Firecracker Pork Steaks

Looking for something to spice up your next BBQ? These pork steaks will do the trick. Pork steaks are cut from a bone in shoulder and are a regional specialty in Kentucky and St. Louis. In Kentucky they take it up a notch by adding a buttery vinegar based pepper sauce. These steaks are traditionally grilled but I prefer to use my smoker to do a reverse sear. I take them up to about 120 degrees and then finish them over the fire. Done this way they are fork tender.

Firecracker Pork Steaks

 

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Beefy Bacon Bombs

These beefy bacon bombs explode with a complex set of flavors – beef, pork, cheese, Worcestershire, garlic and bacon finished off with a sweet glaze. They’re easy to make which is good because your family and friends will ask for them often!

Beefy Bacon Bombs


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Greek Lamb with Crusted Herbs and Tzatziki Sauce

Last summer we spent time on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu where delicious locally produced meats, spices and produce are abundant. Our guide Spiros helped us find all sorts of restaurants and markets and also taught me this traditional Greek way to cook leg of lamb. Like so much of the delicious food we enjoyed there this is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients. The key is to use high quality herbs, olive oil and garlic. The traditional tzatziki sauce has a cool, light flavor that really complements the herb crust.

Roast leg of lamb and tzatziki sauce

 

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Smoked Char Siu Pork Belly

“Char siu” literally means “fork/burn/roast”.  This refers to the ancient Chinese cooking technique of hanging long strips of seasoned pork boneless over burning charcoal using long forks.

Traditionally wild boar was used to make char siu but you’ve likely encountered it at your local Chinese buffet – those sticky bright red ribs with the sweet and tangy flavor. Pork tenderloin and pork belly are also commonly used.

Pork belly is my favorite way to prepare char siu. The outside gets a nice crackle to it. Although the recipe I use does turn the meat a reddish color I don’t bother with the red food coloring common in today’s preparations.

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Authentic Colorado Green Chili

Authentic Colorado green chili is based on pork, lots of green chili peppers and masa harina – a traditional Mexican flour.  In fact there’s 4 pounds of Anaheim and jalapeno chili peppers in this recipe. Fire roasting the Anaheims and pork butt to start the cooking adds a rich flavor that only comes from cooking over live coals.  Using the smoker to cook the chili low ‘n slow is as hands off as it gets plus lets the flavors blend with a smoky finish.

Authentic Colorado green chili


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Bama Style Smoked Chicken with White BBQ Sauce

There are a lot of great regional BBQ sauces. Vinegar based sauces from the East Carolina region, tomato based sauces from Kansas City and Memphis and mustard base sauce from South Carolina. From North Alabama comes a unique mayonnaise based sauce popularized by Big Bob Gibsons. Chris Lilly is the current pit master at Big Bob Gibsons and my version of Bama White Sauce combines elements of his recipe with some of my own. The bite of the horseradish is offset by the mayonnaise. It’s fantastic on smoked chicken and also makes a great dressing for cole slaw.

Chicken thighs and legs with White Bama Style BBQ sauce


Ingredients to make enough for 2 pounds of chicken thighs or legs

  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp prepared creamy horseradish
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Colman’s mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Ground cayenne pepper to taste

Pre- heat your smoker to 325 degrees. Prep the chicken by spraying lightly with olive oil. Then season liberally with your favorite BBQ rub. For this recipe I like the All Purpose rub from Eat Barbecue.

Chicken prepped with olive oil and rub

A great all purpose seasoning


Place the chicken in the pre-heated smoker.

The prepped chicken in the preheated smoker


While the chicken is smoking it’s time to prepare the sauce. Combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, apple juice, garlic powder, creamy horseradish, black pepper, mustard powder, smoked paprika, Kosher salt and cayenne pepper in a glass bowl. Using a whisk thoroughly combine the ingredients. Place the sauce in the refrigerator and let it chill while the chicken cooks.

White BBQ sauce ready to go in the fridge for 2 hours


After the chicken’s been in the smoker about 2 hours check the internal temperature. Leave it in the smoker until that internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and the chicken is a nice golden brown. An alternative I prefer is to take the chicken out of the smoker when it hits 155 degrees and finish it over the firebox until it reaches the safe temp of 165 degrees. Turn it frequently to crisp the skin without burning.


Place the cooked chicken in a pan and spread chilled white BBQ sauce liberally on all sides.

Spread the chilled white sauce on all sides of the chicken


Serve immediately with the remaining sauce on the side. It’s also great shredded, tossed with the remaining sauce and served on slider buns.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheesy Bacon BBQ Potatoes

Mounds of seasoned potatoes with onions, bacon, chipotle BBQ sauce and tons of cheese! What’s not to love? This is a super easy recipe that will take you 15 minutes to make followed by just 40 minutes in the smoker. I’ve used it as a great side dish but is hearty enough for a meal too.

 

Cheesy, bacony potato goodness

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Philly Pepper Pot

There is a legend that says George Washington and the Continental Army survived the winter of 1777 when the cook general created pepper pot soup from scraps of vegetable and meat and it’s been a Philly staple ever since. Since pepper pot is a Caribbean dish it’s more likely slaves and freedman introduced the spicy soup to the City of Brotherly Love.

My version of Philly Pepper Pot has lots of spice and is slow simmered in the smoker for extra flavor. I also substituted the traditional tripe for kielbasa and Polish sausage which I cooked over coals first for extra flavor. This makes a big pot so and goes well with good crusty bread, family and friends!

Pepper pot soup – a Philly tradition

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Beer Can Breakfast Sandwiches

One bite of these breakfast sandwiches will make you forget that all about that Egg McPlastic breakfast sandwich at the drive in. Smoked sausage wrapped in thick cut bacon and filled with eggs and lots of cheese on a buttered English muffin make for a hearty breakfast that will stick with you all day. These are also great for brunch. Either way making these is hopefully the only reason you’ll be grabbing a can of beer first thing in the morning…

Beer Can Breakfast Sandwiches

 

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Smoked Hangover Soup

There are a lot of Hangover Soup recipes that claim to help you recover after a big party. Most of the recipes I’ve found are Asian and European variations. My version uses Eastern European seasonings and is packed with protein and flavor from bacon, pork loin, kielbasa and a surprise ingredient – dill pickles. Letting it stew slowly in the smoker adds even more depth to the flavors. I can’t guarantee it will cure your hangover but it IS perfect on a cold winter night.

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