I'd been thinking about firing up my "Texas style" smoker for a couple weeks, as there is nothing love more than "old school" smoked meat. The trouble is that the smoker always uses the same amount of wood and charcoal, so it's best from a cost-effect viewpoint to smoke a full batch. I'd been thinking about a smoked chicken, and along with the chicken, I added a few other things to make for a full smoker. Monday, May 11, 2020 turned about to be "smoking day."
Photo; Monday morning, May 11, 2020, I got up a little after 6 and fired up the smoker, as it takes around an hour for it to reach the right temperature, and I like to allow lots of time for any residue to burn off. I light the charcoal with a "chimney fire," so want to make sure all paper ashes are thorough consumed by the fire.
As the smoker was heating up, I stuffed the chicken with cornbread stuffing, sprayed it with olive oil, and seasoned it with Pappy's Blue Label "California style" seasoning, with is my "go-to" seasoning for just about everything. Pappy's works with practically everything, and it's made in Fresno, CA, which is an added bonus.
I had made the cornbread stuffing the day before, so it was simply a matter of getting it out of the fridge and stuffing the chicken with it. I used a couple toothpicks to button up the cavity.
Photo: As the smoker was heating up, I pulled chicken feet, beef hooves and three pounds of beef honeycomb trip, seasoned it, and put them pans, ready to smoke. The beef tripe, hooves and chicken feet will be used in future batches menudo, which is one of my favorite Mexican stews.
Tripe doesn't smell very good as it's cooking - it's best to cook it outside - so smoking it is perfect, as not only there is no unpleasant odor, but the smoke adds to the flavor, and cooks the tripe to perfection.
Photo: I put the food on the smoker shortly after 07:00 in the morning, and by then, the temperature was up to about 180 degrees. When I smoke poultry, I bring the temperature up to about 250 degrees, in order to kill any possible bacteria.
I use an Oklahoma Joe smoker that I picked up a few years ago on sale for around $200.00, It's an "old school," "Texas-style" smoker, and is about as "low tech" as it gets. That's the way I like it, as part of the fun of enjoying a great meal is babysitting the smoker.
I use a chimney starter to get a bed of charcoal briquettes going. Then they're hot, I dump them into the firebox and for the rest of the "smoke," I used oak wood, which is interchangeable with hickory. Oak grows wild around here, so I simply gather oak logs, throw them in the back of my truck, and cut them to size with my chainsaw.
Photo: Here's a peek inside the firebox, and you can see oak logs burning. I like to smoke chicken at 250 degrees, and I regulate the heat by adding wood, opening or closing the damper, and opening and closing the cap on the smokestack. This is as "old school" as it gets.
Photo: A peek inside the firebox shows the potatoes, purple cabbage, tripe and the chicken smoking, with about a half hour to go. The chicken looks a little well done, but when the skin is removed, the meat is well cooked, juicy and well-seasoned.
Photo: After smoking for about five hours, I removed the beef hooves and the chicken feet. I did not want to cook them thoroughly, as they'll be cooking in the pot of menudo to add amazing flavor.
Photo: The pan of beef tripe and the chicken are finished, and ready to remove from the smoker. Note the stuffing in the cavity of the chicken. There's nothing like a chicken, stuffed with cornbread, and cooked over oak, on a smoker!
Photo: The finished product, in the kitchen, ready to enjoy. The beef tripe, chicken feet along with the beef hooves were to be placed in "zip lock" bags and frozen for future use. I placed some of the skin and bones with the tripe, hooves and feet for added flavor in the menudo broth.
Photo: Tonight's dinner of smoked chicken, cornbread stuffing, purple cabbage, along with diced baked potato. I also threw a couple of jalapiņo peppers in the smoker, and one of them rounds out my dinner. For garnish, I used salsa verde and Valentina hot sauce, which is one of my favorites Mexican sauces.
Not only do I love the taste of smoked food, but it's fun, as when you're "smoking," it's a good excuse to relax on the patio all day and just tend to the smoker every half hour or so. The food is delicious, and it's a lot of fun!
Copyright(c) 2020 eRench Productions. All rights reserved. We've been on the web since December 22, 2002.