Category Archives: Smoke House

From the Smokehouse: Pomegranate Mustard Smoked Pork Tenderloin

I have never used pomegranate very much in my diet, much less my cooking. I like the flavor, but just have never had the occasion to use it. That changed this weekend when I decided to smoke a pork tenderloin and was looking for a fall flavor profile to go with it.

I came across the recipe on All Recipes and decided that it would make a great Sunday dinner. Outside of just estimating the amounts, I stayed pretty true to the recipe until the cooking method:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Directions

  1. In a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine pomegranate juice, orange juice, mustard, honey, garlic, orange zest, and cayenne pepper. Tighten lid, and shake until everything is mixed well. Pour over pork tenderloin in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag, and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 3 hours.
  2. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F.   Remove tenderloin from marinade, reserving the marinade. Place meat on a smoking rack.
  3. Pour marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and reduce volume by half. Remove from heat. Place 1/2 of liquid in a cup for basting, and reserve to use as a sauce.
  4. Smoke tenderloin for 120 minutes, basting lightly with reduced marinade until internal temperature is 145 degrees F when measured in the thickest part of the tenderloin. Remove tenderloin from smoker, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve each portion with reserved sauce drizzled over top, and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

I used cherry smoke in my Bradley and was very, very pleased with how the dish turned out. The pork was perfectly flavored and at only 250 calories for 4 ounces, it is a nice lean meal to enjoy. I used the leftover pork later in the week for sliced pork sandwiches.

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Sunday Smokeday: Smoked Venison Cheese Burgers

Sunday this week was a day of quiet all to myself as Lorrell and Loriana had a girl’s day at the American Girl Store in Denver. I took that opportunity to throw some venison burgers in the smoker and kick back and enjoy the day. I was already going to smoke some Mac and Cheese, so why not? This was my first attempt  at smoking a burger so I did a bit of research on it. The result….

Recipe

1 pound of ground venison (beef, elk or antelope would also work)
1 egg
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 TBSP garlic powder
1/2 TBSP onion powder
Cheese of your choice
Bun/Tortilla

venison burgersBeat the egg until smooth. Add the Worcestershire Sauce, onion and garlic powders and whisk together. Add the ground meat to the mixture and mix thoroughly. Form patties and place on your smoker rack. Smoke at 215 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the smoker and finish on a grill until it reaches your desired doneness. (Note: my grill ran out of gas so I finished these in a cast iron pan on the stove top)

Serve on a bun or in a tortilla with your favorite burger toppings.

smoked venison burgerThis is a very simple way to add some smoke flavor and help keep your favorite wild game burger moist. The smoke flavor really stood out despite only being in the smoker for 30 minutes. It definitely adds to the wild game and is well worth the extra time and effort.

From the Smokehouse: Smoked Mac and Cheese

The Wyoming Brewers Festival held their “survivor party” on Sunday and the host was smoking up some pork butts for all of us to enjoy. We were asked to bring sides, and I decided to keep the smoky theme and put together a smoked macaroni and cheese. I went to my go to Smoking-Meat.com and found their recipe and decided that would make a good base for my experiment. By the way, if you are into smoking and you don’t subscribe to their newsletter, you are missing out each week.

Recipe (modified from Smoking-Meat.com)

16 oz of small shell pasta
1/4 lb (1 stick) of butter
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of ground mustard
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/3 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper
2 cups of cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups of grated Swiss cheese
2 cups of grated Italian blend including mozzarella, provolone, Romano, Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan
1 cup of grated Mexican cheese blend.
5 cups of Half & Half
9 x 13 foil pan
1 lb of bacon, crumbled
Your favorite BBQ rub

Follow the instructions on the box to cook the noodles, but pull them off 3 minutes early. Rinse under cold water in a colander and set aside. Fry up the bacon and crumble. Set it aside.

Making the cheese sauce:

Add a stick of butter to the bottom of a pan on medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the flour, pepper, salt, paprika and mustard and stir for a couple of minutes while the ingredients combine. Add in the half & half and continue stirring until the sauce starts to get thick which usually takes 8-10 minutes. Place 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese, 1 cup of the swiss and 1 cup of the Italian blend into a large mixing bowl. Pour the thickened sauce over the cheese and stir until it is well melted.

mac and cheese ready for smokerOnce the cheddar cheese is melted, add the shells we set aside earlier and stir well to mix it all together. Pour about 1/2 of the shells into the foil pan and then sprinkle about 1/2 a cup of the Mexican cheese blend 1/2 a cup of the swiss and 1/2 a cup of the Italian blend over the top of the noodles to cover completely. Sprinkle on a good generous helping of your favorite BBQ rub for great flavor. Now pour on the remainder of the shells and once again add the rest of the cheese and some rub. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon onto the top of the layered mac and cheese

pan of smoked mac and cheeseSet up your smoker or grill for indirect cooking at 225 degrees. Use your favorite smoking wood. Apple or Alder works great for this. Place the open pan of mac and cheese on the grate and let it enjoy the smoke for 2-3 hours or until it reaches the desired level of “brown” on top. The longer you leave it in the smoker the better the smoke flavor will be.

I left it in for 2 1/2 hours, pulled it out and took it to the picnic. The result? A hit with everyone at the party. I’m fairly certain that I don’t want Mac and Cheese any other way. The flavor of the 11 different cheeses, plus the smoke and the bacon all created a savory dish that was totally cleaned up at the end of the night.

Before I had the smoker I wondered if I would use it enough, now I wonder what I ever did without it. If you have the chance, smoke the next batch of macaroni and cheese that you make, you won’t regret it.

Smoked Chicken Salad

Yesterday I told you about the two chickens I smoked on Sunday for dinner, well that left us with an incredible amount of leftover smoked chicken, which was the plan. We will use it for tacos, I froze a half and I made chicken salad with a large amount of it. Here is the method to my madness:

Smoked Chicken Salad:

One smoked chicken (recipe)
1 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 cup grapes sliced in half
2 stalks celery diced
1/4 cup almonds chopped
1/8 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 TBSP dill pickle relish
Lettuce leafs

Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken into a bowl and mix well. Shred, dice and other wise make bite sized pieces of the chicken. Add to the bowl and mix well. Serve on lettuce leafs for a low-carb option or serve on your favorite bread.

Sunday Smoke Day: Beer Brined Smoked Chicken

I headed out to Albertson’s early Sunday looking for beef ribs or a tri-tip to smoke on a beautiful June day. I struck out on both of those, but did come home with two whole chickens and a plan for meals throughout the week. I did a couple of searches for smoked chicken halves and decided to combine a couple of ideas  from over at smoking-meat.com into one of my own.

Ingredients:
4 chicken halves
2 bottles of marginal beer (I don’t like to waste my good stuff on marinades and brines, but feel free)
100 ounces of water
3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1 cup kosher salt
Favorite Rub

Mix the beer, water, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl, stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
I purchased two whole chickens, so I split them in half, and cleaned them out. I then rinsed them and placed two halves each into a gallon storage bag. I added the brine mixture on top of them and let them soak in it for 3 1/2 hours.
bined and rubbed chicken halfPrepare your smoker to smoke at 230 degrees. I decided to use mesquite smoke for these chickens, but I think that all smoke is a matter of preference and personal taste. Remove the chickens from the bag, and rinse, so as to remove extra salt from the chickens. lay them skin side down and cover the meat with your choice of rubs. Let sit for 15 minutes or until some of the brine has been pulled back out of the meat, creating a paste on the bird. Flip them over and rub the skin side. Place in the smoker and smoke away until the internal temperature is at 170 degree. It took me close to 5 hours to smoke these four halves yesterday, but they were huge chickens. Your best bet is to make sure you have a meat thermometer inserted to see how it is coming along.

finished smoked chickenThe chicken was amazing. The brine ensured that it wouldn’t dry out and it was wonderfully moist, even after 5 hours in the smoker. We enjoyed it with a smoked baked potato, and steamed vegetables. We will enjoy it further this week with smoked chicken salad, the recipe for which I’ll share tomorrow!