Smoked Spatchcock Cornish Hens
Cornish game hen is the USDA-approved name for variety of broiler chicken, produced from a cross between the Cornish and White Plymouth Rock chicken breeds, that is served young and immature, weighing no more than two pounds. The main difference between a Cornish hen and a chicken is the mature size of the bird. On the farm, Cornish hens reach maturity faster than chickens -- in only about 28 days. Broiler and frying chickens are butchered between 39 and 42 days, while a roaster's lifespan is 50 days.
If you’re not sure what spatchcocked means it’s a big word for taking out the backbone and laying the bird flat. The bird has been splayed out and therefore cooks evenly and easier. Cornish hens are a bit more expensive than chicken but the extra cost is well worth it. They make for an elegant dinner, are more tender, tastier, and fun to eat. Who doesn't want to enjoy their very own little chicken - but don't be surprised if you can't eat a whole one yourself ... There's actually more meat on a Cornish hen than you think.
Carefully pull back the skin from the breast and legs/thighs on the spatchcock Cornish hens and rub Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil under and on the skin of each hen. Liberally rub my Poultry Seasoning which can be found on page 170 in my cookbook, The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook, under and on the skin of each hen. Wrap the seasoned Cornish Hens with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill to 180ºF using 100% hard wood CookinPellets.com Premium Perfect Mix wood pellets. I recommend using a Teflon grill mat to keep the Cornish hens from sticking to the grill grates. Smoke the Spatchcocked Cornish Hens for an hour at 180ºF before increasing the pit temperature to 375ºF. The Cornish hens are cooked when the internal temperature of the breast at the thickest part reaches 170ºF. Rest the Smoked Spatchcock Cornish Hens loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving ... For planning purposes only - took a total of about 2½ hours which includes the preheat time - Always cook to internal temperatures!
Smoked Sirloin Pork Roast
A Sirloin Pork Roast comes from the whole boneless pork loin which is a primal cut of meat that runs between the back legs and shoulder. It weights about 10 pounds and is the leanest part of the animal. The pork loin provides many tender individual cuts (See photo below). Because so many cuts can come from it, the boneless loin is an incredible value and is an inexpensive way to plan multiple meals or feed a large group. Depending on how it’s broken down and prepared, on average one loin can provide anywhere around 20 servings. I buy my whole boneless pork loins at Costco and cut my own. Why pay a meat cutter extra to partition your loin when you and a vacuum sealer can save your family lots of money and provide you with custom cuts of meat.
Trimmed fat cap, excess fat, and silver skin from about a 2½ pound Sirloin Pork Roast. Rubbed all sides of the Sirloin Roast with Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and liberally seasoned all sides with my Pork Dry Rub. The recipe for the Pork Dry Rub can be found on page 169 of my cookbook, The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook. Used Silicone Hot Cooking Bands to shape and bind the seasoned roast for even cooking. Wrapped the seasoned Pork Sirloin Roast in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Preheated my Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett Portable Wood Pellet Grill to 180ºF using 100% hard wood CookinPellets.com Premium Perfect Mix wood pellets. The Davy Crockett is perfect for smaller meals, for on the road in our RV and for a small family or two people.
Placed the Sirloin Pork Roast on a Teflon grill mat and smoked at 180ºF for an hour. The Teflon grill mat keeps the meat from sticking to your grill grates. After an hour of smoke I bumped the Davy Crockett pit temperature to 350ºF and cooked the roast until the internal temperature of the Sirloin Pork Roast reached 145ºF. Rested the smoked roast loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain ... For planning purposes only - took a total of about 2½ hours which includes the preheat time - Always cook to internal temperatures!
Smoked Peeled Tri Tip Roast
One can never get too much of a good thing and Smoked Tri Tip Roast is one of those items. We love it so much that we buy our Tri Tips peeled in bulk. Peeled tri tips have the fat cap already removed. My Costco sells USDA Choice grade and Prime grade Tri Tips. We, on the West Coast, are very familiar with this cut of beef which comes from the bottom butt sirloin subprimal. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1½ to 2½ lbs per side of beef. Incorrectly slicing meat can make a perfectly smoked roast tough and chewy. Within the tri-tip cut, two different grains intersect: approximately half of the roast contains fibers running vertically and the other half contains long muscle fibers coming in at an angle.
Rubbed both sides of the Tri Tip roast with Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and my Pete's Western Rub which can be found on page 169 of my cookbook - "The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook". Wrapped the seasoned Tri Tip roast in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Preheated my Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett Portable Wood Pellet Grill to 180ºF using 100% hard wood CookinPellets.com Premium Perfect Mix wood pellets which is comprised of 100% Hickory, Cherry, Hard Maple, and Apple pellets. The Davy Crockett is perfect for smaller meals, for on the road in our RV and/or for two people.
Smoked the Tri Tip Roast for an hour at 180°F before bumping the pit temperature to 235°F. Finished smoking/cooking for approximately 1 hour at 235ºF until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the roast reached 145ºF. Rested the roast loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain(s). As you can see from the photos, 145ºF produces a nice medium rare output. For rarer results, pull the roast at 135ºF.
Served with a side of scalloped potatoes and an Oriental salad. Simple but scrumptious meal made even easier by getting the sides from Costco. Easy peasy ... Enjoy!!
Hickory Smoked Pork Spare Ribs
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words ... Take the above picture of succulent Hickory Smoked Pork Spare Ribs cooked to perfection!! I know a smoke ring doesn't alter the delicious taste of a spare rib but it sure provides a visual effect that screams "Eat Me" ... Ribs are one of the marquee pork dishes that are a favorite at backyard barbeques, family reunions or anyplace else that people gather over food. Here’s a little info on how to pick the right cut of ribs:
Spareribs (aka side ribs) are the long cuts from the belly behind the shoulder. Racks typically have 11-13 bones and have meat on top of and between the bones. While they have the least amount of meat, a lot of folks think they’re the tastiest
- St. Louis-Style Ribs
Like the spareribs, St. Louis-style ribs come from the belly but trimmed a bit further. No breastbone, cartilage or tips. The result is a rectangular rack of deliciousness. The Kansas City variety is very similar with even more bone removed
- Back Ribs
Also called loin ribs, baby back ribs or riblets, these tasty little guys are small and easy to hold. They tend to be a bit fattier than other styles but taste great when done right. Each slab is generally about 1-1/2 pounds and are very flavorful
- Country-Style Ribs
Country-style ribs are from the shoulder (or blade) end of the loin. With these, you’ll find the most meat per bone and the least amount of fat. You can eat with your fingers but they have enough meat to knife-and-fork them
Always make sure to remove the outer membrane. You can do this by scraping a corner of the membrane with the handle end of a soup spoon to get it started and pull the rest free from the ribs. I like to use a paper towel to hold the membrane.
Rub all sides of the spare ribs with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and season with a liberal amount of Jan's Original Dry Rub (page 168 of my cookbook, The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook) on both sides. Wrap the seasoned Pork Spare Ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill to 180°F using Premium CookinPellets.com 100% Hickory hardwood pellets. I prefer to use my Green Mountain Grill WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett or my MAK 2 Star pellet smoker grill. Smoke the Pork Spare Ribs for an hour before bumping the pit temperature to 250°F. Smoke/cook the ribs for approximately 4 additional hours until the internal temperature of the ribs reach 200°F. Rest the ribs for 15 minutes loosely under a foil tent before serving. Served ribs with a side of rice and pinto beans. Bon Appétit
Smoked Turkey Vegetable Soup with Orzo Pasta
After enjoying a feast of smoked spatchcock turkey with all the trimmings, grazing on leftovers, relishing the delicious smoked turkey tetrazzini casserole, vacuum sealing/freezing a smoked turkey breast for future use, there is but one other meal of leftover turkey to relish - The traditional turkey noodle soup! But this time I chose to put a different twist on the soup ... Sometimes known as my 'kitchen sink' soup, this is my 'Smoked Turkey Vegetable Soup with Orzo Pasta'.
When I spatchcocked a 14 lb turkey which I smoked, I set aside the backbone and neck to boil with the carcass for the soup stock. Added everything I could find in the refrigerator and pantry to the stock for the soup - celery, onion, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, peas, diced red potatoes, 14 oz can of diced stewed tomatoes, diced smoked turkey dark meat, garlic, black pepper, and chicken bouillon. Brought everything to a boil before turning the soup down to a medium simmer until all the vegetables are Al Dante. In the last 10 minutes, I added a half cup of orzo pasta. The best thing about orzo pasta is that it doesn't add a starchy taste to the soup.