At a time when smoking is quickly becoming the new grilling (over 18 million smokers and grills were sold in the United Statesin 2014 alone!), author Steven Raichlen demystifies the classics, such asbrisket and smoked salmon, but also shows how to smoke vegetables, cocktails, and even desserts onhis PBS show and in his cookbook of the same name PROJECT SMOKE. Find three great recipes from the cookbook below.
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Yield: Makes 12 eggs; can be multiplied or reduced as desired
Prep time: 11 minutes
Hot-smoking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Fuel: Hickory, apple, or hardwood of your choice—enough for 20 minutes of smoking (see chart on page 6)
gear: A wire rack; an aluminum foil roasting pan
Shop: Organic eggs when possible
What else: You have two options for smoking eggs: hot-smoking or cold-smoking. The former is faster, but you have to smoke the eggs over a pan of ice or the whites will become rubbery. Cold-smoking eliminates this risk, but takes longer. For even more smoke flavor, cut the hard-cooked eggs in half before smoking, as pictured on the facing page.
Eggs may be late-comers to America’s barbecue repertory. But elsewhere on the world’s barbecue trail, grilled and smoked eggs are common currency. Cambodians grill cilantro- and chili-stuffed eggs on bamboo skewers over charcoal braziers. The chef at the Auberge Shulamit in Rosh Pina, Israel, smokes eggs to make the most remarkable egg salad you’ll ever taste, served on, what else, grilled bread. Smoke takes the commonplace egg in gustatory directions you’ve never dreamed of. Hard-boiled egg? Okay. Smoked hard-boiled egg? Inspired.
12 large eggs, preferably organic
Vegetable oil, for oiling the wire rack or grate
1. To hard-cook the eggs, place them in a large saucepan with cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer the eggs for 11 minutes (a few minutes longer if you live at a high altitude). Drain the eggs and fill the pan with cold water. Cool the eggs in the pan until they’re easy to handle but still warm. Peel the eggs. (It’s easier to peel them while they’re still warm.) Return the eggs to the cold water to cool completely, then drain well and blot dry with paper towels. The eggs can be cooked and peeled up to 48 hours ahead, stored in a container covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated.
2. Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s directions and preheat to 225°F. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.
3. Place the eggs on a lightly oiled wire rack placed over an aluminum foil pan filled with ice (the eggs should not touch the ice). Place in the smoker, and smoke the eggs until bronzed with smoke, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Eat as you would hard-cooked eggs or use to make deviled eggs (page 36) or egg salad.
If you’d like to cold-smoke the eggs, you’ll need enough fuel for 1½ hours of smoking time. Preheat the cold smoker to 100°F or less. Place the eggs in the smoker and smoke until they’re bronzed in color, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Red Leaf Lettuce Salad
with Grilled Corn, Peaches, Avocado, and Walnuts
Serves 4 to 6
There's something about this combination of tender red leaf lettuce, corn, sweet peaches, and avocado that feels like summer. It is an excellent side, but even better, it’s a killer meal on its own. The recipe is a good reminder that you can always use lettuce as a base to show off every season’s best ingredients. Just follow this basic formula: greens + seasonal vegetable and/or fruit + cheese and/or egg + nuts. Throughout the year, it is an easy way to elevate a simple green salad to entrée-level status.
2 ears of corn (see Note)
1 large head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried well, and chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
Honey Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Flaked sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup freshly crumbled, good-quality feta cheese
1. Heat a grill to medium high.
2. Peel away all but the innermost light green husk of the corn. Cut or pull away the tassel of corn silk at the tip of the cob. Grill the corn until the husk starts to pull away from the tip of the corn, 8 to 10 minutes. Take the corn off the grill and set it aside to cool.
3. Remove the remaining husk from the cooled corn and slice the kernels off the cob directly into a large bowl (see page 129). Set aside ¼ cup of corn to garnish the top of the salad.
4. Add the lettuce to the bowl of corn with a drizzle of the vinaigrette. Continue to add vinaigrette, tossing, until the greens and corn are lightly coated. Season the lettuce lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to combine. Add the peaches, avocado, walnuts, and feta, saving a small handful of each to garnish the salad. Transfer the salad to a large platter and sprinkle the reserved corn, peaches, avocado, walnuts, and feta on top.
Note: Grilled corn adds another dimension to this salad, but if your corn is very fresh, you don’t need to cook it. Shave the kernels off the cob and toss them directly into the salad.
Lemon Vinaigrette (page 40) also pairs well with this salad.
Try thinly sliced apples in place of peaches and substitute pecans for the walnuts.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Whisk together the honey, vinegar, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¹/₈ teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl until the honey has dissolved. Continue to whisk the mixture while you stream in the oils. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. The dressing will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 weeks.
Smoked Bacon-Bourbon Apple Crisp
Yield: Serves 8
Prep time: 30 minutes
Smoking time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Fuel: Apple wood, of course—enough for 1 hour of smoking (see chart on page 6)
Gear: A 10-inch cast-iron skillet
What else: You can cook this crisp low and slow in a traditional smoker, but you’ll get a crisper topping if you work at higher heat. This is a good dish to smoke-roast on a charcoal grill.
For years, I’ve been smoke-roasting blueberry and raspberry crumbles. I even smoked a crumble made with cactus pears on my Primal Grill TV show taped in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Here’s the smoked version of an American classic—apple pie—and it was inspired by a restaurant in my summer stomping grounds, the Outermost Inn on Martha’s Vineyard. “I think apple pie should step on the dark side,” says its one-time chef and the recipe’s creator, Michael Winkelman. “Give me bacon. Give me whiskey. Give me smoke. Give me a dessert that means business.” I give you Winkelman’s smoked apple crisp.
For the filling
2 strips artisanal bacon, like Nueske’s or the Made-from-Scratch Bacon on page 113, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slivers
3 pounds crisp, sweet apples like Honeycrisps or Galas
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons bourbon
For the topping
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and placed in the freezer until icy cold
1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies or granola
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Smoked Ice Cream (page 240; use vanilla) or regular vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
- Set up your grill for indirect grilling (see page 262) and preheat to 400°F.
- Make the filling: Fry the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring with a slotted spoon, until crisp and golden brown, 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a large bowl. Pour off and reserve the bacon fat for another use. Don’t wipe out or wash the skillet.
- Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the bacon. Stir in the sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the bourbon. Taste the mixture for sweetness, adding sugar as needed. Spoon the filling into the skillet.
- Make the topping: Place the butter, cookie crumbs, flour, white and brown sugars, and salt in a food processor. Grind to a coarse mixture, running the processor in short bursts. Don’t overprocess; the mixture should remain loose and crumbly like sand. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
- Place the crisp on the grill or smoker rack away from the heat. Add the wood to the coals and cover the grill. Smoke-roast the crisp until the topping is browned and bubbling, the apples are soft (they should be easy to pierce with a skewer), and the filling is thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve the crisp hot off the grill or smoker. Extra points for topping it with Smoked Ice Cream.