Outdoor cooking is becoming super popular. I have joined the excitement and have a new vertical smoker. Cooking with a smoker has many options, including direct and indirect cooking. To become more familiar with the process, I purchased a great cookbook titled, “Secrets to Smoking,” by Bill Gillespie.
Everything that I needed to know before using my smoker for the first time was included in this book. I learned about the different types of woods, chips, types of charcoal to use, and general operation of any smoker. There is skill to controlling the temperature, adjusting the vents, monitoring the air flow and most of all cooking on several levels of a smoker at once. Smokers can be fueled by electricity, pellets, or charcoal.
I chose a charcoal smoker and used this apple crisp recipe to learn how to keep the temperature moderated, while working the technique of “low and slow” cooking. I adapted the recipe from Bill’s cookbook. changing and adding a few ingredients.
I also learned that if you are “looking”, you are “not cooking.” This recipe was a huge success and took one and one half hours to cook at 225 degrees on the upper level of my new smoker. There is a trust that develops with the first recipe cooked. As I said, I was not peeking, but trusted that my dish would be done by monitoring the temperature of the smoker.
I am now committed to using the smoker this whole summer for a variety of different types of dishes. Here is a great recipe to try if you are a seasoned smoker or if this is your first time.
I peeled, cored and sliced 3 large Granny Smith apples and placed in a pan suitable for cooking on a grill. Then, I added and mixed these ingredients into a bowl–3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, and 1/3 cup unsalted butter which had been softened.
Place the topping over the apples in the baking pan. After bringing the smoker up to 225 degrees, place the pan on the top cooking grate and allow to cook on its’ own for 1 and 1 1/2 hours.
I filled the water pan once prior to cooking and allowed the smoker to come up to temperature. The water was totally used when the dish was complete. I used both sets of vents to keep the temperature even throughout the cooking process. This was not a challenge at all, and the outcome was delicious. Serve while hot with whipped cream or ice cream. Oh–so yummy and cooked outdoors!