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    • By Smokehowze
      Table Steaks

      These steaks were grilled at 450 degrees because Big Joe was tired that night - needing a good clean out, charcoal was pieces from bottom of the bag, and airflow was clogged up... and man they were great.   Proves you don't need to go blast furnace hot to have a really nice steak cook. 
      Dad handled the eggplant and zucchini direct heat grilling as the first shift and cranked tired Joe up to whatever he would deliver.  Son took over and did the perfect steak cook simply seasoned using salt, pepper, and a dusting of imported Spanish Chiquilin brand 'Pimenton Picante'  (hot paprika) on the meat.  Plus a small chunk of hickory wood in the coals.   Daughter pulled together a nice salad.   Wife enjoyed sitting back, watching the production with a glass of wine, and offering sage commentary on how slow the count down timer for the 'resting period' for the steak was running.
      But when it all hit the table - well that is where the title for this post comes from...
       And a few more photos to round out the post.



    • By Smokehowze
      Pasta Carbonara using Smoked Pork Roast
      So this weekend was a special occasion for Mrs. Smokehowze and the plans were to go out for dinner Saturday night.   In the late afternoon, a consensus was reached by all to not go out, as it had been a busy day around the house and the family was tired. 
      Hummm…  what to fix for dinner…   Well, coincidentally last night while rearranging the freezer, I found a vacuum sealed 1.5 lb portion of a Kamado smoked pork roast hat was getting along date-wise and placed it  in fridge to thaw,  figuring it needed to be used and that I would come up with something to do with it over the next few days. How fortuitous.

      Bingo… I got it.  The smoked pork is like a bacon and similar to a pancetta so why not do a pasta carbonara?  OK, what does the pantry have for pasta?  WHAT?  No normal pasta.  Oh wait, we have a 1 ib box of ‘Campanelle’ style tubular shaped pasta.  Hey, that will work - let's use it all. 

      Here are the basic ingredients for this simple dish.


      The cubed pork was browned in the pan at medium high heat.  I probably used almost  a pound  of the pork coarse cubed.

      Remove the hot al-dente cooked pasta from the water with a slotted scoop.    Add to bowl with the browned pork.  I used one of Mrs Smokehowze's favorite Mason Cash bowls - and yes I had permission. The pasta needs to be wet from the pot to help create the sauce.  Wait for it to cool slightly (just enough to avoid curdling the eggs ) and slowly fold in the room temperature beaten eggs that have been mixed with about half the grated parmesan cheese.  When incorporated,  add the remaining parmesan (about a cup total for both that in the egg and that added later), some butter and some of the pasta water to adjust the thickness of the sauce.  Adjust salt, finish with fresh ground black pepper and top with minced fresh parsley and a sprinkling of more cheese.   Serve immediately with additional parsley sprinklings.

      The pasta carbonara was plated with a simple salad of red and orange tomatoes from the garden that are marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some basil and presented in a romaine leaf. Garnish with some shaved Finlandia ‘Keisarinna’ cheese  (a creamy sweet gouda and sharp parmesean mix we got at Costco).  Add a glass of white wine and we have dinner.
      The verdict -  delicious.  It all worked together and really met the expectations for a rich and flavorful carbonara. The smokiness of the pork was just right and browning it the carbon steel pan in olive oil with some butter and the chopped garlic added at the end did the trick – the aroma in the kitchen was wonderful.
      The round style pasta (the Campanelle is not a strict tube) with its shape and the fringed edge did well absorbing the beaten egg and parmesan sauce and the addition of a bit of the pasta water while folding the dish together helped the sauce get into the interior of the pasta shape.
      So I urge you in using your Kamado cooking leftovers that get stashed in the freezer to think creative and cook ‘out of the box’.  I guarantee it will be good!
      And guess what - nobody missed going out to eat.  
    • By Smokehowze
      Tom Yum Goong Grilled Salmon
      Got a reprieve of a couple of days before my next biz trip due to some unplanned flight re-arrangements.  So, time for another Kamado cook before I have to suffer withdrawal again.  Whoo-hoo!
      I found in the Asian market while just browsing the shelves a few weeks ago a jar of Tom Yum Goong paste made in Thailand.  Label indicates it has all the right Tom Yum ingredients. Being a Tom Yum lover I had to buy it.  I was not sure how one really used it as there was no guidance on the jar but how hard can it be to figure out a nice paste like this.   The first use was to add water and some leftover Kamado chicken and fresh sliced mushrooms and some green onion and make Tom Yum Gum soup.  That was good.  Had to guess at the proportions but made it work out.  So the paste is a winner (at least this brand is) in my opinion. 
      But I digress - so to continue...
      Well…tonight was grilled salmon night.  A nice skinless 2.8 lb (farmed) fillet.  Hummm…  did not want to do my usual marinade and flavoring.    Open fridge and bingo… the Tom Yum Goong paste.  Well, why not?
      Rubbed both sides of the fish with the paste.  Wet my hands and got the paste moistened to help the favor release in the paste.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.    BTW… the result was a good yet subtle flavor on the fish but it would have been better to put on a thicker coating, dampen it well and let it marinate for several hours. Which I will do next time (yes, there will be a next time). 
      For serving, I took some of the paste and added a pat of butter and a small amount of water and heated in the microwave on medium power to make an optional plate sauce.
      Grilled the fish at 350-375 direct for 5 to 6 minutes a side.  Added a half of yellow pepper to the grill just because.  Served with steamed black rice as a side. 
      The first course while the fish was marinating was an assorted cold plate of veggies, Laughing Cow creamy Swiss cheese, Baby Bell cheese with balsamic and some sliced pepperoni (yep another fridge find) served with our favorite wine enjoyed on the deck in beautiful evening weather in north Georgia today. A nice family time to catch up and relax from the day.
      The result on the fish was very nice.  A different flavor profile than the "usual".  The lemon grass and the lime leaf flavor as well as the overall Tom Yum element added a lot.  It was enjoyed by the three of us and the vote was to do this again.
      So if you are looking for a different approach on salmon or perhaps other fish you might try this.  Now I am thinking about how it might be on chicken…
      Here are the pics:
      Tom Yum Goong Salmon

      Tom Yum Goong Paste  (http://http://www.pantainorasingh.com/index.php?name=products&file=products&bid=4&cid=195)

      Ready for the Grill

      Grilling The Fish

      The First Course

      The Final Result

      The Table Sauce

      Parting Shot

    • By Smoke and Awe
      This is a recipe I saw in the latest Eating Well magazine, and adapted to my own taste.  The picture is for a smaller casserole than the recipe, because I made the larger to take to a potluck and it all disappeared!  Even the kids liked it (maybe the bacon?).  Anyway, it's a great use of those fresh veggies we may have in our garden or farm stands now.  I served with beef empanadas and salad.
      Char baked Tomato, Zucchini and Eggplant Casserole with Bacon
      1/3 cup EVOO
      1 onion, peeled and sliced
      5-6 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
      Kosher salt and pepper
      1 small eggplant, about 6 inches long, thinly sliced crosswise
      2 zucchini, about 5 inches long, thinly sliced lengthwise
      2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
      1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
      4-6 slices regular thickness bacon
      1/2 cup cheddar jack grated cheese
      Preheat kamado to 400, indirect
      Pour some olive oil in the baking dish (9 x 13).  Layer in half of the onion slices and one third of the tomatoes.  Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add a layer of eggplant and sprinkle on more salt.  Add another third of the tomatoes, the zucchini, garlic, thyme, and the remaining onions.  Top with the remaining tomatoes.  Pour over the remaining olive oil.  Season with pepper.  Lay bacon strips lengthwise to cover vegetables.  Bake uncovered until bacon is crisped and veggies are bubbling.  Sprinkle cheese on top and lower dome until melted.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.

    • By Smokehowze
      Grilled Wild Salmon with Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms and Black Rice
      The Meal: Grilled Salmon, Stuffed Mushrooms & Black Rice

      A Meal By Themselves (or a Serious Good Appetizer Since These Are the Medium Sized Mushrooms)

      Medium sized cremini mushrooms Ham or bacon  (divide into two equal portions)                 Note:  I used my homemade pork loin (Canadian Bacon)  
      ​              http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/14107-my-homemade-pork-loin-bacon-canadian-bacon/?p=161140
      finely chopped onion finely chopped green bell pepper finely minced garlic dried thyme fried or fresh chopped red pepper salt and black pepper to taste seasoned bread crumbs balsamic vinegar shredded mozzarella cheese  
      The Creminis

      Main Stuffing Ingredients

      Stuffing Ready for the Saute

      Remove stems and from the mushrooms.  Finely chop the stems and place them in a mixing bowl. Combine stems in a sauté pan heated and drizzled with olive oil with the rest of the ingredients (including a half portion of the ham or bacon) except for the bread crumbs, balsamic vinegar and cheese.  Cook on medium heat until flavor comes together and some of the onion begins to caramelize and ham or bacon is cooked through.  This step with the bacon or ham lets the vegetable flavorings go into the meat.
      Stuffing Under Way

      Mixture Before Lardons & Balsamic

      Take other half portion of ham or bacon and separately pan fry until browned or crisp. Mix the lardons with the main stuffing mixture.  This lets the lardon flavor become a separate element.  Hint:  If using ham or Canadian Bacon add a bit of butter or a touch of oil to promote the browning and crisping.
      The Lardons

      Add a good splash of balsamic vinegar to taste.  Remove  stuffing from heat and add sparse amounts at a time of seasoned bread crumbs just enough to add body to the stuffing and contribute a bit of binding.  No need for any egg as the oils and breadcrumbs are sufficient binder.  
      Finished Stuffing

      Spoon the stuffing into the mushroom caps and compress gently.  Place on the grill at 400 degrees indirect for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the stuffed mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown. You can also set them over direct heat as part of the cook near the end for a bit more toasting underneath.  Add a wood chunk too...I used some pecan.
      Mushrooms Ready for Grill

      One large side of salmon filleted with skin on.
      The Wild Salmon (1.9 lbs)

      Marinade & Glaze 
      Mix to together the following into a flavorful marinade – adjusting proportion by tasting.   The largest ingredients are the soy and the sesame oil.  Reserve about ¼ of marinade for use at the grill.
      low sodium soy sauce, Sesame oil Vietnamese fish oil, Mirin, powdered ginger (or grated fresh), garlic powder, onion powder , squirt of Sriracha cane syrup (or rapadura or brown sugar) splash of cooking oil.  
      For the Marinade

      More For the Marinade

      The Marinade

      Let fish marinate for up to 4 hours in fridge (periodically spooning marinade over the fish)
      Just before grilling dust fish lightly on both sides with a Cajun seasoning blend (optional)
      Ready for the Grill

      Use oiled grilling basket or oil the hot grill well to prevent sticking.  I prefer the grilling basket as it makes handling the fish so much easier.  Grill over direct medium heat (350 -375) basting the flesh side with reserved marinade.  Do not over cook.  Maybe 8-10 minutes total depending on thickness.  Alder is a good wood, but this time i used pecan.  Occasional  bits of charring on the fish flesh is desirable.  In other words -  it makes it taste good!
      Hint:  For use of in the Kamado, I cut off the long handles on a grilling basket so it would fit inside with the lid shut.
      Note:  On this cook I did not use the basket -  and I  wish I had!
      Additional Note:  Save the grilled skin and cut it into medium size pieces and fry in hot skillet in its own oil to make “salmon skin crispies”.  Man that tastes super!   This you gotta try.
      The meal was complemented with black rice prepared according to package directions on the stove top.
      Black Rice Package

      Black Rice Looks like This

      On the Platter and Ready to Go On The Table

      Beautiful Fish & ‘Shrooms


      I hope this gives you some incentive to grill salmon and/or fix stuffed mushrooms in you Kamado. 
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