Smokin’ Good — Part II

I’m starting to come to the conclusion that if food is good, it’s even better smoked.

This past summer, I bought a Masterbuilt smoker from Cabela’s. The first month or so, I did a bit of smoking, mostly salmon fillets. Then, I set the smoker aside to tend to gardening chores. And then came hunting.

With things finally settling down a bit, I’m back in the smoking mode. And with the results I’ve been having, it appears that this winter could be one to be remembered for a lot of delicious smoked food.

My most recent endeavors have involved elk sausage (half elk, half pork) rings and pheasant legs and thighs. Normally, I steam my sausage rings a bit before browning them in a little butter in a cast-iron frying pan. Occasionally, I’ve grilled them. The pheasant most often is baked, grilled or used in a barbecue sauce, a kind of pulled porked-type dish.

That changed the last couple of nights. The first, I smoked four rings of sausage, followed the next day by a dozen or so pheasant legs and thighs (attached). The pheasant was marinated for an hour or so in a teriyaki, soy, honey and hoison sauce combination. Both times, I used mesquite wood chips. The results were fantastic. Just about everyone who sampled the smoked meat concurred.

I’m not going to stop with meat. I’ve decided to try smoking all sorts of fish and seafood over the next couple of months. One of my first attempts is going to be the following recipe, which calls for smoking shrimp that’s wrapped in prosciutto. I can hardly wait.

Smoked Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto
1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp with tail segment intact
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
8 to 10 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons cherry or apple wood chips
Pat shrimp dry and place on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle each shrimp with few grains salt, a grinding of pepper, and a few bits of rosemary. Turn shrimp over and season other side the same way.
Separate prosciutto slices and cut them lengthwise into ½- to ¾-inch-wide strips. You need as many strips as you have shrimp. Do not trim off the fat. Wrap each shrimp with a prosciutto strip, leaving the tail exposed.
Set up smoker following manufacturer’s instructions. Place 2 tablespoons of the desired wood chips in center of pan, or as directed in instructions. Place the try directly on top of the wood chips, and then place rack on top of tray.
Line up shrimp on rack in an orderly fashion. Close smoker and turn heat to medium, or follow manufacturer’s directions. Set the timer for 12 minutes.
Turn off heat when timer goes off. Wearing oven mitts, open smoker, lift shrimp from smoker with tongs and arrange on platter. Serve at once.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 232 calories, 40 percent of calories from fat, 17 grams protein, 1.5 grams carbohydrates,10.1 grams fat (3.1 grams saturated), 95 milligrams cholesterol, 998 milligrams sodium, 0.2 grams fiber.
Yield: 6 appetizer servings.