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Fire Roasted Tomato Pie with Cold Smoked Southern Fried Chicken

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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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9 hours ago, Vanole said:

I am all in concerning that tomato pie. Giddyup...


Here's the recipe we use if you really want to give it a try.  It's the best one out there because of the cornstarch.  Without it, most Tomato pies get too soggy, but the starch helps firm that up.  As mentioned, if you can cold smoke some cheese, or just buy smoked cheese at the store, it will add an awesome bit of extra flavor!


  • 1 pie dough
  • 4 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions (sliced)
  • Fresh basil - optional

First, slice the tomatoes about 1/4" thick and place them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Let the tomatoes drain for about 30 minutes, switching out the towels after 15 minutes.  After 30 minutes, gently press with more dry paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.


While the tomatoes are drying, bring the grill up to 350 with the deflector plate in place.  Next, mix the mayo, cornstarch, green onions, and 1 cup of the cheese.


Place the pie crust on the grill for about 10-12 minutes or until the crust just starts to firm up.  Do not over cook.


Once the tomatoes are dry, start layering the pie.  Begin by spreading out about 1/2 cup of cheddar on the bottom of the pie crust.  Arrange 1/3 of the tomatoes on top of the cheese, then spread 1/2 of the mayo mixture and spread out some torn basil leaves.  Layer with the next 1/3 of tomatoes and the remaining mayo mixture and more basil.  Layer the last 1/3 of the tomatoes and a few full basil leaves and cover with the last of the cheddar cheese.


Place in the smoker and cook for 30-45 minutes until crust golden brown.  Place on the counter and let it rest for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.  The pie is best when served around room temperature.

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That's a great looking cook.  Love me some tomato pie.  How long do you smoke the cold chicken? Do you monitor the temp of the chicken? Do you worry about any bacteria in the chicken because of the 40-140 rule? Thanks and sorry for all the questions. 

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@CheeseMcGee, thanks for posting the Tomato Pie recipe. I have already printed it out and its 2nd in line on the to do list.

Can't make this stuff up, it would have been "numero uno" but yesterday our mailman wiped out our mailbox. So must attend to that today setting a new post ect...

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11 hours ago, TKOBBQ said:

That's a great looking cook.  Love me some tomato pie.  How long do you smoke the cold chicken? Do you monitor the temp of the chicken? Do you worry about any bacteria in the chicken because of the 40-140 rule? Thanks and sorry for all the questions. 


I cold smoked the chicken for about 2 hours.  I typically will cold smoke on days when the temp will be below 70 degrees.  This chicken was mostly thawed, but still extremely cold, and a bit icy in the middle when I threw it in the smoker.  It was a cold morning, so the meat didn't get warm.  I have also done cold smoking before with meat sitting directly over frozen ice packs wrapped in foil.  That way the meat stays extra cold and never reaches any danger zone.  When smoking that way, I just flip it over about half way through to make sure all sides get covered with smoke.  Obviously there is some potential risk involved, but this is typically best done in the fall through spring seasons when the nights or early mornings are nice and cool.

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