Smoked Meatloaf With Bacon

smoked meatloaf bacon weave-cooked

smoked meatloaf with bacon2I made a goal this summer to learn how to smoke. No, not cigarettes, that would be a terrible goal to set. I’m talking about meat. Smoking meats like a BBQ pit master has always been a goal of mine and this summer I took the first steps towards learning how. Now if you look at the prices of ribs or brisket at the supermarket, you’ll realize like I did that smoking meats is an expensive hobby. $50 for a brisket to learn how to smoke is not very affordable for me. What if I ruined it? I needed a cheaper way to learn and I came up with smoked meatloaf with bacon.

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Char Broil Big Easy Smoker

Today I can very happily announce that my nasty old grill has been put to the curb and I’m now the proud owner of a Char Broil Big Easy Smoker. I haven’t been this excited about grilling and also about blogging in a long time.

Char Broil Big Easy SmokerAre you familiar with the Char Broil Big Easy Smoker? If not then let me introduce it to you. I think the real name of it is the Char Broil The Big Easy Tru Infrared Smoker Roaster Grill. It’s looks like a smoker with that familiar bullet shape but it’s also a grill. There’s a removable circular grill on the top of it. It comes with a roasting/smoker cage that fits inside underneath the grill. I plan on filling that cage up with ribs, brisket, chicken and even a whole turkey.

There’s also a smoker box built into the side of it. Fill the smoker box with wood chips or pellets and you’re smoking. Leave it empty and you’re roasting. It’s easy to use and works great.

steak on the big easy
London Broil, peppers & onions on The Big Easy

That Tru Infrared feature of the Char Broil Big Easy Smoker is what makes it so easy to cook juicy meats. The way it works is that the burner is within a metal wall. So the flame is never near your food. The flame heats up the metal and the hot metal cooks your food with infrared heat. And this keeps the food from drying out. It also prevents flare ups that happen when the fats drip into the flame. These flames are safe behind the metal walls.

My parents have the Big Easy Smoker too. We’ve enjoyed a few Thanksgiving turkey dinners and Easter briskets at their house and that sold me. My mother saw it late one night on the Home Shopping Network and ordered it on it spot. I had a similar experience because I already saw it in person and after I binge watched all of the HSN videos on YouTube, I had to have it too.

I’m not kidding, watch the video I linked to below and you’ll want one too. These HSN hosts are highly skilled salespeople. But come on now. You show someone a bacon wrapped grilled cheese sandwich made on the Char Broil Big Easy Smoker and you’re going to sell a Char Broil Big Easy Smoker. But they don’t stop there. They make a clam bake, brisket, ribs, chickens and even Caesar Salad. This guy just keeps pulling amazing looking meals out of the char broil big easy smokers that he has lined up in the studio. Show me doughnuts on a grill and you’ll get a new customer.



So anyway, my new goal for the summer to is to start blogging about all the awesome things I can make in this smoker roaster grill.

So far I’ve gotten much more use out of the grill features than the smoker and I”ve made burgers, dogs, London Broil, chicken breast, pork chops, grilled vegetables and even a few pizzas.

Smoking meat is an art so I’m taking it slow and not trying to bite off more than I can chew but it was very easy to put a spiral ham in there. There’s ribs and brisket in my future.

Here’s an Amazon link if you’re interested. Enjoy the video!

Char Broil Big Easy on Home Shopping Network

Dark and Stormy Kraken

kraken rum
Dark And Stormy Kraken
Dark And Stormy Kraken

Everywhere you look now a days, you see the Moscow Mule. Seriously, all of a sudden that drink is everywhere. Even when you go shopping, everyone is selling those Moscow Mule copper mugs. I’ve even seen the mugs for sale at Home Depot which make absolutely no sense. DIY store, lumber & copper mugs for a classic cocktail. Nope doesn’t really make sense to me. But anyway, the Moscow Mule is made with ginger beer. Another great drink made with ginger beer is the Dark and Stormy. I like to make mine with Kraken Rum so I guess it would be called a Dark and Stormy Kraken.

Kraken RumFor this cocktail recipe I’m going to use Trader Joe’s ginger beer. Usually I would use Fever-Tree because it’s the standard for ginger beer but Trader Joe’s stuff is usually good so I’ll give it a try.

Next up is the rum. For a Dark and Stormy, no surprise here, you’re going to need a dark rum.  And when I think of dark rum I think of the Kraken. No, not that Gumby looking monster that Harry Hamlin fought in the original Clash of the Titans. I’m talking about the mythical sea monster from tales of old. And one of those old tales is about a shipment of rum that was lost at sea. The ship was loaded with the largest amount of dark rum ever to leave the Caribbean. But it went missing. Also adding to the mystery was the fact that some of the rum barrels washed ashore. It was said that the ship was taken down by a Kraken.

Kraken Rum honors this tale with their name and a really awesome looking Kraken illustration on every bottle. How cool is that to name your company after a giant sea monster.

Trader Joes Ginger BeerThere’s actually has a lot of cool stuff on the Kraken Rum website. They have an iOS game where you have to sail the ocean, deliver a shipment of rum and avoid the Kraken which is actually very hard to do. And there’s also some cool computer wallpapers and even t-shirts and glasses you can buy. Everything has that awesome Kraken on it. Note to self, if I even open a micro brewery, definitely name the beer after a monster. The possibilities are endless with the marketing and merchandising you can do with a good monster.



Dark and Stormy Kraken Recipe

The Dark and Stormy Kraken recipe goes like this. Highball glass, ice, ginger beer and Kraken Rum. Garnish with lime. Very easy cocktail to make. A lot of times you’ll see it layered with the rum on top but the first thing I do when I get a Dark and Stormy is mix it. So you really don’t need the layering although it does look cool. And there’s no need to break out the cocktail shaker or the margarita machine. The Dark and Stormy Kraken is a cocktail that you can offer your guests and you won’t spend your entire night making them. I did this once with mojitos and spent my whole night muddling instead of talking to my guests.

So if you want to spend all your money buying copper mugs so that you can feel all fancy when guests come over, by all means Moscow Mules are for you. But if you want to make drinks that are conversation starters about mythical sea monsters and cool rum companies then Dark and Stormy Kraken is waiting for you. And despite how it was treated in The Clash of the Titans, you can welcome the Kraken into your home.

Scrambled Egg Bowl

Scrambled Egg Bowl

In the never ending battle to keep my weight down, I have cut out the carbs in my breakfast. I could eat a egg sandwich for breakfast everyday of my life and be happy but cutting back a little at each meal is going to help me in the long run. Eggs and vegetables are on the menu now. Hold the toast, hide the rolls, even the lowly tortilla wrap isn’t welcome on the breakfast table anymore. Here’s some of the ways that I make a scrambled egg bowl.

Scrambled Egg BowlScrambled eggs are great. They’re easy to make and taste good. But by themselves, they’re aren’t going to satisfy my hunger enough to make it to lunch. Don’t you hate it when you pack a lunch for work and you eat it before 10:00 am? I do love eating vegetables. So why not add them together with eggs in a scrambled egg bowl.

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Grapefruit Vodka Martini

grapefruit vodka martini

Do you know what makes a good drink? The answer is fresh ingredients. It’s the same with food recipes too. You get really fresh ingredients and the whole becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts. So how do you make drinks with fresh ingredients? Lets make a grapefruit vodka martini and I’ll show you.

Grapefruit vodka martiniBefore we make the grapefruit vodka martini, lets take a quick look at the very common and very boring drink the screwdriver. It’s just vodka and orange juice right? Now did you ever have one when you were vacationing somewhere tropical? I bet that was the best screwdriver you ever had right? Its safe to say that it was because if was made with fresh squeezed orange juice.

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Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

First of all, making a crock pot full of pulled pork is never a bad thing. Especially when you can use it to make more meals the following week. In fact you can make a bunch of great meals with leftover pulled pork. Here’s my favorite leftover pulled pork recipes.

Because, I mean seriously, who wants to cook for hours when you get home from work Monday through Friday? Did you raise your hand?  Me neither. My motto is to make something big on the weekend and then make other recipes using the leftovers. And most of all, with leftover pulled pork you can make some good stuff.

Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes

Pulled Pork Sandwich

 Pulled Pork Sandwich with cole slaw - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
Pulled Pork Sandwich with cole slaw

This is one of the easiest leftover pulled pork recipes that you’ll find. Anyone can make a sandwich. Just put it on a roll and add your favorite BBQ sauce. Sometimes I also like to add some cole slaw to the sandwich. Cole Slaw is an especially good addition if your BBQ sauce has a little zing to it. It balances out the sandwich nicely.

Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

  • 1 roll
  • 1 cup pulled pork (depends on how big your roll is)
  • 1 cup cole slaw
  • 2 tbs BBQ sauce

Add all ingredients to a roll

Optional – toast the roll

 

Pulled Pork Tacos

I recently did a post on my Pulled Pork Taco Recipe. This is great when you’re in the mood for Mexican food but you don’t want to load up on beans and cheese. The cilantro and lime flavors with the crispy pulled pork combine for a nice lite and fresh tasting meal.

pulled pork tacos - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
Pulled Pork Tacos

 

 



Pulled Pork Monte Cristo

pulled pork monte cristo - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
A Monte Cristo Made With Pulled Pork

Now the Pulled Pork Monte Cristo is the absolute opposite of lite and fresh. This is basically a grilled cheese with meat and maple syrup and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Pulled Pork Monte Cristo Recipe

  • 2 thick slices of Challah Bread
  • 4 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 2 slices Ham (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 cup pulled pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Add eggs, almond milk & cinnamon to bowl and whisk

Place Swiss Cheese, Ham & Pulled Pork on bread

Dunk sandwich into milk mixture trying not to let ingredients slip out and coat both sides of sandwich

Place wet sandwich on hot cast iron skillet or frying pan

Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes

Remove from frying pan and serve with a bowl of maple syrup for dunking

 

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

Adding pulled pork is a really good way to make your mac and cheese more exciting. Lobster, duck, brisket, you can add anything to mac and cheese and it’ll still be good. So why not add some pulled pork. BBQ sauce is optional.

I’m not going to do the recipe for this one because I just used frozen mac and cheese from Trader Joe’s. Of course it would taste better if I made it from scratch but sometimes you just have to go with what you have on hand and today frozen mac and cheese from Traders Joe’s got the job done. You can fry up some pulled pork with some butter to make it a little crunchy then add it to your mac and cheese.

So like I said, it doesn’t take a huge effort to cook during the weekend when you took care of the hard part on the weekend. Leftovers are key to eating well when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare your meal. And here are four easy leftover pulled pork recipes that you should remember if you have plan on having leftover pulled pork.