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  1. With the Covid craziness happening, I figured it was time to get back to my KJ that has been getting some neglect. I've been slowly working it back to life, but then with the chance to compete in the COVID-19 challenge, it was time to really knock the rust off. Today's cook (actually it was on Memorial day) is Fire Roasted Tomato Pie with Cold Smoked Southern Fried Chicken. I started by pulling out a really cool box that my wife found at the 127 sale in Kentucky a year or two ago. It is an old 1901 style steamer box that apparently made food "more nourishing" and also helped with your digestion and removed indigestion to physicians! - Ohio Steam Cooker Ad The cool part is because of the hole in the back, and the hole in the top, this works as an absolutely perfect cold smoker! Really wishing I had busted this thing out sooner. I lit up some hickory pellets, stuck them in the bottom near the inlet, placed the rack on top with some foil to catch any drips, and I cold smoked some cheddar for my Tomato Pie for about an hour, and my chicken for a little over 2 hours. Next, it was time to roast up the tomatoes. I got the KJ nice and hot and after moving them around for a bit, they were perfectly roasted. After pulling them off, I gave the pie crust a good 10 minute bake to firm up the crust. Nothing worse than a soggy crust on your tomato pie. After the chicken was nicely smoked, it was time for them to take a bath in some buttermilk and spices and rest in the fridge for a few hours. Once it was time to bake the pie, we took the smoked cheese and shredded it up. To that we added some mayo, garlic powder, corn starch, salt and pepper, and a bunch of freshly chopped basil. I forgot to take pictures of the layering process, but we started with tomatoes, then a layer of the cheese mix, a few leaves of fresh basil and repeat until everything is in the pie. The biggest key to this whole process is to leach out as much liquid as possible from the tomatoes. A nice sprinkle of salt and a lot of paper towels really helps reduce the moisture. After throwing it in a 400 degree smoker for about a half an hour, we had a perfect looking pie! You can't eat a tomato pie hot out of the oven, so it had to go rest to get back to room temperature. In the meantime, we started the dredge and fry process of the chicken. It went straight from the buttermilk marinade straight into a large pile of flour mixed with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and franks red hot powder. Here's a hot tip for you the next time you want proper fried chicken. Dip the fingers of your "wet hand" into the buttermilk and then drizzle some of the liquid into the flour. Then, add your piece of chicken and press the flour over every surface. By sprinkling the marinade into the flour, it creates those awesome little crispy bits you get on a nicely fried piece of chicken. I didn't figure you needed to see pictures of how to fry chicken, I'm sure ya'll know how to do that. While that was frying, and I still had some heat on the smoker, I threw on some fresh shucked corn just to complete the southern meal. Covering with a thyme and garlic butter will make this the best corn on the cob you can get! Put all of this together on a plate, and you've got a Slap Yo' Momma type of meal! The subtle smoke flavor of the cheddar cheese and roasted tomatoes added an awesome improvement to such an amazing and simple item. I can also tell you, if you've never had cold smoked and then fried chicken, you are really missing out. Once we got through that super crunchy batter and got into that juicy chicken, there was an awesome light smoke flavor that you really need to experience. Sorry for the terrible money shot photo. As soon as we started trying to plate it, storm clouds rolled in fast and wrecked any kind of natural light so we were fighting shadows and crappy yellow lighting. We were also kind of starving, so spending a lot of time to get the perfect photo just wasn't meant to happen. Typically people would think that the pie could be a side with Fried Chicken, but to me, this pie was so good that in my opinion, the chicken was a side dish to the pie. I really encourage you all to give this a shot this summer.
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