Low-Carb Hickory Smoked Thighs
Mouthwatering crispy skin chicken thighs are a perfect option for anyone following a low-card lifestyle. A Hickory smoked chicken thigh (skin eaten) has zero grams of Total Carbohydrates. Yup, Zero! So there's no reason to deprive yourself of the goodness that only a delicious piece of chicken can satisfy. Now would you really pass up a couple of these scrumptious golden brown dark meat beauties? In the past I've always selected the breast white meat but lately I'm really enjoying the full flavor of the dark meat.
It's one thing to have zero carbohydrates in the chicken but what about the sides? The sides are usually where many of us start to falter but that doesn't need to be the case. Do I miss bread, rice, potatoes, etc? Why yest I do!! But fortunately I simply love fresh steamed vegetables. So check out the photo below where I served a smoked chicken thigh with steamed broccoli, yellow Summer squash, green beans and beautifully prepare deviled eggs. Don't be afraid to supplement your steamed vegetables with a few pats of butter which also contain no carbs ... 1 cup of broccoli = 6 grams of carbs - 1 cup of yellow squash = 4 grams of carbs - 1 cup of green beans = 6 grams of carbs - 1 boiled egg = 0.6 grams of carbs (deviled egg contains mayo, pickle juice, salt & pepper).
Trim chicken thighs of fat and any excess skin before lightly rubbing roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil under and on the skin. Season under and on the skin with my Poultry Seasoning found in my Cookbook. Wrap the seasoned chicken thighs in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking. Preheat your grill with smokinpellets.com Premium 100% Hickory pellets to 180ºF. Smoke the chicken thighs at 180ºF for an hour before bumping the pit temperature to 375ºF. Finish the cook when the chicken internal temperature reaches 180ºF. Allow the chicken thighs to rest for 10 minutes before serving. For estimating purposed only: Start to finish should take approximately 2 - 2¼ hours hours.
MAK SmokeBox Salmon
Can't always find fresh wild salmon in my local grocery store so I settled for 2nd best and picked up a farmed Atlantic salmon filet. Not quite the same but it's fresh and available year round. Decided to take my cold smoking to the next level by using my MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill Super Smoker Box. Normally, to smoke salmon properly, I would brine my salmon first but I wanted to combine a cold and hot smoke technique for a quick and dirty fish dinner.
Season your farmed fresh Atlantic Salmon with a light dusting of Old Bay Seasoning and a thin layer of Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze with Honey & Pineapple. Allow the salmon filet to come to room temperature.
Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking. Preheat your grill to 180ºF with smokinpellets.com Premium Perfect Mix 100% Hardwood pellets. Place the salmon in the MAK 2 Star Super Smoker Box and smoke the salmon for 2 hours. Remove the salmon fillets from the Smoker Box and transfer the fillets to the pit. Bump the pit temperature to 400ºF and cook for approximately 12 - 15 minutes until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 145ºF or easily flakes with a fork.
I chose to serve the smoked salmon a cucumber and red onion salad. If you're watching your carbohydrates you should try this recipe but be careful to limit the amount of Teriyaki baste & glaze you use.
CookinPellets Grilled Strip Steak
I never get tired of grilling and devouring a scrumptious New York Strip Steak cooked on my MAK 2 Star Wood Pellet Smoker-Grill. I prefer my steaks Medium-Rare so I grill my steaks to and internal temperature of 130ºF. One of the advantages of my MAK 2 Star is having the ability to configure the pit for indirect as well as direct cooking. Using the FlameZone® feature and a Searing Grate I configured the pit for direct cooking.
While pre-heating the MAK 2 Star to High (450ºF+) with CookinPellets Premium 100% Hickory wood pellets I seasoned the NY Strip Steaks with Pete's Western Rub (recipe can be found in my Cookbook) and allowed the steaks to come up to room temperature. It's a well accepted fact in order to grill a steak to perfection it should be at room temperature when tossed on the grill.
Even though beautiful cross grill marks do not affect the taste of medium-rare steaks it certainly makes them that much more appealing. I was very impressed with the performance of the CookinPellets Premium 100% Hickory wood pellets at the high temperatures produced on the MAK 2 Star. I've been impressed with the pellet performance at lower temperatures and after using them at a High temperature I can confidently say that I will be using them for all my cooking/smoking needs.
To achieve those beautiful cross grill marks cook the steaks for a couple of minutes before rotating the steaks 90 degrees on the searing grate. You can then turn the steaks over and finish cooking them to temp. I like to purchase a cryovaced full New York Strip at Costco and cut my own steaks to my preferred thickness. Not only do I get beautiful steaks but you can also save a nice chunk of change cause the price per pound will be a lot less.
Kielbasa Stuffed Pork Loin
Want to have some fun with a Pork Loin? Then try stuffing one with the goodness of your favorite sausage! That's what inspired me to combine a Kielbasa with a pork loin roast. I took my sharp filet knife and cut a slit through the pork loin and pushed a sausage into the center. Turned out so good that I'm looking forward to my next stuffing inspiration! Stay tuned to see what that will be ...
You can safely cook pork to 145°F, which is medium rare. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, followed by a 3 minute rest time, to enjoy pork that is tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
Ever since the present USDA standards came out I have been taking my pork to 145ºF versus the old standard of 160ºF and I haven't looked back ... Notice how juicy the stuffed kielbasa stuffed pork loin turned out. I can attest to the fact that it tasted as scrumptious as it looks. Yes, it was extremely tender too! The smoke ring does not alter the taste of the pork loin but it certainly looks impressive.
Rubbed the kielbasa stuffed pork loin with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and seasoned the roast with Jan's Original Dry Rub. Used Silicone Cooking Bands to help keep the shape of the roast. Wrapped the roast with plastic and refrigerated overnight.
Preheated my MAK 2 Star General Wood Pellet Smoker-Grill to 250ºF with cookinpellet.com 100% Hickory pellets. Smoked the stuffed roast for approximately 2 hours to an internal temperature of 145ºF. Rested the roast for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain an serving with a side of baked beans and fresh steamed green beans. I'm really enjoying the bold delicious results infused into the pork loin roast by the cookinpellet.com 100% Hickory pellets!! Hickory and pork - a winning combination ...
Smoked Turkey Zucchini Enchiladas
This time of year it's a daily challenge to find different low-carb ways of using the ample amounts of Zucchini Squash I'm harvesting from my garden. I decided on a Mexican enchilada recipe in order to use the large zucchini squash that often wind up hiding in my squash patch. So in order to keep this low-carb I replaced the traditional corn or flour tortillas with thin ¼ inch slices of zucchini. But what to stuff the enchiladas with? Looking through my freezer I came across a Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast from a previous cook. BINGO ... perfect - just what I needed!
This recipe was easy and quick to prep. The one change I would make is slicing the zucchini thinner than the ¼ inch slices that I used because the ¼ inch slices were a little stiff and difficult to roll up. I needed to cook the enchiladas a little longer at a higher temperature to ensure that the zucchini was cooked properly. Other than that I was extremely pleased with the results and I will definitely cook this recipe again using leftover turkey, chicken, or pulled pork.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 large chopped red onion, 2 tsp mince garlic, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 4 cups shredded smoked turkey, 1½ cups red enchilada sauce, 3-4 large zucchini squash, 1½ cups grated Monterey Jack, 1½ cups grated sharp Cheddar, and sour cream.
- Preheat oven of wood pellet smoker-grill to 375ºF
- Cook onion in a large skillet over medium high heat until soft
- Add garlic, cumin, and chili powder
- Add shredded turkey and 1 cup of red enchilada sauce
- Peel thin slices of zucchini using a vegetable peeler
- Lay out 2-3 zucchini slices, slightly overlapping
- Place ample amount of turkey stuffing on zucchini slices
- Roll up the zucchini enchilada and transfer to a baking dish
- Repeat the procedure until the baking dish is full
- Pour remaining sauce over zucchini enchiladas
- Cover enchiladas with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses
- Bake covered for 45 minutes
- Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes
- Garnish with sour cream