Smoked Turkey Thighs with Loaded Cauliflower Bake
Smoked Turkey Thighs - I personally love turkey anytime of the year. So to my surprise I was elated to find a Manager's Special at my local grocery store of turkey parts - Wings and Thighs. I'm not a big fan of turkey/chicken wings so I opted for the bone-in/skin-on thighs. I really prefer the turkey dark meat. Not only is the dark meat extremely tasty but it's very forgiving when smoked/cooked. Unlike the turkey breast white meat, which must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165º - 170ºF, the turkey dark meat needs to be taken to an internal temperature of 180ºF. But if your thighs go a bit beyond the 180ºF range it won't dry out the meat and will still be very tender.
It's very important to use bone-in/skin-on thighs versus boneless/skinless thighs. When smoking poultry/turkey the surface of the meat will become very though and leathery. Cooking bone-in/skin-on poultry/turkey prevents this and keeps the meat moist. Make sure to season under the skin for maximum flavor profiles.
Not only will you, your family, and friends enjoy a wonderful meal but you'll also find that it's very economical. These turkey thighs were not only huge but they were 99¢ per pound. When was the last time you paid 99¢ per pound for any kind of protein? Picked up 4 thighs and one hickory smoked thigh was more than enough for the two of us. Vacuum sealed the other 3 thighs for future use in a casserole, salad, or as a main dish. For under $5 we have enough turkey dark meat for 4 meals ... It doesn't get any better than this!!
Trim any excess fat and skin from turkey thighs. Peel back the skin and rub extra virgin olive oil under and on the skin. Season under and on the skin of the turkey thighs with Pete's Western Rub (you can find the rub recipe in my cookbook The Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill Cookbook) and McCormick Montreal Chicken seasoning or use your favorite poultry/turkey seasoning. My Pete's Western Rub is a great compliment to the Montreal Chicken seasoning. Wrap the seasoned turkey thighs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 200ºF using Cookinpellets.com 100% Hickory pellets. Smoke the turkey thighs for 2 hours. Increase the grill temperature to 330ºF and pull the thighs when their internal temperature reaches 180ºF (about another hour). Rest the thighs loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving.
Loaded Cauliflower Bake Recipe -
Loaded Cauliflower Bake Ingredients:
- 1 large head of cauliflower (broken into florets)
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp All Purpose flour
- 1cup of whole milk
- 1cup of heavy cream
- 3 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
- ½ diced red onions
- Salt & black pepper to taste
Loaded Cauliflower Bake Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF while steaming florets for 10-13 minutes until florets are al dente
- Cheese Sauce:
- Melt butter, add garlic, and flour over medium high heat.
- Stir until golden brown - about 2 minutes and add milk & heavy cream. Bring to a low simmer
- Add cream cheese and diced red onions , whisking until combined
- Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and whisk until cheese is melted
- Season cheese sauce with salt & pepper to taste
- Build casserole:
- In a casserole dish, spray with with non-stick cooking oil
- Add steamed cauliflower florets, add bacon, pour cheese sauce over florets, and stir ingredients
- Top with remaining shredded cheddar cheese
- Bake the loaded cauliflower bake casserole for 30 - 45 minutes until cauliflower is tender, sauce has thickened, and cheese is bubbly. Rest casserole for 10 minutes before serving
Here's a great twist to your standard or ordinary Pork Chop dinner! Served with Fried Rice, Chow Mein, or Stir Fry, these deep fried, Spicy Honey Pork Chops will delight one and all! A perfect blend of flour and spices coat the chops with a flavor explosion. This, combined with a honey garlic glaze will send your taste buds into overload!
- 6 center loin pork chops; well trimmed. Bone-in or boneless. (size the chops to your preference)
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 tbsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
For the honey garlic glaze:
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you are brave)
- Mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, ground pepper, ground ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage, paprika, and cayenne pepper; mix in a bowl large enough for coating the chops. In a second bowl, beat the egg and evaporated milk until blended well.
- Season the chops with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper, then submerge in egg mix; then place in flour/spice mix and cover (pack) seasoning well.
- Heat a skillet on the stove with enough canola oil to cover the chops. Place coated chops into oil and fry until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from skillet and let them drain on a wire rack.
Make your glaze!
- In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and minced garlic; cook until garlic is softened; but, not browned
- Add the honey, soy sauce, and black pepper
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. (Keep an eye on the simmering; because it will boil over if you are not careful)
Apricot Glazed Chicken
If you are looking for a change from traditional takeout and for something everyone will be raving about, this perfect combination of sweet and tangy; with a hint of spice; will delight all who gather around your table! Bone-in or boneless; skin on or skinless; white or dark meat, you won't go wrong with any combination; it's all up to your preference. Our family enjoys this dish with chicken thighs. We purchase them bone-in; but remove the bone prior to cooking. It is a must for these to be served with mixed vegetables and rice!
- 6 Boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
- 1 jar Apricot Preserves
- 3 Tbsp Chicken Stock
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or chives
In a bowl, combine BBQ Sauce, Apricot Preserves, Chicken Stock, Soy Sauce, Red Pepper Flakes, and Lemon Juice. Mix thoroughly.
Place lightly browned Chicken Thighs in a shallow cast iron pan and pour sauce over Chicken. Place pan on grill and cook until Chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 to 180.
Remove pan from grill; garnish with chopped Parsley or Chives. Serve with rice and fresh vegetables!
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!! - An old saying but very appropriate with this delicious meal we feasted on last night. Doesn't get any better than a smoked chicken breast, SRG baked potato, and a nice green salad. I make it a point to always smoke/roast only bone-in skin-on chicken parts. The reason is that the bone-in skin-on keeps the moisture in and I believe enhances the flavor of the chicken. Without the skin the chicken meat will have that dry leathery look and be very tough. Remember that if you want the skin to be crispy you'll need to cook it at a high temperature (350º to 400ºF) at the end of the cook. No one wants to eat rubbery chicken skin.
Chicken, like Turkey, can be bland unless you take the time to season under the skin and allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat. Too many people just season on top of the skin and then wonder why the chicken is neutral tasting. Unless the skin is crispy most of us do not eat the skin - heck, today many of us no longer eat the skin. So it's important to properly season the chicken before cooking.
Trim excess skin and fat from bone-in chicken breasts and thighs. Carefully peel back the skin and rub roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil on/under the skin and all sides of the chicken. Season the chicken on/under the skin and all sides with Pete's Western Rub and McCormick Montreal Chicken seasoning. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180ºF using Cookinpellets.com 100% Hickory pellets. Smoke the chicken for 1½ hours at 180ºF before increasing the pit temperature to 350ºF. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken breasts at the thickest part reach 170ºF and 180ºF for the chicken thighs. Rest the Chicken for 10 minutes loosely under a foil tent before serving.
For baked potatoes to die for I highly recommend using a Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill (SRG). Scrub the taters clean and allow them to dry. Lightly rub the taters with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and season with Pete's Western Rub. Cook the potatoes on High with the Lid Open for approximately 1½ hours until the internal temperature of the spuds reach 210ºF. If the baked potatoes are done before the chicken wrap them in foil to keep them hot. Once you taste a baked potato using this recipe in the SRG you'll never go back to baking potatoes in the oven.
Smoked Tri-Tip – RVing
Who says you can't take it with you? On the road that is and not into the hereafter ... Our Motorhome manufacturer's motto is "Roughing It Smoothly" and my Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett wood pellet smoker-grill is perfect to take on the road with us. Watched a little TV and used my WiFi connection to monitor and control the Davy Crockett.
Used one of my time tested recipes to smoke this peeled Choice 3 lb Tri-Tip roast I picked up at Costco. Since it was peeled I only needed to trim a small amount of excess fat and silver skin. Rubbed the Tri-Tip with Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and lightly seasoned all sides with Pete's Western Rub before wrapping the roast in plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.
Preheated the GMG Davy Crockett to 225ºF with Cookinpellets.com Premium Perfect Mix pellets. The Premium Perfect Mix is comprised of Hickory, Cherry, Hard Maple, and Apple pellets. Trust me when I say you can't go wrong when using these pellets. Smoked the Tri-Tip roast at 225ºF until the internal temperature reached 145ºF. Rested the roast for 15 minutes under a loose foil tent before slicing against the grain. Remember that a Tri-Tip roast has grains which run in multiple directions. After all, it's called a Tri-Tip cause it's the junction of 3 muscles.
Cooking times: On @ 2 pm / IN @ 2:30 pm / OUT @ 5 pm / Rest under foil tent for 15 minutes ... Remember - Always cook to internal temperatures.