Hello and welcome to the April edition of the greatest smoking meat newsletter on Earth! Easter is just around the corner and with the season comes a great opportunity to show off your culinary skills in the back yard.
We are going to be discovering how to smoke up some Easter specialties and I invite you to keep reading and learn a few things you may not know and at any rate get some great ideas for the upcoming holiday.
Last month we talked about getting the smoker all cleaned up, oiled up and ready for the big smoking season ahead and hopefully you have taken care of that. If you did not receive the newsletter or just missed it for some reason then feel free to check it out at at the link below:
Tasty Easter Traditions
I like traditions… I think great families have great traditions and these are things that create memories that will last forever. Things that your children will pass on to their children hopefully and cause them to reminisce about the “good ol' days”.
There are no greater memories than those spent eating great food together with family and friends.
I can think back to some of my best memories as a child and most of them included great food and usually in an outdoor setting.
Well.. with that thought let us talk about how you can create some great memories this year with your smoke cooking in the back yard around the ol' smoker!
A lot of people think of ham at Easter time.. it is the traditional meat of choice at this time of year but you can smoke most anything and make it special. I like to smoke the traditional ham at this time of year and add in some of my other favorites like brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken and let's not forget the smoked eggs.
I cannot talk about all of these things in this newsletter or it would be a book way too long to read so I have picked out a few things that I like to add to the Easter meal and I think you will like them too.
Let's start off by learning how to smoke up a delicious ham and then we will talk about a few other things as well.
Now, I do not have a smokehouse right now so I cannot smoke hams in the traditional manner. It takes a while to do it the traditional way and that is why ham has become the festive meat at this time of year.
The early settlers starting smoking and curing their hams around thanksgiving and they would just be getting ready to eat around Easter thus Easter and hams have developed into a fine tradition.
If you have the capability and equipment to smoke your own hams the traditional way then by all means you should do that but for our purposes here we are going to have to use a store bought ham.
If you can find one that is not presmoked then more power to you.. it is difficult but do not think for a moment that you cannot add a lot of flavor to a store bought already smoked ham.
I have had quite a few emails concerning this already in the last few weeks and all of you are on the right track.
You can take a ham and prepare it with rub or without as you normally would a pork shoulder and simply place it in the smoker and smoke it at 225 for up to 1.5 hours per pound or until it reaches 165 degrees.
I like to use mesquite or apple while some of you may lean toward hickory or a different fruit wood like cherry. Your favorite wood will work just fine.
You will need to make sure the ham has been thawed and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes prior to placing it in the smoker to help prevent creosote from settling on the ice-cold meat.
Keep the dampers and the intake open about 3/4 of the way for the best air flow and let the smoke do it's job.. you will be amazed at how different the ham will taste than if you just reheated it in the oven.
Serve it up with some of my “Goodness Gracious Sakes Alive” BBQ sauce for a treat that will long be remembered and revered as heavenly.
These are so good that I cannot even start to describe them… I am listing a couple of recipes along with their sources for your ultimate pleasure. You really do need to try these!
Smoked Deviled Eggs
½ tsp. cumin
1 Tbs. cilantro, fine mince
3 Tbs. bread and butter pickles, diced
½ tsp. salt
Mayonnaise to bind the mixture, about 3 Tbs.
In a 3 quart saucepan, cover the eggs with 1″ cold water, bring to a full boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 12 minutes, remove eggs and plunge into ice cold water to cool. (Really cold water makes peeling easier. Key to boiling eggs, lots of water and a roomy pan.)
When eggs are cool enough to handle, remove the shell. Tap the egg on a hard surface to start a crack then roll the egg around using light hand pressure to fracture the shell all over. You see how it works once you start. The big end is where the air gap is, easiest to start peeling there.
Put the boiled/peeled egg in the smoker. Smoke-cook for 45 minutes at 225 degrees F. Remove from smoker.
Halve the eggs and scoop out the yolks to a mixing bowl. Break them up with the back of a fork. Blend the yolks with cumin, cilantro, diced bread and butter pickles, and salt. Toss lightly with mayonnaise. Divide the filling into the egg halves, grind on some whole black pepper, and chill.
You may substitute sweet pickle relish for the bread and butter pickles.