Thursday, April 21, 2011
Smoked Foods Just Cook It Potluck
This past Sunday, we hosted the second Just Cook It potluck of the season, and our second time focusing of the theme of smoked foods. For half of us at the potluck, the first time we had tried cooking any foods with smoke was at last year's potluck and this was a great chance to try it again. For the other half, this year was the first time to try. What we all found and shared was that cooking with smoke is not as difficult as we expected. I personally found that this year's attempt was much less messy than last year, mostly due to the lessons learned at the last potluck. Last year I tried using charcoal and sage wood to smoke a whole chicken and wound up trying a couple of different vessels to contain the cooking process switching from a hibachi to a gas grill. This year I based my attempt off of Alton Brown's Flower Pot Smoker design and used a square pan with sage wood over a hot plate in the grill (with the grill off, of course) to smoke some salmon, then I finished the fish on the gas grill. It was much simpler and I liked how the salmon turned out. Mara smoked some ice with green apple wood for a deliciously complex cocktail addition and made a smoked paprika potato salad and Pam used some foil smoker bags to cook monkfish and potatoes. Chris brought some excellent smoked sausages with sauerkraut and mustard, and we finished the evening off with some wonderfully surprising smoked bananas brought by Bekka and Rob. I am very pleased with the results of this second dinner. It was great to see all the creatively different approaches to this challenge. This was a great example of reaching the goal I have for these dinners. I proposed these dinners to give myself a reason to try some techniques that I otherwise might not try. I was thrilled to again share the results with friends who did the same. The atmosphere is always supportive and we are all excited to share what we have learned in the process. I look forward to the next event, the challenge of souffles. Please join us for the fun discussion and excellent food!