Tag Archives: cooking

Hickory Smoked Sausage and Green beans

Hickory Smoked Sausage and Green beans

I feel like I’m treading on sacred ground here, well at least in the mid-west anyhow. Sausage, green beans and potatoes were a staple of many working class family when I was growing up. Understand, I don’t want to change it, just elevate it. It was my goal to keep the integrity of the dish the same as what I grew up with, while enhancing the flavors, the texture and the overall experience of the dish.

There’s just something special about fall, there’s a nip in the air and the colors are more vibrant. It’s times like this that I’m taken back to my childhood days when Mom would put a big pot of green beans, potatoes, and sausage on and let it simmer. I can still remember the steam coming up from the bowl as I dug in on a frosty day. As I was preparing this dish for my blog post, even more memories came flooding back as I stood in the kitchen breaking beans, a chore I truly disliked then. This time though it was an opportunity to reconnect with my mom and childhood.

My goal with this recipe is to take the mushy potatoes and green beans and give them a little texture. It’s to take the bland boiled sausage and give it some flavor.

Yield: 4-6 servings

What to expect: Green beans that are bright, and crisp to the bite. Potatoes that are firm yet yielding to a fork, and flavorful. Sausage with a nice smoky flavor, that you will also be able to taste the spices.


What you’ll need:

1 lb raw Italian sausage

1 lb small new potatoes

3lbs fresh green beans picked through and broken. I like leaving them a little long to give the dish a touch of elegance.

¼ cup of vegetable oil. (I tried olive oil but the flavor just didn’t play well with this dish)

Course Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups water

How we did it:

Begin by cutting the potatoes in half.

Add the ¼ of oil, 1 Tbls salt, and 1 Tbls black pepper to a bowl and mix well.

Add potatoes to the bowl and toss until well coated, set aside.

Set grill up for indirect grilling, add your choice of wood chunk to the coals.

Place sausage in the void between the coals.

Cook until you hear the internal juices sizzling. About 20 minutes.

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Add fresh coals if necessary.

Place potatoes cut side down in the void between the coals.

While the potatoes cook let the sausage rest.

Cook until yeilding to a gentle squeeze and the skin is crisp and brown. (Basically we’re going for a roasted potato here.) About 30-45 minutes.

Slice the sausage into ¼ inch medallions.


Heavily season 4 cups of water with salt and pepper.

Bring the water to a boil.

Add the green beans only, and cook about 5-7 minutes. Just until the beans begin to start getting tender. Add the sausgae and cook another minute or so until the beans are firm but tender aka. al-dente.

Strain the water off the green beans and sausage.

Gently mix the green beans, the sausage, and potatoes in a serving bowl and enjoy.


Personally I like a little pickled red onion on mine, but that’s what I grew up with.

Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.



Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Buffalo Bacon BLTs

Buffalo Bacon BLTs

Bacon has been raging across not only the BBQ world but the culinary world for some time. There’s pretty much bacon EVERYTHING. Bacon burgers, bacon donuts, bacon jam, bacon wrapped anything edible, and yes I’ve even had a caramel bacon Sunday (it was quite good by the way). In the other sphere there’s Buffalo everything. Buffalo wings, Buffalo shrimp, Buffalo hamburgers, Buffalo beef jerky….. Well you get the idea. But, what if? Is it possible? Am I crazy? Dare I take two great worlds and join them together? Who am I to play culinary god? Then I realized the Harry Burnete, the chap who came up with the Reese cup must have had the same questions. I’m sure some called him crazy. But ol’ Harry dared to do it. Dared to step outside the box and push the limits. Because of that the world is a slightly better place. So tongs in hand, sidekick at my side, I stepped out. Thus I give to you a union of two amazing worlds…… (enter Space Odyssey 2001 music) BUFFALO BACON!!!!

What to expect: A slight burn, with that wonderful Buffalo tang, mingled with hickory smoke and the deep rich savory flavor that only bacon can bring. The blue cheese dressing will elevate the flavors of the bacon and the buffalo sauce.

Yield:  6 nice size sandwiches.

What you will need:


15 minutes to make the sauce, plus additional time to let it cool.

20-30 minutes total cooking time for the bacon.

  • 2/3 C Tabasco
  • 6 Tbls white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 lb butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbls chipotle pepper  (cayenne pepper works well too)
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • 6 Nice hoagie rolls

How we did it.

First make the Buffalo sauce.


Combine the 2/3 cup Tabasco, 6 Tbls white vinegar, and 1 tsp Worcester sauce in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.

Add the 1 pound of butter.

After the butter is melted, stir in the ½ tsp garlic powder and Tbls chili powder.

Set sauce aside and let it cool to room temperature.

Once the sauce is cooled to room temperature, divide in half.

Place bacon in freezer bag or large non reactive bowl.

Stir the sauce very well because it will have separated by this time.

Pour half the sauce over the bacon. DO NOT REFRIGERATE! If you do your butter will solidify and you will end up with a massive chunk of butter and bacon. Assuming you let your sauce come down to room temperature, your bacon will be safe for the 30-40 minutes it takes to light your grill and start cooking.



Set your grill up for INDIRECT cooking.

Add hickory.

Cook bacon covered, in the void between the coals checking after 5 minutes.

Just a note here, if you try to cook your bacon over direct coals you will end up with bacon flambe’. Butter and bacon drippings falling onto hot coals could make for a very interesting cook, tasty no, but definitely interesting.

Once the bacon is done, add what you HAVEN’T ate to a large bowl and toss with the reserve sauce.


All that’s left to do now is build those BLTs. It just doesn’t get much better on a warm summers evening than BLTs with home grown tomatoes (matters around this house) and lettuce. Top it with a little blue cheese dressing and you’ve got yourself some foot stomping good eats.


Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with!


My wing man and son. The “who” my closing line refers to.




Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Hickory Smoked Jambalaya

Hickory Smoked Jambalaya

When I seen it I knew it had to happen. My mouth immediately dropped open and the words AMAZING and BRILLIANT jumped from my mouth before I could stop them. Unfortunately I was a work. A quick text with the link was instantly sent to my son with the simple words “We’ve got to make this happen!” What is this, you ask? Smoked white rice. A great bloggist  that I follow on social media, Clint Cantwell, had posted a simple technique for cold smoking rice in his blog Here’s link to his cold smoked rice technique, How to Smoke Rice. So we did a quick test run and sure enough this stuff was everything it was billed to be. Then came the challenging task of how to use the rice, and what are the best ways to use it. I’d been craving jambalaya for some time, and even more so I’d been craving making it. So, we went with it.

What to expect: The wonderful full flavors that you get from jambalaya, with subtle hints of smoke from the rice and sausage.  The initial recipe is not super spicy, slicing some fresh Serrano peppers into it, not only gives you some nice heat but brightens up the dish and adds a layer of texture. Served on the side it allows each person to add as much fire as they desire.

Yield: Serves 4 comfortably.

*Don’t let the ingredient list scare you away from making this, you’ll be surprised how much you already have on hand other than the proteins.

What you’ll need:


2-3 hours if all done at once.

1 large chicken breast

½ lb either andouille sausage, or spicy sausage

1 medium to large onion chopped

1 large green bell pepper diced

2 stalks celery chopped

1 cup white long grain rice, rinsed, and cold smoked with hickory

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 tsp hot sauce (for authentic taste I prefer Tabasco, it is from there)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

½ pound medium raw shrimp, deveined (optional: tails removed)

4 green onions, thinly sliced

6 Serrano peppers sliced

1 lemon wedged into quarters

For the creole seasoning:

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1½ teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How we did it:

Begin by rinsing your rice well, this removes the excessive glutton which tends to make the rice extremely sticky.

Cold smoke the rice. For this particular recipe I recommend a stronger smoke, something along the lines of hickory. It has a lot of flavors to compete with.

*This can be done up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container.


Combine the ingrediants for the creole seasoning.

Place in spice grinder if you have one, and grind into a fine powder.

*Can be done a month in advance, store in an airtight container, in a cool dry place.

Set grill up for direct grilling.

Coat the chicken breast well with the seasoning, and grill over direct coals.

*Chicken can be grilled 1 day in advance.


While the chicken cooks toss you onion, green pepper, and celery in a grill pan and grill over direct coals also.

Cook until just firm to the bite.


After the chicken and veggies finish move the coals to either side for indirect grilling, and add a few fresh coals along with a couple of hickory chunks.

Place your sausage in the void and begin smoking you sausage.

*Sausage can be smoked and sliced 2-3 days in advance.


Once the sausage is done cut the chicken breast into a nice bite size dice (forgot the picture).

Slice the sausage.


Place a LARGE pan on the stove over high-medium heat.

Add the tomatoes, 2 tsp hot sauce, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups chicken broth, onion, celery, and peppers, 1 Tbls creole seasoning.

Stir well, to mix in the flavors and the creole seasoning.

Bring to a boil.

Add rice.


Add chicken, and sausage.

Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Stirring once ½ through.

Add shrimp and cook another 10 minutes, or until rice is done and the shrimp is opaque.

Garnish with sliced scallions, and serve with lemon wedges and Serranos on the side.


Remember, what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.



Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Smokey Mac and Cheese

Smokey Mac and Cheese

I would love to tell you that this is a quick and easy recipe. That it’s something you can whip up in about 20 minutes. But I can’t. If you want quick and easy you may want to search for another recipe. If you’re looking for a recipe that will challenge your skills without taxing them to the max, this is for you. If you’re looking for a recipe that showcases your ability as a smoker, then keep reading. If you’re looking a recipe that will give you a mac & cheese that’s smokey, gooey, with rich deep flavors, then continue to scroll.
What to expect:

A very rich creamy mac and cheese with deep hints of smoke. The grilled peppers add yet another layer of flavor while the green onions not only bring texture but their own flavor. The mustard lends slight acidity to break up the heavy flavor and bring it to life.
What you will need:

Special equipment:

9X13 baking dish buttered

45 minutes for roasting and prepping the vegetables.

6 minutes for cooking the macaroni.

20 minutes total for making the béchamel (more about that later).

30 minutes for the final cook.

*Times do not include time to set up grill and get coals to lit and to temperature.

3 red peppers

3 pablano peppers (or green peppers if pablanos are unavailable)

3 bunches of green onions

2 4.5 oz cans of green chilis

2 jalapenos (optional but highly recommended )

1lb of elbow macaroni


½ cup olive oil (divided)

1 ½ lbs of smoked sharp cheddar (shredded) (divided)

*Your own cold smoked cheese is HIGHLY recommended for this, but if you don’t have any or the time I’m sure store bought will work, just not as well.

½ lb quality Parmesan cheese (shredded)(divided)

1 stick unsalted butter (more for greasing the pan)

6 tbls all flour

4 cups whole milk

¾ cup heavy (aka whipping cream)

½ tsp white pepper (ground black will work if it’s what you have)

2 tbls prepared mustard (this will be to taste)
How we did it:

Begin by roasting your peppers on a grill over direct heat, until well charred on all sides.


Once they are done place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set aside, and let cool.

While the peppers are cooling cook your macaroni according to the package directions…… with a few exceptions.

  1. HEAVILY salt the water. It should taste like the ocean.
  2. Add a liberal amount of olive oil. (¼ cup or so. Or you can do it like I do, just pour it until you get a good oil slick.)
  3. Check the pasta at the ½ point of cooking, it’s usually ready at this point. It should be firm to the bite, but not “crunchy”.

I’ve found that these 3 things VASTLY improves all of my pasta cooking.

Once the pasta is done cooking, drain into a colander, shaking a few times to remove excess water. Add the remaining olive oil, mix well, and let set. This will keep your pasta from sticking together while it sets.

Remove the skins and seed pods from your now cool peppers, retaining as much of the juice as you can.

Cut the peppers into a medium dice.

Toss in a bowl with any juices you may have been able to save.

Chop the green onions along with the firm green parts and add to the bowl with the peppers.

Dump the green chilies in with the bowl containing the peppers and onions.

Mix your shredded cheeses together, then set aside 1 ½ cups for finishing.

Begin making the bèchamel.

1st mak a roux

Melt the one stick of butter in large stock pot over medium low heat.

Sprinkle flour over melted butter a tablespoon at a time and whisk in.

Once all the flour is added continue to cook and whisk or stir until it turns a light tan color. This may take longer than you may expect.


Once the roux is ready, gently add the four cups milk and ¾ heavy cream whisking constantly.

Raise heat to medium high and bring to a low boil while continuing to whisk.

Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook while stirring.

Once it coats the back of a spoon it’s ready. KEEP AN EYE ON IT, once it starts to go, it happens fast.

*If your sauce does become too thick, just give it a splash of milk to thin it down slightly.

Remove from heat, and exhale, take a drink. The tricky part is done.

While the bèchamel is still hot add your shredded cheese, about a strong handful at a time. Reserving about a cup and a half.

Stirring until melted after each addition.

Once the cheese is all melted, dump in the bowl of vegetables and mix.

Add the 2 tablespoons mustard, mix well.

Taste. This will be the primary flavor profile of your mac and cheese. If it taste to heavy, add a little more mustard. However you don’t want to taste the mustard but it should at this point have a barely, almost unnoticeable acidity to it.

If it taste well balanced and is to your liking, add the macaroni and stir well.

Take another taste, because it’s time for another decision. If the smoke is solid your not going to want to add more smoke by smoking the final product on your grill.

Pour into the buttered 9X13 pan.

*Recipe up to this point can be made 1-2 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.

When ready to cook, sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Set up grill for indirect cooking, medium to slow coals.

If you want more smoke nows the time to add it. I recomend something light at this point like apple, cherry, or maybe oak.

Place pan on grill.

Cook until the cheese on top starts to turn a nice golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Foil the top and continue to cook until it’s heated through, about another 20 minutes.

There you go,all that’s left to do now is enjoy some very creamy, smokey mac and cheese.

Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

*All recipes on this site are solely those of the author unless otherwise stated.


Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Smoked Breakfast Casserole

Smoked Breakfast Casserole

Nothing like a warm filling breakfast to start a cold winter’s day. Although to be honest this would be a perfect breakfast for any time of the year. I must say though it was nice on this frosty morning. The beauty of this breakfast is that it can be made the night before, refrigerated, then popped in the oven the next morning. Of course if you want to go outside and finish it on the grill with a final touch of smoke, then GO FOR IT! But you don’t have to.

The fun thing about this recipe is it is so open to many variations. We wanted to keep it “seasonal” so we didn’t add any bell peppers or green onion, which would have been marvelous in it. I can definitely see some blanched asparagus  being tossed in come spring time. It would also be a good use for left over ham. Personally I would have liked to added some jalapenos, but had to keep tame for the wife.

What to expect

The eggs will be soft and creamy (not runny) with a nice gentle smoky flavor brought by the sausage and cheese. The sausage also helps add body and texture, while the green chilies add an extra note. I also STRONGLY recommend serving it with Sriacha (rooster sauce) it just takes the dish to a whole different level.

Difficulty: Easy

What you’ll need:


30- 45 minutes to smoke the sausage (can be done a day in advance of assembling your casserole)

20 minutes to assemble

50 minutes to cook finished casserole

1 9X13 baking dish buttered

8 slices of white bread cut into cubes

1 lb sausage smoked with your favorite smoking wood

1/2 lb well smoked sharp cheddar (I recommend smoking your own.)

10 large eggs

2 cups milk

2 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp salt

1 4.5 oz can of green chilis

How we did it:

Begin by setting the grill up for an INDIRECT  cook.

Place wood chunks on both piles of coals, place sausage in the void between coals.

Cut vents by about 1/2.

Smoke sausage to an internal temperature of 165°F (about 30-45 minutes).wp-1453667655539.jpeg

While the sausage is getting it’s smoke on begin preparing your other ingredients.

Butter a 9X13 baking dish.

Cut your bread into about 1/2 inch cubes.

Shred the cheese.

Whisk the eggs together.

Add the milk, mustard, salt, and chilies to the eggs. Stir to mix.


Once the sausage is done, let it rest about 10 minutes.

Coarsely chop it.

Now begin building your casserole.

Spread the bread crumbs in the bottom of your buttered dish.


Add sausage and cheese.


Pour the egg mixture over the top.

At this point it can be covered and  refrigerated for up to 1 day, or baked.

When you’re ready to cook it. Remove cover and bake in oven or indirectly on the grill at 350°F for about 50 minutes. A wooden pick will come out clean and it will start to pull away from the sides when it’s finished. If the top starts to brown too much cover with foil.


There ya go. So if you’re wanting to impress company,or just get out of the house on a cold winter day, this a good way to do it. Don’t let old man Winter tell you that you can’t grill.

Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with. (Some day I’m going to explain this tag line, but not today.)







Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Asian Grilled Pork Chops

Asian Grilled Pork Chops

*The heat in this recipe can be tamed or omitted by simply removing or limiting the amount of chili paste used.


I’ve been on a bit of an Asian food kick of late. I love the multitude of flavors in simple Asian cooking as well as their no fear of heat attitude. I wanted to keep this recipe simple, seasonal, and tasty. I went with a thick cut pork chop, ideal for a cool fall or cold winter day. Served it with sweet potato wedges and a squeeze of lime to off set the rich fiery taste of the chops.

What to expect:

Deep rich Asian flavors, leaning toward the tradional yet not overpowering hints of garlic. Using freshly ground ginger will give it a few well placed citrus notes, while the chili paste will add a nice burn to keep it exciting.

What you will need:


About 1 hour of total time.

Grill set up for direct grilling

4 thick cut bone in pork chops

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (I REALLY prefer Kikkoman)

1/2 cup of honey

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbls freshly grated ginger

3 heaping tbls chili paste (sold in the ethnic food aisle of most grocery stores)


A picture is far easier than a description.

Sesame seeds for garnish



How we did it:

Set grill up for direct grilling.

While grill is coming up to temperature mix together the:

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/2 tsp garli powder

and the tbls of fresh ginger.

Season the chops well on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place chops on grill for 2 minutes.

Turn over and brush cooked side heavily with glaze. Doin it this way prevent the risk of contamination and allows you to use the glaze as a finishing sauce when plating.


After about 6 minutes flip the chops over and coat heavily again with the glaze.

Continue to cook another 4 minutes or until done.

Remove from grill, plate, give a final heavy coating of the glaze, sprinkle generously with sesame seeds, and serve. Offering any remaining sauce on the side.


Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.




Posted by on December 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Amazingly Easy Hot Sauce

Amazingly Easy Hot Sauce

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my dad gave me a BUNCH of hot peppers. Of which most are either ghost peppers or scorpion peppers, some of the hottest peppers in the world. And as I mentioned I told him I’d figure out what to do with them. So, I’m making him several Christmas presents. This will be stop #2 on our road of what to do with a ton of hot peppers.

In these recipes I’m using the ghost and scorpion peppers, but use whatever you can get and whatever your heat tolerance will handle. It would be fun to mix in other peppers in and see what you get.

What to expect: This recipe will give you an amazing flavor. In the beginning you will notice a sweet taste right up front, then a healthy bight of the vinegar, finishing with an earthy taste from the peppers.

What you’ll need:

hot sauce blog 2

About 1/2 hour of time (at least 1 week and up to 3 months for aging)

Enough peppers to fill the bottle or jar you’re using

2 cups cider vinegar

1 Tbls sugar

1 tsp salt

How we did it:

Begin by placing your jars or bottles in boiling water and boil for about 3 minutes or so.

Wash, clean and dry all your peppers thoroughly.

Remove the stem ends from each pepper.


Place peppers in jar or bottle.

Bring cider vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil.

Taste for seasoning, adding sugar or salt to YOUR taste.


Pour boiling vinegar mix into container to cover peppers.

Give a little shake to release any air bubbles.

Top off, seal, and store in refrigerator.

And that’s about it. The longer it sets the hotter and more flavor it will take on from the peppers.

Remember: What you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.


Posted by on November 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


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