All about Cinnamon

June 30, 2011
by Curt

According to Wikipedia, Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savory foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South East Asia. Typically harvested during the rainy season when pliable, and then dried into curls sold as sticks, (quills), or ground into a powder.

Tip: Cinnamon not only goes well with fruits and chocolate, but it also goes very well with poultry and lamb when injected, marinaded, or used in a brine.

A question that is often asked is whether to use cinnamon in stick or in ground form. I personally have found that ground form yields more cinnamon flavor, but you have to be careful to dissolve it as best as possible, as it can leave a residue, or can even clump.

Tip: One cinnamon stick yields 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon, using only the thin inner bark, has a finer, less dense, and more crumbly texture, and is considered to be less strong than cassia. Cassia has a much stronger (somewhat harsher) flavor than Ceylon cinnamon, is generally a medium to light reddish brown, hard and woody in texture, and thicker, as all of the layers of bark are used.

The best cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon = canela = Sri Lanka cinnamon = true cinnamon.

cassia cinnamon = cassia = Chinese cinnamon = Chinese cassia = false cinnamon.

Most of the cinnamon that’s sold in America is cassia, which is cheaper and more bitter than the choice Ceylon cinnamon, and isn’t as well regarded.

 

Slow Smoked Corn on the Cob

June 30, 2011
by Curt

The best way to smoke corn on the cob is low and slow!  These roasted ears of corn are absolutely delicious!

Tip: Corn cooked on a smoker or grill is more chewy, in comparison to boiled corn, but the flavor is far superior in my opinion.

Slow Smoked Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 12 ears of corn with the husks still on
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Preparation:

Mix the onion powder, garlic powder, and salt together in a bowl.

Gently pull back the husks on each ear of corn, but be sure to leave them attached. Remove as much of the silk strands as possible. Place the ears in a large pan and fill with water to cover the corn, (and attached husks). Let sit for several hours.

Remove from water and dry the corn and husks with a clean towel. Brush the corn lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with the spice mixture. Pull the husks back over the corn.

Prepare smoker. Once the temperature settles in at about 225° F, place the ears directly on the smoker. The ears of corn will need to smoke at 225 degrees F. for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the corn and eat ’em up!

Smokey Scrambled Eggs

June 29, 2011
by Curt

I’m modifying this post today, 07-10-2011 for the purpose of adding a picture to it. I made these eggs again this morning, and decided I should have a picture for you.

I have only one word for this recipe. Mmmmmmmmmm!

It’s become a tradition recently for me to make scrambled eggs on Sunday morning. I just recently started experimenting, and this is what I’ve come up with.

I’m not much for measuring things out, so these proportions are just a guess, but should be pretty close. This will be a starting point for you, and then, if you like it, you can tweak it to your personal liking.

I need to explain one more thing before starting, as this is the critical part to the “Smokey” part. My wife typically bakes a ham 3 to 4 times a year, so I always cut some of the leftovers into bite sized pieces, and freeze in ziplock baggies, enough for 1 breakfast per baggie. Recently, I put enough ham pieces for about 3 breakfasts into the smoker while smoking a roast. And the “Smokey Scrambled Egg” was born!

3 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (heaping)
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese (level)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 serving smoked ham pieces (approximately 12 to 20 pieces)
2 tsp of your favorite dry rub (I like sweet rubs, so mine is mostly brown sugar and garlic based)

Mix all of this into a bowl. Spray a large skillet lightly with oil, (e.g. Pam), then bring up to temperature on a medium to medium/high setting. Once the skillet is hot, pour in the eggs and fixins, and scramble until done to your liking.

Like I said before Mmmmmmmmmm!! Some damn good eatin’!

A List of Wood for Smoking Meats

June 28, 2011
by Curt

My personal favorites are Mesquite for hardwoods, Pecan for Nut Trees, and Peach for Fruit Trees. Peach has an excellent sweet flavor and smells really nice while burning!

ACACIA – these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a smoker, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. A very hot burning wood.

 

ALDER – Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

 

ALMOND – A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

 

APPLE – Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

 

ASH – Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

 

BIRCH – Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

 

CHERRY – Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some List members say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

 

COTTONWOOD – It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don’t use green cottonwood for smoking.

 

CRABAPPLE – Similar to apple wood.

 

GRAPEVINES – Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

 

HICKORY – Most commonly used wood for smoking–the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.

 

LILAC – Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

 

MAPLE – Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

 

MESQUITE – Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning.

 

MULBERRY – The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

 

OAK – Heavy smoke flavor–the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

 

ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT – Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

 

PEACH – An excellent sweet flavor and smells really nice while burning!

 

PEAR – A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

 

PECAN – Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

 

SWEET FRUIT WOODS – (APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE) – Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

 

WALNUT(ENGLISH and BLACK) – Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.