Killer Jerky Recipe

 

This jerky recipe has been a staple in our family for generations. Every fall, after hunting season, it’s tradition to get the family together and spend a day or two making our favorite jerky and sausage recipes. We have found that the key to consistent quality when it comes to this Killer Jerky Recipe is that you need to have consistent, steady heat which is why we always put our faith in the Big Chief and Little Chief smokers. So I couldn’t tell you how many batches of jerky have gone through my Big Chief, but after a few generations, I’ve gotta guess that it is well into the hundreds. I hope you enjoy this recipe… before everyone else in the family eats it all up!

Ingredients:

5-6 pounds of venison roast

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

5 teaspoons meat tenderizer

4-5 teaspoons black pepper (depending on how peppery you want it)

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1-1/4 cups soy sauce (or less if you don’t want it to salty)

1-1/4 cups Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup red wine

2-3 pans of Smokehouse Hickory Wood Chips (or flavor of your choice)

Directions:

Semi-freeze the meat for slicing. Slice meat into 1/4″ strips about 2″ wide and about 4″ long. Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, meat tenderizer, black pepper, ground mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine in a LARGE (non-aluminum) bowl. Mix thoroughly and add the meat to the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 24 hours, mixing up the meat occasionally during this period (usually 2-3 times).

Drain brine and place meat on paper towels. Pat dry. Set up and prepare your Big Chief or Little Chief Electric Smoker. Place the meat on the grill racks, or better yet, place the meat on the drying screens and then on the grill racks. You may also hang the meat with skewers from the grill racks (though a little more time consuming). The drying screens also help with the meat not sticking to the grills. Once all the grills are loaded with the meat, place them in the Big Chief or Little Chief.

Fill the flavor pan with a heaping amount of Smokehouse Hickory Wood Chips (or flavor of your choice) and plug in the smoker. The smoker will give you a consistent temperature of around 165 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 45 minutes, pull the flavor pan out and empty the ashes into a safe container. Fill the flavor pan again with wood chips and place back in the smoker. If desired, you may do a third pan but it is not necessary. After that leave the smoker plugged in but don’t use any more pans of wood chips.

Check the meat occasionally after 3-4 hours. The total time needed will vary with your outside ambient temperature, exact thickness of the meat slices and your desired taste of when they are done. Sometimes, 8-12 hours in the smoker may be needed. If you want to assist in retaining more heat, try placing our Insulation Blanket (designed specifically for the smokers) over top of the Big Chief or Little Chief once you are done with the wood chips. Normally the final product should be just slightly chewy, not brittle.

Enjoy!

Original Smoked Salmon Recipe

This recipe is perhaps the best smoked salmon recipe we have discovered in over 40 years of making smoked salmon with our Big Chief and Little Chief Electric Smokers. It’s basic, it’s simple, and it consistently makes absolutely mouth-watering smoked salmon. With just two ingredients, salt and brown sugar, it couldn’t be any easier to produce the best smoked salmon recipe you’ve ever made. And with the optional step at the end, you can season a batch of smoked salmon with a variety of flavors all from the same dry brine mix. Whether you’ve been smoking salmon all your life, or it’s your first time, give this recipe a try, we’re sure you will love it!

A special thanks to salmon fishing legend Herb Good for sharing this Original Smoked Salmon Recipe!

Smoked Salmon Dry Brine Mix

Ingredients:

10 lbs. of salmon fillet
1 cup plain, non-iodized salt
4 heaping cups of brown sugar
Melted honey (optional to taste)
Cracked pepper (optional to taste)
What else you need:

Big Chief or Little Chief Electric Smoker
One 1.75 lb. bag of Smokehouse Products Alder Wood Chips
1 bowl to mix ingredients
1 flat bottom glass or plastic container (or crock) with cover
1 electric fan

Directions:

Add salt and brown sugar to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cut the salmon fillet into strips for best brining and presentation (view video on right column of this page or click here for video), this will help make sure all pieces of salmon are a similar thickness. Line the flat bottom container with salmon fillet strips leaving space for the brine to cover all sides of each piece. Cover the first layer generously with the salt/brown sugar mixture. Continue to add additional layers on top and cover each layer generously with the salt/brown sugar mixture. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and mix the salmon pieces around in the brine. Recover and place container back in the refrigerator for a total brine time of at least 14 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the salmon from the brine and wipe each piece removing any excess brine. Place salmon on grills of the Big Chief or Little Chief Electric Smoker. Use Smokehouse Products Drying Screens to help eliminate the fish sticking to the grills. Use the fan to dry the salmon until it has a shiny dry paper looking finish. Place salmon in the Big Chief or Little Chief smoker and add 2-3 pans of Smokehouse Products Alder Wood Chips (one immediately after the other). Each pan will last about 45 minutes in the smoker. Finish the salmon with heat only. Generally, leave the salmon in the smoker for 6-12 hours (varies widely based on ambient temperature, wind and other factors). This may even require up to 20 hours in cold temperatures. Allow the smoker to dry the salmon to your favorite level of dryness, then remove.

OPTIONAL: For added flavor, heat the honey in the microwave or on stovetop. Brush the honey on the salmon. Add cracked pepper to your taste on top of the honey. Place salmon back in the smoker for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the salmon when it is done to your taste. Cut a thick piece in half and ensure it is pink all the way through to double check doneness.

ENJOY!

How to Fillet a Salmon and Prepare it for Smoked Salmon

Salmon fishing legend Herb Good demonstrates how to fillet a salmon in less than a minute. He will show you two different techniques to fillet a salmon, one with a gutted fish and the other technique with a whole fish. Each technique to fillet a salmon will show you how to cut off the fins, including the dorsal, adipose and other fins, plus how to handle the rib bones, cartilage areas and other details so that you end up with a beautiful fillet without hack marks. Herb will also show you how to cut and prepare the salmon for any smoked salmon recipe. How he slices the salmon will be sure to give you even thicknesses and excellent presentation when smoking your salmon. This is important for getting consistent results when smoking your salmon with our Big Chief and Little Chief Electric Smokers.

Be sure to check out a continuation to this video where Herb Good shows how to smoke salmon with the original smoked salmon recipe of just salt and brown sugar.

 

Turn Frozen Fish into Gourmet Treats

By: Buzz Ramsey

Originally printed in the Northwest Steelheader Magazine in 2013.

When was the last time you took inventory of the fish population in your freezer? Unfortunately, fish doesn’t keep very well when frozen. The more time they spend in the freezer the less desirable they become. And while there are ways to make fish last in the freezer for six to twelve months, dropping fillets in a zip-top bag won’t get you much past 60 days.

Surprisingly to some, fresh frozen fish lend themselves particularly well to the smoking process; you see, freezing causes cell tissue to burst, so fish that have been frozen take on the flavor of the brine ingredients and smoke better. You can really impress your friends by preparing your freezer fish this way.

Prepare your fish for brining and smoking by cutting your fillets into stripes about an inch wide, making sure to leave the skin in place, then thoroughly rinse these fish chunks in cold water and immerse them into your brine solution.

The brine recipe we use most often includes a mixture of 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup sugar and 2 quarts water – this is the right amount for 10-to-20 pounds of fillets. Pre-mix these ingredients in a stainless steel or plastic container and immerse your fillets into your brining solution. Keep in mind that almost any container will work for brining, but avoid aluminum containers as they can taint the taste of your fish. Then place your filled container in the refrigerator (or cooler with ice), for a minimum of six hours, stirring at least once during the process.

You can add other flavorings to your brine solution. Two of our favorite additives are wine (usually one of the fruity varieties) or soy sauce. Amounts vary depending on taste, but you might start off with a cup of wine and/or a quarter cup of soy sauce – just mix it in.

After six to twelve hours, or overnight, remove the fillets from your brine solution and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Remove excess moisture with paper towels and place your fillets on the smoker grills skin side down, which helps prevent sticking after the smoking job is complete.

A way to add additional flavorings to your fish is to sprinkle spices directly onto your fillets after the brining process – this can be done when the fillets are first placed on your smokehouse grills; for example, you can coat your fish with liquid brown sugar and sprinkle with your favorite spices, which might include ground onion, garlic or black pepper.

It’s important to allow your fish to air dry for at least one hour before placing in your smokehouse. Allowing your fillets to air dry will enhance the color, texture and flavor of your fish, and is the secret of many smoking enthusiasts. Then it is time to place your loaded rack in your portable smokehouse.

We use Little and/or Big Chief Smokehouses (we have several) when smoking fish or game, which are fired with an electric heating element that not only burns the wood flavor fuel that creates the smoke but completes the curing process of slowly drying you fish. These portable smokehouses are designed to be used outside, well away from any combustible material. The smoking and curing process will take 8-to-12 hours, depending on the outside temperature, thickness of your fillets, and the quantity of fish.

Wood chips impart their unique flavor to the fish so their selection is important. Hickory is the all-around favorite for fish, jerky, steaks, ribs – almost any food item. Other wood flavors are available such as apple, cherry and alder, which impart a mild taste and what we use when adding smoke flavor to game birds, poultry or cheese. Mesquite wood imparts a distinct flavor that is popular for jerky or adding smoke-flavor to ribs or steaks – it doesn’t take much mesquite to add a lot of wood flavor.

The better quality wood flavor chips (like those produced by Smokehouse Products) have had the bark removed, which is bitter, and are ground and dried before packaging. A pan full of chips will smoke for about an hour before being consumed, and even though the entire smoking/cooking/drying process may take up to 12 hours, you will only need 2-to-3 pans of wood fuel to add the correct amount of smoke flavor.

After the smoking process is complete, we allow our fillets to cool and then store in a brown paper bag with several paper towels folded at the bottom. Keeping your smoke house treats in a paper bag and stored in your refrigerator will keep them fresh tasting for up to three weeks. Don’t let your frozen fish become freezer burned or poor tasting by remaining in your freezer too long. Wow yourself and friends by smoking them now.

Glenn’s Texas Baby Back Pork Ribs

THE MEAT: Baby backs are a large rib, with very good flavor and limited fat. Go ahead and get the larger size, about 2 + pounds. The little ones like you get at the restaurant,  are usually in the 1- 1 ½ lb. range and are not as good as what you are going to do. There are usually about  12-13 bones on this rack and you can feed 2-3 people with one rack; or go ahead and it  ‘em all yourself.

THE RUB:  Here is where the fun starts! If to talk to 200 people who smoke ribs, you will probably  get at least 200 recipes on the best rub ever!  And they are all probably pretty good.  What ever you like is the rub for you. Smokehouse Products has an excellent rub for these ribs, but if you elect to do it yourself, here is a good starter.  Combine 2 parts Lawry’s season salt with 1 part Tony Chachere’s  Original Creole Seasoning, and add brown sugar to taste. About 3 tbsps to sixteen ounces of rub. Add spices and pepper to suit your taste.  For your rib rub, just let your taste go wild and try different combinations.

THE PROCESS;   It is not necessary to par boil these ribs when you are going to smoke them. This process is for using a “dry rub”. Before applying your rub, many smokers like to spray  various types of juices or sauces. There are many excellent combinations . You will need to experiment here. I usually will use an apple juice/brown sugar combination or Worcestershire sauce. Let sit about 10-20 mins. , . Put the rub on the meaty side and let sit for about 15 mins. Get the smoker prepared and if you are going with an apple juice or pineapple spray, I would suggest the apple pellets. Works great.  Hickory or mesquite are two of my favorites  to use on baby backs. Put the ribs on the smoker with the meaty side up and your temp at about 150 200 for 2- 2 ½ hours. After about  2 hours, you may want to up your temp to around 250 for about 1 hour.  When your see the fatty part on top of the ribs start separating , that is your clue for the next step. Take the ribs off and wrap them in a heavy duty foil.( At this step, many  smokers will want to add a BBQ sauce of some type to make “wet ribs”).  After the ribs are wrapped and back on the smoker up the temp  to 250 to 300 for another 1-2 hours.  We should be falling off the bone by now.  If you would rather gnaw then off the bone, take ‘em off sooner. The outdoor temp, humidity, size of the meat can all affect the cooking time, but the above is a very reliable process. Ring your dinnerbell,  serve up the ribs.  It’s time to eat. Call me and let me know the results.   By the way, if you are going to serve baked potatoes with  your ribs, wrap them in foil and put them in the smoker when you first put the ribs in and the taters should be ready at the same time as the ribs!

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