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.
We celebrated Memorial Day and our son’s birthday today with
a shrimp boil. Our daughter had come home for the week-end. Saturday I fixed
cheeseburgers on the grill and some potato salad for her and the wife. Sunday
night I did skirt steaks on the grill for Fajitas and made some roasted corn
salsa. No pics, it was fun to just cook and enjoy.
I had 2 pounds of frozen Texas Gulf shrimp in the shell
thawed. I bought some corn on the cob at the grocery I didn’t think would be
too great; it always tastes better with fresh picked corn. The smoked sausage
was from my butcher Kah Meats.
I added some cabbage wedges this time for the daughter in
law; she is a veggie and not a shrimp lover. I fixed some bowls of garlic
butter for dipping the shrimp. Loving butter this is a perfect meal; I had a
little on my bread, a little on my potatoes and had to have some on the corn!
Everyone thought it tasted great. Almost all was gone but a few shrimp. Our
daughter in law made a great dessert. It was kind of a creamy peanut butter
icing over some kind of chocolate cookies.
Boiling and ready to add the corn
My first plate!
My Shrimp boil
1 to 2 lbs. good shell on shrimp
1 to 2 lbs. smoked sausage, sliced
1 to 2 lbs. new red potatoes, any bad spots removed
4 to 6 ears of corn; broken in pieces
Cabbage wedges (optional)
1 whole garlic bulb, top sliced off
1 to 2 medium onions, top sliced off.
1 to 2 lemon halves
1 Tbs. Zatarain’s liquid shrimp boil seasoning
1 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning
Hot sauce to taste, I like Cholula, about 2 teaspoons
A large pot with a strainer basket and enough water to cover
all. Bring the pot of water with garlic, onions, lemons, Zatarain’s, Old Bay
and hot sauce to a boil. Add in the potatoes, sausage and cabbage if using.
Continue to boil for 20 to 25 minutes; I do a nice rolling boil. Add the corn
and boil for 5 minutes; then add the shrimp and boil another 5 minutes. Lift
the basket out and let drain then pour on a large platter or in the middle of
the table. Serve with some good crusty bread and plenty of butter. We like some
garlic butter to dip the shrimp. A wet cloth is also handy!
This is my basic recipe from over the years; using the
larger amounts will feed at least 6 people.
I made a run to a Kroger’s store 7 miles away to get some
shrimp for the week-end. I got 2 pounds of large frozen gulf shrimp shell on
for a shrimp boil. Besides Memorial Day May 30th is our son’s
I was going to mow so looked for something to do quickly on
the grill for supper.
I saw this nice Canadian wild caught walleye fillet marked
down; it had started at $15.99 a pound! I don’t usually buy packaged fish near
the end of the use by date but thought it might be good. It was just the right
size for the wife and me.
When I opened it, it didn’t smell bad. I pulled what pin
bones I could find out and got it in to marinade for 3 hours. I used about half
balsamic vinegar infused with honey, and soy sauce, some roasted garlic, lime
juice and a little olive oil. I ended up with about ¾ cup. I put the fish in a
plastic bag, added the marinade and in the fridge. I turned it half way
I nuked 4 small yellow potatoes in the microwave, sliced
them up, some onion and had some orange pepper strips thawed. They went in my
wire basket with butter and seasoning pored over. My wife made up some salads
for us. Our grandson had his last day of school today and was here playing with
neighbor kids. He wanted to know if he could stay for supper. I and the wife’s
portion of fish just got smaller!
I heated my Weber up on medium 350 to 400 deg. I put the
potatoes on for about 10 minutes and then did the fish on the back of grill
grates skin side down; it was on about 15 minutes and flipped half way.
It looked like blackened fish but that was from the honey in
the vinegar. Tasted great, fish was mild and done just right.
My wife is in the Little Sister program at school. She goes
twice a month to eat lunch with a 6th grader. For the end of the
year they had a bus trip to see a minor league ball game so she was gone most
of the day.
I had bought a chuck roast, just less than 3 pounds and
wanted to do it today. I had done one this winter using black porter beer in
the Crockpot that was good. I decided I would smoke it for 2 hours then sear it
in a CI skillet and then in a Crockpot to braise all afternoon in the beer.
Last night I placed the roast on a rack and coated both
sides with kosher salt. It was in the fridge just over 8 hours for a little dry
cure. This morning I added some ground coffee and ground black pepper to both
sides. It went on my Traeger at 190 deg. for two hours of smoke.
I had to cut the small piece off to get it in the skillet
and seared both pieces in a little grape seed oil 3 minutes per side. I let it
rest while I used the skillet to sauté some onions and garlic.
I coarsely chopped 2 ½ med. sized Vidalia onions and 4
cloves of minced garlic. They went in the skillet with a pat of butter, salt and
pepper and cooked until the onions were just getting a little brown. I then
added just enough of the beer to deglaze the skillet and then poured all into a
Crockpot. I placed the roast on top; I just had enough room for one layer after
cutting the small piece in half.
I added my Deschutse Black Porter to come near the top of
the roast. It was on high about 45 minutes and then went to low for 6 hours. I
skimmed off most of the fat then I removed the meat and was so tender had to
use a spatula. I removed most of the fat, did a coarse chop and back into the
pot and turned it to high while I made a side.
As is this would make a great French dip served on a crusty
roll. I had some COWB, cheap ole white buns, on hand so that’s what I used for
my sandwich. I had some Fiesta lime corn left for a side. I first coated my bun
with some olive oil and toasted in the skillet. Then I diced a slice of bacon
some onions and green peppers. When the bacon was getting brown I added the
onions and pepper and then the corn and fried for a while.
I had a big scoop of the beef on my sandwich with some
mustard and the corn on the side. That was a mighty good sandwich! I think the
coffee did add to the flavor.
When my wife got home she was still a little hungry so she
had a small bowl of the beef and what corn was left. I asked what she thought
of the beef and she said great flavor!
I took the car through the car wash this morning and stopped
at Sandman’s for some beer. He gave me a couple of ribs to try he had done on
the PBC. That was my lunch and sure was good. It’s a different smoke flavor
than I get on any of my cookers and enjoyed them.
After lunch I went and picked up some flowers to plant. I
got my wife set up and she planted them for me. I went and took a nap!
My supper would be an easy cook; kraut brats and pierogies.
I had found a recipe for grilled pierogies and wanted to try it. The brats were
from my butcher and the pierogies were Mrs. T’s four cheese and mashed
potatoes. I would rather have some homemade ones but Mrs. T’s are pretty good
and I don’t do dough well.
My plan was to smoke the brats for an hour on my Traeger
then do the pierogies on my Weber Gas grill and finish the brats on it too. Some rain moving in from the south made me
change to just using my Traeger. The brats went on the Traeger at 190 deg. for
For the pierogies; I did them without thawing, a large
sliced Vidalia onion, poured some olive oil over. They went in my weber grill
basket after the brats were on an hour. I went to 300 deg. and was getting
about 350 deg. grill level.
I melted 3 Tbs. of butter, a large teaspoon of dried parsley
flakes and added some salt and pepper. After the pierogies had been on 20
minutes I poured the butter mix over and stirred to coat. I checked the brats
and they were done so I put them on top of the pierogies and all was on another
20 minutes stirring half way.
We had toasted English muffins and some cold artisan
sauerkraut with them. I had mixed equal parts of stone ground mustard and mayo
along with some good shakes of Cholula hot sauce mixed to have with my brat.
This was quick and easy and pretty good. I still want to try
grilled pierogies but will use the Traeger for something quick. I think the
next time I would thaw the pierogies in hot water for the smoker and might get
some better browning like I get when doing in a skillet. Total cook time was an
hour 40 minutes and there was very little prep.
Recently on LTBBQ forum member Scally posted about using
baking powder to help crisp up chicken skin. I thought we had tried that and
searched; 3 years ago Smoke did some and posted the recipe. I found the post
where I had tried it and I said I liked it but I haven’t tried it since!
With renewed interest I decided to try it again. I had also
read to marinate chicken in vodka to get crispy skin. I decided to give that a
try too. I had a split friar so washed and trimmed it some and into a zip lock
bag with a cup of Pinnacle vodka overnight in the fridge and turning it some.
It had been in over 12 hours so I took it out and placed on
a rack in a pan and back in the fridge for several hours to air dry. I fried up
some diced bacon to make our favorite pea salad for a side. I cheated and used
some Bob Even’s mac n cheese for our other side.
I cut up the chicken, dipped in the egg, buttermilk mix and
then the seasoned flour with the baking powder. I had a foil pan that I melted
a Tbs. of bacon grease and a Tbs. of butter and added. The chicken went in skin
side down and then in the fridge about 2 hours before cooking.
I heated my Traeger up to where I was running 375 to 380 at
grill level temp. The pan of chicken went in for 30 minutes then turned the
chicken and went to about 340 deg. grill level for another 30 minutes. I
checked with my thermopen and all was getting to temp with 10 minutes to go. I
went inside and got ready to serve and heated the mac n cheese in the
I let the chicken set a couple minutes then served the wife
a breast and the sides. I had a leg, a thigh and a wing that had some of the
wishbone meat. It all was good the chicken was moist and tender. The skin was
kinda crisp and was eatable. My wife and I both thought we tasted something a
little different. I think it was the vodka. Vodka is supposed to be tasteless
but the Pinnacle vodka made from wheat does have a distinct taste to me. Next
time I will drink the vodka and do a simple salt brine!
To be honest after over 40 years cooking chicken on gas grills
and 3 different types of smokers I have never achieved crisp skin like you get
when deep fried or skillet fried. When I want good crispy skin I go to
Sandman’s carry out and get his broasted chicken!
Click Here for printable chicken recipe
Click Here for pea salad recipe
Another cook I moved inside because of rain. Turned out I
probably would have been ok but I am a little lazier in my old age. I like to
get the cook over and the grill cooled down and covered when I am done.
Nothing great here but some may like the salmon cake recipe
or something to work with. My wife gets the canned Atlantic salmon at Sam’s
Club. I like to use two 7 oz. cans but only had one so did with it. One can was
just enough for 2 cakes. Two cans will
give you 3 nice cakes. Following was my recipe.
1 7oz. can of good salmon
2 Tbs. small dice sweet red pepper
2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup Panko bread crumbs, or cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. chive butter for topping
Use 2 cans of salmon and double the recipe for 3 larger
I made up the salmon cakes a couple hours before cooking,
covered and in the fridge to help set up.
I melted 2 Tbs. of butter and added some snipped fresh
chives for on top of the cakes.
My sides were some fried canned new potatoes and some Birds
Eye frozen fiesta lime corn. I started by nuking the corn some and then into a
saucepan with 2 Tbs. of butter and some garlic herb salt to heat up. I then
heated my CS skillet with a little olive oil and butter to fry the potatoes.
After the potatoes had been on about 10 minutes I heated my
CI skillet with some olive oil and butter to fry the salmon cakes. I fried the
salmon cakes about 5 minutes per side and added the chive butter to melt some
A pretty tasty supper and the wife said the salmon cakes
Tonight’s supper was moved inside due to cold weather! It
didn’t frost but I am sure it will tonight; I have my tomato plants covered.
Yesterday I mixed a pound of fresh sausage with a tablespoon
of Penzey’s Italian sausage seasoning to sit in the fridge overnight. At noon
today I made up 3 patties and back in the fridge.
I had some Cape Treasures balsamic vinegar infused with Rooibos
and Honey that my wife’s cousin had brought me from South Africa. I had no idea
what Rooibos was so looked it up. It’s of the legume family and used a lot to
make tea in South Africa. I used it to make a dressing for our grilled Romaine.
I used ¼ cup of the vinegar, ¼ cup of olive oil, a clove of garlic diced small
and a little salt. It turned out delicious.
I did the sausage burgers in my CI skillet; I added some
crushed red pepper to my patty. I was doing some Alexia brand rosemary and sea
salt frozen fries in a 400 deg. oven and had set my CI griddle in to heat up.
I kept track of the sausage temps with my Thermopen since
they were thick. When they were done I topped
with a slice of provolone cheese; covered with a lid and set off the burner. I
pulled the griddle out and set on the burner and grilled the Romine lettuce
about 3 minutes. I toasted English muffins for our buns.
Our daughter in law and grandson was at her parents so our
son came and ate with us. We both had Maille Dijon mustard and onion on our
sandwich the wife had mustard and dill pickle on hers. We all thought the
sausage burgers were good. The son did not want his Romaine grill and had other
dressing. The wife and me loved the balsamic dressing .
My grandson tilled, by hand, my little 8X10 garden Friday
and I planted 9 tomato plants. I thought frost was over with lows of 39 for the
week-end. Then it changed to a low of 35 and possible frost. I covered them
with buckets for the night.
The cold weather has dampened my cooking out plans too; it
was a cold 50 today. I was going to use the gas grill for tonight’s supper but
decided to do it inside and keep warm!
I had a frozen chicken breast thawed; almost a pound and
just right for the wife and me. I had some Ilvento’s Sugo Marinara sauce to use
and would have it over spaghetti. We would have a simple Romaine heart salad
and a toasted English muffin with butter and Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle, which
is a garlic herb seasoning.
I pounded out the chicken breast so it was equal thickness
and cut into 3 pieces. I wet with some red wine vinegar and seasoned with the
Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle. I covered and it went in the fridge for
1 ½ hours before cooking.
I diced a small sweet onion, 2 cloves of garlic and about 5
oz. of baby bella mushrooms. I heated up my CI skillet with some grape seed oil
on med. high and browned the breasts for 4 minute son each side and removed
from the pan.
I sautéed the onions and garlic and then added some beer to
deglaze the pan. You could use water instead of beer but just enough to deglaze
with. I added in the mushrooms and let them cook down some. I then added the
chicken and poured the sauce over. I covered the skillet and turned the heat
down to med. low and let simmer while I got the pasta ready to cook. It cooked
with lid on 20 minutes then lid off for another 15 minutes.
I got the spaghetti cooked, drained and then back in the pot
with two Tbs. of butter. I toasted the muffins and then served, pasta then
covered with sauce, a chicken piece, and topped with some grated parmesan and
The wife and I thought this was extra good; the chicken was
tender and moist. I thought the sauce was the best marinara I ever had, bought
or any I have made.
Not sure what makes it sugo marinara but a couple places
said it was Sicilian red sauce. The Ilvento’s is the last of 4 jars of their
different sauces my wife bought me for Christmas. I can’t buy it around here.
Here is the list of ingredients; Tomatoes,
Basil, Garlic, Parsley, Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Salt, Extra
Virgin Olive Oil. There was a recipe at Epicurious.com that I think might be
close so I will try to make my own.