This past weekend we were FINALLY done with the 1st draft of Real Life Paleo and able to open up a new toy we got… A Camp Chef Smoke Vault Smoker sent to us courtesy of OutdoorCooking.com.We’re thrilled to not only be able to offer you a chance to WIN a Smoke Vault propane smoker but think it will make an awesome Father’s Day and are excited Outdoor Cooking gave us a coupon for all of you to get 15% off Camp Chef products with code “PALEOPARENTS” so that you can get a propane smoker too! (the one we got is normally $282.00 but with their current sale and the 15% off code you can get it for $170.85)
But we’re not here to just give you a sales pitch. We have personally found that smoking food imparts a delicious flavor while also giving our kitchen and chef a break. While it may seem overwhelming, it’s really a simple endeavor that can be truly impressive to your dinner guests. That’s why we wanted to share with you a little history and information about smoking as well as a round-up of some great recipes found ’round the internets!
Why Smoke? A history
We smoked enough food this past weekend to feed an entire crowd at our impromptu party, but it got us thinking about using this smoker to cook large amounts of protein on the weekend, so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor in the form of quick and easy leftovers all week. After all, the reason smoking food was invented was as a means of preservation before modern refrigeration!
Smoked food has been dated back to the era of cavemen, and we aren’t just pointing that out because we are paleo. Contrary to popular belief, all people who eat paleo aren’t really obsessed with eating in a way that truly re-creates a caveman diet, but rather eating low-inflammatory and nutrient-dense foods that are beneficial to the body, rather than the harmful, modern processed foods. But just because we aren’t trying to be exactly like cavemen doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate the fact that our ancestors have been smoking food for centuries (with good reason).
A Salishan man named William We-ah-lup smoking salmon (Tulalip Indian Reservation, Washington, 1906; image care of University of Washington Libraries) See full article on Traditional Native American Food Preservation Here.
All over the world, cultures have their own unique ways of smoking foods. While lots of people smoke different types of wood to impart flavor to their meats, it can vary greatly depending on the types of wood available in their region. Even the Chinese have been using tea, sugar and rice to “Tea Smoke” their proteins (like the popular Tea Smoked Duck), giving them a completely different flavor than the smoked foods we are accustomed to in the United States. This method infuses the smoke using a wok, rather than a smoker.
Image from Feasting at Home
Simply smoking meat itself isn’t really a way of fully preserving meats, however smoke does have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, so usually a smoking technique is combined with other preservation methods, like curing (either a wet cure or a dry, salt based cure) or drying. In fact, the theory is that cavemen often hung their meats to dry in their caves, which became smoky overnight while their fires burned due to poor ventilation. The cavemen discovered that their dried meats and fish actually tasted better with the added smoke flavor, and started drying and smoking their foods on purpose.
Smoked Salmon hanging and drying in the Traditional Alaskan Style. Full video here.
So back to our future plans with our new toy. With the taste of smoked chicken still lingering in our minds from this past weekend’s party, we thought we would start researching and finding other recipes that we could use to prepare some “emergency protein” ahead of time on the weekends, and then use throughout the week for lunches, dinners and snacks for the boys.
Crazy Good Smoked Chicken, recipe here
Of course we will be making some of our own smoker recipes from Beyond Bacon as soon as possible. Back when we created the recipes, we didn’t have a propane smoker, and so Matt had to spend lots of time making sure the temperature was just right for those recipes, so he is excited to try them with a more evenly controlled heat source that the propane smoker offers. For those that remember, we even had a fire ball incident that gave Matt severe burns up his arms and face – super awesome bonus to the propane smoker is that there’s no charcoal or lighter fluid needed, improving the safety for our dearly beloved Dad ♥
From left to right: Smoked Pork Belly, Asian Spare Ribs, and Homemade Bacon, all smoked recipes from our book Beyond Bacon.
In addition to our own recipes, we are excited to try some recipes from other bloggers (and friends) as well! For example, just this week we smoked ribs from The Paleo Kitchen! On our quest for even more recipes, we found a bunch! Don’t these recipes look amazing?
This recipe appeals to us because it is SUPER simple. The directions are so easy, our kids could probably do it. This recipe is also Autoimmune Protocol Friendly because it lets you use your own sauce.
While we have our own Smoked Pulled Pork recipe in Beyond Bacon, we are excited to try a few others just see how they all differ from each other. Our friend George has a knack for smoked foods, and this picture is just beautiful!
Our freezer has just been stocked with our favorite pastured pork from Herritage Hollows Farm, and so this recipe from our friends Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate is calling our name!
Matt tried his hand at smoking a beef brisket on Sunday, and we decided we need to experiment and research a bit more before we create our own custom recipe. This recipe is going to be part of our “research!” That glorious fat cap and beautiful pink color tells us George nailed this one too!
This is going on our must make list for sure! Now that we know it doesn’t have to be over cooked and dried out, smoked poultry is just fabulous. So you KNOW we are going to have to make this recipe for Thanksgiving this year! It will free up the oven for other side dishes, and I can’t wait for that perfectly moist, nap inducing turkey! We may just have to “test” it before Thanksgiving just to make sure it’s suitable for company. (wink wink)
This is one recipe that we cannot WAIT to tweak and make our own (with some paleo modifications). You know we are focused on nutrient density, and salmon is just chock full of what our bodies need. This recipe from The Kitchn uses granulated sugar and brown sugar, but we can’t wait to make it our own way and experiment with using less sweeteners, probably using either coconut sugar or maple sugar.
This fairly simple recipe for smoked root veggies is giving us all sorts of ideas about smoking vegetables! I see some experimentation with mixed smoked veggies in our future for sure! As this recipe points out, if you can “Smoke Bake” a casserole, why not “Smoke Roast” veggies like you would in the oven! Genius.
Like we said, our friend George is a smoking fiend! Since blackberries are in season for summer, this recipe is going to be a must!
So what do you say? Is your mouth watering? We can’t wait to try some of these recipes and start creating even more of our own!
Make sure you don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your own Camp Chef Smoke Vault and a copy of Beyond Bacon before the giveaway ends! Just click on the image below to take you to the original post, and follow the simple Raffle Copter instructions at the bottom.