Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 04:08 PM

R & V Works has a new portable, propane BBQ smoker. The Cajun Express Smoker. It is the fastest smoker in the Bayou!! The patented sealed pressure / vacuum chamber revolutionizes smoking times to super sonic levels.

Smoked baby back ribs in will be cooked to perfection in 35 to 40 minutes. Easily a 3 hour job in conventional smokers.

Whole briskets in 2 hours, a 4 to 5 hours job elsewhere.
Imagine coming home from work and having a beautifully whole smoked chicken in 30 minutes!
The cooking process that is so unique it was awarded a 20 year patent.
Since man and fire met, man has searched for new ways to cook meat. As early as 1600 B.C., man has smoked meat. This was done out of necessity; first to preserve meat for the long cold winters. Second , meat was smoked to tenderize tougher, less choice cuts of meat.
Today we also smoke to tenderize, as well as to flavor meat. Low and slow, the traditional way to smoke. People smoke with a large variety of wood types, charcoal, corn cobs,etc. There are many designs of smokers out there too.  Traditional wood or charcoal, propane smokers, even electric smokers as well as traditional to very elaborate smoker pits. Smoker pits are built in the ground or above ground. These pits are designed to retain heat. Some are so fancy they feature timers, wood feeding bins, and automatic temperature control.

Over time, even with so many innovations, the time it takes to smoke meat hasn’t really changed……..Until now!
The patented hydration regulator and food grade, high temperature door seal help aid with the high pressure vacuum chamber that  smokes meats at super sonic speeds while still giving you perfectly tasty and tender meats.
Cook a 5lb. pork loin in an hour.
Smoke a 15 lb. turkey, that would normally take 5 hours in an oven or 15 hours to conventionally smoke, in 1 hour.
Do a 10 lb. pork shoulder in 4 hours. Pulled pork in no time flat!
I know to traditional pit masters this is sacrilege. But for those of us that love smoked foods and are short on time due to jobs, kids, sports, scouts, etc, this is an awesome find.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011 @ 12:02 PM

Welcome to the Daytona 500. The beginning of racing season. There is a short lull through winter but we come out on the other side with the beginning of stock car and drag racing season. Well, racing never truly stops everywhere, but as far as nationally televised races, for those of us still under a blanket of white, this means that spring is almost here. While football tailgaters are packing their gear away til the fall, race fans are just starting to get their gear out. Unless of course you do both and your gear is in constant use year round.

February is a busy month in the world of motor sports. People begin testing new set ups and configurations, possibly even new teams. The term Speed Week in the stock car racing world…is really and truly not a week at all. It is more like a month. Some people do just do the week, and some just for the 500. There are fans that do actually go all out and tailgate through the whole month in Daytona, Florida. That is quite an achievement. A month long tailgate. Can you imagine? You would definitely have to have tailgated a few times, before taking on a month long tailgate. I’m sure that for this scenario, an RV is a must! Having a propane source would be a must as well. Not having ever been at the venue, I am sure that it was properly thought out with fans in mind as well as teams and drivers. Dump stations and places to get ice and propane are probably there all the time.

Racing tailgating is just as hardcore as football tailgating, except that is usually encompasses 2-5 days worth of tailgating. People are not just going to local venues. Some people come from very far away, driving, even flying in. Renting motor homes or driving their own. That is 2-5 days of grilling, smoking, deep frying, cooking, eating and partying. Having enough propane to cook on your grill or using your outdoor propane deep fryer for 2-5 days would be nothing short of a miracle with only one tank. If you have never been to a race, try one out sometime. It doesn’t have to be a nationally televised event either. Go to a local track and see some of your local drivers. Men and women that might someday be racing at those big national events. You can tailgate at the smaller events as well. I’ve seen many a charcoal grill and hibachi at the smaller venues.

Have fun watching The Great American Race today. For those of us that can’t be at the race in person, we can enjoy the race on regular television. We don’t have to have a special digital or satellite package. We can have parties to rival any Superbowl party with commercials that can only rival those of Superbowl Sunday. Gentlemen…Start your engines!!!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010 @ 07:12 PM

I, myself, prefer meat of all kinds…just not raw, or shoe leather. I am an omnivore. I like my side vegetables…but there must be meat involved! When you cook your meat outside, do you prefer smoking or barbecued; the long, slow method with indirect heat, or grilled fast with direct heat?

I suppose it always depends on what kind of meat that you are cooking. I mean a brisket you want cooked low and slow in your bbq smoker. It tends to be a tough piece of meat that will benefit from low temperatures and a slow cooking process. Adding smoke to this mix only aides in a wonderful finished product.

A hamburger or chicken breast you want grilled. Quick and fast so that it doesn’t dry out.

Turkey is great with indirect heat in a smoker or on the grill, but still low and slow…unless you are using a turkey fryer. Then it’s high and relatively fast.

Then there is fish. You can grill or smoke fish. Just preference I guess. Then it also depends on what type of fish. You don’t smoke flounder, but you can grill or smoke salmon.

As I said, I prefer meat of all kinds. Grilled, roasted, smoked, stewed, boiled, braised, and barbecued. Please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010 @ 05:11 AM

So, what are the wood types suitable for using in your BBQ smoker? This is a question that is always coming up. So I thought this might help.

Here’s a list that was compiled from various sources.

ACACIA – these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a smoker, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. A very hot burning wood.

ALDER – Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

ALMOND – A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

APPLE – Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork. Excellent with bacon and ribs!!!!

ASH – Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

BIRCH – Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

CHERRY – Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some people say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

COTTONWOOD – It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don’t use green cottonwood for smoking.

CRABAPPLE – Similar to apple wood.

GRAPEVINES – Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

HICKORY – Most commonly used wood for smoking–the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. I don’t know if I get the flavor of bacon from this wood, but it does taste like BBQ to me. Good with pork, ham and beef.

LILAC – Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

MAPLE – Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

MESQUITE – Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning. Can be bitter. My family doesn’t like it if I use only mesquite in the fire. They feel it makes the food “hot” and “spicy.”

MULBERRY – The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

OAK – Heavy smoke flavor–the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT – Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

PEAR – A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

PECAN – Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

SWEET FRUIT WOODS – APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE – Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

WALNUT – ENGLISH and BLACK – Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

Other internet sources report that wood from the following trees is suitable for smoking: AVOCADO, BAY, CARROTWOOD, KIAWE, MADRONE, MANZANITA, GUAVA, OLIVE, BEECH, BUTTERNUT, FIG, GUM, CHESTNUT, HACKBERRY, PIMIENTO, PERSIMMON, and WILLOW. The ornamental varieties of fruit trees (i.e. pear, cherry, apple, etc.) are also suitable for smoking.

NEVER use any wood from conifer trees, such as PINE, FIR, SPRUCE, REDWOOD, CYPRESS, etc. They contain too much sap and they can make the meat taste funny. Some of these woods  have been known to make people sick. Yes, I know that cedar planks are popular for cooking salmon on, but I don’t know anyone who burns cedar as a smoke wood. I have also heard that elm, eucalyptus, sassafras, sycamore, and liquid amber trees impart a bad flavor.

NEVER use lumber scraps. Some lumber is treated with chemicals that are poisonous.

Never use wood that has been painted.

If you have branches fall from trees, make sure they are not moldy. Never use wood that is moldy.

Now, as far as where to get these woods…

There are some sources on the internet…Chunks, chips, pellets, even smoker bags are available, but not for all types of wood.

A local firewood company may be able to hook you up. I used to work for a company…every time we had fruit wood…mostly cherry or apple…it went right to a local restaurant that only cooked with fruit woods.I have a friends that owns a wood fired pizza place. He has an account with a firewood company. They bring him all hardwoods.

You can usually find some woods where you can purchase your smokers and grills. My local hardware store sells chunked hickory and mesquite.

You can always volunteer to take down a neighbors trees…just make sure you know what kind of trees you are getting.

And to soak or not to soak? That is up to you. I’ve heard arguments for both ways, so I’d say…your preference. I have seen  wine infused smoking wood. Sounds interesting, but I don’t think I want to waste my own wine to do this.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 04:09 PM

There are many influences that go into Cajun & Creole cooking. Both originated in Louisiana, and were influenced by the many different cultures that had settled in the area. Some of these cultures include The French, Spanish, Portuguese, Africans, and even Native Americans.  Cajun cooking being more influenced by French Provincial peasants, and Creole being developed more in well to do homes, largely in part to slaves’ cooking influences.

Louisiana style cooking was also  influenced by the food available in the area. Fish, shrimp, crawfish, alligator, pork, game, and poultry were available. Gumbos typically contained fish, okra, and ground sassafras leaves for a thickening agent. Other outside inspirations came into play as more cultures moved to the area. Tomatoes, rice, beans, and hot peppers eventually found their way into the mix.  Smoking and deep frying of foods also played an important role and still do today.

One of the facts of this wonderful food, was that you could feed large groups of people with whatever you had on hand. This is when the cooking in large cast iron pots over and outdoor fire came into play. Church socials & political rallies, family reunions & weddings were all places that you could find what we now typically call Jambalaya Pots.

Many of the dishes that have come to be main stay in the area, are a jumbled up mix of both Cajun & Creole example. Regardless of whether it is Cajun or Creole, some wonderful dishes have come down through history and can be found throughout the United States today. Gumbo, jambalaya, & etouffee are no longer just regional favorites of The Louisiana people.There are millions of cookbooks and recipes out there available even to a Northern Yankee like me. They are restaurants all over the nation now serving Louisiana cuisine. The food is easy enough to make at home. You don’t need a large cast iron pot & a wood fire either. You can cook it inside in a slow cooker or on your stove top. If you are cooking for a large group though, get out your turkey fryer kit. You can make a huge pot of jambalaya right in the stock pot over your the outdoor propane patio stove that comes with it.

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Friday, September 17, 2010 @ 09:09 AM

Today, I am going to attempt smoking a beef brisket on my grill.

I am used to cooking brisket indoors in a table top cooker. I have attempted smoking brisket on a grill once before. The meat had a lot of flavor, but was still tough, not tender.

I do not have a traditional BBQ smoker. I use my propane grill to smoke. It certainly does not work as well as a real smoker. Probably not as well as a charcoal grill either. I have a metal smoker box that I fill with wood chips. I have also been known to use smoker cans and smoker bags, as well as just making foil pouches filled with pre-soaked wood chips.

From poking around and seeking out advise, I’ve found out that you don’t need to out and out smoke the meat the whole time. You can wrap the brisket in foil at about 140 degrees F & add some juices to help it finish cooking. That was a step I did not perform last time. I am hoping that it will make my finished project a success. I mean what is cooking except science and experimentation anyway.

Here’s to science and smoked meat!!!!

Wish me luck!

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 05:06 AM

Smoking with planks has been around for ages. Most people know about smoking fish, like salmon , on cedar planks. In this day and age, you can find planks, not only in cedar, but alder & maple as well. You can cook smoke anything that you want to on these planks. Today we are going to cook beef fillets, though you can use many different cuts of beef here.

First you want to soak your cedar plank for at least an hour….in water or add fruit juice or wine for unique flavors. Use your imagination.

4 6-8 oz beef fillets

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half

salt and pepper

Rub the fillets with the cut side of the garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fire up your Brinkmann grill to high. You want to sear each side of the fillet for about 60 secs over direct heat (450-500 degrees).

Turn your grill down to 350 degrees for indirect grilling. Place your soaked plank on the grill, and close the lid. Let it heat up for about 3 mins. Flip the plank over and place the beef fillet on the heated side of the plank.

Cook for about 12 mins for medium rare (approx 125 degree internal temp. with a meat thermometer) to 16 mins. for medium well(approx 130 degrees).Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the meat. A thicker cut of meat could take up to 25 mins. to cook. If that is the case, turn the grill temp. down to 300 degrees for  lower, slower cook.

Keep a spray bottle around in case of flare ups. And the planks will be hot, so have your tongs and pot holders handy.

It is suggested to use the plank only once, but you can save your used plank and break it up to use in your bbq smoker at a later date.

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