Thursday, October 31, 2013

Soup to nuts

No soup today, but the saying has me thinking... I wonder how butternut squash soup would taste if the butternut was smoked first.

Today is nuts. This is the first recipe in Weber Smoke (I think - can't find my copy right now.) Mix:
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil (I used peanut oil this time.)
Toss this with 2C salted mixed nuts and put in a foil pan to put on the smoker. Smoke until done, typically about 20 minutes or so depending on level of smoke desired and the temperature of the smoker.

Mixed nuts smoking on the 14.5 WSM.

Before the cook was complete, I decided to smoke a butternut squash. I peeled and seeded it and cut it into thick slices - about 1". After the nuts were done, I put the squash on and it remained on until smoker temperature began to drop off, about 2 1/2 hours. It was still pretty firm but was done enough to freeze. We had one slice for dinner and I plan to freeze the rest to be used for other recipes (such as soup.)

After the nuts were finished the squash went on to pick up some smoky flavor.

Weather is kind of crappy today with a light drizzle. We might have gotten as much as 3" of rain over night. Maybe more. Temperature is mild at 61°F. Wind is moderate at about 10 mph.

Today I'm doing a double recipe using two foil pans in the 14.5 WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain.) I'm firing with Cowboy lump and have stuck a few small pieces of hickory, apple, black walnut and mesquite in there. Once the mini-chimney was lit I dumped it over the rest and assembled the smoker with one bottom vent of three open. Water pan is w/out water and foiled. In about ten minutes the temperature was approaching 200°F and I put the nuts on.

timetemp comment
9:32195° (lid)Nuts on!
9:52215°Opened up to stir the nuts. Getting of to a slow start but no problem.
10:23260°Coming along nicely - could come off in a couple minutes. Make another batch? Yes!
10:35275°Nuts off!

Nuts on! (second batch) This was about 50% more - 6 C of mixed nuts.
Added more smoking wood and stirred the coals.
11:21260°Time to stir again.
Time to stir again.
12:30255°Nuts off. Rain has picked up a little but seems not to be affecting the smoker too much.

Squash on! OK, I changed my mind and as long as the smoker is still going, I'll do some smoked butternut squash.
2:15230°Raining - not drizzling. No surprise that temperature is holding. Squash looks like it is coming along too.
2:49175°Opened two bottom vents (all three now open) to see if I can get one more kick. maybe the fuel is all burned out.
3:00180°Squash off - stirred what remains of the coal and smoking wood to see if there is any more heat to be gained.
4:19175°Last gasp of heat is done.

Nuts are good! Only thing to do differently with those would be to divide them more evenly (instead of 1/3, 2/3 at a time.) The squash took on a smoky flavor and while not particularly tasty, I will defer final judgement until it is used in some other recipe.

Overall the performance of the small WSM seems to be good when burning lump. It holds a steady temperature for an extended time with little to no fiddling.

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