Search This Blog

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Caramelized Onion Smoked Meatloaf, Finished on the Grill

The balmy winter of 2015-16 is a thing of the past.  The 2016-17 winter is shaping up to be like any other winter around here.  Windy, cold, and snowy.  This year I have plowed and shoveled as much if not more than I did last year.  Time to think about some comfort food.  

One dish that I have not had in a very long time is meatloaf.  I had a craving for some on a recent cold and windy Saturday.  I have been wanting to try cooking one on the smoker for quite some time now.  With the Girls baking Christmas cookies in the kitchen on this day, making this meal on the smoker and grill kept me out of the kitchen.  A plan came together.

Caramelized Onion Smoked Meatloaf

2 lb ground chuck.  I used the 80:20 as I was going to lose fat during the smoking and I didn't want to dry it out on the grill
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese.  Used as a binder for a gluten challenged friend.
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp celery salt
Olive oil for caramelizing the onion

First, I diced the onion and slowly caramelized the over low heat until half of the onions were caramelized and half were still tendercrisp.  Then I placed the ground meat and the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and incorporated the onions.  Next, I placed the mixture into a well greased loaf pan.  Once the loaf was formed, I placed the pan outside into the 20 F weather for about 40 minutes to firm up the meat so it would slide out of the pan in one piece.  

I set up my smoker to run at 300 F and added some pecan chunks to the firebox for some smoke.  I slid the meatloaf out of the pan onto a cookie sheet, then I placed the cookie sheet into the smoker.  

I was shooting for 135 F as an internal temperature for the meatloaf.  After an hour, the temperature was 140 F.  So, I removed the cookie sheet and let it sit outside in the cold weather to firm up for slicing.  While I was waiting on the meatloaf to cool, I fired up a chimney of lump charcoal to grill off my slices.  

I apparently did not get all of the air out of my meatloaf before cooking as I did have some splitting after the smoking.  

But, I was still able to get some slices out of the loaf.  As you can see, it was still pink in the middle.  Just was I was shooting for.

I then took the slices of meatloaf out to the grill for a quick sear.  The fire had gone down in intensity a bit, so I ended up grilling them off for about 4 minutes a side.  Yes, the picture is not the best...

I served the meatloaf with some gravy, roasted garlic, dill, and feta mashed potatoes, and some oven roasted broccoli.  

I decided on the grilling step as I generally do not like smoked ground beef.  It has a tendency to dry out and have a grainy mouth feel as well as become over smoked.  But, this meatloaf was good stuff.     The smoke flavor was not overpowering.  The taste was a blend of the taste you remember from the meatloaf you had as a child, along with that good char you get from the grill.  I need to tweak the spices in the meat.  But, I deem this a successful first pass.  How do I know?  The leftovers were gone the next day.  

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Imo's Pizza - St. Louis Style Pizza

This past October, Hope and I were lucky enough to be invited to travel to Kansas City, KS with our good friends from Red Valley BBQ to help them compete in this years American Royal World Series of BBQ.  It was a week long adventure with numerous culinary adventures.  The trip out to Kansas City started early one Saturday morning and was broken up over two days.  We spent the first night in St. Louis.

I told everyone that I did not care where we ate during the whole trip.  But, I wanted to try out this St. Louis Style Pizza that I had read about on the Internet.  So, on night one of the great BBQ tour, we had pizza for dinner.  Go figure.

What is a a St. Louis Style pizza you ask?  Well, it is a pizza made with a dough that does not contain  yeast.  Also, when they slice the pizza, it is done so by cutting squares out of a round pie.  Crazy.  After some consultation with some BBQ friends that used to live in St. Louis, we were steered towards Imo's Pizza, a local chain of some renown.

Other than the dough, the St. Louis pizza is just like any other pie.  Red sauce and any topping that your heart desires.  For one pizza, I chose bacon and hot banana peppers.

The other pizza was a traditional pepperoni and sausage.  

The sauce was perfect.  Savory with just a hint of sweet.  Almost like Pizza Hut from my younger years before they changed their recipe and added a boat load of sugar.  As for the crust, this pizza is the ultimate thin crust.  Very crisp, very tasty. The topping to dough ratio is about 50:50.  Due to the lack of dough, you could probably down a whole pie on your own.  You definitely do not feel bloated  walking away from the table after eating this pizza.  The best description of this pizza I heard was that it was like eating a pizza made on a saltine crust.  Overall, I give Imo's and the St. Louis pizza experience four stars out of five.  

Stay tuned over the next few weeks.  We will be reviewing some of the traditional hot spots on the Kansas City culinary scene.  

Thanks for stopping by,