Smoked Johnsonville Brats

posted in: Sausages | 0
Smoked Johnsonville Brats
Smoked Johnsonville Brats
Johnsonville Brats
Johnsonville Brats

Smoked Johnsonville Brats

Smoked Johnsonville Brats - Ever since I was a child living in France I've really loved a multitude of different sausages. Being of Eastern European heritage one of my favorite sausage, if not my favorite, is Kielbasa but I must admit that a good Bratwurst, better known as Brats, is a close second. Most of us will admit that Johnsonville Brats are by far the best and most popular commercial sausage on the market. Here in Northern California there are a few great Butcher shops in the area. Two that come to mind are Lakewood Meats & Sausage in Lodi and Lockford Meats and Sausage. Both make a scrumptious Smoked Dakota Brat - but I digress!

Notice the beautiful smoke ring and juiciness of those brats. Each bite provided that nice touch of Hickory and an over abundant amount of rich savory mouthwatering flavor. To die for if you're a lover of a good sausage.

Fired up my MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill to 225ºF with Hickory barbecue wood pellets and smoked the Johnsonville Brats till the internal temperature of the brats reached 170ºF. Took a little over 2 hours to reach temperature.

Cheese Stuffed Smoked Meatloaf

posted in: Beef, Pork | 0
Cheese Stuffed Smoked Meatloaf
Cheese Stuffed Smoked Meatloaf

Cheese Stuffed Smoked Meatloaf - After viewing and drooling over the cheese stuffed smoked meatloaf photograph above how could you not crave a couple of slices of meatloaf accompanied by mash potatoes topped with brown gravy and a side of your favorite vegetables or salad. Meatloaf is considered by many, including myself, to be the ultimate comfort food! If I had my druthers I would have meatloaf in some form or other once a week ... but alas, even though too much of a good thing can be wonderful I need to show some restraint. I must admit that at most restaurants I check the menu to see if meatloaf is an option. As such, I have become quite a meatloaf connoiseur over the years. Meatloaves are plain scrumptious - some are just better than others.

Smoked Meatloaf to 160ºF
Smoked Meatloaf to 160ºF
Cheese Stuffing Eruption
Cheese Stuffing Eruption
Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf Leftovers
Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf Leftovers

I learned that I need to do more research on the type of cheese to use for stuffing meatloaves and other meats. While at the grocery store I selected a bar of Cracker Barrel extra sharp white cheddar cheese to use. Found it to be quite tasty but I did not foresee the impending cheese stuffing eruption when I sliced the meatloaf in half. Even though I allowed the smoked meatloaf to rest loosely under a foil tent for 15 minutes I was not prepared to see the molten cheese that spewed out on the cutting board. I was anticipating to enjoy a nice portion of sharp white cheddar cheese with each slice of meatloaf. I still enjoyed the cheese but more as a side than part of the meatloaf. After researching the types of cheese to use for stuffing I will repeat this recipe again cause as I stated earlier - I simply love meatloaf!

Sharp White Cheddar Stuffing
Sharp White Cheddar Stuffing
Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf
Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf
Meatloaf Smoked at 180ºF
Meatloaf Smoked at 180ºF

Start by using your favorite meatloaf recipe. Once you've smoked any meatloaf recipe on a MAK 2 Star General wood pellet smoker-grill you'll never go back to baking one in the oven. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it just taste so much better. Be aware that you can use any wood pellet smoker-grill for all my recipes on this Blog and/or in my cookbook The Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill Cookbook.

I used an easy recipe for the meatloaf by mixing a pound each of hamburger and Jimmy Dean pork sausage with 2 eggs, diced onion, diced red bell pepper, garlic, seasoned salt, garlic salt, black pepper, Italian bread crumbs, and tomato sauce. One of these days I'll measure the ingredients but for now just suffice it to say that after years of experience I throw in some of this and some of that with of pinch here and there.

Spread out the meatloaf on parchment paper and form it to accept a block of cheese. Use the parchment paper to roll the meatloaf and seal the ends. Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180ºF (smoke setting) with your favorite flavored pellets. I tend to levitate more towards Hickory these days. Smoke the cheese stuffed meatloaf for an hour at 180ºF. Top the meatloaf with tomato sauce and bump the pit temperature to 375ºF. Finish cooking the meatloaf at 375ºF until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160ºF of greater. Always cook to internal temperatures. For planning purposes It took me 2¼ hours to smoke/cook the meatloaf.

Instant Pot Pork Chops and Potatoes

posted in: Instant Pot, Pork | 0
Instant Pot Pork Chops and Potatoes
Pork Chops and Potatoes
Crock Pot Chops
Crock Pot Chops
Chops, Spuds & Green Beans
Chops, Spuds & Green Beans

Instant Pot Pork Chops and Potatoes - Continuing the never ending quest to increase my repertoire of pork chop recipes. Decided that I need to start using my Instant Pot Programmable Smartcooker more in the Crock Pot mode. With the large stash of pork loins I bought at Costco the other day I'm going to have to be more creative in order to spice things up. This doesn't mean that I'm going to start cooking exotic meals but rather down to earth comfort meals that I enjoy eating and preparing. There's nothing worse than some of those foo-foo recipes you find in some cookbooks and the internet that may look great but use ingredients that none of us would ever use and/or eat. Kept this recipe to a few simple ingredients with mouthwatering results.

Sliced Large Red Onion
Sliced Large Red Onion
Sliced Russet Potatoes
Sliced Russet Potatoes
Seasoned Pork Chops
Seasoned Pork Chops
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Cooker set to 8½ hours
Cooker set to 8½ hours

Ingredients:

  • Sliced large red onion
  • Sliced 2 large russet potatoes
  • 3 one inch center cut pork loin chops
  • 10½ oz can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 oz can of sliced mushrooms (keep liquid)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • non-stick cooking spray

Instructions:

  • Coat the pot with non-stick cooking spray
  • Line the bottom with sliced red onions
  • Top the onions with sliced russet potatoes
  • Season the pork chops with kosher salt and black pepper
    • Place pork chops over potatoes
  • Mix the cream of mushroom soup and sliced mushrooms with liquid
    • Cover pork chops with mushroom soup

Close the Instant Pot lid. Select Slow Cook function and use default Normal setting. Use the + button to increase time to 8 hours and 30 minutes. Serve with steamed fresh green beans.

Smoked Yardbird Quarters

posted in: Chicken | 0
Smoked Yardbird Quarters
Smoked Yardbird Quarters

Smoked Yardbird Quarters - Reminiscing about the old days in 2007 when I started smoking things in my Bradley Original 4 rack Smoker. I was always lucky to even get close to 250ºF since back in the day (and still now) it was a 500 watt unit. At 500 watts you're challenged to reach temperatures of 250ºF let alone maintain that temp once you've placed something into the smoker. The old adage of " If you're lookin' you're not cookin' " holds true with the Bradley. But one thing the Bradley does extremely well is to produce a copious amount of smoke. Like others I started to modify my Bradley to bump the wattage to 1,000 watts and then 900 watts. Course, as many on this forum know, I had to add an Auber PID controller.

I soon incorporated a Char-Broil SRG in the mix and discovered that the SRG basket fit into the Bradley smoker. I started smoking items in the Bradley using the SRG basket and then transferring what I was smoking to the SRG to finish off the cook. This worked quite well for a period of time ...

Then in 2011 I discovered wood pellet smoker-grills and bought my first MAK 2 Star. The rest is history ...

Bottom line is that I haven't smoked yardbird parts at 250ºF for years and I wanted to see if they were as delicious as I remembered. The answer is 'Yes' - but the skin was rubbery which was to be expected at that low temperature - no big deal since we no longer eat the skin. Took a mere 2½ hours for the quarters to reach an internal temperature of 180ºF but it was worth the wait. As you can see from the photo above my MAK 2 Star produces it's own copious amount of smoke!

Seasoned Chicken Quarters
Seasoned Chicken Quarters
Chicken Quarters on Pellet Grill
Chicken Quarters on Pellet Grill

Smoked USDA PRIME Tri-Tip (2 of 12)

posted in: Beef | 0
Smoked USDA PRIME Tri-Tip (2 of 12)
Hickory Smoked Prime Tri-Tip

Smoked USDA PRIME Tri-Tip (2 of 12) - 11 days ago I posted the first of 12 Blog entries concerning the Costco USDA Prime peeled Tri-Tip roasts. It's going to be a challenge coming up with various methods and techniques to smoke/cook these beautifully marbled cuts of meat. But it's a challenge I'm more than willing to take on. I originally planned on cooking a tri-tip roast every week but there's no need to rush into this. There's so much to cook and fix that I'm just going to go with the flow! It's been said that properly cooked Tri-Tip is the poor man's prime rib - I truly believe that a properly smoked Tri-Tip is actually better than a prime rib. Try out this recipe and you be the judge!

There are a multitude of people that prefer their beef to be cooked medium to medium-well. To each his own I always say ... but I for one consider it sacrilegious to take a tri-tip past medium rare as shown in the photo above. Trust me when I say that you can cut it with a fork and it will melt in your mouth.

Since the Tri-Tip roasts were peeled there was no need for me to trim off any fat cap and/or silver skin. That may not always be the case but peeled roasts greatly minimize the prep time. The prep is simple - rub the roast with a glue in order for the seasoning/rub to cling to the meat and work it's magic overnight in the fridge. Rub the tri-tip roast with extra virgin olive oil on all sides and season with Fagundes Seasoning. McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning also works wonderfully. Wrap the seasoned roast in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill with Hickory flavored wood pellets to 235ºF. Smoke the seasoned Tri-Tip roast at 235ºF until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 145ºF. This 2½ roast took about 2 hours to reach temperature. Times listed here are for planning purposes only. Rested the smoked roast loosely under a foil tent for 15 minutes before carving on the bias against the grain. Just remember that each half of the tri-tip has grains running different directions.

Seasoned Prime Tri-Tip
Seasoned Prime Tri-Tip
Hickory Smoked Tri-Tip
Hickory Smoked Tri-Tip
Prime Tri-Tip to 145ºF
Prime Tri-Tip to 145ºF
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