Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Weekend Menu- Smoker Style

Pin It Now! There's nothing I love more than cooking up a feast for friends.  The best part is that my husband is a genius with the smoker.  It doesn't matter what he puts under the hood of that comes out smoked to perfection and full of flavor.  This coming weekend we're planning on smoking ribs, a tri-tip, red snapper and hubby is going to actually smoke some squid (that should be interesting). 
Since he'll be manning the meat it's up to me to dish out some wicked sides.  No BBQ is ever complete without a killer pasta salad, and this recipe for Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad should do the trick.  And of course, I can't pass up all this fabulous corn that's on sale!!  Found a great recipe for some Grilled Mexican Corn.  This is shaping up to be a great menu!  Can't wait to eat!  

Click Read More for all the recipes.  :)

Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad (recipe adapted from Allrecipes)

  • 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 10 slices bacon (regular or turkey)
  • 1 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk, or as needed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 (4.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets chopped (I like to blanch my broccoli and then toss it in)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • a dash or two of hot sauce (depending on how much heat you like)


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in rotini pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain. 
  2. Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain and chop.
  3. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and garlic pepper. Stir in milk until smooth. Place pasta, bacon, tomatoes, black olives, peas, broccoli and cheese in bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Toss with additional milk if the salad seems a little dry.


Grilled Mexican Corn

okay, so I know it's not the most appealing photo, but it tasted really good!  

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup Cotija cheese grated fine
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 ears corn


In a small bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and lime juice. In another small bowl combine the Cotija cheese, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and salt.

Build a charcoal fire for direct grilling. While the grill is heating, remove the corn from the husks. Grill the corncobs directly over the hot coals (approximately 450˚F) for 6-7 minutes turning every two minutes until kernels start to soften.   (we have a gas grill, so I'll be using that)

Remove the corn from the grill and apply a light coat of the yogurt mixture to each cob. Sprinkle each corncob liberally with the Cotija cheese mixture, and they are ready to serve. 


Mesquite-Smoked Caribbean Style Whole Red Snapper


  • 1 whole red snapper (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), scaled and cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, julienned
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup ginger, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, ribbed, seeded and small diced  (we couldn't find scotch bonnets, used jalapeno...would have been better with scotch bonnets though.
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cane or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup Mesquite wood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour


Make 4 or 5 deep diagonal cuts into the flesh of the fish on both sides of the fish. Season the snapper both inside and out with the salt and black pepper. In a mixing bowl, combine the red pepper, yellow pepper, onion, and cilantro, set aside. Place the snapper in a large casserole dish. Stuff the cavity of the fish with the pepper/onion mixture. In a small bowl mix the ginger, garlic, and the Scotch bonnet pepper, rub this mixture all over the fish being sure to rub the cavity and the slits on either side. IMPORTANT: USE RUBBER GLOVES FOR THIS PLEASE!

In a separate mixing bowl combine the coconut milk, rum, lime juice, sugar and olive oil. Pour this mixture over the snapper and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate and let marinade for 2 hours before smoking. Be sure to turn the fish 3 times during the marinating period. 

Set-up the grill using an indirect cooking method (the coals are pushed to the sides of the grill and the fish cooks in the center of the coals), and sprinkle the Mesquite wood chips over top the charcoals. Place the marinated snapper in a fish basket and place the basket on the grill. Cover the grill and let the fish cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the flesh flakes and breaks away from the bone.


Pork Ribs and Tri-Tip

For the ribs and tri-tip we just used a dry rub mixture.  The hubby just makes his with whatever is currently in the pantry.  This time we used the following:                               Emeril's Seasoning, Cavendars Greek Seasoning, Texas Seasoning, Minced Garlic, Seasoned Salts
Don't be afraid to add a bunch of seasonings...the smoke tempers everything down.  We didn't get exact measurements for the rub, but a guess would be about 1/4 cup of each of the seasonings and the garlic.  A couple of tablespoons of the seasoned salt.
The ribs and tri-tip were smoked at a temp of 225 using almond wood for 5 hours (ribs) and 4 hours (tri-tip)

Smoked Squid

Yes, my husband actually smoked a whole squid.  He basically just soaked it in salt water and threw it on the smoker for an hour at 175

creepy looking thing....

It actually tasted pretty good...and most of it was gobbled right up!  


Anonymous said...

The snapper was amazing!

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