Friday, March 25, 2022, I fired up the smoker and spent an amazing morning and early afternoon, smoking corned beef, potatoes, cabbage and stuffed bell peppers, over my oak-fired smoker.
Photo: When you're smoking your dinner, it's an all-day project, as smoking is a long and slow process, but it's simple, "old school," lots of fun, and great way to spend the day.
The "target time" for dinner was 17:00 in the afternoon, so that meant I had to fire up the smoker, and get it somokin' by about 09:00, as smoking is something that, by nature, takes time, but is worth the effort.
Photo: Oak wood grows native in my area, and oak works perfect for a savory fuel to smoking or grilling, as it's very similar to hickory. I simply gather oak that grows all around my place, and cut it to size, using my friendly chain saw for the large pieces, or for my sawsall, to cut the smaller pieces to size.
I always add discarded pieces of onion and peppers to the fire for extra taste, and to add an extra dimension to the smoked flavor. I learned that little "trick of the trade" during my many trips to Mexico, as that's the way Mexican chefs run their pit.
Photo: I like to use cast iron frying pans in my smoker, as they're convenient, and allow easy customization of each part of the meal. Clean up is a snap, especially if you're used to cooking with cast iron.
Photo: It's about 03:00 o'clock in the afternoon, and I've been smoking meat, potatoes and veggies for about six hours, with about an hour left to go. Oak wood grows locally in western Placer County and makes for perfect fuel for smoking or grilling.
Photo: Corned beef brisket, along with whole potatoes have been cooked on the smoker for seven hours, and are almost ready for dinner. When I mean "almost" it means the meat needed to be covered to "rest" for at least an hour before carving. Before smoking, I used the standard "baked potato procedure" and pierced each potato with a knife, so it wouldn't explode while cooking.
The "day after" St. Patrick's Day is a good day to shop for corned beef, and if you're lucky, you can find corned beef brisket at good prices. I actually purched the brisket for this meal on March 18th, and I enjoyed the price of $1.98 a pound... far less than the $4.49 a pound asking price from the day before! Corned beef keeps in the refrigerator for a couple a weeks, hence my cooking a week after my purchase.
Photo: I was "gifted" two bell peppers, so I stuffed the peppers with diced potato, onion, garlic and leftover turkey sausage, to make my first-ever stuffed, smoked bell peppers! By the way, a bit of butter and masa harina added to the attraction.
A head of cabbage was the centerpiece of the "veggie" part of the dinner - the stuffed bell peppers were simply an "afterthought" - which always works out great as part of a meal prepared on the smoker. I cut out the core of the cabbage and stuffed it with diced garlic along with red onion, and stuffed it with butter. Yummy!
Photo: I opened up the pit and I'm a happy pitmaster, as my dinner has been smoked for seven hours, and is ready to remove from the pit.
Photo: Stuffed bell peppers, a stuffed cabbage, baked potatoes and a corned beef brisket have been smoked over oak wood for seven hours, and are READY to enjoy for dinner.
Not so fast, as the beef needed to "rest" for about an hour before serving.
Photo: I allowed the beef brisket to rest for an hour before slicing, against the grain, to make for a perfect dinner centerpiece. Note the beautiful "smoke cap" of fat and the smoked outside of the meat, and the pink, tender, juicy inside.
Oak wood grows wild in my area, and I simply have to pick it up, bring it home and cut it to size for perfect smoking or grilling.
Photo: I put it all together on a dinner plate, and it all worked out for dinner. Stuffed bell pepper, leftover diced potato, smoked potato, cabbage, and sliced corned beef.
Photo: Two slices of smoked corned beef, a stuffed bell pepper, potato, along with cabbage, and pan-fried gravy made for a simply delicious dinner on this Friday evening, March 25, 2022.
As an "aside," I took some of the pan drippings, along with burnt ends from the slivers of corned beef and made gravy, along with a "little of this and a little of that," which truly enhanced tonight's dinner! I'm a firm believer of gravy for the enhancement and enjoyment of every meal and every occasion!
There is nothing better than enjoying a dinner that you've actually taken the time to prepare, and cooked over an "old school" smoker, fired by wood that you've gathered locally.
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