love them and so did I. If you have time and want to go low and slow on the smoker, give these a shot.

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: American BBQ
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 24 chicken wingettes, wing tips removed, drumette is optional
  • ½ cup of your favorite BBQ spice rub
  • 2 cups, approximately cherry wood, soaked
  • ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Smoker
Instructions
  1. Start by seasoning your wingettes with the spice rub. Massage it all over the chicken, then place in a plastic, sealable bag, and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. The following day, get your smoker ready. Cover the cherry wood chunks with water, and let them soak for a good hour or so.
  3. Prepare your smoker however you do that. I use a charcoal chimney to light the charcoal, then pour that into the base of a drum based smoker, using a water pan in the middle, then grill grates on top, only to cover and trap on the smoke.
  4. Once the coals are heated up, in my case, dump them into the bottom. Top with a handful of the soaked cherry wood, I added a couple of dry chunks as well, then assemble the rest of the smoker and lay the marinated chicken wings onto the grill grate. Cover and walk away. Or, stay there and begin to smell how amazing that smoke smells, then walk away.
  5. Smoke the chicken wings for about one hour, then carefully flip them over, and let them smoke for another hour, then remove from the smoker and onto a baking sheet. Once you remove them, let them rest, then brush on your favorite barbecue sauce. Place in a preheated 275 degree oven to finish cooking for about 20 minutes. The sauce will get nice and caramelized, almost sticky, and very delicious.
  6. Remove, plate, and serve. The result are truly great smoked BBQ chicken wings. They were nicely glazed, and the meat had that great pink color from the smoking process that you only get from the smoke ring. This pink was through and through but not overwhelmed by the amount of smoke. Let's just say my kids love them and so did I. If you have time and want to go low and slow on the smoker, give these a shot.

 

Homemade Smoked Sausage

If there is one thing that one of my boys attaches quickly to in the kitchen is eating. Just kidding, well, not really. He has always attached himself to assisting me in making homemade sausages. Let me say that making homemade sausage is not only fun, but it can get a bit messy. Grinding the meat, mixing it, and dabbling in casing, well, let’s just say not too many in the home kitchen get overly excited about it. I do, and so does my son, and that always makes for teachable moments, and a bit of bonding, and one can never go wrong with those.

Homemade Smoked Sausage Recipe

A couple of my favorite homemade sausages to make are a chicken feta sausage that my wife really loves, and a Thai sausage that has some great heat to it, however this time I wanted to make a polish style sausage, and put them on the smoker. These sausages were dynamite, and let’s just say my son who loves sausages gave the homemade smoked sausage a thumbs up.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs of boneless pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp pink salt for curing
  • 1 cup of ice water
  • hog casings, soaked and cleaned in cold water
  • sausage stuffer
  • 2 cups apple wood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour

Begin by grinding your meat. I use a KitchenAid with the grinding accessory for this job. It works well. Let the meat fall into a large mixing bowl.

Mix all of the seasonings, and set aside.

When the meat is ground, sprinkle the seasoning over the meat, pour in the ice cold water, and get in there with your hands, working quickly, and make sure everything is mixed and incorporated.

How to make homemade sausage

Add the casing to your sausage stuffer. Again, I use my KitchenAid for this and it works well. Work in small batches and begin stuffing the sausage, making sure they are not too tight or the casing might burst. This is where two people, in my opinion, really helps. Continue stuffing until all of the meat is stuffed into the casing. Give a bit more slack on the end of the casing, then tie the end into a knot.

Now determine the length you want for each link, and gently press into the casing and begin to twist. Continue to twist a couple of times. Repeat for each link.

When you are ready, slice in the middle of the twisted casing to remove a link.

Feel free to vacuum seal what you will not use so that you can use the sausage in the future. It’s five pounds of sausage, so it should go a long way unless you are having a party that same day.

Next, prepare your smoker. If you do not want to add smoke to the sausage, these are now perfectly fine to grill or sear in a pan.

Light your charcoal chimney with a lot of charcoal. Once the coals are heated, add them to your smoker. Add the water/drip pan into the middle, then the top rack. Just to let you know, I have a vertical smoker. It’s cheap and does a good job.

Add the soaked wood chips to the hot charcoal, close the vents, then add your sausage links to the top grate. Cover, and walk away.

Smoke the sausages, turning once along the process, about 2 hours in, until the casings are nice and smoked, and the internal temperature runs around 155. Once smoked, let them rest for a couple of hours on a plate in your kitchen, then slice and serve.

When you slice into these homemade sausages, you get the great smoke ring, and then comes that great garlic and peppery flavor from the seasoning. You can tell my kid was super proud and always realizes that a bit of time, and hard work pays off when making great food. I hope you enjoy.