Smoked Beef Brisket

Happy Monday foodies! It’s snowing here in Northern Virginia and I am stoked about it. It’s supposed to stop snowing soon, with little accumulation, however it is still nice to see all of the white stuff surrounding me. I always feel like I’m living in a snow globe when it snows.

I am sad to think that this may be the last of the white stuff I see until next year. What’s even more upsetting is that we have had little snow this season; maybe 2 inches total?

::sad face::

Nick stayed home this morning because I was having a hard time with things today. I could not get him to stay with me the entire day, because he cares too much about his work and his people there.
That’s admirable.

But it makes me sad.

We were able to take care of a little business before he left for work though – we went to our accountant’s office. I was able to meet him for the first time.  Nick has been talking him up since their first meeting, so I was glad to see what was so great about this guy.  I will refer to him as K, to keep his identity private. K reminds me of my accountant friends from W&J. He’s a young guy, at the beginning of his career and he seems like a pretty nice guy.
I invited him over for dinner.

Score. New friend!

K asked how the cooking was coming along and I told him that Nick and I smoked a Brisket yesterday. We had a great time smoking it yesterday. There is something great about the smoky flavor of a big chunk of beef running through your house on a Sunday afternoon. It was a good day.

So let’s get down to this Smoked Beef Brisket.

Nutritional Information
Servings: 26.6
Serving Size: 3 ounces
Calories: 263.3
Fat: 18 g
Carbohydrates: 7.2 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 15.3 g
Points+: 7

Ingredients:

Recipe Adapted from John McLemore's Dadgum That's Good!

For Marinade:

  • 3 cups beef stock
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion

 

For Rub:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated onion
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 (5 pound) brisket

Directions:

For Marinade:

  • In a large saucepan, combine all marinade ingredients and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool
  • Marinate brisket for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator
  • Remove  brisket from marinade, dry with paper towels, and let it sit for ½ hour
  • Reserve marinade for basting during smoking
  • Trim excess brisket fat, leaving ½ inch layer
  • Be careful not to cut into the meat


For Rub:

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine all rub ingredients, and apply the rub to brisket just before playing in the smoker

For Brisket:

  • Load the wood try with one small handful of wood chips and preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F.
  • Reduce heat to 225 degrees F, and then add the brisket
  • Place the brisket in the smoker and cook at 225 degrees F for 4 hours, until a bark begins to form
  • Apply marinade every hour to prevent the brisket from drying out
  • Continue to smoke the brisket until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F
  • After 4 hours, remove the brisket, wrap in aluminum foil and continue cooking an additional 3 to 4 hours until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F
  • Remove from smoker and let stand for 15 minutes in foil before carving
  • ENJOY!

This was so good! In fact, we have lots leftover and I’m putting it to good use this week. So be prepared for more great brisket recipes!

Until Next Time,

Happy Cooking 

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Spicy Smoked Chicken Breast

It’s Friday. I cannot believe it. We have nothing special planned for the weekend; which is music to my ears. The only problem I am faced with is not being able to eat whatever I want. You see, Nick and I usually take one day over the weekend to splurge a little bit; however, because I’ve gained a couple of pounds {and am going insane about it} I will not be partaking in that weekend ritual. Instead, I am sure I will be eating light and healthy. That is unless I cannot take it anymore and BEG Nick to order Pizza.

I will ALWAYS eat pizza.

I am a pizza snob, though. I grew up in a town with 3 or 4 PHENOMENAL pizza joints. I was lucky in that way. So when Nick and I moved out to Arizona last year and could not find pizza anywhere I was slightly depressed. We did have some pretty amazing Mexican food, but nothing compares to a delicious slice of pizza with cheese flowing from all sides.

When we found out that we were moving back to the east coast I was very excited about the prospects of finding a great pizza joint. It took us some time, but we finally found one in our suburb of D.C. The best part about it is they offer a buy one pizza, get one free. Hollllly Mollllly. It’s like heaven on Earth.

I know there is better pizza out there, but for now this will suffice!

Anyway, moving right along.

Today I don’t have a pizza to blog about, but now I sure wish I did. Instead, I have deliciously Spicy Smoked Chicken Breasts to give you.

Reader Beware: these babies are SPICY, SPICY, SPICY!

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 4 ounces
Calories: 184
Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 0
Fiber: 0
Protein: 36 g
Points+: 4

 Here is what you will need:

  • 2 – 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flake
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon salt

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, mixt together the black pepper, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder and seasoned salt
  • Place the chicken in a large re-sealable bag. Pour the dry rub into the bag and shake to coat the wings well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature
  • Load the wood tray with one small handful of wood chips and preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Place the chicken on the middle rack of the smoker, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes
  • Turn chicken and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until done
  • *If you want to add a sauce on the wings, you can. I would say mix together honey, barbeque sauce and apple juice in a sauce pan and allow to get warm. For the chicken I ate, I opted against the sauce. Therefore, the estimated points are for chicken without sauce.

Remove and enjoy with your favorite vegetable and potato dish. That is what we did. Our friend Scott was visiting and he LOVES potatoes. So I whipped up some mashed potatoes and vegetables for the boys. Scott opted against the chicken after taking the first bite {it was way TOO SPICY for him}! I have to admit that the chicken it was VERY spicy. Good think we had the Prime Rib.

I hope you all give this a try. You can tone down the flavors any way you like to; it’s as simple as adding your favorite spices or omitting them altogether. The smoky flavor coupled with some garlic, salt and pepper may work just fine. Or you can sweeten the concoction up a bit, however you like!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chicken Smokin’ 

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Smoked Prime Rib

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, foodies! Many people in my life now do not know this, but I am a huge MLK buff. Well, I was growing up. In the past several years my focus has been routed to other issues, perspectives and intellectual analysis. However, I really was a Dr. King junkie when I was younger. I remember reading every book I could get my hands on about him; or, old magazine and newspaper articles about his journey and what life was like back in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to become an attorney was because I identified with the Civil Rights cause.

So when people tell me I am an ultra-conservative or scoff at me because I don’t support President Obama; or they treat me like I am a racist, it bugs me.

Me, a racist? What the hell has this world come to? It is upsetting that people form opinions of me based on a Facebook status; it bothers me when people say something like ‘you and your party,’ when in fact they have no idea who my party is. My party? What about my ideology? What about having a conversation with me? What the heck ever happened to getting to know somebody, their beliefs and their justifications and explanations?

Damn you Facebook. You have somehow perverted the minds of more people in a short period of time than I think history could manage to do twice over.

It’s quite sad, honestly. I mean, even my best friend Scott pulled the ‘your party’ card the other day.

It bugged me.

I called over to Nick to read him in on the situation.

We both laughed.

We did not laugh at Scott, but at the situation at hand. Even one of the closest people to me does not get it. He does not get me.

I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, I am a huge Dr. King fan, follower, loyalist – whatever you may call it. He was a huge inspiration to me growing up, as were some of his confidants. One of the last inklings of inspiration I drew from was as a senior in college. I had a paper due in my Advanced Writing class. I was exhausted. I was in the library at some God-awful hour on a Sunday morning and I needed to whip a paper together to turn in sometime that week. I tried to focus, but not even shots of espresso could save me.

Yes, I fell asleep at the table, nestled in the stacks of the bottom part of U. Grant Miller Library. When I woke up I had drool on my chin. It was not the proudest moment {nor the worst} in my life; but I did have inspiration.

I drew on the 1960s Civil Rights movement setting; I drew from years of reading books about a man and a movement close to my heart and I created a story like I had never created before. I wrote about people that only exist on paper; that were born in my brain. I got an A on that paper. Well, I got an A on every paper in that class, but that’s because my Professor gave me the creative leeway to choose my topics with care.

I remember my professor being so surprised and impressed by what I wrote that he shared with the entire class the content of my paper. The fact that at 1 in the morning, as he picked up the last paper to be graded {my paper} he was in no mood for mediocrity. And that’s when the content of my paper sprang to life and captured him. I was proud, embarrassed and cared in the moment only about the grade and red comments he had made to help me improve in my writing.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I had an inspirational rendezvous with Dr. King, but it’s never far from my mind.

You know what else is never far from my mind? Food. I cannot believe you let me talk so long; come on people! You have to keep me in line or I’ll go on forever.

Anyway, I’ve got a great recipe for you today! Are you ready for it?! Smoked Prime Rib. It’s super easy to make.

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 3 ounces
Calories: 250
Fat: 18 g
Carbohydrates: 0
Fiber: 0
Protein: 21 g
Points+: 7

 Here is what you need:

Inspired by Joh McLemore's Prime Rib from Dadgum, That's Good! 

  • 1- 5 pound Prime Rib
  • ¼ tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoon salt

Directions:

  • Place prime rib in a large pan
  • In a bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Season roast with the mixture and let stand for 30 to 45 minutes

 

  • Load the wood try with one small handful of wood chips and preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F
  • Place roast, fat side up, direct on rack in smoker
  • Reduce temperature to 225 degrees f and add more wood chips
  • Add extra wood chips every 1 to 1 ½ hours during cooking time
  • Using meat thermometer to check temperature, cook until desired temperature is reached. For a medium done prime rib, you want to smoke it 1 hour per pound.
  • Once you have removed the prime rib, cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting
  • This will help keep the prime rib warm and juicy
  • ENJOY!!!

Doneness:
125*: Rare
135*: Medium Rare
145*: Medium
155*: Medium Well
165*: Well Done {I would not suggest this!}

Until Next Time,

Happy Prime Rib Smokin'

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Smoked Sweet Ham

Good Morning Everybody! I have one hundred things running through my head this morning. Today is my fur baby’s birthday, Pipsqueak, and I want this to be his best birthday yet. Since he became my fur baby almost four years ago our lives have been on the fast track to chaos. See I met Nick after he came back from his second tour of duty overseas. I wanted him to be mine the instant I met him, but unfortunately he was going through a pretty rough time at the claws of another girl. I did not need that drama in my life so I took a step back. However, there was no staying away from him because I quickly learned this guy that had been MIA for a couple of years was closely connected to my best friend Scott. I loved Scott and spent the majority of my time with him when I landed back in Williamsport for two years.

Fairly quickly Nick declawed himself and a couple of months later, having run into each other several times, he asked me on a date. Two things hit me right away: first, he was slightly jealous of the relationship Scott and I had with each other; second, he had a small dog that hated me. Neither one of those things discouraged me. I was instantly attracted to him and after the first date I knew I would marry him.

Soon after I fell in love with this man the Army flew him to the dessert of Iraq and Pippy became my dog. Oh, did I mention I vowed to make Pippy love me that very first date? I was successful and now everybody thinks he loves me more than he loves Nick.

Pippy has never had a fabulous birthday. I mean he has gotten presents and lots of kisses, but in his whole puppy life he has only spent one birthday with both Nick and I together. Either Nick was in Iraq or we were both finishing school in different cities. That is until last year. Pippy had both of us with him for his birthday, but we were traveling across the country and were living in a hotel room in the good part of Mexico waiting for our adult lives to start. It was not the best way to spend a birthday.

That changes today.

I have great plans for Pipsqueak! I mean it’s nothing spectacular. I would throw him a dog birthday party but he forgets that other dogs exist in the world and he tries to eat them when he sees other dogs around. He has quite the Napoleon complex.  

How does any of this have to do with food? Well, I frequently call him a Hambone because he is the cutest thing on the block and does what he can to get as much affection and attention from the people he owns. He’s quite the little hambone and today I am giving you a great recipe for a Smoked Ham.

See… I can tie anything to food.

It’s a simple recipe and I LOVE SMOKED HAM!! Nick is relieved he has found something I love that he can smoke. I mean we have a meal with the corn and ham now; he’ll gladly smoke those two things every weekend in order to heat up the smoker each week!

Nutritional Information:

Servings: 20 for a 7 pound Bone in Ham
Serving Size: 3 ounces
Calories: 160
Fat: 13 g
Carbohydrates: 15.5 g
Fiber: 0
Protein: 28.8 g
Points+:  8 

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 bone in, spiral cut Ham, thawed
  • Prepackaged Glaze
  • Rub:
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ¼  teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

  • Preheat Smoker to 250 degrees F
  • Soak woodchips with half water and half apple juice and pour into the smoker’s juice tray [this apple juice is not the apple juice for the recipe]
  • Add Ham and smoke for about an hour

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a medium sized bowl and whisk thoroughly

  • Brush the ham with the rub, making sure that every piece of the ham is covered with the rub

My two favorite boys after Nick brushed the ham with the rub. I was too preoccupied with them!!

 

  • Smoke the Ham for another hour
  • In a small saucepan simmer the prepackaged glaze according to packaged directions
  • About 60 minutes before you remove the ham from the smoker, baste the ham with the glaze, making sure you glaze the entire ham
  • After the ham is completely covered in the glaze, turn the heat to 275 degrees F for about 30 minutes so that you get a good smoky flavor on the ham
  • Reduce the heat to 250 degrees F for the last 30 minutes
  • Remove and enjoy!

 

I have to say that this ham was pretty darn good. However, the first time we smoked a ham, we had a dry rub that we marinated the ham in overnight. Nick was incredibly distraught when he realized he had forgotten the dry rub. If you have 24 hours to let this sit, take a look at this recipe for the dry rub.

Personally, I think the ham turned out great without the dry rub. It was a little bit sweeter, which I really enjoyed. It turned out fantastic!

I hope you all give this a try! It would be perfect for any family gathering on Sunday after church!

Until Next Time,

Happy Ham Smokin’

Smoked Corn on the Cob

Happy Wednesday Foodies!! I am so excited that I have so many new friends!! I would like to send out the warmest of welcomes to all of you new friends!! Thank you for joining me!! And for all of my fabulous friends who continue to support and encourage me – an even warmer thank you! I don’t know where I would be without you and I have no idea how I ended up blogging among some of the greatest people I know, but I would not change it for the world. Thank you all for being so generous and encouraging; I love you all!

Today I have something pretty simple for you, pretty healthy for you and even more delicious for you! Remember how I told you about our Smoking Sunday? Well not only did we smoke fruit; we also Smoked Corn on the Cobbies! I personally LOVED these pieces of corn. In fact they may have been some of the best corn I have ever had. I credit that not to the smoker but to my incredible skill of rubbing oil, salt and pepper on those guys before they went into the smoker.

Just kidding.

I give all of the credit to Nick and his smoking genius. He loves his smoker. He would smoke a blade of grass if he could; the only member of our family that could get some joy from the grass would be Pippy.

Nutritional Info
Serving Size 1 ear of corn; ½ tablespoon butter
Calories: 117
Fat: 5.1 g
Carbohydrates: 17.1 g
Fiber: 2.4 g
Protein: 2.9 g 

Points+: 3 per cob

Let’s get down to smoking business.

Here is what you will need:

Directions:

  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F
  • Remove the hair from the corn and soak the corn in water for 30 to 60 minutes with the husks on
  • After the corn has soaked, remove the corn from the water and pat dry with a paper towel

  • In a small bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper
  • Brush some of the oil mixture on each ear of corn, fold up the husks

  • Place the corn in the smoker and allow to smoke for 90 minutes

 

  • Remove and eat however you like it!
  • *We used some butter and added a little extra salt and pepper

 

First, I should tell you that I love corn on the cob so unless you do something horrible to it, I will always love it! Second, I am not a huge fan of the smoker or the smoky flavor of most foods. However, the slight smoky flavor that attached to the cobs was wonderful and really hit it out of the park for me. It was a WIN for Nick and his beloved smoker addiction!

I hope you all give this a try! It is perfect for any side dish!

Until Next Time,

Happy Corn Cobbin’ 

Meatless Monday - Smoked Fruits

Happy Monday Friends!! I hope you all had a great weekend. Nick and I had a pretty peaceful weekend. We learned that my mom would be safe from the flood waters and that most of the water was, at least a little bit, receding. The recovery process is going to be a pain, just like most recovery processes.

Other than that, our peaceful weekend included date night out on Saturday and a day full of smoking foods on Sunday. It was quite spectacular yesterday. It’s so much fun to involve Nick in the cooking process, but he usually makes more of a mess, which frustrates me.

I am a perfectionist by nature and any clutter or mess really starts to get under my skin; boys make a lot of mess, so I’ve learned. And, unfortunately for ME, Nick does not usually clean up his messes. I have my own opinion about where he learned NOT to clean up after himself, but I will keep it all to myself.

Back to him cooking…

He got a smoker for his birthday and, in his opinion, we have not used it far enough. So yesterday he whipped it out and we smoked everything we could get our hands on. He was in heaven. I love to watch him get excited about things; he is so cute.

Nick has wanted to smoke fruit for a very long time. And since we were smoking everything but the kitchen sink yesterday, fruit was one of the first options. So for this Meatless Monday segment, I have Smoked Fruits.

Nutritional Value:
Serving Size: 1 Nectarine, ¼ Pineapple
Calories: 183
Fat: 1.5 g
Carbohydrates: 46.5 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 2.2 g
Points+: 0*

If you like the distinct flavor of the smoker then this is the right recipe for you.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 pineapple, cored and sliced in large chunks
  • 3 or 4 nectarines, halved
  • Bananas, halved

Directions:

  • Preheat the smoker to 275 degrees F for about 20 minutes and then reduce temperature to 250 degrees F

  • Station the fruit on several racks in the smoker

  • Allow the fruit to smoke for about 30 minutes

  • Eat, eat ,eat!

*Note: If you want to add a balsamic reduction to the nectarines, it may work very well. I know Nick soaked some of these in Balsamic Vinaigrette over night.

I am not bashful about my distaste for the smoker.  However, smoking fruit was fun. I was very impressed that the fruit maintained its juicy, delicious flavor. I hope you all give this a try. It’s a healthy snack, breakfast or a nice side dish for lunch or dinner.

I hope you all enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Happy Fruit Smokin’ 

Labor Day Recipe Round-up

Happy Sunday Foodies!! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far! Tomorrow is Labor Day and my hope is that you all have off and are able to enjoy some special time with your family and friends. Many of us celebrate Labor Day with a big end – of – summer picnic and festivities with our family and friends. I know that you’re probably in the midst of planning a fun picnic menu and I thought that I would help you in some way. So today I am giving you a Labor Day Recipe Roundup of some recipes that I think will pair well with your Labor Day picnic festivities!

Let's first start with some yummy breakfast ideas.

Cinnamon Bubble Buns

Hint of Dijon Egg McMuffin

Cinnamon & Sugar French Toast

And some Appetizers:

Mini Chicken Lasagna Cups

Fried Pickles

Now on to the Main Courses:

Smoked Ribs

Kicked up Blue Cheese Hamburger Sliders

Beef & Cheddar Roast Beef Sandwiches

Middle Eastern Style Chicken Pita Sandwiches

What's a picnic without some sides?

Corn on the Cob with Spicy Jalapeno Garlic Butter

Cucumber Salad

Cheesiest Broccoli & Rice Casserole

Grilled Romaine with Spicy Sausage & Blue Cheese - Balsamic Vinaigrette

And for some dessert?

Grilled Nectarines with Raspberry Sorbet

Homemade Caramel Popcorn

I hope you all have a fabulous day tomorrow with your family & friends!! I hope these recipes help inspire you & make your life just a bit easier!! Enjoy your long weekend, stay safe & I'll see you all very soon! :)

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Labor Day

Independence Day Picnic Round-Up

You’re probably thinking, Mel already blogged today what’s up with posting twice? Well, I know a lot of you will be celebrating our Independence tomorrow at picnics, around the pool, near the barbeque and I think it is important to know that you have a TON of options. You don’t have to worry when somebody asks for something other than a hot dog & burger.

Below you will find some of my favorite picks for any outside holiday event or any occasion [period]! Just click on the picture and you will be whisked away to the recipe of your 4th of July celebration dreams! I hope you all enjoy!

Kicked Up Blue Cheese Hamburger Sliders

 

Buffalo Grilled Chicken Breast with Blue Cheese Sauce

 

Corn on the Cob with Spicy Jalapeno Garlic Butter

 

Grilled Romaine with Spicy Sausage & Blue Cheese – Balsamic Vinaigrette

 

Applewood Smoked Barbeque Ribs

 

Sweetly Smoked Barbeque Ribs

 

The Almighty Chili – Cheese Dogs

Gorgonzola & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

The Cheesiest Smoked Mac n’ Cheese

Momma’s Famous Fruit Salad

 

Apple Pie Bars

Fried Pickles

Homemade Lemonade

Frozen Lemonade

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

Sweet Tea

4th of July Red, White & Blue Striped Drink

I know this is quite the list, but you cannot go wrong with these recipes! I hope you give one or more of them a try tomorrow or in the future!

Happy Independence day! 

Sweetly Smoked Barbeque Ribs

Good Monday Morning everybody! I hope this finds you having had an extravagant weekend of fun festivities! This weekend was a little tumultuous for me. First, I hurt my ankle on Friday during some freak – not – wanting – to – fall – so – I – used – my – ankle – to – stay – standing accident. It was the size of three ankles; that is no joke. Then on Saturday we took our puppy for a checkup at the vet and to update his vaccinations. We found out that he has two very small ear infections [I knew it!!!] and he has not been himself since the visit. He has strokes of Pipsqueak behavior but then he goes back to glaring at us and moping around. We are giving him medication, which he hates and I’m positive it irritates his ears even more. He cried yesterday when Nick rubbed his ears! Seriously, I almost cried. And, finally I am feeling pretty under the weather. It’s much more than a cold and it is worrying me. I’m hoping to be diagnosed and/or fixed today.

Why don’t we talk about something a little less crummy and a little tastier? Well today I have something pretty awesome for any summer picnic, dinner or weekend meal! However, this particular meal was not designed or prepared by me. It was prepared by Nick last weekend when my mom was in town for the holiday! Memorial Day is one of Nick’s favorite holidays. Memorial Day has a very special place in my heart because of Nick’s service in the military so we wanted to celebrate with an awesome dish! So are you ready to know what I have for you today??  Today I have for you amazing Sweet and Smoked Barbeque Ribs!!

For his birthday Nick received an awesome smoker from my mom! He has not been able to use it enough in the days since his birthday! There was no doubt that he was going to whip his smoker out for Memorial Day weekend and get down to business, especially with my mom around. The last time we cooked ribs there was a spicy kick to them, but my mom is not a huge fan of too much spice so he kept it on the sweet side of things this time around.

He tells me the right ribs start with the right rubs. So let’s start there.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons of ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoons salt (also as stated previously Nick tries to limit salt in the rub)
  • ¼ cup of white sugar
  • ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder (add to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder (add to taste)
  • ½ cub of honey
  • You can also add: (pretty much to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne powered or chili powder

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until there is a slurry

  • Thoroughly rub the mixture all over your ribs

  • Vacuum seal the ribs or cover them tightly with foil and allow the ribs to marinate in the refrigerator over night
  • If you don’t have that much time then allow at least an hour to marinate!
  • After the meet is marinated pre heat your grill or smoker.  If you are grilling put the outer burners on low.  Like has been stated, “low and slow” is the best for ribs and most bbq.  We set the smoker at 225 degrees F. 

  • Then cook for 1 ½  hours flip and cook until internal temperature is 165 degrees F

Then cut into individual servings and eat away!! It’s pretty easy. I mean, it was really easy for me because I did not prepare or cook them. The smoker is Nick’s baby and I do not trump in! It’s fun to cook and create meals with Nick! He took the reins with this particular part of the meal and it turned out phenomenally.

If you’re interested in a wet rub and don’t have anything in your kitchen except for some brand-name bottle of barbeque sauce [much like we did] it is easy to make it your own and add flavors. We had two racks of ribs so half of them got the dry rub and half of them got the wet rub. Here is what you will need: barbeque sauce, lemon juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, paprika! Mix it all up and add the sauce after the ribs hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. After the mixture is lathered on the ribs just cook for another 30 minutes! Simple, right? I know!

I hope you all give this a try! It is super easy and super yummy!

Until Next Time,

Happy Rubbin’ Ribs

Easter Extravaganza!

Happy Monday Everybody! For those of you who selflessly gave up your favorite go to foods and products for Lent, happy – eat and – use – as –much – as – you – want day after Lent. All week I poked around for amazing recipes, made shouts to foodie friends about what ideas they had for Easter and made the rounds through the blogs. I wanted to make my first Easter dinner far better than great; I wanted it to be perfect. I had it all planned out and I thought it was going to be awesome! However, plans changed.

We went to our favorite spa on Saturday morning and had some royal treatment from one of our favorite people in the area, Heidi. We all got to talking and Heidi told us she was preparing for Easter Sunday and how all of her family was coming over to celebrate. She kindly extended the offer to come over and celebrate Easter with her family. Nick and I accepted her gracious offer and it was a good thing we did! It was so much fun. Heidi and her family are stand up people with an amazing sense of humor, a contagious laugh and are incredibly welcoming! Nick and I fit in right away and got to talking with everybody!

Nick and I wanted to contribute in some way. So we made an AMAZING SMOKED HAM and a couple of great desserts. Let’s get down to it!

Here is what you will need for the Ham:

  • 1 Spiral cut ham, thawed

Dry Rub –

  • 2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Glaze –

  • Prepackaged glaze that comes with Ham
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard

Smoker prep –

  • Preheat to 250 degrees F
  • Fill with a handful of woodchips
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

  • Combine all of the ingredients and mix completely
  • Rub the dry rub all over the ham
  • Leave in the refrigerator over night
  • The next day, preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F and add a handful of wood chips
  • In the smoker’s juice tray, add the mixture of 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons apple juice and water
  • Brush the Ham with any excess juice in the bottom of the bowl [that the Ham marinated in overnight]
  • Cook the Ham for 3 hours or until the internal temperature is about 120 degrees F

Now for the Glaze –

  • In a small saucepan, combine the prepackaged glaze, honey mustard and regular bear honey
  • Let simmer for about 5 minutes
  • After about an hour or an hour and a-half  baste the ham with the glaze, making sure you glaze the ENTIRE ham
  • After you glaze the entire ham, turn the heat to 275 degrees F for about 30 minutes so that you get a good smoky flavor creation
  • Reduce the heat for the last 30 minutes to hour

Now I have a love – hate with the smoker. But, I have to admit this HAM was AMAZING! I’m serious. I loved the slight smoky flavor on the ham, the nice tender meat and the sweet glaze. I loved it!! I want to make another one this week, that’s how much I adored this recipe! Nick really enjoys experimenting with marinades and is enjoying the smoker – he hit this one out of the park!!!

Now let’s get to our desserts; we made two. Heidi told us there were going to be some younger kids around, so I thought we would do a fun dessert that they would really enjoy and if they were running around it would not be messy. Are you ready to know what we made? We made Peeps in a Nest, which were inspired by my friend Ashley who debuted them on her personal facebook page!!

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Crispy Rice cereal
  • Peeps
  • Chocolate Candy

Directions:

  • Grease cupcake tins – regular sized and mini version
  • Melt butter
  • Add marshmallows and stir frequently until completely melted
  • Once melted, add the cereal and mix thoroughly
  • Grease your hands and immediately begin to press the mixture into the cupcake tins
  • While still warm & malleable, add the peeps and the candies in whatever fashion that suits you

We had some leftover chocolate dipped peeps, so we added those to our platters. Have as much fun as you want with them – I certainly did!

Now let’s get to get the grown up dessert. Ron Locke, a fellow foodie friend of mine blogged about this great blueberry cobbler the other week and I instantly fell in love with the picture! I was sure I wanted to incorporate the cobbler to my Easter dinner. I changed it up a bit to make it my own and it turned out wonderful!

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 ½ cup blackberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Melt butter over medium heat
  • Add the butter to the bottom of a baking dish
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar and milk
  • Now pour the flour mixture over the butter in the baking dish
  • Sprinkle with 3 cups blackberries and then sprinkle the remaining brown sugar over the top of the mixture

  • Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cobbler is a nice golden brown on top
  • About 35 minutes into the cooking process, sprinkle the remaining blackberries over the top
  • Serve warm or cold – either way, it is sweet and delicious!

I was not sure how this was going to work out and I was slightly stressed because I was debuting it to a family who knows how to cook. Most time I consider Grandmother’s to be the harshest critics because they have been around the oven block more times than we could imagine. Well, I tasted it and I was pleased, but I had to wait for Heidi’s grandmother to give the thumbs up. I should tell you, she did not know I made it and I watched her eat it all up! Then as the leftovers were being divided between the masses, Grammy wanted to take MY cobbler home with her! SCORE! I cannot wait to make it again!!

This Easter was very special and I was honored to share it with Heidi & her family! Nick and I have been truly blessed with great people in our lives. I am so sad to have to leave them!

Until Next Time,

Happy Monday

Wingy Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everybody! It’s sunny and rapidly warming up here this morning. It’s a fitting morning to drink some coffee and sit outside with a good book, instead I ate leftover pasta and am sitting inside typing on my computer. I was not motivated this morning to blog. In fact, since I got up a couple of hours ago, I’ve been battling myself with whether I was going to blog. I have something to say. I mean, I ALWAYS have something to say. Sometimes writing about food so early in the morning is not what I want to do. I considered all of the wonderful things at my disposal: swimming laps, working out, taking a walk with my pup who is a ball full of energy and gallops like a horse every chance he gets. And, then there was my idea of stopping by Sonic and picking up one of their famous slushies before 8 in the morning. I understand normal people want a breakfast sandwich and some sort of potato side; I am normal and crave that stuff but not when it is supposed to be 90 degrees in a matter of hours.

So here I am, sitting and writing about my internal blogging battle. I have obviously decided to write about food. I am sure you’re wondering what I have in store for you today. Well, it is Wednesday and I do have a second segment on my chicken wings. So today I am bringing to you my very own Wingy Wednesday. I have two more types of wings to share with you today; I hope you enjoy them as much as Nick and I did.

Let’s get started. Here is what you will need for the Hot, Hot, Hot Buffalo Deep Fried Wings:

  • 1 gallon oil
  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • 1 cup buffalo hot sauce [I used the same sauce as I used for the Buffalo Chicken Sliders]
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mild buffalo wing sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat deep fryer to 375 degrees F
  • Place wings in a large bowl and pour all the hot sauces and brown sugar over the bowl, making sure the wings are completely coated

  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  • Place wings into the fryer and carefully lower into the fryer, cooking for about 10 to 12 minutes
  • Turn occasionally and be careful  not to overcrowd

  • Remove the wings from the fryer and place on paper towels to drain
  • Once cooled slightly, brush each wing with additional sauce and seasonings to your taste

  • Serve with blue cheese and celery

Now for the Smoked Chicken Wings:

  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • ½ cup mild wing sauce
  • ½ spicy hot wing sauce
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Place the wings in a large bowl and coat with all of the ingredients above
  • Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature
  • Load wood tray with small handful of wood chips and preheat smoker to 225 degrees F
  • Place wings on the top rack of the smoker and cook for 25 to 30 minutes

  • Turn wings and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes
  • While the wings are cooking, coat with additional sauce and cook wings for another 25 minutes

  • Remove from smoker and serve!

These wings were amazing. It is no surprise that my favorite was the hot, hot, hot chicken wings! I love spice and I love things deep fried! However, to be completely honest, each one of these wings brought their own unique flavor and were so good!

I hope you all give these a try and enjoy them as much as we did!! It is such a fun way to get everything going in your house and keep everybody busy cooking their favorite type of wing! Believe me! Nick loves his smoker so he will jump at the chance to use it any time!

Until Next Time,

Happy Smokin’  & Fryin! 

Sweet Smoked Steak & Cheesy Green Chili Rice

Happy Monday new friends and old! Today I’m bringing to you another smoked recipe. It was a pretty lazy Sunday for us yesterday. But it was absolutely beautiful outside and I did not want to miss out on the sunshine by sitting inside watching reruns of The Real Housewives of whatever state Bravo TV was airing yesterday. If you must judge me for my television choices, do so quietly. I judge myself loud enough each time I turn on one of those shows, but I refuse to stop watching until I’m sick of them. I know somebody out there can relate – to that person, I’m sending you a high five!

Instead of sitting inside, we decided to go to the range on base and shoot some clay pigeons. Well, foolishly, I took an allergy pill before we went because I was in a lot of discomfort and I was dragging by the time we drove 4 miles to base. I only got through 4 or 6 rounds. I hit my targets and I was done! I could barely stand to release the target for Nick. I felt pretty horrible about buying 100 rounds. Plus a 20 gauge shotgun is not my style. While it has less kickback than a 12 gauge, that bad boy hurts my shoulder. Some of you may be uninterested. I understand. Some of you may be thinking, this chick was shooting guns? Yeah, I was. I have fun doing it every so often and it’s sinful to live in a military town and now try it!

What does all of this really have to do with cooking, right? I can hear the whispers already. Well because my allergy medicine tends to knock me off my feet for an entire day, I was in no shape to cook dinner. But I did know Nick would step up to the plate with his smoker. So last night we decided to have Smoked Steaks and Green Chile, Jalapeño and Cheesy Rice. Are you ready to get down to business? Okay, let’s get started.

Here is what you will need for the steaks:

  • 2 steaks, your preference
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 ½  teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup juice, we mixed apple and cranberry; you can easily use pomegranate juice
  • 1/8  cup unsalted butter
  • Basil

Here is what you will need for the BBQ Glaze:

  • ½  tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup juice, apple & cranberry mix or pomegranate
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons molasses
  • ½ tablespoon divided oregano
  • ½  tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Directions:

  • Rub the steaks with garlic, pepper and salt

  • Load the wood tray with one small handful of wood chips
  • Place in a large pan and pour juice onto steaks
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours
  • Remove and allow to warm to room temperature before you remove steaks from marinade
  • Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F
  • Place steaks on top rack of smoker and cook at 225 degrees F for at least an hour medium, 1 ½ hours for medium well, or 2 hours for well done
  • Brush with the glaze during the cooking process and serve with the reserved glaze

Directions for the Glaze:

  • Heat oil on medium heat in a saucepan
  • Add garlic, vinegar, juice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, molasses, oregano, paprika and hot sauce
  • Bring to a boil
  • Lower heat and simmer uncovered while the steaks cook

  • Brush glaze over steaks while cooking

These steaks turned out tasting wonderful. I was a bit concerned that I would not like anything coming out of the smoker because in the past I could really taste the smoky flavor from the wood chips. But these steaks came out of the smoker with just a hint of the taste, which was wonderful for me!

For those of you who do not have a smoker, fear not. Make the glaze and broil your steak like you normally would in your oven. It is that simple!

Now for the Green Chili, Jalapeno and Cheesy Rice Casserole:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cans (each 4 ounces) diced green chilies
  • 1 can (4 ounce) diced jalapeno, if your grocery store does not have fresh
  • 1 to 2 (8 ounce) blocks of your favorite cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic Powder

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Cook rice according to directions [usually 1 cup rice = 1 cup water] and add the pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to your liking
  • In a large bowl shred the cheese, reserving a cup of cheese for later
  • In a medium bowl, combine the chilies, jalapeno’s and sour cream. Mix well
  • When rice is fully cooked, in a large bowl combine the rice, chili mixture and cheese
  • Mix so that everything is incorporated well

  • In a greased baking dish, spread the mixture into the dish
  • Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top

  • Bake until the cheese is completely melted, about 30 to 35 minutes

I like spicy foods, but I know not everybody does. If you like spicy foods like me, add another can of jalapenos and a bunch more spice. But this rice was amazing! Maybe it was even more amazing because it was so easy to make. I could not believe it!  The sweetness of the steak glaze paired well with the hint of heat coming from the rice. In fact, Nick added some of the glaze to his rice and he loved it. If you have leftover glaze, give it a try! I do not think you will be disappointed!

Until Next Time,

Happy Steak Makin’ 

The Cheesiest Smoked Mac 'n' Cheese

I considered not even typing this morning and giving you the entire recipe and call it a post. Now, you all know that I cannot do that – I’m a talker and, as a result, I’m a writer. But what I have for you today will make your mouth begin to water. In fact, I am so addicted to this dish that I am eating it for breakfast as I type this. Are you ready for it? I made Smoked Macaroni and Cheese! Yep, Nick and I put the smoker to good use, again. Many of you may know this already, but I love macaroni and cheese. I love it with my whole heart. Now, I cannot say with certainty that my heart loves this cheesy dish as much as my mind and body do, but occasionally it is very worth the extra calories.

The fun thing about macaroni and cheese is you can make it any way you like it – really, any - way - you like - it! We went with tons of cheese and... yep, more cheese. I want to give you two recipes for this amazing dish, but I think I will save the other one for another day!  Let’s get down to business.

Here is what your shopping list has to include:

  • 1 (16 ounce) box of macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 24 [about 6 cups] ounces extra sharp cheese, shredded
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:

  • If you’re using a smoker, load the wood tray with a small handful of wood chips and preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F
  • Cook pasta according to packaged instructions
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter and then whisk flour into the butter. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and thick
  • Whisk in milk and cheddar cheese soup and bring to a boil. Then cook for 5 minutes until thickened
  • Stir in the cream cheese until mixture is smooth
  • Add salt and pepper
  • In a large bowl, combine ¾ cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, pasta and cream sauce

  • Spoon mixture into an aluminum roasting pan coated with nonstick cooking spray
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top
  • Place in smoker and cook 1 hour until brown and bubbly!

The great thing about macaroni and cheese is you do not need a smoker – obviously! Follow the directions as stated above, but just bake it in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes and then broil for the last 10 or 15 minutes so it is brown and bubbly! It’s not that difficult!

I was concerned that I would not appreciate the smoked flavor of the macaroni and cheese, but it is pretty good. Even though the smoky flavor from the smoker is intense, it is fairly easy to adapt to and if you let the dish sit just a few minutes the potency of the apple wood subsides a bit and is not that powerful.

I hope you all give this a try because it is the cheesiest… yes, the CHEESIEST macaroni and cheese yet! It is very difficult to be around it and not eat it all day!!

I hope you all enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Happy Mac –n- Cheesin’ 

Applewood Smoked Barbecue Ribs

As some of you may know, Nick received an awesome smoker for his birthday this weekend; courtesy of my very thoughtful mom. It is my understanding that the competitive edge between Nick and brother runs pretty deep when it comes to cooking, particularly grilling. I tend to believe it is true; but, in reality, I think that Nick just likes to be involved and is not always looking for a competition. I knew having his own smoker Nick would get right down to business.

As a result of that slight brotherly competition growing up, Nick and Josh were always trying to come up with the perfect recipes for ribs and other meats. It seems like all of the kids in his family did a lot of cooking growing up. As a result, Nick really likes to cook now because meal preparation was such a big part of his young life. With their competitive edge, Nick and his brother, Josh, figured out the ideal way to prepare ribs, which I am privy to now.

It was no surprise that the first thing Nick was going to smoke was a rack of ribs. On Sunday morning we were already talking about the best way to handle the meal preparation and Nick, as excited as he was, could not help but to bug me all day about his smoking machine.

If you want the perfect ribs, here are his three tips or lessons learned:

First, go with a dry rub. Trial and error proved marinades were not the ideal way to go with ribs. Whatever your tastes are, be careful of adding too much sodium. We happen to like sweet and spicy recipes in our household, so use your favorite spices, like we did!

Second, do not ever rush the ribs. Think of it like courting your significant other; rather, you want to perfect the relationship to ensure that it works in the long term. The same theory can be applied to ribs. The perfect ribs are cooked or smoked low and slow – somewhere between 3 to 4 hours and between 250 degrees F to 270 degrees F. If you do not have a smoker and are grilling your ribs instead, baste your ribs with apple juice periodically.

Third, add your barbeque sauce last. In reality, save the saucy combination for the last 30 or 45 minutes, says Nick.

Since you have received some pearls of wisdom from Nick regarding rib makin’, let’s get down to business with what you will need to make his ribs.

Ingredients for our rub [like mentioned above, use whatever spice combination you like]:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 5 to 6 pound rack of ribs
  • Applewood wood chips

Directions:

  • Sift the ingredients together in a medium bowl
  • Rub the mixture all over the ribs

  • Return ribs to refrigerator for at least an hour
  • In the meantime, heat the smoker [or grill] between 225 to 250 degrees
  • Once the smoker is heated to desired temperature, place the ribs inside and allow them to cook between 2 to 2 ½ hours without bothering them, making sure the smoker temperature is remaining between 225 to 250 degrees F. All bets are off if you are using a grill. If you are using a grill baste the ribs with apple juice every 30 minutes and flip them; you do not want to ignore them for 2 ½ hours.

  • Once the internal temperature of the ribs is around 160 degrees F, add the sauce to the ribs. If you are using a smoker, add the sauce and wrap the ribs with foil and put back into the smoker for an additional 45 minutes or until the internal temperature to 165 degrees F. If you are using a grill, just add the sauce right to the ribs… no need to remove the ribs from the grill.

  • Then it is time to eat, eat eat!!!!!

I am not a huge fan of ribs. I never have been. I was not about to tell Nick to make something other than ribs, so I went along with it,  half expecting to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner. Well, I have to tell you, the ribs turned out great. I am still not on the ribs bandwagon 100%, but I will tell you the ribs were moist and full of yummy flavor. We used an apple wood barbeque sauce, which paired very well Nick’s dry rub. I really loved the sweet flavor of the ribs, which lured me back toward the rib bandwagon. I think the next time ribs find their way into our house we will likely make our own barbecue sauce. That could make them even better!

You should all make these ribs. Seriously! This is coming from a girl who would rather eat cereal than ribs. I liked them so much that I snuck some the next morning for breakfast. It was quite the meal!

I hope you all enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Happy Smokin’