Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summertime Smoking and Outdoor Deep Frying

I had a book signing over the weekend at the Hy-Vee Store on Sergeant Road in Sioux City, Iowa.  It was a good time and there was a lot of interest.  I need to remember to bring a bottle of water with me for these events.  The throat gets pretty dry with all that talking.

My May article in the Nodaway News Leader came out last Friday (11th) and is the first of a two part series on "Summer Grilling."  The second part will come in June.  If you can get a hold of it there are some great pointers.

Besides grilling in the summer, a lot of people like to try their hand at "Smoking" food.  It mostly means meat but they do smoke other items too.  Smoking is a slow cooking process that uses indirect heat and a chamber to hold the product(s) being smoked and the smoke.  People use different types of  wood to impart flavor in that item(s) in the smoking chamber.  Hickory, Mesquite and Cherry are some of the popular woods being used for smoking.

I'm not going to try and tell you everything there is to know about "Smoking" foods.  I've two reasons for that.  First, I am just learning myself how to be good at smoking food.  Second, there is way too much to know.  I'd recommend you get on the internet and do some research if you think it is something you'd like to pursue.  Here is a link to get you started.  To be good at smoking it takes knowledge, equipment, lots of time and patience.  But the result (ribs, brisket, pulled pork) is simply amazing food.

Another way to cook outdoors is with an "Outdoor Deep Fryer."  Most people associate this type of fryer with frying whole turkeys and that would be correct.  But you can deep fry a lot of different foods and outside makes a lot of sense.  You don't heat up the house or get grease all over the kitchen while you are frying.  Chicken, French Fries, Onion Rings and Donuts are just a few regular foods you might try outdoors.  But how about Homemade Corn Dogs or Deep Fried Snickers?  Use your imagination and I'm sure you can come up with a lot more items to try.

A couple of points that need to be mentioned are the right equipment and safety when operating the fryer.  You can get several different sizes of pots to fry in so make sure you use the one that is appropriate for what you are frying.  Turkeys will take a tall one.  But it might be easier to use a short one for items that don't take a long time to cook.  The pot takes less frying oil (save some money) and it's easier to put items in and take them out with low sides.  Remember that Peanut Oil is the best one to use when deep frying.

I'd say the biggest concern when using an outdoor deep fryer is "Safety."  Be smart about where you locate it as every year there are houses and garages that are burnt down.  That's because someone didn't think it through and/or didn't watch what they were doing.  You need to know how much oil is needed for what you are doing.  Too much oil or too small a pot could cause overflow and a fire.  Besides the house and garage, people burn too.  So be careful and think before you act.  If you do, it can be a great time and great food.

Tomorrow is a "Brine" recipe for turkey or chicken and improves the flavor no matter how you cook it.  On Friday I have a recipe for fresh "Tuna" that can be grilled.  Please check them out and spread the word.

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