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The BlueSmoke Gazette, Issue #003 -- Monthly Newsletter - March, 2006
May 24, 2006

Welcome To The BlueSmoke Gazette!

A hearty welcome to all of the new subscribers to the BlueSmoke Gazette. I would like to personally thank you for your interest in my newsletter.

Thank You For Your Patience

This issue of the BlueSmoke Gazette is two months late, and I apologize for that. In March I decided to pull up my tent stakes in Kansas and move back out to the Great Northwest. I'm now living (and working) south of Seattle, Washington in the town of Milton. It's been a very busy for me the last couple of months, and maintaining my website and newsletter has suffered because of the move and the job. But now I'm pretty much settled and getting used to the new job, so I'll be able to devote more time to and the BlueSmoke Gazette. With all the rain out here, it looks like I'll be spending a lot of time indoors working at the computer.

In This Issue You'll Find

  • Knives...An Overview
  • Investment and Return
  • Recipe - Cornish Game Hens
  • Smoky Barbecued Beans
  • New At Smoker Cooking...Grill Recipes

Knives For Food Prep

A good knife is one of the most important cooking tools to have in your food prep area. There are many style of knives, each designed for a specific purpose, and each of these styles can be made of a variety of materials and in a wide range of quality levels.

Knife Blades

Knife blades are commonly constructed of carbon steel, stainless steel and ceramic. Carbon steel blades can be sharpened with little effort, but tend to discolor easily, especially when they are used to cut highly acidic foods. To prevent discoloration, the blades must be washed and dried after use. A light coat of vegetable oil on the blade will prevent discoloration and rust while the knife is not being used. Stainless steel is a popular material for kitchen knife blades since it doesn't discolor or rust. But since stainless steel is not as hard as carbon steel, it won't hold an edge as well. There are high carbon stainless steel knife blades available that combine the best qualities of stainless steel and carbon steel blades. The metal will not discolor or rust, and it will take and hold an edge very well. Ceramic blades hold an edge much longer than steel blades. Since the ceramic material is so hard, care must be taken not to strike them against hard surfaces or they will chip or break. When dull, the blades must be taken to a professional to be sharpened.

Styles of Knives

Of the many knife styles, two that are most useful when preparing meat are the chef's knife and the boning knife. A good quality chef's knife of 8 or 10 inches in length does a good job of slicing and chopping larger cuts of meat. The smaller boning knife has a narrower, shorter blade that can be easily manipulated around bones.

Caring for Knives

To keep your knives in good condition for years, they need to be kept clean and sharp. Never wash knives in a dishwasher. The extended high temperatures can damage the handles, and the edges can be dulled from contacting other items in the wash. It's best to hand wash and then dry your knives to ensure a long life. There are several options for keeping a sharp edge on your knives. A sharpening stone can be used to keep your knives sharp. If the edge is very dull, use the coarse side to reshape the edge, then use the fine side to give the edge a smoother finish. Sharpening steels are used to keep the edge touched up between sharpenings. A few quick strokes on the steel will bring the sharpness back to the knife. Another knife sharpening option is to use a pull through sharpener. These have a preset angle built in, and sharpen both sides of the blade simultaneously as the knife blade is pulled past the tungsten carbide cutters.

Investment and Return

A wise investment of time and resources can provide you with profit, pleasure, or both. If you've ever had the desire to have your own website, I highly recommend...

It's how I built All the tools are provided for you to build a website that can earn some extra cash each month.

Smoked Cornish Game Hens

For a luscious poultry treat, smoked cornish game hens can't be beat. These little birds are richly flavored, juicy and smoke like a charm. In my opinion, a smoked game hen beats smoked chicken every time.

This recipe is for four Cornish game hens, and will feed 6 to 8 people. These go along nicely with a variety of grilled vegetables and a cold pasta salad.

Brine Ingredients

Three pints water
One pint apple juice
One-third cup canning salt
Two tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dill weed, dry
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove the brine from the heat and chill down to 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Continue with Smoked Cornish Game Hens Recipe)

Smoky Baked Beans

Baked beans and barbecue are a perfect pair. This recipe for smoky baked beans comes very close to duplicating the great tasting beans found at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue.

The smoky flavor of these beans comes from the addition of smoked brisket, and then some time slow cooking in the smoker. Barbecue isn't barbecue without a pile of tasty baked beans. Here's the recipe!

Smoky Baked Beans

4 cans (15 ounce) pork and beans
One cup of chopped up smoked brisket
One cup barbecue sauce, Kansas City Style
One-third cup brown sugar
One-half cup ketchup
One-half cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (stovetop method)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bringing to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the beans to a baking pan and place in your smoker. Smoke for 45 minutes, leaving the pan uncovered. Stir the beans two or three times as they smoke.

This recipe can also be prepared entirely on the stovetop. Add one teaspoon of liquid smoke, then simmer the beans for 20 minutes, or until they reach a thick and soupy consistency.

Easy Grill Recipes

I've included a new section at Smoker that's all about grilling. Recipes and tips for seafood, meats and veggies are included in the Easy Grill Recipes section at my website. There's even a page describing my first-time experience of baking brownies in a propane grill. You gotta read this one!

Brownies in a Grill?

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