Saturday, December 11, 2010

Found Treasure and Habanero Jelly

I'm pretty its needless to say that I had TWO vegetable gardens this year. We planted a ton of peppers and herbs and miscelaneous home depot plants in both of them in April/May'ish. One garden got a lot of attention and the other was left to waste away and grow wild. One was enough work.

Anyway, I was taking a look at the basil chaos that had become of the second garden last week and low and behold, I struck pay dirt. The Habanero had survived the insanity and made a bunch of peppers. See above.

Habaneros have great flavor, but they are very very hot. Burn the mouth. Singe the nostrils. If I was to take payment to rub one in my eye, the minimum payment would have to be $4,300. What is the minimum amount that you would accept to rub a habanero in your eye? Think about it.

So I had all of these peppers, and I had no idea what to do with them. A freeze was coming, so I got them all off of the plant. Luckily, Kimistry Kitchen was in town and she and StephSmoke both wanted to harness the flavor of the habaneros in a long lasting jelly. I thought Jelly would be more fun than rubbing them in my eyes. So, we immidietly had the helicopter come pick us up and we went to the store for provisions.

Apparenty you need:

1) Peppers
2) Vinegar of some sort
3) Red Bell Peppers
4) Sugar
5) Pectin. Which is like bone marrow for plants.
6) A Helicopter

Mix it all up and you've got Jelly. Heres how its done:

So you start out by chopping the lid off of the peppers. Do this.

Next you put them in a measuring device. As you can see from the picture, I wasn't really being serious about measuring an actual quantity of habanero. Here, I believe the recipe called for a certain amount of habanero, but I just went ahead and used what I had. Its not an exact science.

Then you put em in here. (This is why I didn't chop them up and measure. I didn't want capsicum hands if the machine was going to chop them up anyway).

Next measure out a quarter cup of vinegar. We used Rice Vinegar.

Next seed a red bell pepper.

...and put it all in a blender.

Again, dont get this in your eyes. It would really hurt. Its not often that a toast spread can double as a rape defense weapon. Not sure what else to say about that idea.


The Smell.

Very Intense.

Pur the mix in a pot.

Add a few cups of sugar.

Mix it up.

This is Pectin. It comes in a box. Its like gelatin, but from plants.

Pour in one package.

Kick it up to a boil, whisk, and reduce to simmer.

While that is going down, chop any leftover red bell pepper or jalapenos that you might have. You can drop them in the finished jelly product and it looks much more festive.

(it finally boiled)

(cooking action shot)

After 5 mins or so, let it cool, and skim off the foam on the top.

Some people would strain it here. I call those people less lazy than I am. So we didn't strain ourselves and we just put it in the jar. It was wicked wicked hot for a really long time. Be careful.

Add the festive pieces.

Mix in the bits i.e. GET FESTIVE

Finished Product!

Keep it refridgerated, and use it as any other jelly. We've been adding it to sauces instead of sugar. I also used some in a cocktail the other day, and its pretty good on sandwiches. Good glaze for pork. It's also good at parties, poured over cream cheese. On one occasion, I actually blended it with some left over cream cheese, spread it on toast, and made a turkey cilantro sandwich. Amazing.

Thanks to Kimistry for coming out of retirement and teaching me how to do this, and help with the blogging. Your audience misses you. Restart the blog, we implore you.
Sorry for the long gap in posting everyone. Should have more soon.

Thanks for reading!!


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Be on the Food Network...or At Least Try To

Got this email in the Smokeador inbox today. Smokehopper and I should do this right? If you want to also, it would be cool to see some other people at the casting. That is if we do it. I think we should.

Here is the email:

We are looking for charismatic and outgoing two person teams with pre-existing relationships, who have always dreamed of running their own restaurant. Applicants may have lots of restaurant experience, no restaurant experience, or some combination of both. One member of the team will run the “back of the house” and one member will run the “front of the house”. As a team they must have the skills to open and run their own restaurant!

The details of our event are as follows:

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Westin Park Central

12720 Merit Drive, Dallas, TX 75251

Click below for enlarged info:

We should do this right?

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

El Smokeador BBQ Catering

Hello there. I've made it known to a few people but not everyone that I am going to start a small catering operation sooner rather than later. I need to say right off the bat that this is an El Smokeador venture and not Smokehopper. He has offered to help, but has too much on his plate (food pun!!) to do it as frequently as I want to. That said, if you have a need for a couple briskets with sides for a holiday party you have coming up, let me know.

I have provided briskets for a couple functions in the past that have gone really well and it's something that I can do a lot cheaper than your standard BBQ caterers. I can provide the following:
1) Brisket (Butterfinger/Candy Cane optional)
2) Buns, onions, pickles, etc
3) Sides (Potato salad and beans)
4) Dessert
5) Servers
6) Plates, utencils, etc
7) A garden hose if you require drinks. I will hook it up to your house.

More or less anything you need me to provide, I can provide it. If you think you will be hosting anywhere from 15-75 people I can accommodate. If some of them require a fish or chicken meal, I can provide that as well. I can accommodate a family dinner if thats what you require as well.

Here is a picture of a satisfied customer.

If you think you have something coming up that you want people to eat at, shoot me an email at and we can work something out. If you know anyone else having a party that you think would like to have some BBQ catered in, please pass this along. Parents, co-workers, etc. Or if you know someone that isn't having a party but wants to have a nice brisket for the holidays, please pass this along.

Thats it.


El Smokeador

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Monday, November 8, 2010

For the Sake of Content.....Turkey Neck Soup

We had a lot of leftover turkey products from our QITS (Quest into Turkey Stardom), the most interesting being the package of neck pieces. Other than wrapping them in bacon and stuffing cheese and jalapeno into the middle we couldn't really come up with anything extremely interesting or edible, so soup it is.

Onion (red and white)
Chicken Broth

Sliced up half the white onion, garlic, jalapenos, celery and carrots and added to the crock pot. Washed and patted the turkey neck pieces dry, added them to the pot and covered with chicken broth and water. This was all to make the stock for the soup which by itself was amazing. The jalapenos gave it a great spicy tinge that really brought out the flavor of the hot Chiturkey stock. Chiturkey stock is a good recipe for the common cold that dates back to the early 400's. When unicorn horns couldn't be harvested and hippo teeth had rotted out, the natives turned to Chiturkey. Enjoy it like they did.

After 6 hours in the crock pot (low temp) we reconvened and began finishing up the soup. Smokehopper had already pulled the turkey from the bones and strained the vegetables out of the Chiturkey stock. We sliced up the red onion, another jalapeno, garlic and celery and cooked them in a little oil in the pot until soft.

Added the Chiturkey stock and the turkey parts that Smokehopper separated earlier and brought to a simmer.

Smokehopper making a bowl of soup. Important for future posts.

In the end, you cant really see the neck pieces and this might appear to only be a bowl of off colored water with cilantro floating in it and a lemon wedge on the side of the bowl. But it was more. The turkey tasted like turkey. The broth in the soup was delicious and the cilantro/lemon really brought out the essence of the Chiturkey stock. In the end it made for a delicious warm meal that was easy to construct. Make it yourself sometime.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hatch Chile Corn Dogs (featuring LSmoke on the Bass)

Sit back and relax, this is gonna be a long one. But first, corn dogs.

The day began with a round of golf that never happened. For that I would like to say something to Pecan Valley Golf Course in Fort Worth. No one wants your rainchecks. Just give the money back if the golfing experience is not good after one hole. Thats all I have to say on that.

When Central Market announced that they would be having another Hatch Chile competition a couple weeks ago, we began brainstorming some recipes that would both be delicious and have not done before as that is sort of our deal. We don't like making things that have been made before. Still waiting on those butterfinger brisket royalties to come in.

Smokehopper would not be in town for this delicious endeavor, so I called another culinary contributor to the site and thankfully LSmoke was available. We talked and decided that the best way to win both the competition and a delicious Saturday would be to make homemade sausage corn dogs stuffed with Hatch Chiles. We won. The delicious Saturday part, not the Central Market deal. But thats ok. We don't need justification from places that do not even carry the supplies we need. Onto that portion of this raucous tale.

Here is an interesting fact that you need to know when making sausage for the first need sausage casings to make sausage. This is a list of places in Fort Worth that do not currently sell sausage casings and have no plans to:
1) The Mexican meat store on Granbury road
2) The Supermercado on Hemphill
3) Central Market
4) Alberstons
5) Kroger
6) and one other place that I can't remember

You can however find them at Academy of all places, so thanks Academy.

It should be noted that you should buy the hog sausage casings. They smell up the kitchen something fierce, but its worth it. This is what they look like in a bowl getting ready to soak for 30 minutes or so.

While they were soaking and making the kitchen smell mostly like a pigs insides, we started roasting the chiles. LSmoke has a badass KitchenAid convection broiler so this was a pretty easy process without having to fire up the grill just for some chiles.

Once the chiles were roasted and peeled, we put them in a large ziplock with a damp paper towel to help them peel. It worked. But sorry no pics. They should be blackened when you pull them out of the oven or off the grill. LSmoke has a sausage grinder and luckily has made his own sausage once before. He knows the ins and outs of his kitchen, but we still tried a couple of things. Here we go. This is all of the parts to a sausage grinder. Cleaned and oiled.

At the first Mexican meat market we were certain they had some kind of casings for the sausage in the back, but we decided to let sleeping dogs lie and picked up 3 pounds of pork meat instead.

As you can see, we have assembled the grinder and set it up. We figured out very quickly that it takes a lot of effort to grind sausage and it needs to be bolted down to something or you can add an hour or two to the process.

We got this far before we figured out a better way to use the grinder.

We changed up to a thicker cut of sausage and bolted the grinder down on the right side of a part of LSmoke's leftover fence. This way he was able to sit on the board and feed sausage into the grinder while I cranked. Worked out a lot better.

And we got roughly 2.75 pounds of ground pork parts out of it. Success.

Once this task was completed in a little more time than we had planned it was time to prep the chiles. Like I said earlier the skin pretty much peels right off. We deseeded the chiles too, for the most part. We figured that sausage sometimes has a few seeds in it, so we left a few of them in. They didn't add or detract anything away from the dogs.

We sliced them up into smallish sqaures and added them to the meat.

Sauteed up some garlic for the meat too.

And added healthy amounts of this stuff to the pork. In a bowl. Please put it in a bowl.

I mixed it up with my hands. You have seen countless number of pictures of me mixing things with my hands before, so you don't need a picture of this process. LSmoke added a piece to the grinder and we were ready to start forcing the pork into the casing.

Aaaaaand sausages. Please note the green parts inside. Those are the chiles.

We cut them and stuck skewers in one side and prepped the skillet for cooking.

While the oil was heating up we began the batter for the dogs. Used the following in unmeasured amounts until we had a consistency that would stick to the outside of the dogs without running all over the place during the transfer from batter to skillet.

Sausages in the skillet cooking in oil. We figured that they needed to be cooked rather than just fried. We were right about this as it didn't take too long to fry them up.

Once the oil was at the right temp (350 degrees) we dropped these guys in. Carefully. Hot oil burns. See you have learned a couple new things today.

And for the finished product.

All in all, these were a great success. Making corn dogs from scratch is a relatively difficult and time consuming task, but it was more than worth it on a Saturday afternoon. Add Hatch Chiles to the equation and the greatness increases exponentially. We thought at one point that it would take only a couple of hours, but when it came down to it I would say it was closer to 3 or 3.5. Regardless, more than worth the time. The sausage turned out fantastic and the batter was not too sweet but rather served as a good compliment to the salty consistency of the sausage. I regret to inform you that some old man named Jimmy Dean has stolen my idea of breakfast sausage fried in pancake batter, but that is for another day and another time.

Try this out if you like. I think you will enjoy it. LSmoke, thanks for your hospitality and effort in getting this done.

~El Smokeador~

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