Treats from the Smoker

You’ve seen here that I love to grill, but my chief cooking instrument is the gas grill. My husband aspires to be a king of the smoke box, wood and charcoal. For the 4th, he put our smoker to good use with fish, chicken and potatoes.

After the charcoal and mesquite wood chunks were smoldering at a steady temperature, he added the fish first–a good-sized slab of salmon, seasoned simply with salt and pepper. I’ve heard people on the Weight Watchers bulletin boards rave about the tastiness of salmon cooked outdoors, but I was unprepared for how much different it would be from my usual blackened-salmon-on-the-stove routine. The fish had a distinct smokiness in each bite, and it was much more moist–maybe because we use a water smoker? I used the fish in a salad, served over lettuce, with fat-free ranch dressing and croutons.

Next to be locked in the smoke box were chicken drumsticks, festooned with a Steven Raichlen barbecue rub that I detail here. And then, for something different, we smoked baking potatoes.

This is another gift from Raichlen, from his book How to Grill, one that I rely on heavily for tips and recipes. I omitted the butter and seasoning that he calls for, but as he promised, the potatoes emerged full of smoky taste. (Note that when we smoked the potatoes, we just put them in the smoker without foil. I wrapped them in foil that you see in the picture to preserve the smoke flavor while finishing them on the grill when I saw they weren’t quite done.) In the future, I think I’ll make mashed potatoes out of them, with some fat-free sour cream, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light and barbecue spice mixed in to bring home the flavor.

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