I just got a smoker and I'm looking for inspiration. I'm pretty adventurous food-wise, so nothing is off-limits!
I just finished a smoked pork tenderloin with cracked pepper - chilled, thin sliced with cheddar and blue cheese on crackers - delicious.
Smoked fish for their own sake, and for smoked fish dip. I enjoy smoked amberjack, mullet, and marlin, but in your area (Toronto, I think) YFMV. Salmon, certainly.
And ya gotta smoke a pork shoulder for carnitas.
Cooking a pork shoulder/butt, whether for the aformentioned carnitas or just for pulled pork, is about the most foolproof thing to try, so it's a good thing to start with. Obviously ribs and brisket are other barbecue staples, as well as chicken, though a bit hotter and faster for chicken is often preferred.
Beyound that, a smoked chuck roast makes great shredded beef sandwiches. You already have suggestions for fish, and I second those. I made a great "twice-smoked" ham for Easter, all you need to start is an ordinary grocery store bone-in ham. a roll of pork sausage, simply unwrapped and cooked low and slow until done (known as a "fatty") is tasty and a bit different. Many like to add to that by flattening the sausage and adding cheese, peppers, other spices, etc, then rolling it up again before cooking. I have a friend who asks me to make a few plain fatties whenever I fire up the smoker, which she then crumbles and uses in dirty rice. A jalapeno or other hot pepper, cored out and filled with something - I like cream cheese, sausage and herbs - make for a great appetizer. I've done turkey, duck, goose, meatloaf... How's that for a start?
Great replies everyone, thanks! Reading them is giving me so many mouth-watering visions :) That's why I love this site, so much more informative, creative and social than just simple recipe postings.
I'm also anxious to experiment with different combinations of foods and woodchips too...
In addition to what has already been mentioned:
--meatloaf (it's the only way we make it now)
--chicken wings (finish on grill for crispy skin)
--shrimp (for shrimp cocktail)
--turkey breast (I brine in apple juice first)
--meatballs wrapped in bacon (great appetizer)
--jalapeno and sweet peppers (then used in homemade salsa)
Thanks for starting this thread. I need some new ideas for smoked food myself!
meatloaf sounds great- my oven is broken so I'm dearly missing anything that requires a baking time.
As for the type of smoker... I hesitate to admit it because it sounds so sketchy... it was found in a public park, where some people were using it as a barbeque. It's fairly weather-beaten but the structure is solid, no holes or serious wear and tear apart from some rust. Obviously it needs a good cleaning but I think once it's emptied out and hosed down (figuratively speaking) it'll purty up real good. It looks like this:
An offset piece like that will permit you to use it for not only smoking and direct grilling, but also (what I call at least) "grill roasting." It's basically just indirect grilling. You build a fire in the main chamber, off to the firebox side. The meat is placed on the opposite end. With practice, you will find yourself able to maintain temperatures from 350 to 425, pretty standard for roasting.
I like this technique for meatloaf, prime rib, chicken (whole or pieces), even lean cuts of pork. One advantage is a shorter cooking time than required for smoking. Others include a more mild smoke flavor, reduced fuel consumption, and not having to use the oven on a hot summer day.
I have one similar to your ahhh, borrowed one (hehe). Its going on its 12th year on my deck, but alas its the end of the road for her; big holes in the main chamber. One of my favorites is ribs: use your favorite rub and smoke for 3 hours @ 225F-250F. Wrap in foil and continue to cook (no smoke) at same temp for 3 hours (you can actually put them in your kitchen oven for this). Grill to finish. Favorite BBQ sauce is optional (I like to baste w/ Sweet Baby Ray then grill). You can "BBQ bake" a whole pork leg; build your fire in the offset and get the main chamber up to 350F or so, place in a whole leg, maintain fire for 4-5 hours until leg is up to temp. VERY tasty.