Ninja Foodi Atlantic Salmon
Five species of Pacific salmon thrive in the North Pacific waters of the US and Canada: Chinook (King), Coho (Silver), Pink, Sockeye (Red), and Chum salmon. They begin their lives in freshwater streams, lakes, rivers and migrate to the sea as small fish called smolts. Most people have their favorite salmon and mine has always been Sockeye salmon better know as Reds. Sockeye salmon is an oilier fish with deep red flesh and is high in heart-healthy omega3s but has a stronger flavor and stands up well to grilling and smoking using Alder wood pellets.
Unfortunately, my local Costco only stocks fresh wild Alaska Reds for a limited time each year and for the most part can be a bit pricey. So I have come to rely on fresh and frozen farmed Atlantic Salmon from Costco. The frozen 4 oz portions of farmed Atlantic Salmon is a good alternative to wild-caught salmon. Costco's Kirkland farmed Atlantic salmon is raised without antibiotics and contains more omega-3 fatty acids than wild-caught salmon.
Defrosted two 4 oz portions of Kirkland frozen Farmed Atlantic Salmon. Seasoned the salmon with layers of flavors consisting of Old Bay seasoning, Lawry's Garlic salt, and Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze with Honey and Pineapple.
Lined my Ninja SP101 Foodi 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Oven sheet pan with heavy duty foil. Placed the seasoned Atlantic salmon on the sheep pan. Set the Ninja Foodi Air Fry Oven Air Roast option to 390°F and roasted the Atlantic salmon for approximately 16 minutes until the internal temperature of the salmon reached 145°F and the fish flaked easily with a fork. Rested the baked Atlantic salmon for 5 minutes before serving with your side(s) of choice.
Always be safe and thaw your meat, poultry, and fish in the refrigerator.
Ninja Foodi Pork Loin Rib Roast
You can save a substantial amount of money when you buy a whole boneless pork loin and customize cutting it yourself. I prefer buying my pork loins from Costco, trimming any excess fat and silver skin, and cutting my own roasts and pork chops. I vacuum seal the cuts of pork and freeze them for later use. Why pay the extra price for a meat cutter/butcher for your pork cuts. I like my roasts around 2 pounds which is perfect for the two of us.
Lined my Ninja SP101 Foodi 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Oven sheet pan with heavy duty foil. Placed the seasoned Pork Loin Rib Roast on the sheep pan. Set the Ninja Foodi Air Fry Oven Air Roast option to 350°F and roasted the pork loin for approximately 35 minutes until the internal temperature of the pork loin reached 145°F. Rest the pork loin for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving with your side(s) of choice.
Ninja Foodi Spatchcock Cornish Hen
After reading and seeing the results of Air Fry Ovens I decided to see what the fuss is all about and learn for myself if one of these is worth the money. There are so many Air Fry Ovens on the market that selecting one was almost too daunting. After extensive research, I chose the Ninja SP101 Foodi 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Oven which flips away for storage. This Ninja model is so versatile and easy to use that I often prefer using the Air Fry Oven over my wood pellet smoker grills, conventional oven, microwave oven, and my instant pot. To date, I have enjoyed cooking all the common items one associates with Air Fry Ovens and then some. I will be sharing many of my cooks in the days and weeks to come.
I started by spatchcocking a Cornish hen ... Spatchcock: Removal of the backbone with poultry sheers in order to open out flat the bird. This allows for shorter cooking times and more even cooking.
Patted the Cornish hen dry with paper towels before rubbing roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil under and on the skin. Seasoned under and on the skin with Jan's Dry Rub - See page 168 of my cookbook - The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook. Wrapped the seasoned spatchcocked Cornish hen with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
Lined the Ninja Foodi sheet pan with heavy duty foil. Placed the seasoned spatchcocked Cornish hen breast side down on the sheet pan and set the Ninja Foodi Air Fry Oven Air Roast option to 400°F for 12 minutes. Flipped the Cornish hen breast side up and set the Air Roast option to 400°F for an additional 12 minutes to complete the cook. Rest the roasted Cornish hen for 10 minutes before serving. The Cornish hen was perfect - the dark meat and the white breast meat were extremely moist and flavorful.
Always cook to internal temperatures using an instant read thermometer. Unlike some recipes that call for the thigh internal temperature to be at 165°F I propose that you make sure to take the thigh to 180°F which is what the directions on the Cornish hen package calls for.
Served half a roasted Cornish hen with half an avocado and an ample side of Brussels sprouts in a creamy sauce with bacon. Believe it or not, half of a Cornish hen has more meat on it than you think. I used to smoke/cook 2 Cornish hens but usually wound up vacuum sealing and freezing the second Cornish hen for a later meal. If you have an Air Fry Oven you should try roasting a Cornish hen for a quick and delicious entree. If you don't own an Air Fry Oven, I propose you at buying one - you'll be surprised how much use you'll get out of one!
Smoked New York Strip
Smoked New York Strip to a perfect medium rare served with an ample portion of Loaded Slow-Cooker Potatoes and a side of corn ... does it get any better than that? I think not! Since there's only the two of us left at home and I prefer to buy my meat in bulk when possible but there's no way I would smoke a whole New York Strip anymore. When buying a strip, I trim it of excess fat cap and silver skin before cutting up the strip into New York Strip Steaks and portions of roast better suited for 2 people. Use of a vacuum sealer to freeze the rest of the New York Strip not being used is highly recommended.
Started with a New York Strip about 3½ pounds that's been lurking in my freezer for a couple of months. I must admit that when this Covid-19 first started I loaded two freezers with all sorts of meats, fish, and poultry. As long as I don't lose power, then I'll be good to go for a few more months before needing to restock.
Started by defrosting a 3½ pound USDA Beef Loin Top Loin, New York Strip, roast in the refrigerator for a day. Defrosting any meat outside of a refrigerator can lead to safety issues. It only takes a little bit if planning ahead. Rubbed the New York Strip roast with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil before seasoning all sides liberally with 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 NY Strip roast in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Preheated my Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett Portable Wood Pellet Grill to 240ºF 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 cuts of meat, for on the road in our RV and/or for two people.
Smoked the New York Strip roast for approximately 3 hours until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the roast reached 135°F. Rested the roast loosely under a foil tent for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain. For planning purposes, it took about 3¾ hours for this cook (30 minutes preheat - 3 hours smoke - 15 minutes rest). The results was a perfect medium rare!! Always cook to internal temperatures.
Loaded Slow-Cooker Potatoes Recipe - I confess that a friend of mine shared this recipe on social media and I liked it so much that I decided to use the recipe. Turned out totally scrumptious. Over the years, I cooked a lot of potatoes in foil in my wood pellet grills and oven but never in a Crock Pot. Here is the link to this very simple, but delicious, Loaded Slow-Cooker Potatoes Recipe by Lindsay Funston.
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!