Featured Recipes from the Oliver Family Cookbook
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Smoke House Grits – 8 Ways to Love ’em!
How to Prepare and Enjoy “Stone Ground” Grits – We use “FALLS MILL” brand products, which are prepared on a real water powered grist mill in Franklin County Tennessee operated since 1873. Falls Mill products are sold in our General Store and on our Online Store.
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8 GRIT RECIPES
Basic “Stone Ground” Grits – Place one cup of grits in a bowl, cover with 2 cups of water, and stir. The light ‘bran’ will rise to the top. Carefully pour off the water and light bran, reserving the grits in the bowl. Rinse again if needed. In a heavy bottomed saucepan bring 2 cups of water, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of butter to a boil. Stir in the grits, and boil for 1 minute. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer while the pan is covered, for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally until the grits are thick and creamy. If too thick, add a little more water or some milk or cream. Serve hot, this makes about four ½ cup servings.
Easy Cheese Grits – 4 cups water, 1 cup stone ground grits, 2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon, 1 thin slice onion finely chopped (optional), 2 tablespoons butter, ¼ cup half & half, 2 to 4 ounces of cheese (American, Cheddar, or Havarti) . Place grits in bowl and cover with 2 cups water. Stir grits so that light bran will rise to the top, carefully pour off the water and bran, reserving the grits in the bowl. Rinse again if desired. Bring 2 cups water, onion, instant chicken bouillon, and butter to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add grits to the boiling mixture. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until grits are soft and creamy. Add half & half and cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Serve hot. Yields 4 half cup servings.
Fried Grits – Prepare basic grits, after they are done pour then into an un-greased loaf pan. Let this cool until the grits are firm, usually about 30 minutes or more. Turn the pan over so the grits loaf slides out, slice (like bread slices) about ½ inch thick. Mix some flour, salt and pepper together on a plate and dip the grits slices (both sides) in the flour mixture. Put a quarter inch of oil in a skillet, and fry the slices on medium high heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Turn over the slice and brown the other side.
Sausage Fried Grits – Prepare the basic grits and set aside. Cook some sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Drain the fat and stir the sausage into the grits. Beat an egg and add it to the grits mixture. Pour into a loaf pan and put it in the refrigerator until firm. Turn out the grits and prepare as Fried Grits above.
Jalapeno Grits – To your basic grits, add 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese, 3 tablespoons butter, 2 beaten eggs, chopped jalapeno pepper to taste (start with 2 tablespoons, add all you can stand), salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased baking dish, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Top will be lightly browned.
Shrimp & Grits (pictured above) – Use clean, de-veined shrimp, sauté in skillet with 2 tablespoons butter, garlic salt or Cajun seasoning to taste for 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp is firm, do not overcook. Serve over basic grits or cheese grits. Garnish with diced tomatoes and crumpled bacon.
Aloha Grits – Here’s a good side dish for your entertaining of guest; sweeten up your grits with this recipe. Prepare basic grits, stir in ¼ cup milk or cream, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, ¼ cup pineapple juice, stir together then pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle top with shredded coconut, crushed macadamia nuts and ginger. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Betsy’s Creamy Cheddar Grits Casserole – My sister, Betsy, got all the talent when it comes to cookin’; she’s like my Aunt Geneva, Grandma Irene, and Aunt Birdie (superb family cooks) all rolled up into one mean cookin’ machine. Here is one of her most requested recipes by customers visiting the Smoke House.
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 8 min. Bake time: 40 min, and let sand 5 min.
1 ¼ Cups uncooked stone ground grits 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups whole milk, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup butter, 10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, 4 oz. smoked cheddar cheese (shredded), 2 large eggs (lightly beaten). Bring the grits, chicken broth and the next 3 ingredients to boil in medium saucepan over med-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, and stirring occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in butter and cheese until melted. Gradually stir one fourth of the hot mixture into the eggs, add egg mixture to the remaining hot grits mixture, stirring constantly. Pour grits mixture into a lightly greased 2 ½ Qt. baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly around the edges. Let stand for five minutes before serving; you’ll regret it if you don’t let it cool for a spell. Yield 8 servings.
SMOKE HOUSE BISCUIT RECIPE
- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 T. butter
- 1/3 c. shortening
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 c. buttermilk
Sift flour and measure. Resift with salt and baking powder. Add shortening and butter and cut in until mixture is course. Stir in buttermilk until dough is well-formed. Place on lightly floured board. Knead lightly. Roll out dough and cut. Bake in lightly buttered sheet pan for about 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees until golden brown on top.
TIPS ON SMOKING MEAT
While we’d love it for all of our guests to visit us every day, we know that it just isn’t possible. We thought that it might be helpful for you to learn how to smoke your own meats, and provide the Smoke House experience in your backyard for friends and family.
Tip #1 – Follow the instructions of your cooker when loading your hardwood chunks, pellets, chips, and charcoal. By using too much wood, you’ll produce too much smoke, and the flavor won’t be quite right. Poultry could turn white or gray. By not using enough charcoal or wood, you may not be able to produce enough smoke.
Tip #2 – Try new things! Hardwoods such as mesquite and apple wood are great staples, though many people have had great success with maple, hickory, or any other hardwoods.
Tip #3 – Any food that you’ll be smoking should be patted dry with a clean towel. This applies to foods that have been marinated, rubbed, brined, or food which hasn’t been prepared at all.
Tip #4 – Follow your recipes carefully. Some foods that have been brined should be rinsed and patted dry before smoking it. Others do not require patting dry.
Tip #5 – Leave the skin on your poultry when smoking, as it will not shrink as much. If you don’t like the skin, it’s best to remove it after you’ve smoked it.
Tip #6 – If you’re a fan of soups and stews, smoke chicken wings and backbones while smoking the rest of your meats. You can use these to infuse a nice smoky flavor into your soup.
Tip #7 – Do not smoke pre-cooked sausage. Find locally made raw sausage from your butcher. You’ll find that it has a much better taste.
Tip #8 – Briskets, thicker chops, and pork roasts are best for smoking, as they tend to hold up to long-term cooking.
Tip #9 – Invest in an instant-read thermometer to determine that your food is completely done. It’s important to remember that smoked meats take significantly longer to cook than grilled meats.
Tip #10 – Barbeque sauce is best saved for after the meat has been fully smoked. While some recipes call for “mopping” at the end of the cook, we’ve found it best to hold it until the end. Many people who start smoking meats find it a life long passion. If you try it and like it, feel free to share your recipes with the team at the Smoke House! We love to talk shop with fellow smokers!
TIPS and TRICKS FOR SMOKING FISH
Like many skills, smoking fish is easy to learn, though extremely difficult to master. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can expand your offerings to include interesting and delicious appetizers, spreads, and dips. The end result of smoking fish is a smoky, flavorful piece of seafood that is sure to delight your friends, family, and neighbors.
Choosing the Right Fish to Smoke
As a general rule, the heavier and oilier the fish, the better results a first-time smoker will have. This is due to the fat content of heavier fish more effectively absorbing the smoky flavor. The higher fat also serves to keep the fish moist. The best types of fish to use for a new smoker include the following: Trout, Bluefish, Marlin, Bonito, Sturgeon, Salmon, and Tuna.
More flaky or delicate fish, including Sea Bass, Redfish, Orange Roughy, and others should be saved until you’ve earned a little more experience, as they typically dry out quickly. You should also avoid more expensive fish until you’ve gotten a little more experience under your belt.
Regardless of the fish that you choose, it’s extremely important that it be fresh or quickly frozen after capture. To determine the freshness, look at the gills. If they’re red or pink, it’s a good choice. Brown or gray gills should be passed over.
Preparing the Fish
Preparing your fish for smoking is relatively easy. First, you’ll want to thoroughly wash your fish. You’ll then want to prepare very basic brine. You can do this by combining 2 ½ tablespoons of sea salt with one cup of water. You’ll want to have about one quart of brine for each pound of fish that you plan to smoke. If you don’t like a fishy smell, you can add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice to your brine.
You’ll next want to place the fish in the brine and allow it to set for 15 minutes for each half-inch of fish. When the brining is completed, you’ll want to remove the fish, and rinse thoroughly with cold tap water.
Smoking the Fish
After preparation, it’s time to get cooking. You’ll want to put your fish on an oiled smoker rack, skin facing down. Your smoker should be kept at a low temperature, approximately 150 degrees for the first two hours. You’ll then want to increase the heat slightly to 200 degrees. Cook the fish until it’s cooked all the way through, with a flaky consistency.
Smoked fish should be served immediately for best results. If you’re not planning on eating the fish right away, you should wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place it in your freezer.
SMOKING RIBS IS AS EASY AS 3...2...1
Hearty and “summery,” ribs have become as integral a part of the American lexicon as apple pie, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs. I will never forget the smell of a restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Mr. Ribbs, where I got my first real taste of great smoked ribs. Slathered in a homemade barbecue sauce, these fell right off of the bone, and I fell in love. For years before moving south, I would have the owner of Mr. Ribbs cater my backyard barbecues. Before he retired, he was nice enough to share his smoking method with me. Now I’m going to share it with you!
Before we dig in, though, it’s important to have your favorite barbecue sauce and barbecue seasoning nearby. I recommend a sweeter sauce and a spicier rub, though this is entirely up to your interpretation.
Three Hours of Smoking
The first step is to smoke your ribs for three hours. The smoker should maintain a constant temperature of about 225 degrees, creating a low and slow smoke. You’ll want to be sure that your ribs are slathered in a very generous barbecue rub. If you’re smoking baby back ribs, you may want to cut back to the smoking time to two hours to avoid drying the meat out. I’ve had my best success using apple, cherry, and maple woods, though many friends have delivered incredible results using alder and hickory.
Two Hours of Tenderizing
If you want ribs that melt in your mouth, you cannot skip this step. You’ll want to wrap your ribs tightly in aluminum foil. Before completely sealing the foil, pour a small amount of hard apple cider into the foil pouch. This will create both flavor and steam, which will make your ribs extremely tender. Return your ribs back to your smoker for two hours at 225 degrees, though be sure to turn off the smoking element; you want to slow-bake the ribs during this step.
One Hour of Sauce
The last step is most people’s favorite. Remove your ribs from the smoker and liberally coat your ribs in your favorite barbecue sauce on both sides. Be sure to not miss a single micrometer. Then return your ribs to your smoker for one hour, this time turning the smoking element on. This will add that beloved smoky flavor to your sauce.
The end result of this process is ribs that will fall off of the bone and into your belly. The seasoning and sauce will provide complex flavoring, which is enhanced by your smoker. The 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs will leave you wanting more, and your friends, family, and neighbors jealous.
Full disclosure. I’m in love with a vegan. I know that this sounds like blasphemy from a smoking pro, but what can I say? In the few years that we’ve been together, she’s turned me from a full-on carnivore to a bit of an omnivore, and I’ve begun smoking various vegetables.
There are a wide variety of vegetables, which are wonderful smoked, including corn, cabbage, and potatoes. You’re limited only by your imagination. In this piece, I’ll share my method for smoking corn, which is perfect for the upcoming summer BBQ season.
Making Corn in a Smoker
Nothing defines a backyard side dish better than corn on the cob. A perfect compliment to barbeque ribs, chicken, and brisket, corn is a perfect vegetable choice for the smoker. The most difficult part of smoking corn is finding ideal ears. You’ll want to look for fresh corn (I find mine at a roadside vendor) with nice green husks and dark brown silks. The best corn can usually be found towards the end of summer, though imported corn works well in the spring.
To prepare the corn, you’ll want to peal each ear similar to a banana, without removing it completely. You want to be able to re-wrap the corn in the husks later. Next, you’ll remove as much of the silk as possible. Fill a large cauldron with cold water and soak the ears of corn for two hours, with the husk side up. Afterwards, you’ll want to spread a liberal layer of seasoned butter and salt on your corn before re-wrapping it in the husk.
To smoke corn, you’ll want to maintain a temperature between 235-250. With most vegetables, the type of wood you choose in your smoker is irrelevant, though I’ve had a good deal of luck with mesquite (which I’m usually using for my barbeque meats anyway). Once the smoker reaches the desired temperature, place the vegetables conservatively on your rack and allow the corn to smoke for about two hours.
Unlike meat, it’s okay to open your smoker to season your corn every so often. Every 30-45 minutes, I like to re-season my corn with a special mesquite barbeque butter that I’ve perfected over the years. To make the butter, simply microwave your butter until liquefied and add your favorite mesquite barbeque seasoning. Leave it out so that it can reform as a soft, orange-ish brown butter. Apply this very liberally at least once or twice an hour to your corn. Your guests will fall in love.
There are many non-traditional things that can be made in your smoker. Feel free to share ideas, and check back here for other smoking tips!
BEST WOODS FOR BARBEQUING
Depending on where you’re located, the availability of certain types of barbecue woods can vary greatly. In barbecue capitals like Oklahoma or Texas, the favorites are typically mesquite and hickory. There are many other types of wood that can be used in smoking and barbecuing that can have significant impacts on the flavor of your meal. We recommend that you spend some time experimenting with each of these types of wood, as they can expand your barbecue palette.
Apple Wood For Barbecuing
Apple wood is best for meats that will benefit from a sweeter, fruitier taste including poultry and ham. Apple is a very good, solid, mild wood, and is the preferential choice for smoking salmon. Apple smoked bacon is a popular choice for connoisseurs.
Alder Wood for Barbecuing
Typically found in the Pacific Northwest, Alder wood is perfect for seafood and poultry and generates a smoky flavor that enhances the flavors of meat, fish, and vegetables.
Cherry Wood for Smoking
Cherry wood is very similar to apple, though the flavor can change based on the age of the tree that it was procured from. This wood is milder, and a favorite for ham, chicken, pork, and ham.
Hickory Wood for Smoking
While some people have described hickory as pungent, we disagree. As one of the most well known woods for smoking, hickory is extremely useful for most red meats, including steaks, burgers, and especially ribs. Hickory can also be used (though sparingly) on fish and poultry.
Maple Wood for Smoking
Maple is amazing for pork, ham, and especially bacon. Providing a sweet, light taste, maple is becoming a popular choice for many breakfast meats.
Mesquite for Barbecuing and Smoking
Mesquite is one of the most popular woods for smoking, though the chef must take great care, or the smoky flavor can become somewhat overpowering. Mesquite is best for smaller cuts, shorter cook times, and in conjunction with another type of wood.
Oak for Barbecuing
Oak is a great choice for larger cuts of meat, including brisket, pig roasts, and other cuts that require a long time in the smoker. Oak can produce an extremely strong smoky flavor, though doesn’t tend to overpower the taste of your meet.
Pecan for Smoking Wood
Pecan can provide your meat with a fruity flavor. Usually best used in tandem with another wood, pecan burns cooler than most other types of wood. It’s best used for large cuts of meat, including pork roast, brisket, and large racks of rib.
Smoking meats is a hobby and an art. By experimenting, you can discover some extremely tasty combinations, and impress your friends and family during your next backyard barbecue.
If you are in the Monteagle, Tennessee area stop by the SmokeHouse and talk to Smokin’ Man Mike about any of you barbecuing questions and see our large selection of barbecuing sauces and smoking supplies.
You can visit our online store for a huge selection of our SmokeHouse barbecuing sauces.