Friday, April 29, 2016

Smoked Chicken, Pork & Andouille Jambalaya

Apr 28 2016

I love Cajun and Creole style foods but I can’t remember the last time I made Jambalaya. There are a lot of versions out there to try. It is usually made with seafood, chicken or pork; or any combination of these. The other common additions are onions, garlic, sweet peppers, celery, parsley, rice and some stock and that is usually chicken stock.

I found a recipe I liked from Chef John Folse, a well-known Louisiana Chef. It was for a chicken, pork and Andouille Jambalaya. My butcher just lately started making fresh Andouille sausage. It is probably not as hot as a Louisiana style but better than any store bought I can get around here; and it is fresh without all the preservatives.

I bought a package of chicken thighs; Miller Brothers Amish chicken from IN. I got 4 bone in CS ribs, pork butt, from my butcher. I had a pound of the Andouille froze that I forgot to thaw out. I decided to smoke all the meat first for the Jambalaya to give it a flavor boost.

Wednesday before I did chicken stacks for supper I smoked the meat for my Jambalaya. I seasoned the CS ribs and chicken thighs with some Penzey’s Cajun seasoning. I got them along with the frozen Andouille on the Traeger at 195 deg. for an hour and then went to 225 the last hour. The Andouille was done in about 1 ½ hours and the chicken and pork went to 2 hours. After cooling they all went in plastic bags and in the fridge overnight.

My wife went on a bus trip today so it was just me and the dog! After lunch I went through Sandman’s carry out and got some good beer! You need beer to cook!  I put a heaping cup of Uncle Ben’s rice in my rice cooker to use; when it was done it went in the fridge. I cut up the Andouille, pork and chicken. I removed the skin from 3 of the breasts and nuked it in the microwave until crisp to add it too. I just used two of the CS ribs and some flap meat from ribs I had cooked for the pork.

I wanted to reduce the recipe to about ¾ so I made some adjustments. I cooked it in my 5 quart CI Dutch oven on my glass top stove. By the time I had the rice done and the meat prepped it was 2:30 and time for my daily call to my 94 yr. old mother.

After I talked to Mom I prepped all my veggies and started to cook. First up was browning the pork in a ¼ cup of oil, I used grape seed oil, and then adding the chicken and Andouille sausage. I removed most of the grease and then started adding the veggies and cooking per recipe.

All in and on the last half hour with the lid on; I knew it was going to come out a little wetter than it should so the last 15 minutes I removed the lid to cook down some. It was a little wetter than most Jambalayas I have seen. I had a hard roll and toasted it and topped with butter.

I think it was about 6:30 when I finished and had a big bowl of the Jambalaya. I added some Cholula hot sauce and that was delicious if I do say so myself.

Next time I would cook 1 ½ cups of rice to use along with the quart of chicken stock I used; but then after the leftovers set in the fridge overnight the rice will soak up most of the liquid.

Click Here for link to recipe

Smoking the meat

Andouille sliced

Pork cut up

Chicken shredded

The veggies

Browning the pork

Chicken and Andouille added

Onions, garlic, celery and peppers added

Chicken stock added

Mushrooms, green onions and parsley added

Rice added

Simmered 30 min. ready to serve

My supper

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Muffin Pan Chicken Stacks

Apr 27 2016

I first got the idea of using a muffin pan on my smoker from Myron Mixon; he used one to get a nice shape to his chicken thighs. I tried it and deboned and skinned the thighs then added the skin back on top and they turned out nice and uniform and they were good. I had drilled holes in a six hole muffin pan to get rid of the grease.

Then I thought make a stack with chicken, peppers, onions and wrap some bacon around. The first ones I made were a slice of bacon in the bottom of each hole, a piece of chicken breast, a slice of red pepper, a slice of sweet onion, another piece of chicken breast; fold the bacon over and secure with a tooth pick.

Even with the holes drilled in the bacon on the bottom never got crisp. I bought another 6 hole muffin pan and did some until I could remove from the pan and finish directly on the grill to brown the bacon. I also started using two slices of bacon crisscrossed in the pan.

I found that I could smoke at 250 deg. grill level for 40 to 45 minutes and they were set enough to remove from the pan and finish on the grates. I go to 300 deg. grill level and they are usually done in another 45 minutes. I have used thighs and breasts but prefer breasts marinated or brined, pounded to about ½ inch thickness. I have tried several different styles of stacks but I prefer my original of bacon, chicken breasts, red peppers and onions that I first made in Dec. 2011. You need good sweet onions like Vidalia or ones from Peru.  Thin sliced bacon will crisp up better.

For tonight’s stacks I used some of my butcher’s thick sliced bacon and his lemon garlic marinated chicken breasts. I added the bacon to the pan holes, a piece of chicken breast I had pounded to equal thickness, a slice of onion, a slice of red pepper topped with a piece of chicken, bacon crossed over and secured with a toothpick. I sprinkled over some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle, an herb garlic salt. I did them at 250 deg. for 45 minutes and then removed from the pan to the grill and went to 300 deg. grill level.

Checking the temp they were done in another 40 minutes. I had doctored up some leftover sour cream potato salad with some chopped hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise for a side, microwaved some Bob Evens broccoli and cheese and toasted some English toast. Even though I used thick sliced bacon it browned up nice.

It sure tasted good and had the wife’s thumbs up too. I should do these more since they are easy and we both like them. If you never tried these you need too; the bacon chicken, red pepper and onion go well together.

Making up the stacks

Ready to take out of the pan

All done

Mine sliced

My wife sliced hers neater

My supper

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spare Ribs and Potato Salad

Apr 26 2016

I was hungry for ribs so got some spare ribs from my butcher. I had made a batch of sour cream potato salad Monday. I always like beans with ribs and usually have pinto beans or some Bush’s Grillen beans I can fix for myself; the wife doesn’t like beans.

All I had was a can of Campbell’s pork and beans. While my ribs were still smoking I browned up some bacon, onions and peppers, added the beans and some hot sauce.

It was 80 deg. 75% humidity and breezy when I started to cook. It was down to 65 when I finished up. The steady breeze gave me nice smoke through the cook.

I started my ribs at 1:00PM and planned to eat at 6:00. I trimmed out the ribs St. Louis style; wet all down with some red wine vinegar and seasoned well with Penzey’s Galena St. rub. They set out about a half hour before going on the grill. I did the flap meat and trimmings too; a treat for the cook!

I did the ribs 2.5 hours on smoke 190 deg. 1.5 hours added some BBQ sauce and wrapped in foil. At 200 deg. 1 hour unwrapped at 225 deg. My grill level temps were running about 25 deg. hotter than set temp. I did go to 250 deg. the last half hour. That was a total of 5 hours cook time; I did the bend test and they looked done.

My wife toasted an English muffin for some bread and butter. It all tasted good. The ribs were bite through clean and came off the bone clean. I do like them a little more done, closer to fall off the bone!

My sauce was from a local BBQ place and I would rather have my favorite from Kah Meats, my butcher.

The ribs

2.5 hours, ready to wrap

Saucing and wrapping

5 hours and done


The smoke ring

My supper

Saturday, April 23, 2016

CP Shiner Bock Beef Sandwiches

Apr 22 2016

This AM I needed to make a beer run and go to the grocery. I ask the wife what she was hungry for, she didn’t know. I said how about roast beef sandwiches and a salad. I went to my butcher and got a small 2 pound chuck roast that looked good.

It was showers off and on this AM and my smoker needed cleaned out so I got the Crockpot out. I got the roast on at 11:30.

Sprayed bottom of CP with olive oil
Sliced onions on the bottom
Chuck roast added, trimmed a little side fat off
A little pepper
A packet of Lipton’s beefy onion soup mix added
Poured a cup of Shiner Bock over
Added beef stock to almost cover
Added some garlic flakes
Sprinkled on some Penzey’s ranch dressing mix

CP on high for an hour and then down to low. After about 5 hours I removed the beef to cool then shred and remove fat. I turned the CP to High and added some corn starch slurry while I prepared the beef. I added the beef back and left on high for a half hour then down to low until we ate.

My wife made us a salad and I fried some hashbrown cakes I had some French steak rolls I split, beef and onions on one half topped with Swiss cheese. The other half was sprayed with olive oil and then popped under the broiler to toast and melt the cheese.

Tasted great! If I can’t have beef chuck on the smoker then a Crockpot is next best and usually turns out tender beef.

For the roast

Beef on the onions

Seasoning, stock and beer added

After 5 hours

Beef shredded and fat removed

Ready to serve

My salad

My supper

Friday, April 22, 2016

NOLA Style BBQ Shrimp and Grits

Apr 21 2016

I don’t know anything better to brighten up a gray, rainy day than some shrimp and grits! New Orleans style is my wife and my favorite way to fix shrimp. We don’t have it often with all that butter but sure is good once in a while. You need to serve it with good crusty bread to sop up the good sauce and a bowl of coarse ground grits tastes great with it.

After lunch I cooked some coarse ground yellow grits until they were nice and thick. I place some in two bowls to reheat at supper time and when cool in the fridge. I cut some fresh chives from my garden for on top.

At supper time I diced and browned 3 slices of bacon the removed to add back. I got the butter melted and stirred in the seasonings then added the shrimp and bacon. I saved some bacon to add to the grits.

While it was in the oven I toasted some English muffins and microwaved the grits a bowl at a time for 1 minute; added some 4 state shredded cheddar and some bacon then another 30 seconds. We added some chives on top. I added a couple Tbs. of the sauce from the shrimp and some hot sauce to mine.

They hit the spot; the English muffins were good with all the nooks and crannies to mop up the good sauce. My wife said we should have invited the son down we won’t eat all the shrimp. I said I plan to put a good dent in them! We did manage to eat them all!

Click Here for printable shrimp recipe

Grits made

Ingredients, mustard and bacon not shown

The shrimp

Bacon browned

Butter and seasonings in

Shrimp and bacon added and baked

My supper

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yoshida Chicken Stir Fry and Rice

Apr 19 2016

I was anxious to cook tonight’s supper since it’s been last fall when I last used my wok. It’s kind of big and awkward to use on my stovetop so just use it outside on my Camp Chef gas burner.

I had a half chicken left from my Sunday cook I pulled off the bone and wanted to use the Yoshida marinade and sauce with. I also had some of the yellow rice left to use up. My stir fry was just by ear using what I had on hand; garlic, onions, celery, red pepper, green onions and water chestnuts.

It was a cooler 68 deg. today and a little windy but a nice day to cook out. I spent the afternoon out trimming grass and sprayed some weeds.

I had all my veggies prepped early to cook; 1 med. onion sliced, 2 cloves garlic smashed and minced, 3 celery stalks sliced on a bias, some red pepper diced, some sliced green onions and the sliced water chestnuts. One note on the onions, for stir fries I like to cut in half from the top then lay on the side to slice up. I had just over a half cup of the Yoshida sauce.

I got my wok heated up about 5:30 to cook. You can see my covered hibachi mad a good place for my tray of prepped food to cook. It was pretty windy so had a little trouble keeping a steady heat on the wok. I was using some Asian stir fry oil and first added the garlic, onions and celery. Then added the chicken and cooked a while, then the red peppers, and green onions.  I then added the Yoshida sauce and water chestnuts. After stirring to coat well I placed a lid on the wok to simmer 4 to 5 minutes.

For a stir fry you want your veggies to be crisp tender and not overcooked. Mine came out pretty good but as an afterthought some corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce might have been better.

My wife had hers on top of the warmed up yellow rice, I had mine on the side but ended up mixing it together to eat. The stir fry had enough flavor that plain white rice would have been good but I had leftovers to use. The Yoshida sauce was pretty sweet and for me I think it could use some sour and heat added. My wife thought it was good as it was.

I think the Yoshida sauce for me will be best as a cooking sauce for stir fries and skillet meals but would like to try it as a marinade on a skirt steak or flank steak.


Ready to cook

Onions, garlic and celery added

Chicken added

Red pepper, green onions added then the sauce

My supper