I have been consumed lately with the desire to smoke some cheese on my classic. It just seems that everywhere I have been reading the last little while, someone has been talking about grilling cheese. I do not have a smoker tube or maze yet (that will probably be my next grilling purchase, but need to wait and see what Santa has in the presents first), but I got to wondering if it is possible to cold smoke without one. So here is my setup: just a small amount of charcoal, in a string, with a few apple chunks on top. The plan was to light the one end, and the chunks would slowly burn around my half circle. I had the vents almost closed, just a sliver open. Didn't start out too bad, I was holding grate temp right at 90, but after about half hour the fire was almost dead. I was forced to open the grates a little more, and the grate temp went to 120. That was about as low as I could hold it, so I just put a big pan of ice under the cheese. The smoke wasn't as clean as I would have liked, probably due to very little air circulation. After about three hours I pulled the cheese off and left it sit, then wiped it gently and bagged it. I just sliced a piece after a week and half of fridge time. The swiss is really good, the cheddar is o.k., but I probably should have gotten sharp instead of mild. Would I do this again? Probably not, I think the smoke tube is worth waiting on, but this did turn out better than I expected.
On a Restaurant Depot run to pick up a packer brisket and other supplies, a 5 lb bag of beautiful large fresh poblano peppers and a 5 lb chub of 'mild' Mexican Chorizo somehow managed along with some cheeses to jump into the cart – well assisted by my son and I in making that leap.
This is what we (well my son anyway, as he was lead chef on the meal) prepared from those fixings:
I blistered the poblano peppers on Big Joe over direct heat and then steamed them in a covered bowl. Next was peeling and seeding. Since we were going for a casserole rather than stuffed, the peppers were slit open to seed – much easier that way.
2.5 pounds of the chorizo was browned in a pan with the largest poblano chopped up for extra flavor, plus diced bell pepper, chopped onions and some garlic. We had not used this chorizo before ( La Paloma brand ) and we really liked the flavors of the sausage.
The peppers, meat mixture, Chihuahua and Queso Fresco cheeses along with some sharp cheddar were layered in the greased Lodge 7.5 qt dutch oven. A topping of cheddar and queso was the final addition – with the cheddar acting as the melting cheese to bind the queso as the topping browned.
The dish was baked, uncovered and indirect, on Joe at 375 degrees with application of mesquite wood smoke for about 35 minutes – until it looked and smelled just right.
Served with a simple side salad. Delicious for dinner and quite filling. These particular poblanos has just the right "heat" level to pair with the mild but flavorful chorizo.
The casserole reheated was great for breakfast the next morning, too!
I've been craving smoked salmon lately, so the last time I was in Sam's Club, I bought a couple of fillets and cooked them last night for my dinner guests.
Here is a pic of the fillets fresh from the packaging.
I made up a dry brine of brown sugar, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, and all spice. Here are the fillets' covered with the mixture.
I covered the dish and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 hours. As you can see a great deal of moisture has been drawn out of the fish fillets.
Rinse the fillets and pat them dry. Then set the fillets on a drying rack back in the refrigerator for about 4 - 5 hours. This is what your fillets should look like right before you place them in the cooking grate in your kamado.
And it's on to the cooking grate in TheBeast. I smoked these fillets for about 2 hours @ 175F using Alder and Peach chunks.
Here is a picture of the fillets right after they were pulled off the cooking grate. You can tell they are dome by the little droplets of the cream colored liquid that you can see on the fillets.
Here is a closer picture of the cooked fillets.
Finally, here is the plated shot. The fillets were served with KK roasted potatoes and a vinegar based cole slaw, the recipe of which is posted in the recipe section.
As you can see, Pete The Salt Pig heartily approves of us eating heart healthy.
This is an easy cook and only takes a few minutes prep time in the kitchen.
I thought for some strange reason that I'd pay homage to my 0.001% Irish Forefathers this evening.
Tonight's cook consisted of scooped out baked potatoes, filled with some sort of filling, and the whole thing rebaked on the KK. So, without further ado, here is my homage to Erin.
The very first thing to do is have a couple of bakers well slathered with bacon grease. Yes, bacon grease. Yeah, I know, but if you don't use bacon grease, the neo-nazi health police win, and I'm trying to beat the back every day! If you don't have bacon grease in your kitchen, shame on you!
Next, I browned up some 90/10 hamburger meat, some red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, and some onion and garlic.
Here are the bakers on the main grate of TheBeast. I baked them for about an hour at 400F until a fork went in easily.
This is a picture of the browned hamburger, peppers, etc. ready for the potatoes.
Here are the spuds. As you can see, slit in half and scoop out most of the interior. I try and leave about 1/4" all the way around. Reserve the scooping for potato salad.
Tonight I laid down in the scooped potato a simple ragu as a base layer.
Put a heaping amount of the burger mixture in the potato.
Sauce again and top with your favorite cheese. For these I use shredded mozzarella cheese. Here are the assembled potatoes. They take about 15 minutes on the grill at 400F.
And finally, here is the money shot with Pete The Salt Pig granting approval to chow down!
These potatoes are really quite easy to do, especially on a weekday evening. Instead of hamburger, you can use pork sausage (Pete would not be so happy with that cook!), ground turkey or chicken, or chorizo etc. Instead of a ragu, you can use salsas, grilled and pureed fruit such as mangoes, peaches, etc. You can get as creative as you wish. After all, it's your dinner and you can do it any way you and your family desire.
From the time I lit the FOGO in the belly of TheBeast until I was 400F it was about 15 minutes. The potatoes took about an hour to bake to fork tender. To assemble it took no more than 15 minutes. Time on the grill for the stuffed potatoes was no more than 15 minutes. All totaled, from start to finish, this simple homage to my Irish roots took about 1 hour and 45 minutes. I like this cook because there was lots of time to stay hydrated between the flurries of activity.