There are not many blogs out there dedicated to cooking on a pellet smoker. I have been cooking, grilling & smoking over 35 yrs now. I recently bought a Traeger Lil Tex Elite pellet smoker & have cooked on it over six yrs. now. I would like to share recipes & info I have gained from cooking on it.
Update 2014: I have plenty of recipes here for the pellet smoker so I am now including other outdoor cooking and some of my indoor cooking too.
I think I have cooked 7 days in a row; mostly sandwiches. It
was time for just some meat and potatoes. I had a rack of pork baby backs and I
have been on a quest to have the wife say they are at least as good as Old Dave’s!
She had some of his ribs at the Ohio gathering and said they were better than
Dave told me some of his secrets to good ribs but I should
have watched him a little closer; sometimes you learn more from watching than
listening! Now I have cooked ribs over 30 years and do turn out some good ones
but I did like his better.
I used to never pull the membrane but did pierce it with a
pickle fork. I decided to leave it on this time and show using my pickle fork
in a photo below.
Dave uses Blue Hog rub and two of their sauces. He didn’t
tell me which two but I chose their original and the Tennessee red sauce mixed
1 to 1. Basically I did them for 5 hours, 2 at 180, sauce them and add some
agave syrup and I used maple syrup instead of honey, some pats of butter then double wrap in foil, 1 hour at 200 meat side
up and 1 hour at 225 meat side down. Remove from the foil; brush on more sauce
and another hour. My grill level temps were 25 deg. hotter than set temps. After
removing from the foil I did have to go to 300 grill levels to get them done so
next time I need a little higher when wrapped.
I did a can of black pepper spam, sliced part way through
and some Blues Hog Rub added for an hour at 180 deg. and then sauced and on for
another 45 minutes. It was not done enough but the cook was hungry and it did
taste great anyway!
I did some baked potatoes our favorite way, a potato rod
inserted and baked at 350 deg. two hours
for med. potatoes and 2 ½ for large ones. Then slice in half and serve with any
toppings you want. After you eat out the potatoes you have a very crisp potato
skin to enjoy. I had some leftover stewed tomatoes and corn for a side and some
rye bread and butter.
I thought my ribs turned out pretty darned good. I asked my
wife what she thought and she said “You’re getting there”! I guess I have to
try a little harder!
JBFGT sandwich, that’s a jowl bacon fried green tomato sandwich.
The jowl bacon is from my butcher Kah Meats. I have seen this on the net and
think fried green tomatoes were used to top a burger too. I love both bacon and
tomatoes so had to try this.
The grandson had a soccer game an hour south of here so the
wife went with them. I hate it that it makes too long of day for my back and
leg to go along. At least I can still make his home games to see him play.
After I smoked some peanuts today I found one green tomato
in my garden that would do for fried green tomatoes. I don’t like them when
they are dark green and still too hard, when they turn a light green or even
have a little red they are ready.
I wanted to fry the bacon and tomatoes outside but by 5:00
pm rain was getting too close. I breaded 3 slices of the tomato and in the
fridge to set up. I dipped them in flour then egg and then panko bread crumbs.
Cracker crumbs used to be my favorite but now I prefer the Panko bread crumbs;
some people like cornmeal.
I sliced and fried up plenty of the jowl bacon for my
sandwich. I lightly coated the bacon with some Savor’s Super Pig. I don’t care
for the pig candy that is made from a heavy coat of Super Pig but found I do
like a light coat on my bacon. I then took a beer break, well maybe two!
I reheated the bacon grease and fried the green tomatoes; a
minute or two on each side to get a nice golden brown. I lightly toasted some
rye bread for the sandwich and had left over tater tots with country gravy for
a side. I made the sandwich with mustard on the bottom and mayo on the top
slice; plenty of bacon added with the tomatoes on top. I had a good Yuengling
beer with it.
That was a great sandwich; I would make it again but think I
prefer just a standard BLT and have the fried green tomatoes on the side.
I love about any kind of nut and keep them around to munch
on. My favorite variety to smoke is pistachios in the shell. They take on a
nice smoke flavor. Cashews and pecans will take on some smoke but most of the
other varieties are too hard and smooth to take on much smoke.
For this batch of peanuts, I had about a pound can of
Planters; I decided to get a little help from liquid smoke. I mixed a
tablespoon of olive oil and a ¼ teaspoon of liquid hickory smoke and poured
over the peanuts. I stirred to make sure all were coated well and then added
some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle and Cajun seasoning. I just eyeballed it but
was about 2 teaspoons of each.
It was a nice day to be out with the smoker going. I
preheated my Traeger to 180 deg. and did the peanuts for 2 hours; stirring them
after an hour. My Savannah Stoker V3 controller had a steady rhythm of going
from 170 to 190 deg. and putting out nice smoke.
They came out good and have some smoke taste; next time I
may go to ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke. I don’t want to use too much. Even though
Liquid smoke is a natural made product to me too much can taste artificial.
It took me a while to learn in my older age when you eat
peanuts you must chew them up as fine as you want them to exit!
Spam is not something I eat regularly but I get hungry for
it now and then. I remember my Mom used to fry it for sandwiches and I liked
it. I read where in 2007 it had sold over 7 billion cans! It is made by Hormel
and became a regular item to feed out troops in WWII. It now comes in 16
different flavors. I have tried the BBQ flavor but prefer the original. It is
made from pork shoulder and ham, all good meat.
I had corn cut from three ears and 4 nice sized tomatoes
from my garden so I made stewed tomatoes and corn for a side. I sautéed some
chopped onions, orange pepper and then added the corn to heat then the tomatoes
I had removed the peels, some salt and prepper and a teaspoon of sugar. It all
simmered about 40 minutes.
I had a bag of Ore Ida tater tots; I did some on the Weber
Spirit for about 15 minutes then fried the Spam. I had sliced the can of Spam
into six ½ inch slices and fried them about 6 minutes on each side to get crispy.
I had made a batch of Pioneer mix country gravy for my tater tots.
My wife had mustard and dill pickle on her sandwich and I
just had mustard. She had turned up her nose when I told her we were having
Spam sandwiches but after the first bite she said mmm pretty good! It was good
and satisfied my hunger for some Spam!
I had some cornbread cakes left from yesterday. That meant a trip to my butcher Kah Meats for some of his jowl bacon to have with them for my brunch today. I fried up some of the bacon and then did the eggs in the grease. I had three of the cornbread cakes topped with butter and maple syrup. That tasted great but wished I had fried up more of the bacon! I had a glass of buttermilk with it.
Cooking a chicken this way has been in my mind for a long
time. Years ago when my son was young we ate chicken at a National
Mussleloading Shoot. The guy had two pots going as I remember, one with boiling
water and one with BBQ sauce. He was selling half chickens and they were
delicious. I thought I would smoke some and then braise to see how that came
I read several recipes on braised chicken and some braised
in beer sounded good. Most of them they would brown up the chicken and then
braise an hour in liquid. One guy said to use all legs and thighs; that breasts
would get dry tasting and I could relate to that. All the grocery had today was
thighs and no legs so I settled for a split chicken.
My plan was to smoke for 1 ½ hours and then braise in beer
and BBQ sauce for 1 ½ hours. I had enough time for 2 ½ hours in brine to help
keep the breasts moist. I cut the halves in quarters and got it in the brine. I
rinsed and back in the fridge to air dry 1 ½ hours before smoking. I seasoned
it with some Blues Hog Rub and smoked at 180 deg. for 1 ½ hours.
I poured some of the Yuengling beer in the pot and added the
chicken. I poured in a cup of Kah’s BBQ sauce, ¼ cup of Blues Hog Tennessee Red
sauce, some dried garlic and shallots and then poured the rest of the beer over
all. I brought it to a boil and then down to a low simmer and covered with some
parchment paper on top. It was on for 1 ½ hours.
Old Dave had me hungry for some cornbread cakes. I used my
favorite cornbread mix, Miracle Maize sweet and used the recipe on the box for
pancakes. I did them on my griddle outside on my gas burner. My first 4 were
burnt so they went in the trash. The next 4 were almost burnt but tasted one
and didn’t taste burnt so I went with those, I was hungry!
I had some left over yellow rice for a side. My wife had a
breast and I had a leg thigh quarter. The chicken was great, moist, tender fall
off the bone. Two hours of braising would not have hurt the chicken any. The
skin was not eatable. The wife said the breast was good and moist too. I liked
my sauce mix and the corncakes went well with it. Yes I had to have a little
butter on my corn cake!
After eating I fried 4 more batches of cornbread cakes and
got them just right. I had been waiting for them to bubble up like regular
pancakes but this mix did not so just did by checking to see if they were ready
to flip. These will taste good tomorrow with some bacon and eggs!
I went to Kroger’s today and found some pre-made turkey
burgers and they had some local corn that looked good. I have to get my corn on
the cob before the season runs out and it would go good with a turkey burger.
My usual corn supply, Suter’s little red barn has already closed up. They
probably still have it but I would have to drive to Lima, they run out of
college kids, who start school, to man all their stands. They had said they
should have corn to the end of August.
I had just enough tomatoes for the sandwiches and some in
our salad. I made some dressing for mine, a couple Tbs. of mayo, a tsp. of sour
cream and some dried garlic flakes. I had iceberg lettuce to use; my wife has
bought a Romaine mix ever since she read iceberg lettuce has no food value.
Food value or not I like it for the nice crunch especially for sandwiches.
I had the corn in my rice steamer to be ready when the
sandwiches were. I seasoned the turkey burgers with some Penzey’s sandwich
sprinkle. I did the burgers on my Weber Spirit on grill grates about 6 minutes
each side and toasted the pretzel buns.
My wife and I both had mustard, lettuce and tomato on the
sandwiches. All tasted pretty good. The turkey burgers were a tad dry; some
bacon would have fixed that!
It was just me & the dog home today so I wanted to make
some chili. Our son was at a golf outing so my wife went with the daughter in
law and grandson to his soccer game an hour south of here. Our son met them
after the game for dinner.
My chili was a half day making and that meant a nice lazy beer
sipping afternoon outside listening to music as I was cooking. I did up the
tomatoes on the smoker early to get the peels off; an easier way than boiling
water. I had about a pound of smoked sausage to use up so that was my meat. I
prefer pinto beans for chili but had some little red beans to use up.
After lunch I smoked the sausage on my Traeger for an hour
15 minutes at 225 deg. I measured out my spices, chopped the onion and diced up
the bacon. I started out outdoors using my gas burner; I did the bacon,
sausage, onions and dry spices then took the pot inside to deglaze and add all
the other stuff.
After I got all in and simmering I let it on for 3 hours
adding some water as I went and stirring as it cooked. I had a big bowl of it about
6:30 topped with some shredded Mexican 4 cheese blend and a dollop of sour
cream along with some buttered saltine crackers. It was a little warm for me
but tasted great.
I think ground meat would make it more chili
like but I had the smoked sausage to use up. Clickhere for printable recipe The tomatoes