SMOKED FOOD RECIPES: Hickory-Smoked Baby Back Ribs ... Smoked Salmon Pizza ... Smoked Salmon Spread
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Hickory-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
¼ cup brown sugar
1 rack (2 to 2½ pounds) baby back ribs
Small hardwood hickory chips
¼ cup distilled vinegar
¼ cup water
¼ cup Dijon mustard
In a medium bowl, whisk together the kosher salt, celery salt, black pepper, onion powder, dried oregano, New Mexico chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, sweet paprika and brown sugar. This makes about 1 cup dry rub, more than you’ll need for the ribs. Place the rub in an airtight container and store in a cool place away from direct sunlight; it will keep for about 2 months before the flavor starts to fade.
Peel the silverskin from the rib rack (the membrane on the underside of the rack). Rinse the rack under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Drizzle a small handful of rub evenly over each side of the rack to give it a good coating; the surface of the ribs should be tacky, and the rub should adhere easily. Pat on the rub to make sure the ribs are entirely covered, and gently shake to remove any excess. Place the ribs on a rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, prepare the smoker: Spread about 3 tablespoons wood chips in the center of the base of the smoker, directly over the burner. Place the drip pan (if using) over the chips, and a rack on top of the drip pan. Place the ribs in the center of the rack and cover with the lid, leaving the smoker open only a couple of inches. (Halve the rack if the whole rack won’t fit, and smoke half at a time.)
Heat the smoker over medium heat just until you see smoke escaping through the opening. Close the smoker entirely and gently smoke for 1 hour. Depending on your stove, you may want to reduce the heat to medium-low so the ribs do not cook too quickly, or they will be tough.
Shortly before the ribs are done smoking, heat the oven to 250 degrees. In a measuring cup, combine the vinegar, water and Dijon mustard, along with 2 tablespoons of the rub and whisk together to form a “mop.”
Place the smoked ribs in a baking dish and drizzle with the mop (pour over half the mop if smoking in two batches). Cover the ribs tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the meat is tender (you will know they’re done when you bend the rack and the meat easily pulls away from the bone), about 1 hour more. For a crackly surface, uncover the baking dish and place the ribs under the broiler just until the surface crisps.
If smoking the rack in two batches: While the first half-rack bakes in the oven, smoke the second rack in the same manner as the first, using new wood chips (the first batch of wood chips should be reduced mostly to ash and can be washed down the sink; if they’re too big, cool them completely before throwing away). Bake the second rack after smoking.
Serve the ribs warm.
Note: This recipe calls for a commercial stove-top smoker; a heavy-duty roasting pan with a rack and lid can be substituted. This recipe uses small hardwood hickory chips; the chips are available at select cooking stores and are widely available online.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 468 calories, 28 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 34 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 134 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams sugar, 1,015 milligrams sodium.
Smoked Salmon Pizza
1 12-inch thin crust prepared pizza crust
¼ cup sour cream
Scant 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
5 ounces smoked salmon, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon drained capers
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the prepared crust directly on the oven rack and heat until the crust is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the warmed crust to a cutting board.
Spread the sour cream over the crust, leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle about half of the red onion over the sour cream and sprinkle half of the dill over the onion.
Lay the salmon slices over the pizza to cover the sour cream, onion and dill. Sprinkle the remaining onion and dill over the salmon, then scatter the capers over them. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve at once.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per servings: 171 calories, 7 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 11 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams sugar, 511 milligrams sodium.
Smoked Salmon Spread
Approximately 8 ounces smoked salmon measured by volume
8 ounces fat-free cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 level teaspoon dried basil leaves (crushed)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Process the salmon and onion in a food processor. Mix salmon, onion and spices with cream cheese by using a metal spatula until cheese is thoroughly mixed with ingredients.
Tip: Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 whole chicken legs, each 10 to 12 ounces, cut into thighs and drumsticks
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
2 large handfuls hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
In a small bowl, mix the rub ingredients. Season the chicken thighs and drumsticks all over with the rub.
Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat, 350 to 400 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Brush the cooking grates clean. Cook the chicken, skin side down first, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until golden brown, 6 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Move the chicken over indirect medium heat.
Drain the wood chips and add them to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions. Place the smoker box over direct heat. Close the lid and continue cooking until the juices run clear and the meat is opaque all the way to the bone, about 35 minutes, basting with the sauce and turning several times during the last 20 minutes of cooking time. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with any remaining sauce on the side.
Note: Using a gas grill is ideal, but you can also use a charcoal grill.
Yield: Serves: 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 607 calories, 47 percent of calories from fat, 31 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 20 grams carbohydrates, 61 grams protein, 1,516 milligrams sodium, 210 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.
Brown Sugar and Maple Syrup Brine
6 large bay leaves
3 whole heads garlic, cloves separated, bruised
3 quarts water
2 cups brown sugar
1½ cups each: coarsely chopped unpeeled ginger root, soy sauce
1 cup maple syrup
¾ cup coarse salt
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
Combine all the ingredients in a large enamel or stainless steel stockpot large enough to hold the brine. Heat to a simmer over high heat; remove from heat. Let cool completely.
Yield: 1 gallon.
Note: This brine can be used for a 12- to 14-pound turkey. Place the turkey in the cooled brine, making sure there is enough brine to cover the bird. Add water to cover, if needed. Refrigerate 2 to 4 days, turning the bird in the brine twice a day. Drain off brine. Rinse turkey; roast according to your favorite recipe.
It’s important to pair the right wood with the food you are smoking. Here are a few suggestions:
• Alder: Very delicate with a hint of sweetness and is great with fish, pork, poultry and light-meat game birds. Traditionally, it is used in the pacific northwest to smoke salmon.
• Apple: Slightly sweet with a denser, fruity smoke that is particularly good with ham but also works well with beef, poultry or game birds.
• Cherry: Good with all meats and imparts a fruity, slightly sweet smoke flavor.
• Cedar planks: Terrific for those that want to use traditional Pacific Northwest Indian smoking techniques for their salmon.
• Grape vines: Quite similar to fruit wood, aromatic and great with most meats.
• Hickory: All time favorite with its pungent, smoky, bacon like flavor is the most common wood used for smoking pork and ribs.
• Maple: Good with pork, poultry, cheese, vegetables and small game birds with its mildly smoky, somewhat sweet flavor.
• Mesquite: Has that strong earthy flavor that all smokers recognize and is especially good with beef and most vegetables.
• Mulberry: Reminds most people of the sweet smell of apple and is great with ham but also with beef, poultry and game birds.
• Oak: Great with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game and with its heavy smoke flavor, one of the most popular of the woods to smoke with.
• Peach: Good with most meats with its slightly woodsy, sweet flavor.
• Pecan: Similar to hickory but not quite as strong. You also can smoke with the pecan shells also. Pecan is good for almost any smoking needs
• Pear: Great for pork, poultry and game birds with its sweet, woodsy flavor.
• Plum: Milder and sweeter than hickory and is a good choice for almost any meats.
• Walnut: Produces a very heavy smoke flavor and is best used in combination with lighter woods like apple or pecan. Used alone it can give the foods a bitter taste. Try this with game and red meats.