One of the cravings for those on a low-carb lifestyle is a great burger. When eating out I'll look for an In-and-Out and/or Carl's Jr (Hardee's for those on the East coast) cause both of them have a low-carb burger option. Instead of using a bun they wrap the burger in lettuce leaves. I'm sure that other burger joints will do this too but the 2 that I mentioned are readily available to me when on the road.
Oddly enough, I had never cooked hamburger patties on my MAK so I decided to give it a shot. Started with Angus Beef Sirloin ⅓ pound frozen patties. Smoked them at 180ºF for 30 minutes. Seasoned the patties and bumped the pit temperature to 375ºF until the internal temperature reached my desired temp (~ 20-30 minutes). Wrapped the burger in iceberg lettuce leaves with red onions, tomatoes, pickles, cheese, mayo, & ketchup.
Yes, I could of grilled these burgers on my MAK 2 Star configured for direct cooking using the FlameZone but I wanted to see how they would come out configured for indirect cooking. I wasn't disappointment. Who needs that nasty old hamburger bun anyway ...
Smoked Pulled Pork Stuffed Peppers
Smoked Pulled Pork Stuffed Peppers - What's a pit boss to do with some of that hickory smoked pulled pork leftovers while keeping it low carb and delicious was my main challenge. Since I had red bell peppers sitting around in the fridge needing to be used I decided to kill two birds with one stone. As I researched pulled pork stuffed peppers I discovered that most recipes only used 3 to 5 ingredients. But remembering just how much I enjoy Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABT) I decided to incorporate the ABT recipe from my cookbook, The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook with a composite of pulled pork stuffed pepper recipes. The results were surprisingly simple and delicious. One of the best parts of cooking is getting inspired by a variety of recipes and then applying your personal touch, techniques, and flavor profiles.
- 1½ pounds hickory smoked pulled pork
- 4 red bell peppers
- ½ cup Diced red onions
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 slices bacon vertically sliced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Slice the pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds plus white ridges. Leave the green stalk as it holds pepper together
- Mix pulled pork, diced onion, Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and spices together
- Stuff each pepper half with pulled pork mixture
- Top stuffed peppers with mozzarella cheese
- Cut bacon in half and slice vertically
- Top stuffed peppers with bacon slices to form an X
- Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 225ºF with hickory wood pellets
- Smoke the pulled pork stuffed peppers for 30 minutes
- Bump the pit temperature to 350ºF and cook for 30 to 45 minutes until mozzarella cheese is bubbly and internal temperature of the pepper stuffing reaches 160ºF
- Rest for 5 minutes before serving
- Serve with a side of Cole Slaw
Potluck Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
Potluck Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork - For those of us who are involved with clubs, schools, family events, etc. there is always the burning question as to what to bring for a potluck. Obviously, the choices are endless but let's face it - we're always looking for that one dish that will please and feed the maximum number of people. Next potluck why not bring a big ole crock pot or two of delicious hickory smoked pulled pork to share. Everyone will thank you for it.
One of the easiest and most cost effective pieces of meat to smoke and cook is a pork butt (usually well under $2 a pound and sometimes even under $1 a pound when on sale). These chunks of meat are perfectly suited for low-and-slow cooking or what technically is "barbecuing". No, the definition of "barbecuing" is NOT what many people think it is ... When many people refer to barbecuing they're actually really grilling using a direct cooking method over a flame. Barbecuing is smoking/cooking low-and-slow using an indirect cooking method. The best part of pork butts is that they're very forgiving which means it's almost impossible to ruin one.
No matter what method you use or have developed the bottom line is the ultimate goal should be to take the pork butts to an internal temperature of 205ºF. Personally I no longer have the patience of a Saint to cook a butt for 12 to 18 hours at 225ºF. So I have chosen to use what is commonly known as the "Texas Crutch" which calls for double foiling a pork butt in order to help bypass the infamous "stall".
I'm in the camp that trims off the fat cap. Some will swear that if you leave the fat cap on it will somehow baste the pork butt with succulent flavor as the fat cap melts. I on the other hand just believe that all that melting fat makes one heck of a mess in your pellet smoker-grill. What really adds succulent flavors to your pulled pork is a well developed bark (the outside dark layer of a well smoked/cooked pork butt). Look at the top two photos to see an excellent example of a well developed bark and what it looks like when mixed with the rest of the pork butt when pulled.
Trim the fat cap off from each pork butt. Rub with extra virgin olive oil and apply an ample amount of your favorite pork butt seasoning/rub. There are a multitude of excellent rubs on the market today. I have picked out some of those which can be found in my online Amazon Store via the menu above. Carefully double or triple wrap the seasoned pork butt with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180ºF or Smoke setting with Hickory wood pellets. Smoke the pork butts at 180ºF for 3 hours before increasing your pit temperature to 350ºF until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160ºF. Remove the pork butts and double wrap them in heavy duty aluminum foil making sure that you keep any meat probes that you're using in the meat. Return to your 350ºF wood pellet smoker-grill and continue cooking until the pork internal temperature reaches 205ºF.
Remove the pork butts and keeping them in the foil wrap each butt in a towel and place them in a cooler. This method is better known as FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler). FTC the pork butts for 3 to 4 hours before pulling and enjoying. For best results, return the juices in the foil from the cooking process and mix it with the pulled pork ... Enjoy!!
Smoked Kirkland Master Carve Ham
Smoked Kirkland Master Carve Ham - While at Costco the other day my wife noticed that their Kirkland Master Carve Ham was due to be discontinued and was marked down from $2.29/lb to $0.97/lb. Needless to say we picked up 4 of these 10 pounders and slapped them in the freezer. You should see my freezer - stuffed with 3 10 pound hams, 3 14 lb turkeys, tri-tips, chicken, pork, etc. Not to mention all the vacuum sealed leftovers from a multitude of cooks. Since there is only the two of us at home now each cook provides lots of wonderful leftovers to enjoy at home and on the road in the RV. Last night, for example, we enjoyed ample portions of ham, vacuum sealed 6 meal portions of ham, and refrigerated a large pile of ham to graze on and use for omelets, salads, and sammies.
FYI ... If you see a * on a price tag when visiting Costco it means that that product is being discontinued. For example during the holiday season I stock up on parchment paper cause it gets discontinued till the following year. I'm thinking that the Kirkland Master Carve Ham will only be available for the holidays rather than year round - just a guess on my part cause those hams are really, really delicious.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill to 180ºF with Apple or Hickory wood pellets. Smoke the Master Carve Ham for one hour before bumping up the pit temperature to 350ºF. Finish the cook at 350ºF until the internal temperature reaches 130ºF. Rest the ham under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before carving against the grain. During those 15 minutes the ham internal temperature should rise to 140ºF.
For those of us who have enjoyed these Master Carve Hams we know that it's hard to beat these babies. Since I'm working hard to watch my daily carbohydrate numbers I'm always looking for side options. I've decided to add fresh broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Steamed some broccoli and served with a small green salad.
Why not Stuffed Mushrooms as an Entrée
Why not Stuffed Mushrooms as an Entrée - The other day I asked myself ... "Why not Stuffed Mushrooms as an Entrée"? I couldn't come up with a reason why not so I decided to go with it. Found some really nice large sized baby bella mushrooms at my local grocery store which worked out perfect.
Used a typical pork sausage stuffed mushroom recipe with cream cheese, onions, chopped mushroom stems, spices to taste, and Parmesan. Served with a variety of stir fried vegetables. All in all, it turned out to be a very healthy filling low carb meal ... Stuffed mushrooms will no longer be just an appetizer for me.