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Smoked Meatballs with Smoked Tomato Sauce

Fire Up The Grill
By Steve Collins
The Home Chef

I use my trusty SmokerPro to make this recipe. It’s an easy way to get the smoky flavor. You can also use a well-soaked wood plank. Use a freshly soaked plank for the second round of cooking. The smoky flavor brings a new dimension to this Italian traditional classic. Allow enough time to smoke the tomatoes and the meatballs separately. Do the tomatoes first; you can warm them at serving time. Put the meatballs and sauce over your favorite pasta. Add a green salad and a crisp baguette.

Smoked Tomato Sauce
3 lbs. toma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
8 shallots, cut in half lengthwise, skin removed
1/3 c. crushed fresh basil leaves in chiffonade

1 c. apple wood or hickory chips or a well-soaked wood plank (soak for at least an hour)

Prepare a hot fire. If using the Smoker Pro, add the wood chips in the Smoker Pro (or make sure that your wood plank is soaked for at least an hour). Put the Smoker Pro directly on the coals or over the heat, put the cooking grate on, and put the tomatoes (skin side down) and shallots on the cooking grate directly over the Smoker Pro. If using a plank, put the tomatoes on the plank and put the plank on the cooking grate directly over the fire. Cover the grill and cook for one hour.  Take the tomatoes and shallots off the grill. Remove the skin from the tomatoes and put the now skinless tomatoes in the blender. Pulse until they’re a sauce consistency. Set the sauce aside until the meatballs are almost cooked. When ready to serve, put into a saucepan and heat until warmed through. Just before serving, add the meatballs and basil.

Smoked Meatballs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. celery, finely diced
2 Tbsp. onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. rresh oregano, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef

1 c. apple or hickory wood chips or a well-soaked wood plank (soak for at least an hour)

Make sure your grill is hot. If using charcoal, you’ll have to add fresh coal. Cook the onions, celery, and garlic for five minutes over medium heat in a sauté pan. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the oregano. Blend the mixture well with the ground beef. Form the meat into balls 3/4-inch in diameter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. (The meatballs can be prepared a day in advance and kept refrigerated.) When the fire is ready, add the wood chips to the Smoker Pro, put the Smoker Pro directly over the hottest part of the fire. Put the cooking grate over the Smoker Pro and arrange the prepared meatballs on the cooking grate over it. If using a plank, put the meatballs on the soaked plank and put the plank on the cooking grate directly over the fire. Cover the grill and let cook for 40 minutes. (Internal temperature should be 160 degrees.) Remove the cooked meatballs and add them to the saucepan with the smoked tomato sauce and add the basil. Buon Appetito!

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Recipes sure to make any Fourth of July cookout a success

By Paul Kirk CWC, Ph.B., B.S.A.S.
Kansas City Baron of BBQ
Barbecue Guru
Order of the Magic Mop
Ambassador of BBQ
Certified Master BBQ Judge

It’s barbecue time and it’s Fourth of July time, along with hot and spicy food.  Here’s a nice spicy one.  It’s good but not really barbecue.

Spicy Firecracker Shrimp
12 frozen jumbo/large shrimp, defrosted
6 egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying
1 Tbsp. flour with a little water (make a paste of this to help seal the wrapping)

For the Marinade
3 Tbsp. sriracha or hot sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. toasted dark sesame oils
3 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
1 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by preparing a marinade for the shrimp. In a shallow bowl or zip lock bag, add the sriracha/hot sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and sesame oil.

Then grate the fresh peeled garlic cloves, directly into the bowl.  Zest half a lime, cut it and squeeze its juice into the marinade.  Season the marinade with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir all the ingredients well to mix them. Also add a tablespoon of sugar to balance out all the flavors.

Toss the shrimp in the bowl or bag and gently mix them around with a spoon to coat them well in the marinade. Cover and place the marinated shrimp in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.  

After the shrimp has had some time to soak in all those flavors. Prepare the wrapping by placing an egg roll/spring roll wrapper on a cutting board diagonally so it looks like a diamond shape. Then cut it in half and repeat with the rest of the wrappers.

Place a shrimp on left side of the wrapper with the tail sticking out and fold over the left corner wrapping the shrimp as tightly as you can.
Then fold the top corner down, making sure to cover the top end of the shrimp.  Roll the shrimp as tightly as possible and as straight as you can manage until there’s just a little corner left.

Using your finger, apply a little of the flour paste (a little flour and water mix) to the corner of the wrapper and seal it.  Repeat the same wrapping method for the rest of the shrimp.  

In a pan, add about an inch or so of oil to fry the shrimp.(You can use a deep fryer if you have one, but enough oil to cover at least 3/4 of the shrimp if not the whole shrimp is all you really need) Heat the oil through on medium-high. To test and see if the oil is hot enough for frying, pinch a tiny piece of wrapper and drop it in the oil…if it bubbles and comes to rises to the top quickly it’s hot enough.

Fry the shrimp in small batches depending on the size of your pan and cook them for 2-3 minutes on each side till golden brown. I’d suggest cooking one to time it and one you take it out, cut it in half to see if the shrimp is cooked through but not rubbery.

This next recipe isn’t really barbecue but it sure is good, it comes from America Best BBQ the revised addition.  Even though it’s not really barbecue, you can make it on your grill.     
Cajun Barbecue Shrimp  
2 lbs. shrimp

Barbecue Sauce
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. beer (not dark)
1/4 c. Heinz chili sauce
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2-3 bay leaves finely crushed
1/2 sp. dried thyme
Pinch of crushed rosemary or rosemary leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. Louisiana hot sauce

Rinse, peel and devein the shrimp.  Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a big sauce pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Cool the sauce to room temperature, then add the washed and cleaned shrimp. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Cook the shrimp on the stove over high heat, stirring just until shrimp turn pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve with chunks of crusty French bread to soak up sauce, a green salad, and a lot of napkins.   Shrimp must be eaten with your fingers to get the whole experience.  Serves 6.

Here’s a couple of spicy rubs to try!

Chili Pepper Rub for Brisket
1 c. brown sugar
1 green chili finely chopped
1/2 c. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne
Ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Pack all around a 10 pound brisket and refrigerate 24 hours before smoking. Place in smoker, careful not to dislodge the rub. Smoke for 8 to 10 hours and enjoy.

Chipotle Dry Rub
2 dried chipotle peppers (use 3 to heat it up a little)
3 pepper
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground dry orange peel

Combine all ingredients in a spice mill or blender and grind until even. Store in an airtight jar. Will store for about 6 months in the freezer. Great for brisket.

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Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow
Recipes from the Road

Ooey Gooey Bars
Bottom Crust
1 box yellow cake mix (or 1 box of whatever variety cake mix you like. Vernee likes lemon; Rheada suggested chocolate. The choices are endless.)
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 egg

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, mix cake mix, melted butter, and one egg.  Spray bottom of 13x9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the mixture into pan and pat evenly into a crust.  

In a second bowl, beat eggs into cream cheese until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Pour this mixture over crust in pan.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden. Cool at least 30 minutes to allow topping to set.  Cut into bars and serve.  (They are even better when chilled and served next day.)

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