A few weeks ago I promised a column on cold smoking, with instructions courtesy of Brian Burley, King of the Backyard Smoker. As you may remember, Brian is a friend from work who smokes just about everything he and his wife Jane eat. Brian smokes chocolate candy; he smokes Mac and Cheese; he smokes candied bacon.
Lots of the people with whom I work have more than a passing interest in food. Thus, the recipe for this column is a marriage of Brian Burley’s cold smoking technique and Deb Alessi’s Scotch eggs.
Deb works with me at my “day job” in education at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is a creative cook who just returned from a trip to visit her son John, a budding paleontologist who is spending two years (at least) studying in Australia. John has learned to cook, mostly out of sheer necessity. He has also learned to prepare and eat what’s available, including kangaroo burgers.
Just before Deb left on her marathon trip (23 hours by air), she brought in and shared one of her children’s favorites — Scotch eggs. I had heard about them, but had never tried one. I enjoyed them. Deb and I talked about the eggs and one of us remarked, “Wouldn’t these be delicious smoked like all the food Brian does?”
We looked at each other, grinned at the same time, and decided to ask him what he thought of the idea. Brian knew I wanted to write about cold smoking and agreed to take some Scotch eggs home, smoke them, and bring them back for us to try.
Early on Monday morning I made six eggs from Deb’s recipe and brought them in for Brian to take home with him and cold smoke. He got the job done and brought them back to us on Tuesday. They were cold. They were a little soft on the outside. We tried one anyway. It was delicious! The relatively short time in the smoker had carried the flavor of Applewood throughout the egg without making the person eating the result cough smoke.
I took them home so I could heat one and have it for breakfast on Wednesday. It was even better after the outside crisped up and the egg inside was nice and warm. Cold smoked Scotch eggs are not fast food, but they’re worth every minute it took to bring them to the table.
I wonder how old I’d be if I lived until I’d tasted all the good foods there are. How does anybody get bored with food when there are so many good things untried? I hope you try these, learn the cold smoking technique, and expand it to something wonderful like Brian’s smoked chocolate candy.
To prepare and cook the eggs:
6 cold hard-boiled eggs
1 pound sage or regular sausage
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon flour
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
3 cups vegetable oil
Peel eggs and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat one egg. Set aside. In a medium bowl, place bread crumbs. Set aside. Place oil in a large saucepan and slowly bring to 300 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix the sausage and Worcestershire sauce; mix in sage. When well mixed, separate sausage mixture into six equal portions.
One at a time, flatten the portions of sausage in your hands. Carefully wrap each portion around a hard-boiled egg and roll gently in your hands to completely encase the egg.
Dip the balls into beaten egg — shake off excess. Roll in bread crumbs. Set aside until all eggs are prepared. By this time, the oil should be hot enough to brown a good size cube of bread in about 1 minute.
Place the eggs one by one in the hot oil and fry until they are deep golden brown. It took me about 3 minutes for each egg to be sure the sausage had cooked.
To cold smoke the eggs:
For cold smoking, use four chunks of wood either all Applewood, or up to 70 percent Applewood and 30 percent hickory. Cold smoke at 115 degrees or less. Use ice, not water in the bottom of your smoker; open the top vent all the way.
After smoke is rising, place the Scotch eggs on the grilling grid, cover and let it go for 45 minutes.
Eat right away or refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag. Remove from bag and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to serve.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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