Sunday, August 12, 2007

Smokin' (Not Ciggies)

A recent purchase of mine has been paying dividends for the past 3 weeks, and I wanted to share some of the meaty goodness with all of you. I'm not sure if there's a better way to spend $108 at Wal-Mart.

This is a picture of my propane powered. Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain Series Tower Smoker.

I joined a smoking meat forum online and have been getting some expert tips on how to properly smoke multiple kinds of meat, what kind of spices to use, what kind of wood chips produce the best flavor, and every other detail about meat that you can think of.

This past Friday I smoked a pork tenderloin for 14 of my closest poker playing friends, and judging by the amount that was leftover (0.0 pounds), I'd say it was a hit.

One thing that didn't make sense to me was that cooking a piece of meat for 6 hours makes it tender and juicy. I've been a die hard griller for many years, and I always thought that was the best way to cook meat. But, after a few runs with the smoker, I now know that "Low and Slow" creates the juiciest, most flavorful meat I've ever had in my life.

After spending about an hour on the smoking meats forum this morning, I wanted to try a popular new "snack item" in the smoking world called a "Fatty". What is a fatty you ask? I was wondering the same thing when I saw the topic online, and after a few explanations, it's very simple. A fatty is a 1 pound roll of your favorite sausage. Some smokers say they are a very addictive morsel of goodness, that gets put on the smoker for a snack, anytime they smoke a pork loin, or a brisket. They only take 2 hours, and they're great for breakfast.

Andrea and I decided to smoke a few fatties this afternoon. I wanted to smoke one naked (the sausage, not me... well.... OK, me too), so we could use it as the control group in our little experiment. It's important to know what the meat tastes like plain, or you'll never know if you're adding good flavor to the meat with all your rubs and various other flavoring methods.

For the other two, we rolled out the sausage to a size of a standard piece of paper (8 X 11) Then we put diced vegetables and cheese on the inside, and rolled them up, sprinkled them with a spice rub, and put em in the smoker.

The top tray is Andrea's fatty in the front, and mine in the back with a meat thermometer stuck in it. Fatty's must cook to an internal temp of 160 degrees. The naked fatty is on the 2nd shelf. Just below that is the water pan, with mesquite wood chips in it. For this smoking session, I used oak wood chips that are made from retired Jack Daniels barrels. They make dynamite smoke, and great flavor. You can't see it, but just below the water pan is the iron wood chips box, where all the thin blue smoke comes from.

MMMMM.... look at that smokey goodness:

Here's the finished product. Naked fatty on the left, Andrea's in the middle, and mine on the right. The difference between Andrea's and I, is that she added tomatoes to hers, and I stuck with green peppers, mushrooms, onions and shredded cheese.

I gotta tell ya. These fatty's were excellent, and now I know why people say they're so addictive.
Next on the smoking agenda is:

1) Whole chickens injected with cajun
2) BBQ beef ribs, that pull away from the bone
3) Beef Brisket
4) Lamb loin
5) Any other meat on the planet that comes within 5 feet of me.

...and FYI: I know how funny "Smokin a fatty" sounds. That's one of the main reasons I chose to blog about it. ;-)