On the 7th Day. Before he rested. Our good Lord took one final gaze upon his master creation. And in these fleeting moments he laid his hands for the last time upon a remote plot of rustic land in the furthest antarctic reaches of the world – a land made so beautiful and breathtaking, there was no distinction between the Earth and Heavens. He called this place, Patagonia.
Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.
I share one of my very favorite lakeside barbeque recipes – the perfect blackened catfish with garlic-honey aioli & al fresco purple kale-slaw – one of my very favorite fish to cast for and reel in during the late fall. These fresh water beasts tend to group together and lie in lower depths during the later months of the year. Although a bit more lethargic than in summer months, when the fish strikes bait – prepare yourself for a long, hard fight!
Once ashore, the catfish is carefully fileted with a razor-sharp knife, then liberally seasoned with a blackened herb mix, grilled over the searing infrared heat of white-hot charcoal and hardwoods, then chopped into chunks and tossed in a roasted garlic-honey aioli. Topped with an al fresco charred sweet corn kale-slaw, then loaded over buttered and toasted artisan rolls. This feast is rounded by dozens of baked scallops in the half shell, a garden of fresh greens, and a crisp, gorgeous craft-brewed gold coast pilsner.
Blackened Catfish Sandwich with Garlic-Honey Aioli and Southern Purple Kaleslaw
- Garlic-Honey Aioli:
- 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 lemon juiced
- Kosher salt and ground black peppercorn to taste
- Grilled Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw:
- 2-3 cobs of sweet corn silk & husks removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1/3 cup, separated
- 1 small head Japanese purple kale leaves ribs removed and finely chopped
- 1-2 small heads green radicchio finely chopped
- 1 handful parsley leaves chopped
- 1-2 shallots finely sliced
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Salt and fresh ground peppercorn to taste
- Blackened Herb Mix:
- 2 tablespoons ground sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Garlic-Honey Aioli: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl, until well-combined. Set aside. To thicken sauce, add 1 teaspoon mayonnaise. To thin sauce, add 1 teaspoon water.
- Grilled Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw: Preheat your gas to coal combo grill to hot. Brush corn in olive oil before laying over direct heat grill grates, then char upon all sides. Remove corn from the grill, slice kernels from the cob and set aside. Bring oil, vinegar, honey, sugar & juices to a boil, then set aside to cool and emulsify with an emersion blender. Toss together all prepared ingredients in a large bowl and season to taste.
- Blackened Herb Mix: In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients. Set aside.
Blackened Catfish Filet Sandwich with Garlic-Honey Aioli and Southern Purple Kaleslaw
- Roasted Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw recipe above
- Blackened Herb Mix recipe above
- Garlic-Honey Aioli recipe above
- 2 pounds fresh catfish filets trimmed
- Olive oil
- Heirloom tomatoes finely sliced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn to taste
- 6-8 artisan sandwich rolls lightly buttered and toasted
- Up to 4 hours prior to grilling, rub the catfish filets with olive oil and Blackened Herb Mix, then wrap air-tight in plastic and refrigerate. 30 minutes prior to grilling remove the filets from the cooler and return to room temperature.
- Light the charcoal in a chimney and burn until white and ashy. Once charcoal is ready pour in the bottom of the grill. Top with a few handfuls of cedar wood chips. Place the grill grates back in place and rub the grates with olive oil. Confidently apply the catfish over the cleaned grill grates for 4-6 minutes per side, with the grill lid closed, careful to not flip the fish until it easily pulls from the grill grates (if the fish is sticking - sear the catfish with the grill lid open for an additional 1-2 minutes). Cook until the filet is well-encrusted upon the exterior and translucent in color throughout. Remove fish from the grill, toss in the prepared aioli, and season to taste. Load over toasted artisan rolls, garnish with heirloom tomatoes and Roasted Sweet Corn Kaleslaw.
As I travel from one end of God’s green earth to the next, I’m fascinated by the applications of smoke integration in the cooking process, from the finest steakhouses of America’s mega metropolises, to the roadside smoke shacks of Alabama and Texas, westward to the Imu hickorywood sand pits of the most remote Pacific Islands, south to the churrascarias of Patagonian Argentina, and far onward to the northern rustic Scandinavian mountain outposts of the Arctic Circle.
From first world to third, one urban, rural and indigenous community to the next, above all, we indiscriminately prize meticulously-crafted smoked fare.
But, it wasn’t until 1939 in southern Scotland that the advent of the modern smoker was invented – A device called the Torry Kiln was developed at the Torry Research Station. Over the last century this device would evolve into the technologically-advanced, state-of-the-art, high-performance machines we now cultivate the finest of meats & produce from today.
In the post below, I’ll share insight and my experience with one of the most innovative and exciting stand-up smokers introduced into the marketplace. Please click on the video below for a deeper dive, drool upon photos at your leisure & surely, read onward. Cheers! -David
Designed with those in mind who yearn for the carnal, sensuous flavors of smoked foods, but for the outdoor cooks who want a modern, zero-hassle smoking option, Char-Broil has introduced the sleek and sexy, stainless steel, double-wall insulated, intuitively-controlled, standup Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker.
As someone who lives in the city, leads a hectic professional and travel schedule, is enamored with smoked meats, cheeses and produce, while loving my personal time to both cook and create at home in the kitchen, on the patio, and over the grill – Char-Broil has delivered me the perfect solution.
Top Features of the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker:
- American-designed, double-wall insulated, stainless-steel construction. This degree of craftsmanship & precision is critical to maintaining control of air-flow, cook time, imparting of smoke & flavor.
- This vertical smoker has an enormous internal capacity of 725 square inches, with each of its 4 adjustable (and removable) racks able to sustain up to 20lbs of succulent heritage turkey, drool-worthy herb-encrusted bone-in prime rib, or rack after rack of caramelized barbequed baby back ribs.
- Zero assembly required.Within 8 minutes of opening the packaging, I was able to load the smoking racks & wood chips, plug the smoker into the nearest electrical outlet & begin preheating the appliance for it’s maiden smoke!. Now. That. Is. Efficiency!
- Play. Set. Forget.Whether you are the master of your backyard barbeque domain, or this is your first time attempting to smoke pheasant, pork butt, or pecan pie, the Deluxe Digital cooking unit is not only intuitive in it’s LED-guided controls, but the results are both consistent & outstanding, mirroring the flavor imparted through similar, yet more intensive cooking methods, such as wood fire and charcoal.
- Electric-stabilized heating system + Stainless steel locking latch = Temperature & Smoke Control = Mouthwatering Flavor.With sustainable temperatures ranging between 100F-275F, this device delivers the low, steady temperatures paramount to achieving desired results. Every time. Time after time.
- A smoker that is as MOBILE as you are! From the backyard patio to the tailgate parking lot – integrated rear wheels & wireless remote, with a 100-foot radius of connectivity allows you to detach, monitor your cook on the go & truly be the boss of your barbeque!
- 4 cups of wood chips allows for +6 hours of continuous smoking! With most smokers on the marketplace, I feel relegated to the role of babysitter – consistently checking in on temperature, airflow, smoke level & coloration. Ain’t nobody got time for that. With the DDES, load with 4 cups of wood chips, set the time and temperature, insert the internal temperature thermometer, lock the chamber, then walk away – returning when your mobile remote signals the end to your cook. Simple enough, right? Answer: Yes
- Cook to temperature, not time. Char-Broil removes the guesswork in this process.The smoker is fully-integrated with an internal temperature thermometer & wirelessly-connected remote, allowing the user to precisely monitor the cooking protein, produce or prepared good.
- Not only is this smoker priced far below market value, at less than $300, but the folks in Columbus, Georgia at Char-Broil, are offering a 1 year warranty –guaranteed for both the smoker in it’s entirety and all parts! Enough said.
- Last, but not least – This smoker is attractive.Char-Broil’s design team delivers again – a sleek, 2-tone finished appliance that provides an aesthetically-pleasing addition to any true Pitmaster’s complement of TRU-Infrared and Charcoal Grills. Win + Win = Winning!
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Beer-braised and live fire barbecued mussels. Simply seasoned and prepared to tender perfection over cast iron and campfire in a rich, buttery bath of Indian pale ale, roasted garlic, and caramelized shallots. Then, finished with a dabble of tangy barbecue sauce, and garnish of aromatic spring onion. Cheers and long live the adventure! -David
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Caramelizing slowly barbecued pork ribs over a smoky lakeside campfire. Preparing for Memorial Day Weekend in northern Michigan. Life just doesn't get any better!! -Cheers, David
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