Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hot Smoked Salmon, the best thing I ever made. Ever. Truly. Ever

I love seafood, I could eat it every meal.  I love salmon but find it so often overdone to the point of being dusty in my mouth or chewy... euwww.  I am constantly on the hunt for salmon nirvana.

One of my favorite appetizers out in the world, when I get to go out to eat, is the smoked salmon at Pappadeux.  It's expensive so I don't get to go often. I never thought I'd be able to reproduce anything even close at home.  I did.  I might have done it better.

I own a smoker.  I know where to buy salmon.  How hard can it be? Let the experiment begin.

This is a quickie, I'll tell you now, the experiment was more successful than I could have imagined.  You're going to want to add salmon to your shopping list, now.


2 lbs salmon (it was on sale!) cut into 1 1/2 pieces

apple wood chips (soaked)

Rub salmon with seasonings, leave to 'dry' on the counter.  Put the salmon on tin foil, it'll cook on it.  Don't make it too big, just enough to be a nice plate for the fish.  Leave it about 30 mins, the time it takes the Masterbuilt smoker to preheat to 250.

When it's hot, fill the wood chip delivery box thing with SOAKED applewood chips.
Pour some water in the bowl of the smoker to keep everything moist.  I didn't want to muddy the flavors.

Slide the fish into the smoker, on the foil, and turn the temperature down to 200.  The hotter start allows the smoker to be hot enough to actually smoke the chips.  Open the damper on the top half way and let the smoke draw up around the fish.

Lock and load, set the timer for 40 minutes.  Prepare for nirvana

Here's the beauty shots and commentary
Here's the 2 lbs sliced thickly. Just salt, pepper and a little tiny bit of sugar on it, I want it to taste like salmon.

OH MY GOD, the fat in the salmon slowly ooooooozed up and through the fish, you have NO IDEA what an amazing this this does to the texture of the fish.  I've never experienced anything quite like it.  The flavor is slightly smokey but only slightly, I wanted it to taste like fish that'd been kissed with smoke and that's exactly what I got
I took it out of the smoker and let it rest, to come back to room temperature.  I didn't want it hot.  

It was easy to de-skin (?is that a word?) each piece.  Turn it on it's side and the skin peels off in one piece and doesn't take an ounce of flesh with it, oh yeah, that's the way to do it!

Then I served it up on a plate, then added some aioli and some hollandaise, because, well you know, I had some in the fridge


Then I put some on a crusty roll, it's almost spreadable!
Then I flaked it on top of pasta with lemon and a thought of cream, crazy.

Best fish I have ever EVER made.  It's worth trying, it's worth doing, I hope you love it as much as I do.  I love it.  Crazy love. Wow.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Smoked (BBQ) Pork Ribs in my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, a few minutes prep and you're golden by dinnertime!

RIBS!  there's not a soul who doesn't love RIBS!!  PORK RIBS!

I prefer St. Louis cut to baby backs, I think they are meatier and tastier.  I got some on sale today so it's smoked/BBQ ribs for dinner!  I'm making my potato salad to go with and a large, icy cold, beer.

TRACY'S SMOKED RIBS (in an electric smoker)

Get your hands on some ribs and yank the membrane off the back, season them up however you like.  Today, I used:
garlic powder
onion powder
smoked paprika
rub it in all in

Throw in on preheated (225) (I have a Masterbuilt) smoker with apple wood chips (soaked) for about 4 hours. 

I keep top vent slightly open so the smoke draws through and I can tell when there's no more smoke.  I refill 2-3 times about every 90 minutes.  I don't like TOO much smoke so I don't smoke the last while. 


Here's the picture heavy INSTRUCTIONS and chit chat


As always, I cut the back membrane off the ribs, cut them into hunks with scissors and toss them in an immaculately clean sink.  Why dirty a bowl?  

Sprinkle whatever dry spices you want on them and then drizzle with oil.  Rub it all in, I love that part, I feel chef-y and involved.  Considering there's nothing to DO while these things cook/smoke, I feel as though a good rub in the beginning makes me matter to the whole affair.  Leave them to rest about half an hour, luckily, that's about how long it takes the smoker to be up to temperature, 225. 


Throw them in the smoker, on different shelves, with loads of space between (I didn't take pics of that) and smoke them 4+ hours.  I am not going to test them before 3 1/2 hours. 

Go have some wine, make a side dish or get online and cyber chat with people you love and miss who are far away.

I tested and decided I wanted them to go longer so at 4 1/2 hours I pulled them.  We ate them like cavemen, here's some beauty shots.

I pulled from from the smoker and threw them on a sheet pan, I tore one and cut another so you could see the insides and how they were.  They are tender but don't fall off the bone, you have to bite them, you have teeth.  They are soft and unctuous and meaty and tasty and there's some crispy fat on the edges that sort of seeps in, yeah, they're crazy good.  I don't put sauce on my ribs but if you are so inclined, you can have sauce on the side after they are done OR you can thin some BBQ sauce and paint them about 30 mins before you are going to eat to let them glaze.


The man liked them, I got a fist bump and a "good ribs".  High praise around here indeed!  o_O

That's how I do ribs, pork ribs.  I am going to try a pork butt later in the week and make some bread for pulled pork.  My plan is to grab a nice fatty brisket next and smoke it about 24 hours then yank off the fat and make some burnt ends, you're going to want to be near me when I do that one! :)

Go smoke something,


Monday, July 21, 2014

Smoked Pork Tenderloin in my Masterbuilt Smoker

Ok, ok, ok.  I had no intention whatsoever of smoking a tenderloin!  A regular pork loin, oh sure, but not a tenderloin.  My husband brought a package (of 2) home, I think he thought it was a loin.  He said I should smoke it, I thought not.

Just as a quick back story, I own the Masterbuilt 30inch Smokehouse, 4 rack, in case anyone is keeping track.  I got it last week, this is my second foray into the world of smoking.  I may be hooked.

He left to go to work and I was searching around the fridge for stuff to smoke and there they were, the little tenderloins staring at me.  I usually brown then, rub with good french mustard then roll in Panko and roast them high.  Crispy and pink, that's how I like my tenderloins.

LOOK at what I did!!  SERIOUSLY?! 

I figured I'd give it a try anyway, i didn't want a neon pink smoke ring, that's not why I'm in this smoking thing, I'm in it for flavor and juicyness and tenderness.  I achieved all three in spades today. You want some crazy tender, juicy and lightly smoked pork tenderloins?  Cook them like this:


2 pork tenderloins, dried and silver skin removed
whatever rub you want, mine was a soft but definite sprinkling of:
smoked paprika
garlic powder
onion powder
ground coriander
ground cumin
a good drizzle of plain oil

Rub seasoning on meat, smoke at 225 for 2 hours with applewood smoke and beer in the water bowl.  I checked the temp and it was 140, that's MORE than enough for pork tenderloin.  I took them out, wrapped them in foil and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  Slice. Eat.

Rub the tenderloins with the spices and leave them in the sink to soak them up while the smoker heats to 225, it took about 20.  Oh and the sink? It's where I season all my meats, I can clean it well before and after and there's no dishes!

I took the rack out of the smoker and put the meat on it in here, that way it's faster to just pop it in the slot and not futz with placement, just shove the rack in and close the door.  Less heat loss.
I had preheated to 225

See how easy, just slide the meat into the smoker and I poured a beer in the water bowl.  I soaked the applewood chips, filled the hopper and slipped it in the side and dumped it immediately
I set the timer for 2 1/2 hours but knew I would check at 2

AFTER 2 hours, I snuck a peek and shoved a thermometer into the meat, it was a little better than 140, my high end temp for tenderloins.  I took them out and wrapped them in foil to rest for about 15 minutes.  The smell is AWESOME.
The FIRST person to complain to me that there's no smoke ring is banned for life.  I wasn't looking for dusty, dry, neon pink rimmed, deeply, thickly, smoked pork.  I was looking for delicately smoked piece of meat that still has the flavor of PORK and a light rub and painfully juicy and tender meat.  That is exactly what I got, I'm thrilled. :)

I'd made my scalloped potatoes as a side and it's what Connor and I had for lunch.  I will post the potatoes recipe separately.

Here's the beauty shots. There's absolutely nothing else to say.  Nothing.

Smoke some pork tenderloin.  Really.  Wow.

OH and buy one... this is the one:


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Smoking meat and BBQ; I live in Texas, I should be pretty good at it by now.

I live in Austin, Texas.  Austin has the best music, the coolest people (me included!) and the best BBQ.  I wanted to try my hand at the BBQ part.  I think the best restaurant, for BBQ, in town is La Barbecue.  I dream about that pulled pork sandwich, truly I do.  I went for their opening and have been back whenever I can sneak over there.  I picked it for my birthday meal with a friend who flew in from Canada.  It was freezing that day.  I wore a screaming hot pink feather boa with my sweatshirt.  It''s how we do winter in Austin.


It's not far from another famous BBQ joint, Franklins.  I've had Franklins, it's all hype and a little bit of overpriced meat.  You want REAL BBQ in Austin?  you want ambiance, quality, delicious and a real live REASON to stand in a line?  Go to La Barbecue, seriously, the (local) others are duds.  I do have some solid suggestions for out of town joints to chow down, but, that's another post.  Today, it's about me.

I've done a bunch of BBQ crawls around the area, where you get up early and pile into trucks and drive from one location to the next sampling the best BBQ they have.  Yeah, I've had my fair share of meat coma days. 

ANYway, I make a pretty good brisket, in the oven.  I make pretty good ribs, in the pressure cooker then the broiler but I haven't smoked anything and I was starting to feel like less of Texan than I could be. 

I have no problem whatsoever with the electric smoker over a standard wood smoker.  It does the same thing as a classic smoker without the drama of keeping temperature.  It's sort of like having an assistant watch the temperature without having to give them any beer.  It's the same meat, my own rub and wood smoke, I don't feel as though it's a cop out at all. 

I got a new smoker delivered yesterday, a Masterbuilt 30' Smokehouse.  I followed the directions to put it together, which took about 10 minutes.  I followed the directions do the 'preseason' which took 3 hours of which 2 1/2 minutes of that time involved me directly.

This morning I decided it was time and I was ready to face the smoker and to enter my name into the ring of pretty damned good smokers in Texas.  Yeah, I planned on being ordained after one time.  I know how good bbq and good smoked meat SHOULD taste and what the texture SHOULD be like.  I know how to cook.  How hard could this be? :D


INGREDIENTS and QUICKIE instructions

2 chickens, about 4 lbs (they were on sale at HEB)
1 small rack of babyback ribs (also on sale, I prefer St.Louis style but that'll be next time)
salt, pepper, smoked paprika, oil
applewood smoking chips
1 Masterbuilt 30' Smokehouse Smoker

Rub meat.  Smoke meat 4 1/2 hours (weight of each chicken) at 225 with applewood chips, refill once. 

That's the short version.

This is how *I* did it.  Right or wrong?  Doesn't matter, it's my version: 


I turned on the smoker, set it to 225, and went inside. 

I washed and dried the birds and ribs.  I had a cup of coffee. 

THEN, I sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper and smoked paprika.  I drizzled oil lightly over them and rubbed the seasonings in well.  I put them on a tray and took them outside.  The smoker was at temperature.  I filled the water holder with 1/2  a small beer.  I put the chickens on racks and the ribs on top.  

I closed the door and put wood chips, half soaked and half dry in the groovy little in the wall wood chip delivery system and went back inside.  I set my iphone timer for 2 hours.

THEY say don't peek, I had to peek
They're coming nicely.  I took the temperature of one of the chickens, it was 150something.  It occurred to me that I cook chickens in the oven for 5 hours so why was I fussing over the smoker?  I closed the door, reloaded some dry chips and went back inside the house.  I my timer for 2 1/2 hours.  

That follows the general rule I'd read about, 1 hr per lb for meat.  

At the 4 1/2 hour mark I went outside with my big tray and opened the door. AMAZING. The smell the sight AMAZING.  I didn't think they'd be THIS good.  

The ribs; perfect.  A perfect slight smoke ring, the meat tender and juicy and doesn't fall off the bone, yet melts when you pull it off with your teeth, gently.  AWESOME.  I've never made any ribs so good. 

The chicken; perfect.  Tender, juicy, smokey.  I'm shocked at how juicy it was really.  Wow. 

I highly HIGHLY recommend this product and method... Wow.



just.  wow.