Saturday, November 13, 2004

Barbecued bacon & eggs

I began thinking of my smoker as an outdoor oven, and realized that most any food that can be roasted or baked indoors can be cooked outdoors. Much more than the usual barbecued meats would taste good cooked in this way. The possibilities seem endless, as long as I learn how to control the heat in the cooker.

This particular barbecue lesson focused on holding a higher temperature of 350 degrees F, so I chose to cook turkey parts and sausages. These tender items, small in size, do not require the all-day smoking at low temperatures that large, fatty, sinew-rich cuts like pork shoulder and beef brisket require. To achieve 350 F, I had to increase airflow to the charcoal by opening the bottom vents fully and also by propping open the door of the cooker by resting it on the shovel I use to scoop the coals. Seems ad hoc and hokey, but it worked.

As long as I was firing up the smoker, I wanted to try a couple of appetizer ideas. Chileheadmike on suggested bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and a smoked cocktail sausage, so I tried something like it, with excellent results. Although I love my spicy food, Gurlfren and 4 year old Adam do not relish the sting of capsaicin, so I thought I'd wrap some hard boiled eggs with bacon and smoke them for their less bulletproof palates.

These smoke-burnished turkey parts cooked for an hour after brining overnight to reach this state. The breasts and wings tasted good (but it's still boring ol' turkey). The legs tasted off, but that's because I sourced frozen legs that turned out to be old and nasty. Lesson: use fresh meat only. The skin rendered out a lot of fat, but wasn't as crisp as I'd like. Next time, I'll dry the skin in the fridge overnight so it'll crisp up when cooked.

Above, on the left: bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese. On the right: halved, hard-boiled eggs. Foreground: kosher salt, prepared for smoking. I heard about someone who sells smoked salt, and liked the idea of having some handy any time I wanted to add a pinch of smoke flavor. The salt smoked for 30 minutes, and took on a too- subtle smoke flavor. I'd probably extend the time to 45 or 60 minutes next time.

Jalapenos and hard boiled eggs, after smoking. I'm convinced anything wrapped in bacon and smoked will taste good: medallions of skunk, for instance, or crow on a stick. Mmmm....bacony crow.

Closeup of the eggs. These were mighty good right out of the smoker! Next time, I'll make deviled eggs with the yolks before smoking.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Salt:

I, too, and a SoCal WSM user, residing in Dove Canyon, next to Rancho Santa Margarita, some 15 miles or so from you, I imagine.

Good to see that there are other "smokers" in the area. I have not tried some of the wonders you have, so far only smoking tri-tip, baby-back and back pork ribs, brisket, pork butt and salmon.

The WSM is a wonderful device. What are you using for fuel?

12/10/2004 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrap the bacon around prunes (or dried plums) next time, they work togther perfectly.

12/16/2004 11:10:00 PM  

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