Thursday, March 31, 2016

Smoked Swedish Meatballs over Spaetzel

Mar 30 2016

I made up the meatballs before mowing the grass. I got 19 meatballs from the 2 lbs. of ground meat. I smoked them on my Traeger for an hour at 190 deg. I browned them up with some brown butter and then in a Crockpot while I made the gravy and cooked the spaetzel noodles.

My gravy did not thicken up the way I wanted it. I just am no good at gravy from scratch and better off using the packets. I had some hard crust rolls I buttered and sprinkled on some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle for garlic bread.

It was good but just not enough flavor there for me. I guess I am too used to meatballs with onions, garlic and seasoning and some good rub! I just now looked over the photos and realized I forgot to add the onions to mine. Duh, that might have made them better!

The recipe came from a young lady named Chungah who has a cooking blog If you are like me and enjoy changing the cooking method and adapt to my smoker or grill she has a lot of good looking recipes so check her out.

Click Here for link to recipe

Ingredients except tho onion!

The meatballs

After an hour of smoke

Browning them a little

Making the gravy

Spaetzel noodles

Toasted garlic rolls

My salad

My supper

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Easter Dinner 2016

Mar 27 2016

You couldn't ask for a nicer day for Easter; sunny all day and 70 deg. I had smoked my Kassler ham yesterday so all I had to do was warm it up in the Crockpot and prepare all my sides. I had plenty of time to sit out back sip on some beer and enjoy the nice weather.

With the ham I was having, bistro mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole and hot crusty rolls.

I had read on warming up the ham and left it in the double foil wrap; in a Crockpot with a cup of water. It was set on high for one hour then down to low for three hours.

The bistro mashed potatoes were a white yam, a sweet potato and 5 small red potatoes. I peeled them and cut into chunks. I left some of the peel on the red potatoes. They were boiled for 20 minutes and drained. They went back in the pan with 5 pats of butter and roughly mashed, I added some half and half cream, about a ¼ cup and stirred.  You want them a little lumpy. I put them in a Crockpot on keep warm while I fixed the rest of the sides.

My dressing I used a recipe from my wife's cousin Suzie. It is light and not too heavy. French bread, onions, celery, butter and chicken stock. Southerners would probably call this Yankee dressing! I always thought this was Suzie's recipe but she got it from a friend Barb Cole. For today I reduced the recipe some since it makes a lot.

My green bean recipe is 1 can of cut green beans, 1 can of French cut green beans, a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and a half a 6 oz. can of French's fried onions. Mix all together and pour into a greased casserole dish, pour a little half and half cream over. In the oven covered at 350 deg. for 25 minutes and then remove the lid, cover with some more fried onions and bake another 20 minutes.

At 5:00 I checked the Kassler ham and it wa sat 155 deg. I was looking for 140 deg. I turned it down to keep warm until I was ready to serve at 6:00.

My sides were done so removed from the oven and baked my take home and bake crusty rolls. It was just the wife, daughter and me so I sliced the ham and we got our own plates ready.

I was afraid the ham would be too salty but it was just right, tender and moist. I didn't have gravy for the bistro mashed potatoes but I like them better with a couple pats of butter on top. It turned out pretty good, I think we all got full. For dessert I had a Kroger's rhubarb strawberry pie.

Click Here for printable potato recipe
Click Here for printable dressing recipe

Dressing mixed up

The potatoes

Green beans ready for the oven

The Bistro potatoes

Dressing is done

Green beans are done

Ham sliced

My supper

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kassler Ham for Easter

Mar 23 2016

It is always a little in doubt around here when we will have our family Easter meal. Our son and wife do not plan very far ahead! Sometimes we have just gone out to eat. The daughter in law does like to go to her parents too.

I think I have it covered! I just put a pork loin in to brine for a Kassler German Pork Loin. I will be able to smoke it Saturday or Sunday. This is an old German recipe and Kassler ham is still popular in Germany and available at most meat markets.

It is a little like Canadian bacon or pea meal bacon but has more spices added to the brine. I love it sliced thin of thick. Sliced thicker it makes great sandwiches.

I used my injector from Grillbeast for the first time. It is a nice one. I mixed up the brine with just the water, salt, sugar and pink salt, (cure #1) then injected the loin. I added the loin and the rest of the spices to the brine, stirred the spices in, added a plate to keep the loin under the brine and then in the fridge.

Mar 26

Well at 9 AM my pork loin had been in the brine for 70 hours for my Kassler ham. I rinsed it well and then back in the fridge to air dry for two hours. I would have liked to let it air dry longer, I was about a day behind getting this started for Easter.

I fired up my Traeger to 200 deg. and got the loin on at 11 AM. I placed it fat side down. I had a piece I cut off to fit my brining pot so I seasoned it with some Super Pig and Penzey's Cajun seasoning. I figured I would save it for seasoning meat. After an hour I went to 225 deg. and was running 250 to 260 deg. at grill level. I was looking for an IT of 150 deg. and was surprised when it came up in about 2 hours and 20 minutes total. The recipe calls for smoking with alder or beech but I had Lumberjack hickory so I went with that.

My last one took just over 3 hours but was from the large end of a loin and this was from the small end. I double checked the temp with my thermopen and it was done. I double wrapped in foil and in my microwave where it set for an hour. I took it out and let cool some more and then went into the fridge until tomorrow.

Today I will reheat in a Crockpot for my Easter dinner. I left the seasoned piece in the smoker for about 10 minutes more then let it cool some.  I had to try a piece of it so I sliced a piece, dang that was good so I sliced a second piece and then a third! The only negative was maybe a little salty so hope my ham  is not too salty.

Click Here for printable Kassler Ham recipe

Ready for the smoker

Done at 152 deg. IT

Wrapping in foil. Fat side up

The seasoned piece

Sample taken!

Potato Onion Burgers & Lime Corn

Mar 2016

 I am a little reluctant to post this but I guess we should share our failures too! Talk about char burgers; these were char burgers; maybe only fit for Tommy's wife Kimmie!

I found a recipe on that called for mixing grated onions, potates, eggs and breadcrumbs with the ground chuck. I modified the recipe some by using 1 pound of ground chuck,  a half small onion grated fine, a medium potato coarse shred, one egg and a half cup of Panko bread crumbs. I made 3 large patties and one smaller one and in the fridge to set up some.

This was my second cook on my new Lodge Sportsman Hibachi. My first one I did burgers and fried some poattao cakes on a griddle. I followed directions and used 40 charcoal briquettes. They filled my chimeney about two thirds. I had trouble getting the griddle hot enough and the burgers ended up rare instead of medium rare.

I thought I would use a full chimeny of Stubbs briquetts this time for more heat. I got the Hibachi fired up and started my lime corn inside. I toasted the buns on the Hibachi. I sauteed some onions and peppers in the skillet on my stove and then added the corn. I placed it out on the Hibachi and then added the burgers. They were ¾ inches thick so I figured 6 minutes each side. When I flipped them I could see they were a little beyond charred! After 5 minutes I added some sharp cheddar cheese spread and covered with my wok cover to melt the cheese.

I took all inside to serve. We all agreed they were  a little overdone! The wife and I both managed to eat all of our burgers but saw the daughter left several bites! The meat inside the crust was moist and juicy but the char was prevalent and I could not tell how the onions and potatoes flavored the burgers. I will try these again with 40 briquettes!

40 briquettes makes a nice single layer; with the extra briquettes I had about a double layer. I think the meat was just too close to the fire. Next time I will go back to 40 briquettes.

For the burgers

Mixing and making the burgers

The corn

Toasting the buns

Burning my burgers!

Cheese was added

My supper

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Meatloaf, Mashed W/Gravy & Corn Pudding

Mar 22 2016

It was a nice sunny day getting up to 63 deg. With the blustery winds it didn't seem quite that warm. Even though; it was a great day to be out and cooking supper on my smoker.

I had a smoked meatloaf, yellow mashed potatoes, and corn pudding. The meatloaf I just made up the recipe.

1 pound ground chuck
1 fresh bratwurst
1 onion chopped fine
1 teaspoon garlic flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup Heinz chili sauce
1/3 cup ½ & ½ cream
2 eggs
about a cup of crushed cracker crumbs
Some bacon for topping

I made up the meatloaf early and in the fridge until 5:00 PM. The bacon was some I had left and was thick so I knew it would not be eaten but helped keep the meatloaf moist and gave some flavor. For my pellet smoker my meatloaves are on the wet side so they stay nice and moist.

After I got the meatloaf all mixed up I pealed and cut up the potatoes. I boiled them about 20 minutes in salted water then drained in a collander. I set the collander back on the cooking pan and covered with a towel to let the potatoes steam and drain. I returned them to the pan with 6 pats of butter, ½ stick and mashed them by hand then added 2 tablespoons of sour cream and mashed it in. I use the potato masher to whip the potatoes some. I like my mashed potatoes nice and thick; not light and fluffy! After they cooled some they went in the fridge; I heated up individual servings at supper time in the micro wave.

I got the meatloaf on my Traeger at 200 deg. for a half hour then eased it up to 300-310 deg. grill level for and hour. After I got the meatloaf on I made up the corn pudding and in the oven at 350 deg. for 45 minutes. I made some Pioneer Country Gravy just when the meatloaf was done at 162 deg. IT. It sat and rested a while while I nuked the mashed potatoes and served the daughter and wife.

We all thought it was a good supper, I got a little too much onion in the meatloaf for the wife but I liked it that way. I had bread leftover from monday for some bread and butter. Another addition that would be good in the meatloaf would be some chopped green chilies.

For the meatloaf

Making up the meatloaf

My mashed potatoes

Making the corn pudding

Meatloafs done

My supper

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Smoked Brats, Cabbage and Potato Soup

Mar 21 2016

I had plenty of potatoes on hand and was hungry for cabbage. I thought about fried but we have had some fried meals lately. I thought I would get some brats from my butcher and just make some Brats, cabbage and potato soup; that would taste good and be better for us.

After lunch I smoked 4 brats on my Traeger a half hour at 200 deg, and then went to 300 deg. grill level and they were done in another 45 minutes. I let them cool some then in the fridge. While they were cooking I baked a take home and bake baguette to have with the soup.

I sliced up the brats about ½ injch, chopped a med. onion, peeled and dice 5 small yellow potatoes, and chopped a little over half med. head of cabbage. I sauted the onions in some brown butter just until starting to brown, then added the brats and cooked a while. I added in the cabbage, stirred well and cooked a while adding some salt and fresh ground pepper. I added the potatoes and  poured in a quart of Swanson's chicken stock and stirred to get the goodies from the bottom of the pan. I added about a teaspoon of garlic flakes and brought it to a good boil then down to low to cook about 40 minutes I added in about a tablespoon of dried parsley flakes near the end.

I filled bowls for us, topped with a slice of Swiss cheese and under the broiler to melt. I think cheddar would have been better but I had Swiss that needed used! We all liked it, some tasty soup, quick and    easy. If you used smoked sausage or pre-cooked brats you could throw this together in a little over an hour.

Brats on my Traeger


Onions browned and Brats added

Chopped Cabbage

Cabbage added in


Potatoes and stock added in


Soups on ready to serve

My supper