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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 
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Posted by on October 23, 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 grillocracy.com. 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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Slice the sausage.

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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.

Stir.

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.

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

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Grilled Sausage and Chorizo Breakfast Bagels

Grilled Sausage and Chorizo Breakfast Bagels

Confession time. I have a secret guilty pleasure, not one that I’m proud of mind you, but it’s time I came clean. I love McDonald’s sausage egg and cheese bagels. Well I did until I bought one for the sole purpose of breaking down the flavor. After eating it and focusing on its profile, I realized, there’s just not a lot going on there. I figured that we could do better, and after a couple of failed attempts, we did.

What to expect: The blending of regular sausage and chorizo gives it a nice balanced flavor. You will get a little heat, from the chorizo and a nice compliment of the spices without it being overpowering and in your face. By grilling it you will get that nice grilled flavor that you can only get from grilling. The grilled peppers and onion class it up a touch, add flavor and texture. While the cheese gives it a creamyness that you expect cheese to give it.

Yeild: 4 quarter pound breakfast sandwiches.

*Note: the pictures will show six sandwiches being made. We did two non-chorizo ones for my wife.

What you’ll need:

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About 2 hours of time, most of it can be prepared the night before.

Grill set up for direct grilling.

1/2 lb sausage

1/2 lb chorizo sausage

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 medium sized sweet onion

4 bagels

4 slices of cheese of your choice. We chose sharp cheddar.

Salt and pepper

The following steps can be done the night before.

Slice the peppers and onions into long thin strips.

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Gently, yet throughly blend the chorizo and sausage together. I found it best to fold it like you would bread dough.

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Place a sheet of wax paper on a baking sheet, devide the sausage into four equal parts. Form into a patty the same as you would a hamburger. (If doing the night before, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, get a good night’s sleep)

Set grill up for direct grilling and cook the sausage patties just as you would hamburgers with one exception. You’ll want to flip about every two and half minutes until done.

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Place peppers and onions in a grill pan, season well with salt and pepper, grill direct until al dente.

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Sear the bagels if you so choose.

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Construct. I recommend placing the peppers and onions on the bottom, this will keep it from being “top heavy” and everything from falling off as move them or when you try to eat them.

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Carefully rearange your coals for indirect cooking. Place your sandwiches in the void between the coals, put the lid on and let the cheese melt, about one minute.

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Serve and enjoy, while the neighbors enjoy the wonderous smell of your breakfast as they dive into their nice bowl of cold cereal.

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

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Grilled Pizza Our Way

Grilled Pizza Our Way

For the longest time I have avoided doing a blog post on grilled pizza. Simply because there’s is a ton of them out there, and I felt as if I had nothing new to add. Then I started looking at some of the post, and they were pretty run of the mill. Grab some toppings, toss them on a crust, place on the grill and VIOLA you have yourself a grilled pizza. And I guess in a sense you do. But by doing so you’re really short changing yourself on all the wonderful flavors your grill has to offer.

What to expect: The grilled taste of the veggies will play nicely with the deep smoky taste of the meat. The final hit of a light smoke as the pizza “bakes” will give you that brick oven flavor that all good pizzas should have.

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What you will need:

30-45 minutes for smoking the sausage (this can be done up 2 days in advance, just be sure to leave the sausage whole, wrap tight and refrigerate)

20-30 minutes for grilling the vegetables

1 lb bulk Italian sausage

1 large white onion

1 each red, yellow, and green bell pepper

6 or so small portabello mushrooms

2 12 inch pizza crusts (I reall like the texture I get from Boboli, and it holds up well on the grill)

1 jar or recipe of your favorite pizza sauce

2 fresh jalapeños if you’re a bit of a chili head

How we did it:

Begin by setting your grill up for INDIRECT grilling.

Remove sausage from it’s package being careful not to destroy its form.

Add a nice chunk of your favorite smoking wood to the coals. I recommend hickory. It will stand up well to the stronger flavors of the sausage, and it will be able to compete with the other flavors of the pizza.

Place the sausage between the void in the coals.

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Place the lid on the grill and let the smoke and heat work their magic.

Check the internal temperature after 20 minutes. We’re looking for 165°f. Continue to check every 10-15 minutes until you reach your target temperature.

When done remove from grill and let rest while you prepare your grill to cook your vegetables. (If you are making the sausage ahead, let cool, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.)

If cooking the vegetables immediately after the sausage, spread your coals for DIRECT grilling, add more coals if necessary.

Wait for the smoke from the fresh coals to subside.

Place vegetables on grill and cook until done, turning about every 10 minutes until lightly charred on all sides.

*Note: The mushrooms will take about 5 minutes per side.

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Once done, slice the mushrooms, and large dice the rest.

Either chop the sausage or give it a quick spin in the food processor. I personally prefer the texture I get from the food processor.

Build your pizzas.Get the grill HOT.

If using a pizza stone, add a light wood chunk, like oak, place pizza on stone directly over the coals, and cook until the cheese is melted and the crust is done.

If you’re NOT using a pizza stone, set grill up for indirect cooking, add a light wood chunk, like oak, rotate the pizza once 90 degrees 1/2 way through cooking.

Now you have yourself a true grilled pizza that you can be proud to serve to guest.

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

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Smokey Chili

Smokey Chili

It’s cold, it’s snowy, and your getting restless. Well here’s your chance to get outside and dig your grill out. What could be better on a cold winter day than smoky chili? And what better excuse to get outside and fire up the grill than to make a big pot of chili?

There’s probably more chili recipes out there than there are people, so I figured I’d just add one more.

Be warned this makes a BIG pot of chili, so you can either feed an army or have leftovers for a couple of days. If you want to use it to make chili dogs later on, go ahead, I won’t tell.

Please note: This is not a spicy chili recipe. To spice it up a recommend adding 2-4 chipotle peppers. I needed to keep it mild for the wifey. 

What you will need:

Please note not all ingredients are pictured.

Please note not all ingredients are pictured.

Solids to be grilled and smoked:

2 lbs bulk sausage

2 large red peppers

2 large green peppers

2 large yellow peppers

2 large white onions

Seasoning:

1 head garlic roasted and finely minced

1/4 cup coarse salt

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup paprika

3 tbls ground black pepper

1 tbls garlic powder

1 tbls dried onion flakes

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp celery seeds

Wet ingredients:

2 10.5oz cans tomato puree
2 6oz cans tomato paste
2 4.5oz cans green chilies
4 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes

2 12oz bottles of beer minus 1-2 sips

How we did it:

Begin by carefully removing the sausage from the package, to maintain it’s shape.

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Set up your grill up for indirect grilling and add a couple of nice wood chunks for your sausage to get it’s smoke on.

Weber grill set up for indirect grilling.

Weber grill set up for indirect grilling.

Place the sausage on the grill as far from the heat as possible and cook to an internal temp of 160f.

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Once your sausage is done set aside and set the grill up for direct grilling, and cook your peppers and onions. You have two options here:

If you have a grill pan then cut your veggies to 1/2 inch dice and place in grill pan and cook until al-dente and slightly charred about 16 minutes stirring once.

Grill pan option.

If not 1/4 the onions, and peppers and place directly on the grill and cook until they show a nice char turning occasionally. Once done scrape off the skin and cut into 1/2 inch dice.

Direct grilling the peppers.

Direct grilling the peppers.

By now your sausage should be cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop it and add it to your LARGE chili pot.

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Now in a bowl mix:

1/4 cup coarse salt

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup paprika

3 tbls ground black pepper

1 tbls garlic powder

1 tbls dried onion flakes

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp celery seeds

Add ONLY 1/2  CUP of this to the chili pot with along with your roasted, minced garlic and stir in thoroughly.

You can use whatever you have leftover as a rub for meat on another cook sometime.

Mix in your grilled peppers and onions.

Add your:

2 10.5oz cans tomato puree
2 6oz cans tomato paste
2 4.5oz cans green chilies
4 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes

2 12oz bottles of beer minus 1-2 sips

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Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to two days to let the flavors meld or cook for 1 hour over medium heat stirring often.

Serve with your choice of toppings and sides. I personally prefer a nice hunk of Smoky Jalapeno Cornbread a little sour creme, some jalapenos and some smoked sharp cheddar cheese.

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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cooking the perfect sausage.

Cooking the perfect sausage.

Again in full disclosure, this cook was the result of how to light a charcoal grill.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been to a cookout, and received a sausage (brat, Italian, etc….) that was burnt on the outside and totally raw on the inside. Not only is it unapatizing, but it is also DANGEROUS. People this needn’t be! I believe the most common mistake people make is trying to cook raw sausages like hot dogs. Directly over the flame. Then deciding that they are “done” when they looked done. You can get away with that IF your either using precooked sausages or if you boil or cook them before grilling. Now there’s a good idea (note tone of sarcasm). NOT! Go ahead and boil them, see all that grease in your boiling water? Well there’s your flavor and moistness, that your about to wash down the drain.

Now let’s do these babies right! Sausages are the one thing I have cooked 1,000s of. I have spent literally years perfecting my technique. And I must say, we have it down pretty close to pat.

First let’s look at sausage selection. I have cooked many different “brands” of sausage, as well as fresh stuffed sausages from all the local butchers. At this point ONLY Johnsonville hits my grill. Although I’m always willing to try any new comers.

Now that we have our sausages, it’s time to set the grill up. In my humble opinion there’s only one way to get the perfect sausage. Low and slow. So, for that we will be setting up our grill for indirect cooking. We will also toss a few nice wood chunks on there, may as well guild the lily while we’re at it.

Now just oil your grate, add the sausages, and let your grill do the work while you enjoy some time with your family or guest. After all that’s what we’re really here for, right?

Be sure to flip them end for end, about every 10 minutes until they’re done. Your looking at about 20-30 minutes cook time. Yea, that may seem a little long, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Are they done yet? Are they done yet? Are they done yet? Don’t ask me, ask your sausage. No seriously ask them, then listen to the answer.

No, I’m not crazy. When you take them off the grill and they’re done, you will be able to hear them sizzling. That’s the grease boiling on the inside. Too soon and they’re raw, to long and they start drying out.

Take a look at that. Nice color, not burnt and you can bet your life they’re done. Think about it, you are betting your life, well sort of.

Your first bite will tell you everything, you need to know, about how you did. The casing should have an almost audible crack, when you bite through it, yet shouldn’t be tough. You should notice a definite amount of juiciness. In fact more often then not, we will get a squirt when we bite in to one. On more than one occasion I’ve had to clean my glasses. Lastly you should be able to taste the spices and smoke.

Now that you’ve taken a bite, take a look. What do you see? You should see a nice juicy, gray center, with a pink ring around the outside. Oh, I probably should tell that little pink ring is your smoke ring. It’s impossible to get it cooked inside and raw outside, so relax, it’s not raw.

So if the next time I’m over to your house, and your direct grilling brats, please don’t be shocked if I just opt for a salad. Come on people stop the madness, slow down, and enjoy your grill time. Slow cook those sausages, you’ll be glad you did.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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