Newsletter

February 2017 — The Super Bowl Issue

Smoked Brisket

As America gathers to enjoy the big game, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet is celebrating the much-anticipated launch of our game-changing new smoker cabinet. From the subtlety of fruitwoods to a robust oak fire, nothing compares to the flavor of smoked food. We’ve created four new recipes for smoked foods that are perfect for your football party. Prepare your taste buds for delicious Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower, Classic Smoked Brisket, decadent Double-smoked Candied Bacon and Smoked Salmon Jalapeno Poppers.

Cheers,

Russ Faulk
 


Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower

Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower

My all-time favorite game time food is smoked Buffalo wings  ̶  or maybe I should say it used to be. This Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower is a hot contender for the number one spot. Seasoned and then smoked, the cauliflower takes on a more complex flavor and a fantastic crunch. Blis Blast Hot Sauce, which this newsletter has recommended frequently, and a bit of butter make for a quick homemade Buffalo sauce that cannot be beat.

Ingredients

  • 1 dried pasilla chile
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried shallot
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 cauliflower heads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (we recommend Blis Blast)
  • Blue cheese dressing for serving
  • Oak wood chunks for smoke

Instructions

Prepare the smoker for 225°F smoking with oak wood (see detailed instructions for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet following the recipe). Smoking duration will be 3 hours.

Discard the stem from the pasilla chile. Coarsely chop the chile, seeds and all. Place the chopped chile in a spice grinder, add the dried shallot, and grind to a relatively fine powder. We love the Hario Skerton coffee grinder for this task. It will require a couple of passes through the grinder, but the extra flavor you get from freshly-ground spices is worth the effort.

Combine the ground chile and shallots with the salt, paprika and sugar.

Discard the cauliflower leaves and cut the heads down into bite-size florets. They can be rather large because the cauliflower will shrink substantially while it cooks.

Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet or cutting board. Season on all sides with the spice blend.

Transfer from the baking sheet into the smoker. If your smoker grates or shelves are too open to support the pieces of cauliflower, use a pizza screen to hold them.

Smoke for 3 hours at 225°F with oak wood for flavor.

Remove from the smoker. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the hot sauce. Remove from heat and fold in the cauliflower. Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Note: Although a dedicated smoker is ideal, this recipe is also good for cooking in a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill using our wood pellet smoking inserts.

Setup for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

If smoking only the cauliflower, load the smoker with 2 to 3 pounds of hardwood lump charcoal. Clip the pit temperature probe to the center of the bottom food grate and set the BBQ Guru pit computer to 225°F pit temp (you will not be using the food temp probe). Fully open the chimney, ball valve, and fan shutter. Light the charcoal (see owner’s manual) and preheat the smoker for 1 hour to ensure even heat throughout the heavy stainless steel food chamber. Once the BBQ Guru computer indicates the pit has reached 225°F, about 30 to 40 minutes, reduce the fan shutter opening to 50%. After the first 45 minutes of preheating, add 2 large oak wood chunks to the ash pan below the charcoal fire. The embers from the fire will fall on the wood to create flavorful smoke.

Place the seasoned cauliflower directly onto the center food grate in a single layer. Close the door tightly and smoke for 3 hours, replacing the spent oak wood chunks approximately every 45 minutes.


Double-smoked Candied Bacon

Double-smoked Candied Bacon

What could be better than bacon? The answer is candied bacon, with its sweet, spicy, smoky goodness. Thick slices of smoked bacon are coated in barbecue rub and smoked again. The sugars caramelize on the outside as the bacon slowly cooks through.

Ingredients

  • 12 slices of bacon, 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick, about 3 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried garlic
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Maple syrup for serving, optional (we recommend a bourbon barrel maple syrup such as Blis)
  • Oak wood chunks for smoke

Instructions

Prepare the smoker for 225°F smoking with oak wood (see detailed instructions for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet following the recipe). Smoking duration will be 4 hours.

Grind the chopped garlic in a spice grinder (freshly-grinding your dried garlic leads to stronger flavor and a more interesting texture).

Combine the ground garlic with the sugars, salt, paprika, pepper and cayenne to make the barbecue rub.

Thoroughly coat each slice of bacon with the barbecue rub, packing it on to make sure it sticks.

Transfer to the smoker and smoke for 4 hours at 225°F with oak wood for flavor.

Remove from the smoker and serve with warm maple syrup (optional) for added sweetness.

Note: Although a dedicated smoker is ideal, this recipe is also good for cooking in a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill using our wood pellet smoking inserts.

Setup for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

If smoking only the bacon, load the smoker with 2 to 3 pounds of premium Kalamazoo Quebracho lump charcoal. Clip the pit temperature probe to the center of the bottom food grate and set the BBQ Guru pit computer to 225°F pit temp (you will not be using the food temp probe). Fully-open the chimney, ball valve, and fan shutter. Light the charcoal (see owner’s manual) and preheat the smoker for 1 hour to ensure even heat throughout the heavy stainless steel food chamber. Once the BBQ Guru computer indicates the pit has reached 225°F, about 30 to 40 minutes, reduce the fan shutter opening to 50%. After the first 45 minutes of preheating, add 2 large oak wood chunks to the ash pan below the charcoal fire. The embers from the fire will fall on the wood to create flavorful smoke.

Place the seasoned bacon directly onto the center food grate in a single layer. Close the door tightly and smoke for 4 hours, replacing the spent oak wood chunks approximately every 45 minutes.


Smoked Salmon Jalapeno Poppers

Smoked Salmon Jalapeno Poppers

More than any other recipe on our website, our Demon Toes (bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed, grilled jalapeno poppers) have a very enthusiastic fan base. You can frequently find them at Detroit Lions home games at tailgate parties around Ford Field. These new poppers are so good, I have a feeling you’ll be seeing them in Detroit next fall.

Maple syrup and soy marinated salmon rests atop a mixture of cream cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano inside hollowed-out jalapeno halves. Each (massive) morsel is then wrapped in bacon and smoked to perfection. These are definitely “fork and knife” poppers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (we recommend using a bourbon barrel maple syrup such as Blis)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated using a microplane
  • 8 large jalapenos
  • 16 slices uncooked bacon
  • 16 wooden picks
  • Oak wood chunks for smoke

Instructions

Slice the salmon into 16 strips, sized slightly smaller than the jalapenos. Whisk together the maple syrup and soy sauce in a medium bowl. Fold in the salmon slices. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour before assembling the poppers.

Prepare the smoker for 275°F smoking with oak wood (see detailed instructions for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet following the recipe). Smoking duration will be 90 minutes.

Combine the cream cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano. I find it best to work these together with my hands.

Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the ribs and seeds.

Pack the cream cheese mixture into each jalapeno half, filling almost completely, but staying a little bit below the cut edge of the jalapeno half.

Place a strip of marinated salmon on top of the cheese, then check to see how long the slice of bacon needs to be to wrap the assembled popper. It should wrap all of the way around with about a 3/4 inch overlap on the top. Typically, each slice of bacon can be cut in half to wrap 2 poppers. However, sometimes the bacon slices are too short, requiring about 2/3 of a slice to make it all of the way around with enough overlap for the pick to secure it all together. This is why the recipe calls for 16 slices of bacon and not 8. Note: extra pieces of bacon can be smoked alongside the poppers for snacking or other uses.

Wrap each popper with bacon one at a time. Secure with a wooden pick passing through the bacon overlap and the center of the salmon, down into the jalapeno.

Transfer all 16 poppers to the smoker. As you place each popper on the rack, push the wooden pick down through the popper so the pick extends down through the rack. This helps keep each popper stable as it cooks.

Smoke at 275°F for about 90 minutes. Remove the poppers when an instant-read meat thermometer registers 170°F internal temperature in the center of the poppers.

Note: Although a dedicated smoker is ideal, this recipe is also good for cooking in a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill using our wood pellet smoking inserts.

Setup for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

If smoking only the poppers, load the smoker with 2 to 3 pounds of hardwood lump charcoal. Clip the pit temperature probe to the center of the bottom food grate and set the BBQ Guru pit computer to 275°F pit temp (you will not be using the food temp probe). Fully-open the chimney, ball valve, and fan shutter. Light the charcoal (see owner’s manual) and preheat the smoker for 1 hour to ensure even heat throughout the heavy stainless steel food chamber. Once the BBQ Guru computer indicates the pit has reached 275°F, about 45 minutes, reduce the fan shutter opening to 50%. Add 2 large oak wood chunks to the ash pan below the charcoal fire. The embers from the fire will fall on the wood to create flavorful smoke.

Place the assembled poppers directly onto the center food grate in a single layer. Close the door tightly and smoke for 90 minutes, replacing the spent oak wood chunks approximately every 20 to 30 minutes.


Classic Smoked Beef Brisket

Brisket smoked in the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

For me, brisket is the ultimate expression of traditional American barbecue. It requires time, attention to detail, and the proper equipment, to produce the perfect brisket. There are many methods and variations on techniques out there, and each nuance has its own group of passionate advocates. Time, temperature, injections, rubs, the “Texas crutch” and tricks I’ve never even heard of are all out there to be explored. I personally embrace the simple approach paired with a low temperature method, which yields tender, juicy meat with incredible flavor.

The keys to success are: starting off with good quality meat (and using a whole packer, not just the flat), a pit that holds its temperature well and is efficient with its smoke, and plenty of patience. Plan ahead and start early. The brisket should not be rushed, and it is far better for it to be finished early, than it is to be late for the party. After smoking, the brisket should rest for at least an hour, wrapped in foil in a cooler. Or, it can hold for several hours, wrapped and in a 140°F oven.

For extensive information about smoking brisket, I recommend you check out this article by our friends at AmazingRibs.com.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried shallot
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 whole packer brisket, about 12 pounds, Choice grade or better
  • Oak wood chunks for smoke

Instructions

Prepare the smoker for 225°F smoking with oak wood (see detailed instructions for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet following the recipe). Smoking duration will be 18 to 22 hours. After smoking, it should rest for at least 1 hour, but can be held in the oven at 140°F for several hours. Plan to put the brisket in the smoker 24 hours before serving so that you can be confident it will be done and ready.

Grind the chopped garlic and shallots together in a spice grinder (freshly-grinding your garlic and shallots leads to better flavor and a more interesting texture). Combine with the salt and pepper to make the brisket rub.

Trim the outer layer of fat on the brisket down to a maximum thickness of 1/4 inch thick. There are two separate muscles on a whole packer brisket, the “flat” and the “point.” The flat is the thin slab that forms the entire base of the brisket. This is the leaner part of the brisket. The point is the triangular mass on top. While trimming off the fat, take note of the grain direction of these two muscles. They are different from one another. When it comes time to slice and serve, remember these two grain directions so that you can slice across the grain.

Coat the brisket all over with the rub, working it in with your hands. Refrigerate the seasoned brisket, uncovered, until the smoker is ready. A cold brisket going into the smoker is able to develop a more intense smoke ring than a room temperature brisket.

Transfer the brisket to the smoker, placing it with the flat on the bottom, and smoke at 225°F with oak wood for flavor. The target internal temperature for the meat is 203°F, which will require about 90 minutes per pound. The internal temperature is important, but so is “the jiggle.” The tough, connective tissues in the brisket will eventually break down to a gelatinous state. When they do, the brisket will jiggle when poked, prodded or dropped. That’s how you know you’ve made a great brisket.

While it is cooking, you might observe that the brisket stops rising in temperature at around 150°F internal temperature. This phenomenon is known as “the stall,” and it is caused by the cooling effect of the evaporating moisture off the surface of the meat. Do not be concerned. It will eventually rise in temperature again.

Once finished, remove the brisket from the smoker, wrap tightly in foil, and let rest for at least an hour inside an insulted cooler, or for longer in an oven set to 140°F. The ideal internal temperature for slicing the brisket is 140°F.

Slice the meat across the grain and prepare for the onslaught of compliments from your happy guests.

Smoked Beef Brisket

Setup for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

Load the smoker with a full load (7 pounds) of premium Kalamazoo Quebracho lump charcoal. Clip the pit temperature probe to the center of the bottom food grate and set the BBQ Guru pit computer to 225°F pit temp. Fully-open the chimney, ball valve, and fan shutter. Light the charcoal (see owner’s manual) and preheat the smoker for 1 hour to ensure even heat throughout the heavy stainless steel food chamber. Once the BBQ Guru computer indicates the pit has reached 225°F, about 30 to 40 minutes, reduce the fan shutter opening to 50%. After the first 45 minutes of preheating, add 2 large oak wood chunks to the ash pan below the charcoal fire. The embers from the fire will fall on the wood to create flavorful smoke.

Insert the food temperature probe into the center of the brisket, then place the brisket directly onto the center food grate with the brisket flat on the bottom and the point on the top. Close the door tightly and plug the food temperature probe into the BBQ Guru pit computer. Set the food temperature on the computer to 203°F.

For the first 3 hours, replace the spent oak wood chunks every 45 minutes. After the first 3 hours, continue to replace them every hour or so. Assuming you go to sleep somewhere during the cook, you do not need to continue adding wood chunks during that time. The smoke from the charcoal will continue to flavor the meat. You should, however, top off the charcoal to ensure the smoker does not run out. We recommend that you ensure ample wood smoke for the first 5 hours and final 2 hours of the smoking time. You can replace the wood as seldom as you like during the period in between.