Claussen Knockoff Garlic & Dill Pickles

posted in: Recipes | 0
Claussen Knockoff Garlic & Dill Pickles

Claussen Knockoff Garlic & Dill Pickles

Claussen Knockoff Garlic & Dill Pickles - I can't believe it's been over 2 years since I've pickled a batch of Claussen style garlic and dill knockoff pickles. These beauties have turned out fabulous over the years so I decided to gather all the ingredients for this simple yet fresh crispy delicious refrigerator pickle recipe. Talk about a sticker shock!! Two years ago a case/lug of pickling cucumbers cost me $22.50 but this year the same case/lug was just shy of $45 and that included the 10% discount the manager gave me. With this recipe and a case of pickling cucumbers I was able to pack 21 large mouth quart jars with spears. At my local grocery store a jar of Claussen pickles run about $4.50 each. So the bottom line is by the time you factor all the ingredients and my time it's probably a wash but my pickled cucumbers have no preservatives and the results are to die for!

Knockoff Pickle Spices
Washed Pickling Cucumbers
Quartered Pickling Cucumbers

Start by sterilizing wide mouth quart jars, lids and bands. Wash the pickling cucumbers thoroughly and set aside - DO NOT use regular store-bought cucumbers. They are usually coated with was to preserver them over long shipping/storage periods which dot not bode well with the pickling process.


This makes enough brine for 4 quart jars. No need to boil the brine. combine in a large pitcher. Stir until salt is dissolved. Set aside.

  • 6 cups of filtered water
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ cup Pickling & Canning salt - Do not use regular table or sea salt

Ingredients for each quart jar:

  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • ½ tsp mustard seed
  • 8 fresh dill sprigs/heads
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dehydrated minced/chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper


  • Pack each sterilized quart jar with the ingredients listed above
    • Pour enough brine in each jar and shake the jar to combine the spices
  • Tightly pack sliced cucumber spears in each quart jar
  • Pour pickling brine over cucumber spears leaving ½ inch or head room or more
  • Cover each jar with lid and band.
    • Tighten band and turn each jar upside-down and right-side up a few times to distribute the seasonings
  • Loosen each band and allow to sit on counter top for 3 days
    • Twice daily - tighten band and turn/shake each jar 4 times
    • Loosen bands and return to counter top
  • On the 4th day, tighten the bands and refrigerate the Claussen Knockoff pickles
    • These Claussen Knockoff Garlic & Dill pickles will keep in the refrigerator for at least 6 months but I know they will be enjoyed way before that

I highly recommend leaving the pickles in the refrigerator for at least one week before cracking your first jar ... Enjoy!

Stuffed Quart Jars
Cucumbers with Lids and Bands
Knockoff Pickles Pickling

For Planning Purposes:

One case/lug of pickling cucumbers will pack approximately 20 wide mouth quart jars. Depending on the size of the pickling cucumbers I was able to tightly pack 12 to 15 spears in each jar. I cut each cucumber into 4 spears which means I packed 3 to 4 cucumbers per jar.

Approximate amount of Ingredients:

2½ to 3 cups Pickling Salt, ½ gallon Apple Cider vinegar, 1½ gallons filtered water, 1 to 1½ lbs peeled fresh garlic, 2 oz mustard seed, 2 bundles dill sprigs, 4 oz pepper corn, 2 oz onion powder, 4 oz dehydrated onion chopped/minced, 1 oz red pepper.

Smoked Bone-In Chicken Breasts

posted in: Chicken | 0
Smoked Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bone-In Chicken Breasts - My local grocery store is having a special on beautiful humongous fresh bone-in/skin-on half breasts. Buy One/Get One FREE. I just couldn't pass that up. For the longest time I've been cooking chicken thighs cause it's been getting harder and harder to find bone-in/skin-on half breasts. Whenever I do find them they usually want an arm and a leg for them. It's has to be bone-in/skin-on for me to smoke/cook in order to keep the meat moist and tender. Vacuum sealed the free package but I need to go back and some more before they stop this special.

Perfect Mix Smoked Chicken
Chicken Breast with sides

Rubbed under/on the skin with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil. Seasoned under/on skin with McCormick Chicken Seasoning and Fagundes Seasoning. Wrapped in plastic and fridged for 4 hours.

Preheated my MAK 2 Star to Smoke (~180ºF) with Premium 100% Hickory. Smoked the breasts for 1½ hours. Bumped the temp to 350ºF and cooked until the internal temperature reached 170ºF. Rested 10 minutes.

Foster Farms Half Breasts
Seasoned Chicken Breasts
Roasting Chicken Breasts

Smoked Pork Loin Florentine

posted in: Pork | 0
Smoked Pork Loin Florentine

Smoked Pork Loin Florentine

Smoked Pork Loin Florentine - The term "Florentine" gives any recipe that extra touch of class. Florentine can refer to the cooking style of Florence, Italy, but in modern jargon it has come to mean cuisine that includes spinach as an ingredient. So adding spinach to almost any recipe may qualify it as "Florentine" in many quarters. Therefore, here's a simple but elegant sounding and delicious smoked stuffed pork loin recipe. Served a few slices of Smoked Pork Loin Florentine with a side of green salad and an SRG Baked Potato. Turned out succulent!!

I really like Premium 100% Hickory pellets but I'm becoming very partial to their Premium Perfect Mix (Hickory, Cherry, Maple, Apple). As you can see from the photo below, on the Smoke setting my MAK 2 Star produces beautiful smoke. Since I use the MAK Grills Mobile WiFi Module there is no need for me to go outside but I can't help myself from going outside to just get a nostril full of that Premium Perfect Mix aroma!

Pork Loin to 145ºF
Pork Loin Florentine

Butterflied a small 3 lb pork loin and rubbed EVOO on all sides. Seasoned all sides with Jan's Original Dry Rub. Wilted some fresh spinach with olive oil and spread out the spinach on the seasoned butterflied loin. Rolled the roast tightly and secured it with silicone cooking bands. Wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 3-5 hours.

Preheated my direct cooking configured pellet grill to 180ºF (Smoke) and smoked the stuffed pork loin with Perfect Mix for 1½ hours. Bumped the pit temp to 350ºF until the internal temperature reached 145ºF. Rested the pork loin Florentine for 15 minutes before carvings. For planning purposed only: It took about 3 hours from preheating to resting. Always cook to internal temperatures.

Butterflied Pork Loin
Pork Loin with Spinach
Smoking Pork Loin

Smoked Pork Loin Back Ribs

posted in: Pork | 1
Smoked Pork Loin Back Ribs

Smoked Pork Loin Back Ribs

Smoked Pork Loin Back Ribs - I honestly can't remember the last time I smoked a few racks of Baby Back Ribs! Years ago I gravitated to St Louis style ribs cause they're usually a little cheaper and they have more meat on them there bones ... We were at Sam's Club a couple of days ago and saw a pack of Baby Backs with my name on them. I normally buy my meat at Costco but hey, when in Rome ...

While preheating my MAK 2 Star to Smoke (~180ºF) with Premium Perfect Mix I removed the membrane off the ribs, rubbed a little roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil on front and back, and lightly seasoned the ribs with Jan's Original Dry Rub. Used my MAK Rib Rack and Smoked the ribs for an hour. Bumped the pit temp to 250ºF to finish the cook. 3 hours later the ribs were at a temp of 190ºF. Rested for 10 minutes and served.

Perfect Mix Baby Backs
Smoked Ribs
Resting Smoked Back Ribs
Baby Backs with Cole Slaw

Some people will tell you that you don't really need to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs but that's simply not true. The membrane prevents any seasonings and smoke to penetrate the meat. It's not hard at all to remove the membrane. Just use the end of spoon, work it under the membrane, grab the membrane with a paper towel, and just rip it off. You'll get better results.

Smoked Pork Tenderloins

posted in: Low Carb Recipes, Pork | 0
Smoked Pork Tenderloins

Smoked Pork Tenderloins

Smoked Pork Tenderloins - "Pork. The other white meat" was an advertising slogan the National Pork Board used in 1987 to pitch pork as a white meat alternative to chicken or turkey. Back then the USDA standards was to take pork to 160ºF which unfortunately tended to make pork dry and tough. The USDA has since changed their standards and now recommend to take pork to 145ºF which leaves the pork moist and tender. The most tender cut of pork is the tenderloin just like a beef tenderloin which provides Filet Mignon. The pork tenderloin equivalency to Filet Mignon is a Medallion and is commonly known as the Filet Mignon of Pork. But one thing is certain, the pork tenderloin is 2 to 3 times cheaper than the beef.

Untrimmed Pork Tenderloins
Trimmed and Seasoned Pork Tenderloins

One distinct feature of a pork tenderloin is a small amount of connective tissue known as silver skin. I highly recommend that you always remove the silver skin because it doesn't dissolve when the tenderloin is smoked. Remove the silver skin using a very sharp paring knife by working the knife between the silver skin and the muscle fibers. Angle the knife slightly upward and use a sawing action.

Rub the trimmed pork tenderloins with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with your favorite pork seasoning/rub. I recommend using Jan's Original Dry Rub which can be found in my cookbook The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook. Wrap the seasoned pork tenderloins in plastic and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.

Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 225ºF with Premium Perfect Mix wood pellets. The Perfect Mix is comprised of Hickory, Cherry, Maple, and Apple hardwood pellets. The formula is a closely guarded secret but the results are magnificent! Smoke the tenderloins for approximately 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Rest the smoked pork tenderloins loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving.

Note how moist and tender the pork tenderloins are. The reddish color of the tenderloin is a product of the cherry pellets. Cherry will tend to give a reddish tint to meat. Especially pork, chicken and turkey. The tenderloins were so tender that I easily cut the meat with a fork.


Perfect Mix Smoked Pork Tenderloins
Sliced Smoked Pork Tenderloins
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