WOOD BASICS

The better the wood and meat, the better the flavor.

The best smokers in the world have curated the best wood possible, which not only creates a luxurious flavor in your mouth but it helps to create the tenderest and juiciest meats you can find.

As a beginner, you probably don’t know which wood is best, which is why we are going to give you this handy chart.

Again, the exact level of smokiness and flavor depends on your tastebuds, so use this as a guide rather than a hard and fast rule.

 

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CHICKEN BACON RANCH SKEWERS

 

INGREDIENTS
1-2 Packets of dry ranch dressing seasoning
3 TB Dry Rub
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 red onions, cut into 1 inch chunks
6 slices thick cut bacon
6 skewers (if using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for an hour)
1/3 C Your Favorite BBQ sauce

DIRECTIONS
After your chicken has been cubed add the dry ranch mix to them and toss to coat well. If you want a subtle ranch flavor use one packet if you want a more prominent ranch flavor use two packets. Set this aside in the refrigerator. The colder the chicken is the easier it is to slide on the skewers.
Preheat your Wood Pellet Grill to 275-300 degrees. Start the skewers by threading on a piece of onion, then thread the end of one piece of bacon on the skewer and leave the rest hanging, then thread on a piece of chicken. Repeat this process weaving the bacon between the chicken pieces. You will have to slowly work from the top of the skewer sliding down each piece. Take your time and space the pieces evenly. You will end up using about 5 pieces of chicken per skewer. Cap the skewer with a second piece of onion to keep everything secure. Dust entire skewer with the dry rub. Cook the skewers, turning every 20 minutes until chicken and bacon are nicely browned on both sides. Depending on how thick you cut your chicken it will take about an hour and twenty minutes to cook. Be sure to check each piece of chicken with a thermometer to ensure doneness. Once the chicken is almost to your target temp, brush on your bbq sauce. This last step is not required, but the bbq sauce does taste very good on the skewers.

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Pellet vs Electric vs Charcoal

Pellet smoker, probably the best type of smoker:

In a good pellet smoker, you’ll find none of the issues of above. And, you’ll rarely find any other issues with a pellet smoker! Of all the different smoker types available, pellet smokers are the easiest to operate as they’re thermostatically controlled. Just set it and forget it!

The best thing about pellet smoker is it keeps thing natural, thus you always get that pure smoky flavor, without using wood chips! And, it is easily controllable and cheap to maintain. Thus I prefer pellet smokers most! And you’ll rarely find any unhappy pellet smoker owner.

Electric smoker:

Well, firstly talking about electric smokers, they’re good. They’re well control-able, not messy and clean. But the biggest problem of them is you really don’t get that organic yummy smoky tested dishes from it, no matter even if you use wood chips! It kinda tests artificial. That can really be a deal breaker, for me it was.

Charcoal smoker:

Charcoal pretty much overcomes that taste issue of electric smoker, not by 100 percent though! But the biggest problems with charcoal smokers? They can be really messy! It’s hard and time-consuming to clean a charcoal smoker clean and these type are smokers are also less durable than others! And you really can’t set it and forget it you have to keep an eye on it to make sure the temp. stays were you want it by adjusting the vents.

3 Of The Top Wood Pellets You Might Like

The product is little different but the manufacturer is same here, so you can expect the same quality from the 40H as the 40M perfect mix wood pellet. The difference of 40H with 40M is it’s not a mixture of various types of hardwood, rather it’s made from 100% hickory wood as raw materialYou’ll see many people prefer hickory for barbecue and cooking because of its strong release of unique flavors. Many people especially like the flavor it adds. The 40H, being a 100% hickory, does the job of flavoring your food perfectly.

Now, there are a lot of other hickory pellets available in the market, so why the 40H from CookinPellets.com? Well, to get your expected flavor from the food, you need a pellet that is 100% of the wood named. You’ll see a lot of pellets in the market that has a mixture of woods in the pellets, but the ratio is not mentioned there. So you don’t know what percentage of the wood named you’re getting from the pellets, and that’s why you often lack the flavor you expect.

So you need a pellet that lets you know exactly what material it’s made from. That’s where CookinPellets.com has maintained their quality till date. They say exactly what’s there in the pellets. If they say it’s 100% hickory, it’s 100% hickory then.

CookinPellets.com is a major retailer of cooking pellets who are specialized for hardwood pellets & this is a perfect hardwood pellet by them.The 40PM Perfect Mix is one of their best smoking pellet made from a premium exclusive mix of the 4 best-quality and most-popular hardwoods available: Hickory, Cherry, Hard Maple, and Apple woods. And they guarantee that they never, ever use oils or filler woods like oak or alder. They also use only the heart woods (center of the log) to make their pellets, never any bark, so no compromise whatsoever with quality.

Being a hardwood pellet, it really does it’s job perfectly to give you a great flavor & aroma.

This pellet gives you the best aroma & flavor that you can cherish for.

Talking about the company, CookinPellets.com have maintained their reputation in the industry with products that perform as the company claims. They make no fake promises so they’re trustable manufacturer

If you are a softwood pellet lover and have made up your mind to buy a softwood pellets only, I recommend you to give a second thought with this pellet which will really add some extra flavor to your food. This is a pellet that burns & smoke great and has fully satisfied most of their consumers.

If you are looking for a flavoring pellet with your regular fuel pellets, then this is the best you can get. This is a package of 6 most popular flavoring pellets, which includes 1 pound bag of each flavor Apple, Mesquite, Hickory, Pecan, Cherry and Jack Daniel’s. It’s compatible with any type of outside grill, be that gas, charcoal or electric.The apple pellets are made of 100% Apple wood which will provide sweet, fruity smoke. Apple is the strongest of all the fruit woods when it comes to flavoring. These pellets are perfect for grilling beef, poultry, ham, pork, fish or wild game.

Hickory pellets are also made of 100% hickory and it is one of the most common and popular smoke wood pellet used in barbecuing. They can produce a really stronger flavor that complements all meats.

All the other wood pellets are also made of 100% of the wood named. The Cherry pellets give you a mild sweet fruity smoke which gives a rosy tint to lighter meats. The Mesquite pellets are here to produce a very distinctive smoke and give you a stronger smoke flavor while the pecan pellets will you a very similar flavor like hickory, but milder and sweeter with a nut after-taste.

For most cooking events, you’ll need only 1/3 of a cup of pellets. You can have 10 uses from each pack in this way. So with this package, you can deal with 60 cooking events. That’s a good return for the money.

Softwood Pellets: More in volume in a unit, More Heat, Lighter ash.

Hardwood Pellets: Stable burn, Nice aroma they provide, Heavier ash.

Decide depending on what you need and which drawback you can live with.

Know go out and Smoke Something!!!

Bacon Jam

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
4 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. chili powder

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DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, reserving about a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and shallots to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft/caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Stir in garlic, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, chili powder and cooked bacon. Bring mixture to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Cook until the liquid has reduced and thickened and the onions are jammy, 7 to 10 minutes.
Let cool before transferring to a jar. Serve with cheese and crackers. (It’s also delicious on a burger and or Brats)

Cream Cheese & Jalapeño Stuffed Chicken Breast

Smoked chicken breasts are good all on their own, however, if you want to try something different and really, really good, stuff them with a mixture of cream cheese and diced jalapeño wrapped in bacon to hold it all together. I’ve been making variations of these for ages, but I hear they are now called chicken bombs in some circles. Regardless of what you name them, it’s a recipe designed to please everyone!

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours
Smoker temperature: 240°F
Meat Finish temperature: 165°F
Recommended wood: Pecan
What You’ll Need
4-6 chicken breasts
8 oz cream cheese
3 jalapeños
A dry rub you like or one of my favorites i list on my blog (HERE)
Thin sliced bacon

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Leave the cream cheese out on the table for about an hour to soften or in microwave for 10 seconds.

Place a block of cream cheese or about 8 oz into a small to medium sized mixing bowl.

Deseed, clean and dice 2-3 jalapeño peppers, depending on how well you like jalapeño and how spicy the jalapeños are.

I usually taste of a little piece to get a feel for the heat level of the peppers (they tend to vary greatly).

Tip: soak the cleaned, deseeded peppers in a bowl of sprite to remove some of the heat. The longer you soak them, the more mild they will become.

Put the diced peppers into the bowl with the cream cheese and stir to combine.

Flatten out the chicken breast with rolling pin or meat hammer not to thin though and brush a little olive oil onto the chicken breasts, then season the top side with your dry rub.

Add a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese/jalapeno mixture on top of the rub,  Spread the rub over half of the chicken breast.Fold the chicken over on top of itself.

Once the chicken is folded coat the entire outside of the chicken breast with a little olive oil and season generously with your dry rub or one my favorite ones.

Lay 2 thin slices of bacon across the stuffed chicken breast.

Lift the chicken up and hold it with one hand while you wrap the bacon “artistically” around the chicken. and know your ready to smoke it.

Set up your smoker for cooking with indirect heat at around 240°F if possible.

If your smoker has a water pan, it’s a good idea to use it.

I used pecan but you can use any smoking wood that you desire and have available.

Once the smoker is ready, place the stuffed chicken directly on the smoker grate.

It should take around 1.5  hours to get to 165 F

Funeral Potatoes
A great side dish that compliments almost any meal! A cheesy potato casserole full of melted cheese, sour cream, onions, and garlic with a crunchy top. This is full of amazing flavor!

Ingredients:

5 lbs Russet potatoes, shredded
2 10.5 oz can of cream of mushroom soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons butter, melted, divided
2 yellow onions, shredded
1 jalapeño, finely diced
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt or more to taste
2 cups crushed corn flakes

Instructions:
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Shred potatoes, skin on and put in cold water.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large cast iron skillet* or Camp Chef’s Square Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shredded onion to butter and cook until soft. When soft, add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant. Drain potatoes and add to skillet or Dutch oven. Mix with onion and jalapeño.

In a bowl, combine cheese, sour cream, soup and seasonings. Once combined, add to potatoes and fold to combine.

Mix 2 tablespoons of butter with cornflakes until coated. Top pan with cornflakes and bake in pellet grill or oven at 350 degrees F. for one hour or until potatoes are soft.

*If using skillet, you will need to use a greased 9 x 13 square casserole dish while baking the casserole. If your skillet is too small to add the potatoes to the onion and jalapeño mixture, add potatoes to square casserole dish then mix in the onion and jalapeño. Then complete the other steps.