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How to Smoke Meat like a Pro

Last month, we helped you prepare for hunting season, and with a successful hunt comes a bounty of meat that you’re eager to smoke! Smoking is a delicate science that requires much more finesse than grilling burgers on a BBQ. Here’s a guide to smoking meat for a tender and delicious cut every time.

Brining

It’s a scientific fact that brining your meat keeps it from drying out during the smoking process! For optimal moisture retention and to combat an overly salty flavor, soak your meat in a brine, with sugar, molasses, and herbs & spices, for 10-12 hours before smoking. To make a good base, add three tablespoons of salt to one quart of water then throw in whatever else you prefer. 

Choose the Right Flavors

Each type of wood releases a unique flavor and aroma which affects the taste of your food. Mild woods, like apple and alder, are great for foods without a lot of seasoning, while strong woods like mesquite, hickory, and pecan are perfect for more heavily-flavored meats. 

Keep it Low and Slow

If you’re smoking over coals, don’t add your protein until the coals have hit their heat peak and developed a coat of white ash. You want the charcoal for its heat, not its flavor. Make sure there’s a gentle and consistent flow of smoke throughout the cook.

For long cooks, cooking over indirect heat is key. The meat juices and fat drippings will cool the embers over time and produce a bitter, dirty smoke, so you’ll want to keep big cuts of meat away from the flames while maintaining a temperature of about 225ºF.

Use a Water Pan

Smoking’s severe process tightens muscle fibers, squeezing out natural juices and drying out the meat. Using a water pan in your cooker can maintain the temperature, limit major fluctuations, and even out hot spots. The water vapor will also allow more smoke to stick to the meat, boosting its flavor and creating a smoke ring. Just be sure to refill the pan as needed.

Finish Off Right

Don’t wrap your meat in foil or remove it from the grill until the crust is caramelized. This is one of the best parts of smoked meat! Also, removing your smoked meat too early can lead to foodborne illness, whereas removing it too late can result in a bitter, dry cut. You want to cook it to the recommended internal temperature, no more or less.

The Recipes to Top It Off

Ground Venison Jerky

Ingredients:

  • 5 pound ground venison (may substitute ground beef)
  • 1/4 c. Tenderquick
  • 2 tbs. black pepper
  • 2 tbs. garlic powder
  • 2 tbs. Marjoram
  • 3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbs. cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  • Mix ground meat and seasoning. 
  • Roll out on wax paper to fit your smoker to 1/8 inch thick. 
  • Smoke for 2 hours at 140˚F. 
  • Remove from smoker and blot excess fat with paper towel. 
  • Flip meat over on new wax paper. 
  • Smoke for 1 additional hour at 140˚F. 
  • Remove jerky and cut into strips and serve.

Smoked Quail or Pheasant

Ingredients:

  • Sprinkle 8-10 quail or 2 pheasants, spit, with Cookshack Spicy Chicken Rub.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can mushrooms or 1 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • ¼ c. cream sherry wine or apple cider
  • 1/8 tsp. Tarragon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground lemon peel
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: 

  • Mix all ingredients and pour over meat in 9X13 baking pan. 
  • Smoke-cook for 3 hours

    at 225° with 2 oz. of apple wood.

If you’re looking for the perfect smoker to cook up the rewards of your big hunt, Cookshack has plenty of smokers for you to choose from. Visit our website to view what we have to offer!

Preparing for Hunting Season

With summer almost over, it’s time to gear up for the upcoming hunting season. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new to hunting, following these tips will help you get off to a great start.

Study, Study, Study

Make sure you know all details about regulations in your state. Many details of these regulations will change from year to year, so don’t assume regulations from last year will be applicable for this year.

While you’re in study mode, this would also be a great time to take a hunter education course. Classes are offered by most state wildlife agencies and are available in online or traditional formats. Classes tend to fill up in the summer and fall so be sure you sign up quickly! You can find a list of state wildlife agencies here.

Purchase Licenses, Tags, and Stamps

What you need to buy depends on which animal you’re hunting, where you’re hunting it, what you’ll be using, and when you’ll be hunting. Usually the first step is buying a big or small game license. Deer, elk and other big-game hunters also need species tags for the animals they’re hunting, while most waterfowl hunters must have both a federal migratory bird stamp and state validation to hunt ducks and geese.

Learn the Land

If you are hunting on private land and haven’t already asked permission, this is should be your first step. Introduce yourself to the landowner and ask for permission to hunt on their property. Even better, offering them a hand around their farm or acreage is a great way to build a relationship and say thank you, paving the way for more opportunities to hunt there in the future.

You’re going to be spending a good amount of time on your hunting land so it’s best to get well acquainted with it early on! A great way to start is to spend some time with maps as a good map can provide a wealth of hunting information. 

 

Next you’ll want to get out and learn the land firsthand. The more familiar you are with that area, the more likely you’ll be to enjoy a successful hunt. Scouting a hunting spot multiple times during the late summer and early fall will allow you to learn the daily comings and goings of the species you’re after.

Once you’ve bagged that big buck, you’re going to want to grill a steak or two! Find the perfect grill for tender, seared meat, at Cookshack by visiting our website!

4 Major Benefits of Cooking with a Pellet Grill

Now that summer is here, and backyards and patios are filling up with families, it’s time to take the cover off of your grill and get cooking! But why spend this summer sweating over a rusted grill when you could get a top-of-the-line pellet grill that’ll change your cooking forever?

Here are the 4 major reasons why you should consider buying a pellet grill.

#1 Wood Fires Taste Better

Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like grilling your meats over a natural wood fire. Unlike charcoal or propane, the smoke from a wood fire surrounds and enhances your meat, and gives it that signature smoky flavor that gets your guests smiling.

Grillmasters interested in pellet grills can further enhance the flavor by buying special pellets.Use hickory, apple, or cherry wood pellets to give your BBQ a unique mouthwatering taste!

#2 Versatile Cooking

With a pellet grill, you open your family up to a wide variety of meats and flavors you are not able to reach with a normal grill. 

From classic burgers, steaks, and chicken you’d put on a normal grill, to briskets, ribs, and turkey you’d place in a smoker, you’ll make your backyard the home cooking hub of the summer.

#3 Easy to Use

No need to be nervous about new features and cooking methods—pellet grills are designed to be 100% user-friendly. Cooking meat starts simply by pushing a button, so you don’t need to worry about lighter fluid or propane sources. 

Best of all, wood pellets do not flare up like charcoal or propane, so there’s no need to worry about any surprise burns!

#4 Consistent Control

Constantly tapping the thermometer on your grill to get the dial moving? Grillmasters can ditch these struggles with the absolute temperature control of a pellet grill! 

With completely enclosed environments and electric heating methods available, you’ll have full control over what temperature your meat is at and get it to the perfect level of juiciness.

Barbecuing meats is both a science and an art, and like any artist, you need the best tools you can get to satisfy the senses and create something great. Give our grilling experts a call today at 1-800-423-0698 or visit us online and explore our wide variety of smokers and pellet grills.

How to Grill The Perfect Steak For Your Family and Friends

Now that grilling season is finally here, backyards, campsites, and public parks across America will soon be filled with laughter, the clacking of bottles, and the sweet smell of barbecue seasoning!

We only get half of the year for fun in the sun, so here are just a few tong-worthy tips to make sure every steak you serve your family is plate-worthy.

Give Your Steak Time To Unwind

When getting ready for their first barbecue of the season or a big family dinner, a lot of grill gurus will make the mistake of pulling the beef directly from the refrigerator and throwing it on the grill.

Not only does this mean that your meat will take longer to cook, but you also risk having it turn out looking unappetizing and tasting bland too.

Give your steak time to unwind before grilling by letting it sit for 20-30 minutes and watch the juices work when the time comes to cook!

Success Begins with Salt!

We all know that seasoning your steak is the secret to success, but are you using the oldest seasoning in the world: salt?

Family feast masters can be hesitant to use salt sometimes because it’s well-known for being hydrophobic, which can risk drying out your meat.

However, seasoning your steak with it will cause the salt to embed itself in the meat and mix with all of the juices and other seasonings to form a delicious exterior!

Keep Your Mind on the Moisture!

There is nothing worse in the world than a dried-out steak. Well, there are plenty of things that are worse out there, but a dried-out steak definitely makes the list of top ten!

We can get so caught up in making sure that our meat is safe to eat that we end up overcooking it and ruining the flavors. Grilling steak is like adding ingredients to a pasta sauce; it’s better to underload rather than overload!

Even if your steak isn’t that perfect medium-rare, remember that beef only needs a slight searing for safe eating and you’ll still have those delicious juices!

Families across the country are stepping outside and ripping the covers off of their barbecues, and we’re here to help you make this a savory summer you’ll never forget. Give our kitchen cuisine experts a call today at 1-800-423-0698 or visit us online and find out how we can help take yourgrilling experience to the next level.

Celebrating 100 Years of The National Restaurant Association Show

Every year, restaurateurs, celebrity chefs, and food fanatics travel from across America to one of the world’s greatest culinary events: The National Restaurant Association Show!

This year’s event marks the 100th anniversary of the organization, and here are some of the reasons why you should consider going to McCormick Place in Chicago, IL from  May 18th-21st.

A Century of Style and Taste!

The National Restaurant Association has spent the last 100 years connecting kitchens across America and giving restaurant owners the support that they need to succeed.

This dedication is most clearly seen in their annual restaurant shows that bring together the latest and greatest innovations in the cooking world along with all of the hottest trends that restaurants need to grow their customer base.

“Meat” and Greet With Celebrity Chefs!

The National Restaurant Association Show isn’t just the place to keep your restaurant on the cutting edge of cuisine, but it’s also a gathering event for tastebud trendsetters like Rick Bayless, Abra Berens, and Abe Conlon too.

Celebrity guests aren’t only restricted to the kings and queens of cuisine though; the National Restaurant Association is also proud to welcome the greatest spirit masters in the world, including Tony Abou-Ganim, Jarmel Doss, James Bowers, and many more!

See the Latest Innovations from Cookshack!

Cookshack has been attending the National Restaurant Association show for over 33 years, and it’s no stretch to say that we’ve become just as much of a staple as the delicious food demos.

Cookshack will also be providing free samples of our delicious meats and signature spice and sauce blends, meaning every guest will walk away with a head full of ideas and a belly full of samples!

Cookshack is proud to be celebrating over 33 years at the National Restaurant Association Show, and we look forward to celebrating with you on May 18-21st at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Book your tickets online and then make sure to stop by booth #2035 to visit with us and see how Cookshack can help make this years event the best one yet! If you can’t make it to the show, you can visit our website to take a look at all we have to offer!

 

Seafood Grill

Profits are Smoking in the Seafood Department

Profits are Smoking in the Seafood Department

Increase sales, customer base, bottom line profit by 50%, and reduce shrinkage in the seafood department by smoking near dated seafood using a Cookshack Smoker.

Cookshack Commercial Electric SmartSmokers® generate 100% payback in an average of 12 weeks. In some circumstances, it may take up to 6 months.  Just think of an ROI of 200% to 400% the first year after starting the our exclusive supermarket program!  The smoker pays for itself in about three months, and the smoker will last for generations.  Cookshack is the time proven industry leader in commercial smokers.

SM160, SM260, SM360

SmartSmoker® Electric Smoker Line

 

We have been “Smokin’ Made Simple” for over 53 years because we deliver old-fashioned barbecue the hi-tech way.  Cookshack Commercial smokers feature the new IQ5 digital, electronic controller:

  • 3-stage, 2-stage and

    meat probe cooking options

  • programmable, customizable cooking presets
  • alarm cycle
  • USB port for downloading up to 512 hours of cook time
  • hold cycle

    IQ5 Controller

    IQ5 Controller with Optional Meat Probe

Using the Cookshack SmartSmoker® Electric Smoker you can cold smoke or hot smoke signature items like Lox Style Salmon, lobster, and halibut.  The heating element(s) provide the heat in the smoker up to 300°F and the wood chunks smolder the wood in the wood box.  The result is moist, succulent seafood.  Adding smoked seafood to your product offerings is a win-win situation for you and your customers!  Here are some reasons why:

The Cookshack Commercial SmartSmoker® Model SM260 is ideally suited for cold smoking seafood. It is our most popular electric smoker.  It is 27”w X 31”d X 64”h and has a list price of only $6,875. Add the Cold Smoke Kit for only $143.75, and you have a versatile hot or cold smoking oven.

 

For more information call Dave Mason at 800-423-0698 ext. 201.

Are You Eating Seafood during Lent?

Are you eating seafood during the Lenten season?  Let Cookshack make it easier for you!  Our product feature of the month is our Seafood Grill.  Save 15% off the regular price of our Seafood Grills March 24 – 26th, 2015!  Just use Promo Code:  MARCH when your order online or call in your order to one of our friendly sales professionals.  Call toll-free at 1.800.423.0698.

Smoked shrimp, trout, catfish, salmon, and tilapia are so moist and delicious when cooked in a Cookshack smoker.  Our Seafood Grill is the perfect companion to our smokers and pellet grills, so you do not lose one tasty morsel.  The Seafood Grill comes in three sizes depending on the unit you own.

  • PV019 fits SM009-2
  • PV009 fits SM025, SM045, SM066
  • PV018 fits PG500, PG1000

Seafood Grill

These grills are also great for smoking small vegetables and nuts.  Check out our Cooking Guide on our website for great recipes for smoked or grilled fish, vegetables and nuts.  The Cookshack YouTube channel shows these seafood grills in action.

Hurry this offer will not last long!  To order click or call today (1.800.423.0698) to take advantage of 15% off savings for the Cookshack Seafood Grill.  Remember to mention the Promo Code MARCH and that you read about the offer on this blog!