Any one else like to try different ways to prepare veggies and create a new meal? Thought I'd toss out a quick outdoor cooked meal after work today...huh, am I starting THAT AGAIN??? I had a couple chuckies in the fridge and several Zucchini from yesterday. I thought these might have been too seedy for slicing as they were pushing over 3" diameter, but they surprised me. I like pan-fried Zucchini, but, since I had the OTG-26 laying out cherry, apple and hickory smoke to the chuckies for a warm smoke, I figured, hey, why not give the same treatment to the squashes? So, I did...
Ancho Chili & Garlic Rub:
Chuckies starting their 40-minute ride in ~130* smoke...charcoal basket in the rear, lid vent positioned in the front for even heating and smoke distribution throughout the kettle:
After 15 minutes I tossed the squash in...I had a wood flare-up by the time I got all the Zucchini onto the grate for searing...dropped the lid on, closed the intakes and lid vent for about 30 seconds, cracked the lid vent for a peek and the flame was out...back to smoking...opened everything back up and we're good to go...let's smoke those Zukes. At least it makes it look more like I can still justify having this beast when I load it up a bit more to cook the whole meal for the two of us, right?:
The Zucchini were sliced about 1/2" thick and tossed around in a large bowl with Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Garlic Powder and Black Pepper prior to smoking. 15 minutes smoke and I place them back into the bowl while I prepared for searing. I placed the grate with steaks off to the side on another kettle grill (lid off) while I loaded up the coal grate with hot coals.
Building up a HOT coal-bed with 1/3 Embers briquettes (in the bottom of the chimney to prevent the smaller RO from dropping through) and 2/3 RO lump...2 full chimneys, total:
I pulled the steaks off of the grate after spreading the coals out and letting it get rolling better...felt like close to 700* in most spots after I put the grate on to preheat it...perfect:
Oh, yeah, that's nice:
Resting briefly before serving:
I tried, but I could not eat all of this 1.33lbr...I did take a second serving (the last) of the Zucchini, though:
A little further along than I prefer, though still juicy @ medium...wife wanted mushrooms to top these steaks, but she didn't ask early enough to start them...and, I told her we're never going to be able to eat all of this food...I was right:
So, the char-grilled Zucchini, which I haven't prepared for several years (been so long I can't remember when) was even better with a little smoke, of course. It could have used another 5-10 minutes in the smoke for my tastes, as it was more of a lighter background flavor...but hey, maybe that's a good thing...don't want a strong smoke with a mild flavored food, so, yeah, good smoke after all. The char added a nice flavor and some texture variations. Yeah, yeah, I know...charred food is a carcinogen...all things consumed in moderation, my friends. I haven't eaten any char for months...not my thing, but with veggies it's just too tempting to not indulge a little once in a while.
The dry rub was a nice change of pace from the typical store-bought steak rubs and such...not earth shattering, but a different take on steak, for sure. It's not a strong, hot flavor like red chili powder...milder and smoother...if you've never used Ancho Chili powder or flakes, it's worth your while to experiment with a little and see where it can take your dishes. I've made rubs years ago based on Ancho Chili and it can be made as mild or as hot as you like with additional ingredients, but the flavor of the Ancho always shines through nicely.
A simple, easy and relatively quick meal...about 75 minutes from striking the first spark until I was sitting down to eat...oh did I mention tasty? OK, now I did.
Enjoy those fresh garden veggies!!!
Great smokes (and sears) to all, and to all a good night!!!