Posts Tagged ‘smoked’

Basil Serrano Polenta with Smoked Pork Tenderloin


It’s the end of summer, at least we thought it was… It hit 99 degrees today.  So what better day to cook outdoors!  My dear hubby wanted to smoke something and started a fire for me to work with.  I had the foresight to prepare a tenderloin with a marinade sèche straight out of Mastering The Art Of French Cooking by Julia Child (finally I could open up her book again!)  I will always use her recipe for pork because this was beyond delicious, it left you with a mouth-watering flavour of the pork plus my added twist of smoke.  Unbelievable! 

With the tenderloin, I made Polenta for the first time, on the BBQ as well.  Who needs plain boring polenta?  Not me! So I experimented a little: 

  • 2 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1 Serrano, into slivers

Bring the 2 3/4 cups of water to a boil, meanwhile mix the polenta, sea salt and cold water in a bowl.  Slowly add the polenta to the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly.  Once all of the polenta is in the pot, turn down the heat to low and stir in the onion and garlic powders.  Cover with a lid for a few minutes as it will splatter, and trust me it’s HOT.  Cook while stirring for 10-15 minutes.  When the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pot, it’s ready to be poured out into a baking dish.  At this moment, add the basil and Serrano and mix it quickly to distribute them as evenly as you can. Let it cool for 30 minutes in the pan or pie tin to set up.  I used a pie tin because I knew it was going on to the grill, otherwise a baking dish is fine for the oven.  If you bake it off in the oven, it’s about 20 minutes at 350ºF.  On the grill, I covered the tin with foil and popped it on for about 30 minutes over indirect heat.  If you’re not sure it’s done, take out a small slice to see if the bottom is soggy, if it is, put it back for another 10 minutes, uncovered.  In the end it should hold it’s shape all on its own. 

I think the leftovers will be fried and garnished with parmesan cheese… mmm cheese… 

The potatoes you see on the plate were also prepared on the grill.  Super easy: quartered Yukon gold potatoes, halved Roma tomatoes, chucks of onion, about 4 whole cloves of garlic, nice bit of fresh rosemary, good tablespoon coriander seeds, same with sea salt, just enough oil to coat everything.  I had my 5-year-old help me by stirring everything in a huge bowl and grind fresh pepper over top.  Then we put the whole lot into a foil bag (just fold a large piece of foil like an envelope) and covered it with one more layer of foil (I tend to burn the potatoes on the grill since it’s outside and the doors are shut I can’t smell them when they start to char).  I start the potatoes on the heat then move them to the indirect heat once the foil is very hot and you hear them sizzle.  Since they are over indirect heat, they can stay on for the same amount of time as the meat, roughly an hour and a half.  Mind you, I had hot coals, no flame, for this time.  If you are using a gas grill, this amount of time would obliterate the veggies, so use your judgement according to what method you use!  There are lots of variations on potatoes-in-a-bag on the grill (oven works too), use flavours you like and veggies you like.  Heck, you could eliminate the potatoes all together and use bell peppers and squash!  They would be ready in about 20 minutes, or less.  

For the duration of summer, which lasts until Halloween around here, I would like to make it a point to smoke something every other weekend.  Once the grill is ready and the wood is chopped, you can smoke a lot of food with little effort if you plan ahead. 

Happy grilling 🙂

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Happiness on a bun!


This lunch came together with my first ever smoked pork butt and kwik kimchi I made with the leftover cabbage leaves from the attempt to make my grandmother’s cabbage rolls. 

Smoke Some Butt

I’m a big fan of Alton Brown when it comes to the right way to prepare certain foods.  There’s a science behind the method to execute it safely and make it tasty.  A brine is one of those things I looked to Alton for.  I used molasses, salt and water in a large stock pot to brine the piggy overnight (12 hours) in the fridge.  The rub was my mix of favorite flavors: brown sugar, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chipotle chili powder.  

The smoker intimidated me slightly.  My hubby is usually the one who deals with outdoor cooking.  Although, it’s sad that I can’t do a better job of it after spending every summer growing up at Sylvan Lake where at least half of the cooking was over the fire pit.  I also had to start a fire in the sauna house, in a little old-fashioned wood stove with rocks on top and a huge pot of H2O.  The pork needed to get on the grill early if I had any hope of eating it before going off to bed that night.  I tried to start it with sticks and paper.  Paper and small branches.  Small branches, charcoal and lighter fluid.  Ah ha!  I really don’t like to taste jet fuel on my food, so lighter fluid is always a last resort.  Trust me, I had been trying for an hour before the big guns had to come out.  By this time the sun was out and hot, and I was stinky! 

All day I checked the pork and the coals.  Added a few pieces of oak for added smoke.  Ten and a half hours later, exhausted because somebody didn’t take her long afternoon nap as usual, the butt was smoked.  

This hunk of meat didn’t look pretty, but OMG it tasted like bacon, smoky salty bacon.  I had a flash back to my friend Jills’ parents’ house where I shared a dinner of salt beef (a Newfoundland dish).  The salt beef was so far outside of my saltiness spectrum at the time because I had learned somewhere when I was about 7 years old that salt was “White Man’s Death” and refused to add it to my plate ever since.  Silly girl – salt is GREAT in moderation 🙂  I digress… 

The Kwik Kimchi

I had the center of the cabbage left over from making cabbage rolls and made a kimchi out of it. 

  • some cabbage, blanched, diced
  • equal parts water and vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar), just enough to soak the cabbage, don’t make it soupy
  • tsp sugar
  • tsp salt
  • red chili flakes
  • minced fresh ginger
  • slices of ginger (optional)

Combine the water, vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved.  Add chili flakes and ginger.  Toss in the cabbage and turn it all around to coat.  Let this sit in the fridge for half an hour to pickle.

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