My escapades with smoking meats, to date, have included attempts at pulled pork (episode 1 and 1a), brisket and trout (episode 2), the trout being the most successful among them.
No, I can't say I was as pleased as I'd hoped with the other two meats, but perfecting one's barbecue technique is done through time and many, many pounds of meat, not the first few attempts.
With this mantra in mind - that I needed to keep trying any chance I got - I jumped all over a recent opportunity. The family came to town and stayed with us Easter weekend, and Mom, ever-conscious of my love for cooking (thanks for the support, mom! Photo at the end of this post), brought with her an entire turkey breast!
My suspicion, from previous experience, was that I had used too little wood and, thus, hadn't imparted as much flavor into the meat as desired. So this time I amped up the amount of wood I used - about three to four chunks in the smoker at all time. It came billowing out around the cracks between the lid and the sides of its cylindrical base. A good sign.
Eight hours later, I pulled it out and wrapped it in foil. And when we finally sliced into it, we were thoroughly pleased. Dark, super-flavorful skin on the outside, moist white breast meat all the way down to the bone. I cut both of the breasts off whole and then thinly sliced it.
For the baked beans, we simply buy Bush's Homestyle beans, get rid of the chunks of bacon and drain quite a bit of the liquid, which we replaced with Gate's original style barbecue sauce. Let them simmer in a sauce pan for 20 minutes to thicken up a bit.
For my potato salad:
- 2 pounds potatoes - Yukon Gold or red new potatoes rinsed and scrubbed
- 3 scallions finely sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped dill
- 4 Claussen mini pickles
- 4 hard boiled eggs, diced
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
- 1/2 cup mayo (I prefer Hellman's made with olive oil)
Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a palmful of salt. Dice the potato into half inch cubes and place in a bow. Cover with the hottest water you can get out of your tap, to warm up the diced potatoes and release some of the excess starch. When water is boiling, dump out the water with the potatoes and transfer them to the boiling pot.
Meanwhile, slice the scallions, pickles, eggs and chop the dill. When the potatoes are fork tender, strain the hot water and run some cool water over them to bring their temperature down to warm. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the dijon, coarse grain mustard and mayo. Fold with a spatula to combine. Place bowl in the fridge and allow to cool 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well to make sure ingredients, especially dijon, are well mixed.
The photo doesn't do it justice, but we enjoyed refreshing glasses of sangria to go with our summery barbecue meal. Elizabeth can whip this up very quickly, and the fresh fruit makes it deliciously juicy. Just watch out because it packs a deceiving punch, too.
- Bottle of red wine, preferably Spanish
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup triple sec
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Large bottle sparkling water like Pellegrino or Mountain Valley
Combine all the liquid ingredients in a large pitcher except the sparkling water. Add the sugar and stir to combine. If desired, add slices of the fruit for garnish. Then slowly add the sparkling water, allowing it to preserve as much of its fizz as possible.