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Canned Smoked Whitefish

Canned Smoked Whitefish

This is a topic close to my heart. It is a passion of mine that started in an effort to preserve the biggest harvest I ever had from my garden. It was the summer of 2001 and I had a 4000 square foot garden over flowing with fruits and vegetables. It was the results of working my way through the hardest struggle of my life.  Months before I lost my youngest son. Deep in the dark lonely hole of grief, I was desperate to find something good in the world. Something to busy my mind. My hands. To have purpose. So I started some seeds under a set of florescent lights that winter.

From those dark days grew a passion that gives me tremendous joy and is where I go to think, or not. And the results is an amazing wealth of fresh produce that I preserve to last the entire year.

Along my preserving journey I have made pickles, jams, jellies, pickles eggs and sausage and my latest experiments have been with smoked fish.

Smoked whitefish on Nutmeg Disrupted

Smoked fish is a flavour of my childhood that takes me back immediately to the kitchen table of my childhood home. It was like Christmas when my Gido would arrive bearing bags of whole smoked whitefish. Truly, it was one of the things I most looked forward to, better then any other gift he could have bought.  They were whole fish, cut down the belly, laid flat then smoked until they were dried yet still had a touch of tenderness to them.  I would gently peel the bones back from the fish and break it apart into flakes, popping the pieces into my mouth and slowly enjoyed the salty smokiness of each bite.

That was 35 years ago yet I can picture it as if it was only last week.

Blessed with friends who had just gone fishing it was easy to get as many as I needed. Everyone who knows me knows I love to smoke fish whenever given the chance. Looking for a better way to handle the fish once smoked I looked into canning it. All you need is a pressure cooker. And hey, that is a fantastic reason to pick up an new kitchen toy! I bought  a 22 quart Mirro pressure cooker at Canadian Tire.

22 quart Miro Pressure cooker

The first step in the process is to prep the fish for the brine. It must be scaled but keep the skin on and all the bones need to be removed.

Preping whitefish for smoking

Brine

3 1/2 quarts of water

1 1/2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cups of coarse salt

2 tablespoons of onion powder

1/2 cup of white sugar

8 cloves of garlic, minced

Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. Simmer and stir until all sugar and salt is dissolved.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Brining whitefish on Nutmeg Disrupted

Once cool add the whitefish and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Remove the fish from the brine and rinse under cool running water. Pat dry.

Spray the rack from the smoker well with non stick spray. Place the fish on the rack, skin side down leaving a bit of space between the pieces. .

Place the rack on the top setting in the smoker and smoke for one hour.

Have all jars clean and sterlized and in hot water. All lids and rings should be in a pot of water, slightly simmering on low/medium heat.

Fill the canner with the proper amount of water for your model. I used 4 quarts for this application.

Remove the whitefish from the smoker and allow to cool for a few moments.

Filling jars with smoked whitefish

Gently fill the jars with warm whitefish, leaving 1/4 headspace in each jar. Drizzle with a touch of canola oil. I then topped each jar with 2 heaping tablespoons of hot sauce.

Adding hot sauce to the smoked fish

Clean the rims of the jars with a hot clean cloth, add the lids and rings until finger tight. Place on the racks of the pressure cooker.

Loading up the pressure cooker

Place and secure the lid on the cooker. Now crank up the heat!

You want the pressure cooker to get fully pressurized. Once that happens and the cooker begins to let off a steady stream of steam,  start timing for 10 minutes. This is a very important step, do not skip.

Once the 10 minutes has passed add the 10 pound weight and maintain the cooker just under 10 psi for 110 minutes.

After 110 minutes remove the canner off the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour before removing the lid of the pressure cooker.

Remove all jars and allow to cool completely.

You can open a jar and enjoy it immediately.

Canned Smoked Whitefish

I am sure my Gido would have enjoyed this version of preserving Smoked Whitefish.

dad and Gido auctioning in 1969

(my dad about age 22 and my Gido, first & second generation Auctioneers)

Gido in the pineapple fields of Hawaii.

It is amazing when I look back at how many of my memories of him are food related. Though first and foremost he was a businessman it was his garden and the crab apple picking adventures with him I cherish the most.

I don’t know where he got the smoked fish, whoever it was had some amazing skills.

 

 

 

 

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Char-Broil Gratitude Post & the birth of a smoker.

Char-Broil Gratitude Post & the birth of a smoker.

I have been wondering how to start this post for a while now. It came to me quite clearly  a few days ago to just simply share the story I have been telling so many in the journey to build this smoker. Because how else do you let the world know of a company with customer service so outstanding that you want everyone to own their products? Of a company that stepped up way way above and beyond. A company I had the pleasure of working with last spring when they rolled out their Life Is Better Bbqed campaign.

Of course I am talking about Char-Broil.

My replacement Char-Broil BBQ on Nutmeg Disrupted

In the spring of 2015 I did a 3 post project for Char-Broil. They had a Spring campaign going on with Lowes and I was honored to be a part of it. As you know we love BBQ on Nutmeg Disrupted and to work with such an amazing team was a dream come true. I received a gorgeous Char-Broil BBQ from Lowes to review and grill with for the campaign. The BBQ was mine to keep.

Flash forward a few weeks after the campaign wrapped up standing in line at Starbucks…

My phone buzzed, it was a text from my son. A huge storm was rolling into town and a tree was down in the backyard. As I was standing there I was struck with a bit of panic. Tree down. Which tree. No way it could be the 1000+ pound tree beside the deck. Then he sent a photo from the inside of the house through the patio door. All you could see was leaves.

Indeed it was said tree.

I paid for my coffee then quickly made the 70 minute trip home.

A huge maple tree down from a summer storm.

Massive tree down during a summer storm on Nutmeg Disrupted

A bbq crushed by a massive tree on Nutmeg Disrupted

That was what I found when I arrived home.

I was devastated. Yes that is a bold statement to make about a BBQ, but in that moment I was completely devastated. It took a couple of days to get the tree bucked up and retrieve the crushed grill. Almost every inch of it was damaged.

The evening the tree fell I had Tweeted about the storm and the sad fate of my BBQ. I was thankful no one was hurt, had anyone been grilling out back I can’t even imagine how that would have ended. The smoker that was on the deck took a hit and was damaged but the full weight of the tree was on the BBQ.

What happened next was something so unexpected and wonderful.

Within 24 hours of my BBQ misfortune I had been contacted by the marketing company that represented Char-Broil during the Lowes campaign.

Char-Broil had heard about what happened and they wanted to make it right and send me a new BBQ to replace the one that was crushed. Talk about a company standing behind their product! Because I had done some work for them they were willing to replace their product, not because they had to, simply because they wanted to. Now that is a brand I want to stand behind and do business with.

I may have cried a little when I received that news. BBQ is a passion and to have not only my smoker but my BBQ also taken out in a brief moment was a huge loss.

Char-Broil customer service on Nutmeg Disrupted

After the tree was cleared away we took apart the BBQ to salvage any of the good parts. It felt like a such a waste tossing out such a new piece of equipment and the goal now was to repurpose what we could. Immediately it was decided that we would build a smoker. The only pieces not damaged were the handles off the doors, the temperature gage, the logo and the heating element area of the grill, though bent it was still functioning. With the salvaged bits stored away we set off with a plan of building a smoker. We had an idea of what we wanted for the body of the smoker and scoured the ads for upcoming auction sales. Everything we looked at was just not quite what we had envisioned until one day while in Canadian Tire after a year long search we found the perfect body for our new smoker.

Shopping for a new smoker body on Nutmeg Disrupted

The vision has always been to build a large smoker. Something substantial so that we had the area to do a large cook. Having catered weddings and hosted pig roasts we have had the opportunity to use some very large BBQs and we wanted our smoker to not only be impressive but have the power to do the job.

Adding the Char-Broil details to the new smoker on Nutmeg Disrupted

From there everything started to fall into place. In conversation with Brian our butcher we mentioned that we were building a smoker and he gave us a great idea as to what we could use for the racking inside the unit. The heating element was a close fit and with a bit of work the smoker started to coming together.

Fitting the heating element into the new smoker on Nutmeg Disrupted

We did a few small trial runs to work out the kinks and cooked for an event mid summer.

The first offical cook with the new smoker on Nutmeg Disrupted

The smoker has been getting a lot of attention, it is a gorgeous piece of equipment and with every inquiry I share my Char-Broil story.

In closing I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Char-Broil. Not only have you made this girls BBQ dreams continue, you make a product that I love and your customer service is unmatched. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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National BBQ Day Kick Off. Slow Smoked Pulled Pork.

National BBQ Day Kick Off. Slow Smoked Pulled Pork.

July 13th, 2013 marks Meal Exchange’s fourth annual National BBQ Day (TM), a nation-wide celebration of locally sourced foods.

Members of the Food Bloggers of Canada have teamed up with National BBQ Day to feature BBQ recipes from across Canada.  Each week leading up to National BBQ Day on July 13th, they will be posting recipes from FBC members that will offer up tons of culinary inspiration for your BBQ. Be sure to stop by and check out what fellow Canadians are cooking up in backyards across the country.

Want to be part of the national conversation? Host your own BBQ and register your event for a chance to win a  Napoleon BBQ Grill

To kick off the series we are featuring my 16 Hour Slow Smoked Pulled Pork.

I am very lucky to have a few very nice butcher shops in the area so finding top quality cuts of meat is very easy.  The meat of choice for my weekend cook, pork butt. After doing a bit of research it is a good choice as it is a bit forgiving, though I was very confident walking into it.

 

slow smoked pork butt

 

The first step in the process was to get the meat into a brine. I went with a straight forward recipe of sugar and salt with a few add ins

 

brine for slow smoked pork

 

Brine:

2 cups of brown sugar

2 cups of coarse salt

3 heads of garlic, sliced in half

2 large yellow onions, sliced in half

3 bay leaves

1 red chili pepper

In a large pot I combined half the water with the salt and sugar and stirred over medium heat until the sugar was dissolved. Do not bring to a boil unless you have ample time to allow it to cool.  I added the rest of the water and stirred to mix fully.

 

slow smoked pork butt

Place the pork into a large container. I used a stock pot as it had the depth I was looking for. Add the onions, garlic, chili pepper and bay leaves. Cover with the brine. To weight down the pork I used a small plate and a mason jar filled with water to hold the butt under the surface of the solution. Place in a fridge for up to 24 hours.

 

slow smoked pork butt

 

When ready, remove from brine and place on a wire rack. Using paper towel blot the surface of the meat.

Next we prepare the rub.

 

rub for slow smoked pork

 

In a bowl combine:

1 cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of onion powder

2 tablespoons of dry mustard

1 heaping tablespoon of black pepper

1 tablespoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of dried dill

2 teaspoons of chili powder

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Mix well. Rub down the entire surface of the pork.

 

slow smoked pork butt

Now you are ready to smoke.

First off, make sure you have enough propane on hand if you are using a gas smoker. Nothing would ruin the experience more then half way through the night you run out of gas and have to finish your meat in the oven.

Now you need to get the smoker nice and hot. You are looking at a temperature of around 225 degrees.

Apple and cherry woods chips were used and water was the liquid of choice.

 

slow smoked pork butt

 

All in all the pork spent 16 hours in the smoker. 190 seems to be the magic number for super tender meat. It was pulled out of the smoker when it hit 190 degrees.

16 hour slow smoked pulled pork

 

After a 30 minute rest it was pulled by hand.

The bark was sweet and spicy that added wonderful flavor to every bite.

pulled pork sandwich

 

The meat was juicy and tender with rich a deep smokiness I have never had before. It truly did melt in my mouth.  You can decide to mix some sort of sauce into the meat, though, when I tried it I thought it took away from the flavor of the meat. And maybe coleslaw is good on those pork loin slow cookers sandwiches but it is NOT needed with this pork.  It truely can stand alone with nothing else. It is indeed mouthwatering. And worth the time it takes to prepare.

I hope you enjoyed the first post of what will be a fantastic look at BBQ from across Canada. Be sure to check out the entire series. And if this has inspired to try wood smoking I would love to hear from you!  We look forward to seeing what you are going to grill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoked Maple Canned Salmon

Smoked Maple Canned Salmon

Whew

It has been a summer of food, gardening, renos and photography.

Fresh fish from Pacific Ocean, live lobster and scallops flown in from Eastern Canada, herbs, berries and veggies from the garden, a few cool updates to my kitchen and some handy new gadgets to experiement with! Indeed the summer has been busy!

The weather has been amazing, hot and at times humid, which made for some amazing storm clouds to develop over the field across from my home. And I was lucky to catch some of them with my camera.

With much to share, we will start with my latest project.

Canning smoked salmon.

With another successful fishing trip to the coast I have a nice little selection of fish in the freezer. Again halibut and salmon were the largest of the fish caught and even a rarer White King Salmon was among the catch and infact the largest of the salmon at 27 pounds.

 

Looking for a different way to handle the salmon I started looking into what it takes to can fish. I immediately knew I would need to invest in the pressure cooker/canner. I decided to go with a 22 quart Mirro. While doing my recipe research I found that every recipe I looked at using a pressure cooker was designed for either the 16 or 22 quart cookers, nothing smaller.

With a cooker in place I worked out the recipes and read and reread the technique used for the process.

Since I knew I would essentially be double cooking the fish I wanted to try and maintain as much moisture as possible. That meant first I would brine the salmon before it was smoked. Then I would add liquid to the jars just before canning.  The smoking part of the process was kept short, only going an hour in the smoker, with a full liquid tray.


Smoked Maple Canned Salmon
 
Author:
Recipe type: Smoked Preserved Seafood
Cuisine: BBQ
Ingredients
  • Brine
  • 3½ quarts of water
  • ¼ cup of soya sauce
  • 1½ cups of brown sugar
  • 1½ cups of coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Glaze:
  • maple syrup
  • golden corn syrup
  • canola oil
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Simmer and stir until all sugar and salt is disolved.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Place the salmon, with skin on, scales removed, into a large container with a lid.
  5. Add the cooled brine and place into the fridge overnight.
  6. I used 2 kinds of salmon.
  7. Chinook and the White King salmon.
  8. The salmon was brined for 18 hours.
  9. Remove the salmon from the brine and rinse under cool running water.
  10. Pat dry.
  11. Cut salmon into strips close to the size needed to fill the jars.
  12. Spray the rack from the smoker well with non stick spray.
  13. Place the salmon on the rack, skin side down leaving a bit of space between the pieces.
  14. Glaze with a 50/50 combination of pure maple syrup and Rogers Golden Syrup.
  15. Place the rack on the top setting in the smoker and smoke for one hour.
  16. Have all jars clean and sterilized and in hot water.
  17. All lids and rings should be in a pot of water, slightly simmering on low/medium heat.
  18. Fill the canner with the proper amount of water for your model.
  19. I used 4 quarts for this application.
  20. Remove the salmon from the smoker and allow to cool for a few moments.
  21. Gently fill the jars with warm salmon, leaving ¼ headspace in each jar.
  22. Drizzle with a touch of canola oil.
  23. I then topped each jar with 2 heaping tablespoons of Rogers Golden Syrup.
  24. Clean the rims of the jars with a hot clean cloth, add the lids and rings until finger tight.
  25. Place on the racks of the pressure cooker.
  26. Place and secure the lid on the cooker.
  27. Now crank up the heat!
  28. You want the pressure cooker to get fully pressurized.
  29. Once that happens and the cooker begins to let off a steady stream of steam, start timing for 10 minutes.
  30. This is a very important step, do not skip.
  31. Once the 10 minutes has passed add the 10 pound weight and maintain the cooker just under 10 psi for 110 minutes.
  32. After 110 minutes remove the canner off the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour before removing the lid of the pressure cooker.
  33. Remove all jars and allow to cool completely.

You can open a jar and enjoy it immediately.

I am very pleased with how the first 2 batches have turned out. It is sweet and smoky perfection!

 

 

 

 

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18 hour Slow Smoked Alberta Beef Brisket

18 hour Slow Smoked Alberta Beef Brisket

The love affair with the smoker continues!

I was asked recently what kind of smoker I use.

 

It is a Grill Pro propane smoker. The interior has 3 shelves so you can smoke a fair amount of meat or fish at one shot.

The next step in my smoked meat journey is the Beef Brisket.

Like the slow smoked pork, this is something I again have only seen on television, never having tried the authentic thing.

With a quick call in to the butcher shop and a stop at the bulk spice section we were ready to rock and roll.

Wanting to keep things very simple the first time out I decided that the beef would be rubbed with spices and head straight into the smoker. In doing my research I discovered many different techniques that are used for the brisket. Some brine the beef, some rub and then wrap the brisket to sit in the spices overnight.

I know when ever I am first trying out a recipe or technique I keep it simple and straight forward. Once you learn the basics you can then have fun experimenting.

The rub for the brisket.

dry mustard

garlic powder

onion soup powder

pepper

seasoning salt

paprika

cayenne pepper

brown sugar

chili powder

Combine and rub well onto the entire surface of the brisket.

I did not write the measurements down, it was an after thought. As were the before pictures. I slept in far later then I had hoped that morning and was in a rush to get the beef into the smoker. When you are cooking for 15 – 18 hours, starting on time is important.
It was a fantastic rub, the only changes would be slightly less mustard and a touch more brown sugar.

When picking your brisket make sure it has a nice layer of fat across the top, also known as the fat cap.  You can trim it if you find it too thick. Also look for nice marbling throughout the meat. This all contributes to the tenderness of the finished brisket.

It was on the smoker for a total of 15 hours. A combination of apple and cherry wood chips were used. Liquid was used, I started off with red wine and finished with water.

My magic number for the brisket was 185 degrees when it was pulled and wrapped after it came out of the smoker. This continues the cooking process and also allows the meat to absorb all of the juices making  making the brisket even more tender.

It was smoky and delicious. Very different from the slow smoked pork. It was tender and addictive. There was a tang from the peppers and mustard. Perfection. For the first time out, I was very very pleased. I can not wait to get another to experiment with. Really the fun has only just begun.

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