Dear BBQ Friend:
If you got your smoker cranked up anyway, why not throw a "casserole" type dish or two in there and let it get bathed in that sweet blue smoke while you're at it? The smoke flavor just makes the dish all the better! Recipes like Brunswick Stew, BBQ Hash, and BBQ Baked Beans come to mind. I have already given you the recipes for these side dishes, so just go to bbqsuccess.com to see those recipes.
To cook them on your smoker, here's just a few tips:
1) Use a disposable foil pan for easy cleanup. You can use a half pan or a full size pan. Scale the recipes up for the full size pan.
2) Depending on your smoker temp, you'll have to increase your cooking time. Recipes that call for a 350 deg oven you'll have to add approximately 30 minutes for each 50 deg you go down with your pit temp. For example, if 350 deg for 1 hour is called for in the recipe, smoke for 1.5 hours at 300 deg and 2 hours at 250 deg. These are guestimates, so you'll have to use some common sense.
3) Things may dry out quicker in your smoker, so put some foil on top of your foil pan if you think it is getting too dry or if you think it has gotten enough smoke. Don't start out with a foiled pan or you won't get any smoke at all.
4) With dishes like baked beans, some people put the pan under their pork butts so it catches some of the drippings. May be healthier not to do this though.
5) A lot of people ask me how much to cook for large groups of people. For meats, I usually tell them to figure 6 oz per person of "cooked" meat. So be sure to figure in the shrinkage from cooking the fat off and removing the bones. The shrinkage depends on how close you trim and also on the fat content of the meat. It varies between pork and brisket, but if you figure about 30% shrinkage you should be good. So the formula goes something like this... # people x 6 / 16 x 1.3 = # lbs to buy. With ribs I usually just figure 3 bones per person. To be safe, use the formula above for chicken because the bones weigh in too. It's always better to have a little too much than not enough! Maybe change the 1.3 to 1.4 or 1.5 to play it safe with bone-in pork butts. 1.4 would equal 40% waste or shrinkage.
6) For side dishes figure about 6 oz per person. A typical menu would include one starch, one vegetable, bread, and the main dish.
7) Use your leftover BBQ - most of these side dishes call for a meat, so this is a great way to use up those leftovers! Feel free to substitute brisket for ground beef in the chili or pulled pork instead of sausage in the breakfast casserole. And sprinkle on a little of the Southwest rub for good measure!
So, here are four more recipes that I think would do well in a smoker...
* Some of you had questions about the amount of macaroni and cheese to use. A good rule of thumb is twice as much cheese in weight as uncooked macaroni weight. I also sort of guestimate the amount of macaroni to use. I know the volume of the macaroni will about double in size after boiling, so I use that guideline to choose the right baking dish.
Cook macaroni in salted water according to directions on box. Beat eggs with a fork. Add milk, cheese, salt, pepper, margarine (chipped up), and drained macaroni. Add more milk if needed to make it soupy. When poured in pan, milk should just cover macaroni - if it does not, just add more milk and stir a bit. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top. Bake at 350 deg for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and macaroni is set. In a 300 deg smoke about 1 hour. In a 250 deg smoker, about 1.5 hours. Serves about 8.
Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Brown sausage and drain. Tear bread into bite sized pieces and place in buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle grated cheese over bread. Melt butter and pour over bread and cheese. Add seasonings and milk and mix together. Place sausage on bread mixture. Pour eggs over all. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 325 deg until cheese melts and is bubbly for 45 minutes. At 300 deg in your smoker about 1 hour and at 250 deg about 1.5 hours or until set. Serves 8.
Savannah Red Rice
Saute bell peppers and onion in bacon grease till slightly caramelized. Add crumbled bacon, rice, tomatos, tomato juice, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in half foil pan and smoke at 250 deg for 1 hour. At 300 deg for about 30 minutes. Foil the pan half way through if you think it is getting too dry. Serves 8-10.
My Favorite Chili
Brown ground beef or use some leftover BBQ like pork, chicken, or brisket. Add all other ingredients, stir, put in a half foil pan and smoke at 300 deg for 1.5 hours. At 250 deg, about 2-3 hours. Serves about 6.
I don't think I need to give you a recipe for your favorite vegetable casserole. You know, green beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and some fried onions. These type of recipes will work great on your smoker too. Heck, sometimes I just pop open a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and sprinkle on some of my Southwest Rub, and slap them on the smoker for an hour or quickly grill them in my wire grilling basket.