Like I the rest of my life, this past month I have gotten out of the habit of cooking. I am slowly coming around. Since yesterday was labor day and a lot of people celebrate by cookouts, grilling, BBQ or something along that line I am going to talk about a favorite appliance of mine. I know not a lot of people have an electric smoker, but if you ever get the opportunity, grab one.
When we first got ours I was intimidated by it and only my husband used it, then I got to where I wanted something so I started using it. Once I found out how easy, I fell in love. It is basically like a crockpot… set it and forget it. Don’t think if you have a small family or it’s just two or you this isn’t something you could use. I use it for just hubby and I or larger family meals as well.
You’re probably thinking. What would I do with a smoker? Isn’t that just for big pork roasts? NOPE! One of my families favorite meals is smoked turkey. I buy up when turkeys are in season around Thanksgiving and Christmas and 50 cents to 79 cents or even a dollar a pound and grab me a few extra for my deep freeze. I usually cut up at least one. My sister and I love the legs and wings. My grandson and I fight over the thighs. and I have two breast halves for other meals.
Last week I smoked a whole turkey. I sent my sister the wings and a leg. We ate most of one breast half that day and had one left that I sent to my daughter in law and she made the best turkey pot pie. I will share that recipe as well.
For the smoked turkey (make sure this is thawed out completely and at room temperature for best cooking.) I salted and peppered it and rubbed it liberally with cajun seasoning. ( I carefully lift the skin and push the seasoning up on the meat. You can do this to the legs and thighs as well.) While I am doing this I let my smoker heat to 275 degrees. I have water in the little drip tray and soak my wood chips in water as well. ( I used cherry wood this time) My smoker has a little place in the side you put the wood and turn it and it puts it in a little pan. I do that twice then about 2 hours late come and add more. I close off the vent to keep as much smoke as I can in and set it for 7 hours. Usually, I smoke for 4 then wrap in foil and smoke two more but we had an appointment to get the Babies pictures done so I set it and left. I came home to a falling apart bird. So I turned off the smoker, came in, made mashed potatoes, stuffing and tossed a bag of frozen corn in the microwave. easy peasy and hardly any work at all.
Karas smoked Turkey pot pie
One half turkey breast chopped. ( about 2-cups)(if you have more make turkey salad)1 small chopped onion, I can of diced cooked potatoes drained, 1 can of carrots diced and drained, 1 can mixed veggies, drained, 1 can mushroom soup, 1 can cream chicken soup, onion powder, garlic powder. Mix all ingredients in a bowl (taste and season as you like). Put a pie crust ( she used the roll-out kind in the bottom of a large cast-iron skillet or deep-dish pie plate. pour in ingredients, cover with another pie crust and bake according to pie crust instructions ( double crust). Let cool and enjoy. This had a nice smokey flavor and made a huge pan. We even had leftovers for lunch the next day.
So out of one cheap turkey I fed 6 people the first day, got an extra meal that also produced a lunch for two the next day, and Turkey salad as well. That is a great budget stretcher.
Back to the smoker. For Labor Day I was wanting a BBQ plate. A couple of weeks ago I got a good deal on Boston butts. ( 2 in a pack for about 11 dollars) I cut them up into about 6 chunks. yesterday I cooked two ( about half of one). I simply salted it, rubbed with hickory seasoning, put in my smoker for 8 hours. In about 5 and a half, I wrapped in foil. The last hour I took out cooled a little shredded into two pans ( part of us didn’t want BBQ) sauced one pan put it back in the smoker for an hour and set in my baked beans too. Kara made green beans so come dinner, I set it all on the table, ( she made her salad and we ate. You can’t get much easier than that and very little cleanup. Just our plates and the dish the meat and beans were in.
Now you may be saying… but its only good in the summer or for Turkey and pork roast. Nope. Mine is on my patio. The patio is covered but not closed in. so I can use it all year. My family likes smoked Turkey for thanksgiving… granted add a couple of hours in the winter for the temperature to stay higher. Burgers are great in the smoker… granted it takes a little longer but you put them in and forget about it for an hour or so depending on thickness. Meatloaf is great in the smoker as well and a whole chicken too. Beer can or beer bottle chicken is good in there. For the smaller family, you can do the whole turkey and divide it up as I said and make more meals or buy a turkey breast. Also, cut your pork roast into smaller pieces. Only cook one rack of ribs. When I do ribs I put Kara in a couple of chicken breasts about an hour before eating time. so you can smoke chicken breast in an hour or two… while you do something else!
See why I love my smoker? and this time of year is a good time to look since most places are marking down grills and summer items. You can get ones that go in your grill but I never tried those…or stovetop ones…I think I prefer my easy outside one… stick the meat or veggies in, set it and just check occasionally. No fuss no muss!
Do you like smoked food? Did you cookout yesterday?