Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Smokin' Pete's New Cookbook

May 27 2016

The “Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill Cookbook” by Peter Jautaikis is a beautiful hardcover cook book and can be bought at Amazon. The front cover shows a mouthwatering photo of a sliced beef brisket.

I first came across Peter, Smoker Pete as he is known at Let’s Talk BBQ forum, about 5 years ago. Commenting on each other’s cooks he became one of many good friends on the forum. He also has a BBQ blog where he is known as Smokin’ Pete,

I had his new cookbook on order at Amazon then Pete wrote and asked for my address and the publisher would send me one for free if I would review it on my blog site. I gladly accepted and would have given it a review even if it had not been free. From viewing Pete’s BBQ over the years I knew it would be a good book to have. I wish I had it back when I first bought my Traeger pellet smoker.

It is well laid out with professional photos and the recipes are easy to follow. The front explains how a pellet smoker grill works with all the major parts explained. Some of the newer ones have special plates to insert for searing meats.  He also shows some of the popular accessories.

The recipes cover appetizer and sides, all the meats, beef, pork, poultry, lamb, and seafood. He has a section on extras, just about anything you can do in your indoor oven you can do on a pellet smoker grill. In the back is his Brine and rub recipes. If you try all the recipes it will keep you busy for a long time!

I wanted to do one of his recipes for this review but I am busy for the next week so it will have to wait until I get back from an Ohio LTBBQ gathering next week-end. I wanted to get this posted to let all know there is now a great cookbook available for pellet wood smoker grills.

I highly recommend this for all whether you are a novice or experienced cook. BBQ and cooking is a forever learning craft and no matter how good you get there is always room to learn more.

You can get the book here Amazon

Some views of the cookbook

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Last Good BLT for the Season

Aug 30 2016

Just another hot muggy day here! I did get the yard trimmed out before it got too hot. I use the hand mower around the perimeter and fence then the grandson does the rest on my rider for me. He came after school and did it and watered the flowers.

We had leftover pork chop, green beans and potatoes we could eat; but I looked at a large and a med. tomato setting in a bowl on the counter. I thought now that’s about the last good tomatoes I will get from my garden so I have to have BLT’s!

A had about a pound of jowl bacon in the freezer so took it out to thaw. I sliced most of it up and got it on my Traeger about 3:30 at 320 deg. grill level. It was done in just an hour. I had one extra thick slice I seasoned with some Super Pig and will have for a snack later tonight or tomorrow. The grandson went home after he did his chores, had plans with Mom & Dad for supper.

I toasted a bun and made up my sandwich. The wife had her bacon and tomato in a lettuce wrap. I know it’s a lot of pics for one sandwich but I wanted to savor this as much as I could. Sure tasted good. I will still be able to get tomatoes a few weeks from a produce stand in town but they are not as tasty as fresh garden tomatoes.

The bacon

Ready to build

Toasted bun & mustard

Two slices of bacon, a tomato slice & more bacon

Lettuce, more bacon and mayo on top

My BLT and a good beer

Mash it down and enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Smoked Pork Chops, Green Beans and Potatoes

Aug 29 2016

I missed my usual ham, green beans and potatoes when green beans first come on. By the time I thought of it my produce wagon where I get my corn said their green beans were done. I had some of the Kennebec home grown potatoes left so went looking for green beans.

Another produce stand was out of them, said a lady bought all he had yesterday. My butcher didn’t have any ham steaks out so I got 3 nice smoked pork chops that would do. I found dome nice looking green beans at Wall Mart.

Past years I did this meal in my Crockpot but I used my Instant Pot today. I cleaned the green beans; pealed some of the bad spots from the potatoes and cut into chunks. I sautéed the chops to get a little brown in the pot and added chicken stock to deglaze then placed the chops on some sliced onions. I added in the potatoes and then the green beans, some salt and pepper. I poured what was left of the chicken stock in, about 2 cups total.  I set the pot on manual for 15 minutes.

I like my Instant Pot the more I use it. I like the way it shows lapsed time after the timer has runout and it is on warm hold. Normally after pressure cooking it takes about 15 minutes to dissipate the pressure. Tonight we were hungry so after 5 minutes I eased off the pressure manually to open and serve.

We had some English muffins & butter with the meal. It was very good; chops were fall off the bone tender all tasted like it had simmered 4 to 5 hours in a Crockpot. I can see using my Instant Pot a lot this winter for some good comfort food! I liked how I could sauté the chops right in the pot and keep the good flavors all in the pot. This also meant no skillet to clean.


Chops browned

In the pot

My supper

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cheese Brat Burgers, Smashed Potatoes & Tomatoes

Aug 27 2016

Another hot muggy day here and looks like more in store for next week. Last night we took the daughter in law and grandson out to eat at a great Mexican place here. After we ate the grandson mowed the grass for me.

I needed to edge and trim the back yard today but just too hot & muggy. Instead I removed the smoke stack from my Traeger, cleaned it out, sanded and repainted. I had burnt a lot of the powder coat off from emptying the auger without the heat shield in place. Don’t do that! Just one auger full of pellets was enough my display read 675 deg. and sparks were showing in the smoke cap.

I also cleaned and sanded the front of the barrel under the lid. It had some corrosion from dripping sauces down it. I used some Rustoliem Ultra High Heat Black Semi-Gloss to repaint. Now other than the lid being scorched on the bottom it almost looks new.

I ask the wife if she wanted a hamburger or brat burger for supper. She said brat burger so that’s what I fixed. I went to the farmers market today and got some nice small Kennebec potatoes then went to my butcher Kah Meats and got 4 cheese brats. I had wanted his standard brats but he didn’t have any in the counter. I wanted to use fresh and not frozen so thought I would try them even though I never tried them in a patty.

You can’t beat Kah’s brats and plenty of choices; he makes 17 different styles and keeps a good supply of them in the freezer. They are in vacuum sealed packs of 4. His brats are all in natural casings made from fresh pork, ingredients and seasoning, no preservatives. Some styles he does use an anticaking agent.  Next time you get some store bought brats look at all the preservatives that are in them.

Rain was coming this way so was going to do the brat burgers in my Traeger using the back side of grill grates. I used my Cuisinart 3 in 1 burger press removing the meat from the casing. The first one I made was a little messy so I washed the press and sprayed with a little olive oil that was better but not great I washed again and just used cold water and that worked pretty well. I got 4 nice patties made up and in the fridge to set up some.

I fired up my Traeger and eased the temp to 325 deg. grill level. I nuked two of the Kennebec potatoes for 2 minutes then mashed and a pat of butter on top. They went in a basket and on the smoker about 5 minutes before the brat burgers. I sprayed the grill grates with some olive oil and the brat burgers were on about a half hour turning half way. I sprayed the potatoes a couple times with olive oil.

It all tasted great; my wife had mustard tomato and dill pickle on her sandwich. I had mustard and a slice of Vidalia onion on mine with tomatoes on the side.

The brats

In the press

4 patties made

On my Traeger

Ready to serve

My tomatoes

My supper

Friday, August 26, 2016

Meatloaf & Cornbread Panzanella

Aug 25 2016

I had some cornbread left and had fresh garden tomatoes to use. Panzanella was a natural to think of. I searched the net for some ideas and found a good one at Two Peas and Their Pod. In theirs they used Jalapeno cornbread, lime juice, cilantro and a Mexican Cheese for more of Tex Mex flair. I used it as a guide and used my plain cornbread, balsamic vinegar, basil and mozzarella cheese for an Italian version.

I thought a meatloaf would be good with it so got 1 ¼ pounds of 80-20 ground chuck from my butcher. I mixed in a package of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix, 1 beaten egg, ½ sleeve crushed saltine crackers, ¼ cup ½ & ½ cream, salt and pepper. I mixed it all up and in the fridge for an hour before smoking.

I cut up and toasted the cornbread early so all I had to do was assemble the salad just before supper.  I did the meatloaf on my Traeger. It took about 1 ½ hours to get it to 160 deg.IT.

Our son is away on a golf outing this week end so asked the DIL for supper; I know she likes panzanella. The grandson had soccer practice so she came ate with us and was taking him and a friend out after the practice.

I had the salad made and sliced the meatloaf and it was get your own and heat up the meatloaf. I had the salad, two slices of meatloaf with Maille mustard and two pieces of the Super Pig Bacon Candy Corn. I was surprised our veggie DIL had two pieces of the meatloaf! I liked some bread panzanella I made a while back better but the wife said she liked this cornbread version.

Click Here for printable panzanella recipe
Click Here for Link to Two Peas recipe

Toasted cornbread

After 1 hour


For the salad

Ready to serve

My Salad

My supper

Super Pig Bacon Candy Corn

Aug 25 2016

One of my hobbies is searching the net for new recipes to try. Anything with bacon catches my eye since I love bacon. I don’t care for the extra sweet bacon candy etc. that are popular with a lot of people. I did find I like a light coat of Savor’s Super Pig on bacon and like it for BLT’s too.

I saw one that used brown sugar mixed with corn meal to coat the bacon. I thought now the cornmeal may go well with Super Pig. I had a half pound of Jowl Bacon thawed that needed used. So today after fixing a meatloaf for our supper I did the bacon. I sliced it about ¼ inch thick and coated with Super Pig on both sides. I used a little more than I usually do. I then pressed both sides in the cornmeal.

I did the bacon on my Traeger on a frogmat. I started it at about 250 deg. grill level then after ½ hour eased it up to 300 to 325 deg. grill level. It took just over an hour to get done.

I had to taste a thin slice before the rest were done! Man that is good! For me the cornmeal gives an extra flavor and crispiness to the bacon.

If you can’t buy the Super Pig you can come close by using a little brown sugar and red pepper flakes to taste.

Seasoning the bacon

Ready for the smoker

On my Traeger

Ready to serve

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Breaded Pork Cutlet Sandwich & Corn on the Cob

Aug 24 2016

This is the last week for Suter’s produce wagon here in Wapakoneta so had to get a half dozen ears of corn for tonight’s supper. We have not had pork in a while so got some pork cutlets from my butcher. His cutlets are center cut chops run through a tenderizer. I picked some nice tomatoes from my garden this morning that would be good too.

It was a nice day but rain coming in at supper time moved me inside to cook. I breaded the cutlets with corn flour, egg wash and bread crumbs. I seasoned the cutlets with a little Lawry’s seasoning salt; I added some half & half to an egg to lighten it up some.  I made them up and set in the fridge for about 2 hours before frying.

I cut up some tomatoes and drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over for a side. I husked the corn and steamed it in my Instant Pot for 5 minutes. As soon as the pot heated and went to the time mode I heated a skillet with olive oil and fried the pork cutlets.

When the 5 minutes were up on the corn I eased the steam off while I finished the cutlets and toasted bread for the sandwiches.

We both had mustard and Claussen’s dill pickles on our sandwich; butter and Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle on the corn. Tasted great we both thought the sandwich was one of my best lately. The cutlets were very tender and no gristle at all.

Breading the cutlets



Fresh tomatoes

Fresh corn

My sandwich

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pork, Bacon, Corn and Tomato Skillet Meal & Skillet Cornbread

Aug 22 2016

I got a quart of tomatoes in the freezer this AM and after lunch the wife and I did up 2 doz. Ears of corn for the freezer. I got 8 one pound bags for the freezer and it will taste great this winter.

The wife discovered a bag of corn in the freezer from last year so I used it in my supper. I had some pulled pork and jowl bacon from the freezer and had enough tomatoes left from this morning to use.
I had a recipe in my head, pork, bacon, green peppers, onions, garlic, corn, and tomatoes all done in a CI skillet. I would season with some Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, a little Cholula hot sauce. I had a box of Zatarain’s garlic butter rice I would serve it over.

Cornbread would taste good with it so I baked a Miracle Maize Sweet mix in a CI skillet.

I got the rice going in my rice cooker and prepped the onions and peppers. I started with 3 slices of jowl bacon diced and browned in the skillet. I removed the bacon and added in the pork just to heat through well then removed it in with the bacon. I added diced onions with some dried garlic flakes and two pats of butter. When the onions started to take on some brown I added the diced green pepper and then the corn. The liquid in the corn helped deglaze the skillet.

After that all heated up I added the pork, bacon and Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire and hot sauce. I added the tomatoes and stirred all well and let it simmer about 10 minutes, I added about ¼ cup of dry red wine at the end.

I served it over the rice with some buttered cornbread. Not too bad for off the top of my head and throwing it together. I think it would have been a little better with more tomatoes.

My cornbread


Browning the bacon

Pork added in to heat

Chopped onions and dried garlic added

Green pepper and corn added in

Meat seasonings and tomatoes added in

Ready to serve

My supper

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fresh Corn for this Winter

Aug 22 2016

Yesterday I had cooked down what tomatoes I got from the garden and set them in the fridge. I filled a quart jar for the freezer and had enough to use for my supper meal.

As soon as Suter’s Produce Wagon opened at 10:00 AM with fresh picked sweet corn I went up and got a dozen. That would make me 4 one pound bags to freeze for this winter. There is nothing better than opening a vacuum sealed bag of it this winter for some fresh corn taste.

I got the pot of boiling water on my Camp Chef and the wife helped me shuck it. I do a half doz. 2 to 3 minute blanch then take inside and run cold water over to stop the cooking. When the wife had the second batch shucked I said run up and get another dozen. It’s only about 3 minutes away. It was such a nice 74 deg. day I might as well do another doz. And it would give me 8 bags of corn.

I cut the kernels off with a serrated boning knife in a large pie dish, and I scrape the ears to get all the goodies. I do 3 ears then spoon into a sandwich zip lock bag. The 3 ears make just about a pound and lays out flat to freeze. In the morning I will just cut the zip off the bag and vacuum seal all on my Food Saver.

Sure glad the weather turned cooler; not sure I would have done the corn and this is the last week for Suter’s to be here in Wapakoneta. They won’t be out of corn but out of help to pick and man all the wagons they have open. The college kids they hire are starting to return to school. They keep open what they can and I can always drive to Lima, 18 miles away, if I want some bad enough.

Set up to par boil

Cutting off the cob

4 bags for the freezer