Cherry Smoked Turkey Drumsticks


Fall temperatures crept into middle Tennessee earlier this week, and greatly welcomed.  With the chill in the air comes the smell of hardwood in a smoker – in my world anyway.  I’m not a huge fan of turkey but I thought I’d try smoking some drumsticks since it’s a much shorter smoke time for a Friday afternoon/evening.

These 6 legs were about 3.5 lbs total.  I kept the dry rub simple so as to not overpower the flavor of the meat.

First, melt one stick of salted butter in a large bowl.  Now roll all the legs in the butter so they’re completely coated.  This helps to hold the dry rub and gives the skin a nice color and crispness when done.

Dry Rub: (Mix thouroughly in a bowl)

2 tsp kosher salt

2tsp fine ground pepper

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chipotle chili pepper

2 tsp paprika

With the drumsticks on a baking pan, sprinkle the dry rub evenly over all the drumsticks.  And, make sure the legs are at room temp, or close, before you put them on the smoker.

Smoker temp:  I held 250 – 275 degrees and it took a little over 2.5 hours, which included about 6 medium size pieces of cherry wood for the smoke.  I only turned them a couple times during the smoke and I used the remaining melted butter to brush on until I used it all.

Using an instant read thermometer, I pulled the drumsticks off when the internal meat temp was 165 degrees, (+/-) a couple degrees.  Afterward, I let them sit for 30 minutes before serving.

They were juicy with a nice smoke flavor and the chipotle provided the slightest bite on the finish.  A nice end to the work week.


Bacon & Beef Blend Burgers and BBQ Chicken Quarters

Meat sourced from:  Porter Road Butcher, East Nashville:  3 lbs (70% beef, 30% bacon) ground meat…

Burgers and Chicken (1 of 5)

Burgers and Chicken (2 of 5)

6 oz burgers, only added a little kosher salt and cracked black pepper to each…

Burgers and Chicken (3 of 5)

I use the bottom of a glass to compress the meat before grilling.  It helps to keep the burgers from touching the grill grate unevenly while cooking – as they plump up.  I cooked these burgers for 5 minutes on each side directly over the charcoal fire.  I cooked until the internal temp was about 135 – 140 degrees – lil red center.

The bacon in the burger mixture gives the burger a really good flavor, slightly noticeable smoke flavor.  They were really good and very juicy.  The only challenge during cooking was the fire flaring up due to fat dripping, not too bad though.  If you have a butcher shop where you buy products such as this, you should give the beef-bacon mixture a try.  A 70 beef, 30 bacon percentage should do the trick.

BBQ Chicken Quarters from Porter Road Butcher

Burgers and Chicken (4 of 5)

Seasoned the quarters with kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper and a touch of chipotle  chili pepper.  During the first hour of cooking I basted them with melted butter 2 or three times on the skin side mostly.  After the internal temp reached about 150 degrees, I started basting the bbq sauce on them.

Burgers and Chicken (5 of 5)

I use bbq sauce from the grocery and then I add honey and cayenne pepper to taste.  It adds a sweetness with a touch of heat on the finish.  #quitetasty

I smoked them with a couple pieces of cherry wood in the charcoal fire and cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees.  Paired all this with some sweet corn and oven-baked french fries.  Most excellent meal for a summer Saturday evening…  #summerwindcameblowingin, #oldblueeyes, #pandora

Goat Cheese Burger on Ciabatta w/ Bourbon Bacon Jam

Memorial Day cooking:  Goat Cheese Burger on Ciabatta w/ Bourbon Bacon Jam

Jam it up…

rwreeves_2016untitledBourbon Bacon Jam__1

Ingredients / Cooking Instructions:

1lb thick-cut applewood bacon (dice into 1″ pieces) – fry until crispy, drain off all bacon grease but save 1 Tbsp (pat the bacon dry and let cool)

1 med onion – chopped

4 cloves minced garlic

In a medium sauce pan, add the 1 Tbsp of bacon grease, the chopped onion and the minced garlic – cook on med-low heat until the onion is translucent

After the onion is translucent, add the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp of brown sugar (light or dark will work)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

After adding these ingredients, bring mixture to a boil.  Now add the diced bacon.  Stir the bacon into the mixture.  Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow the mixture to reduce for 90 minutes – only stirring infrequently.  The mixture will become sticky and thick.

After the reduction time, it’s time for the food processor.  Spray the inside of the processor with Pam.  Pour the jam mixture into the processor and pulse until you get the consistency you want.  I prefer “slightly” chunky.

…more to come regarding the goat-cheese-burger







Chardonnay & Red Pepper Flake Shrimp

Red Pepper Flake Shrimp (2 of 3)


24 oz Jumbo Shrimp (peeled, deveined, with tail on), rinse well in a strainer

  • 2 Tbsp EVOO, 2Tbsp Butter, 1 clove – minced garlic:  stir as butter melts over med-heat
  • Add shrimp to EVOO, butter & garlic mixture, stir until all shrimp are coated with mixture
  • Splash in about 1 tsp of lemon juice, or squeeze a couple lemon wedges over the shrimp
  • Sprinkle about 1 tsp of Natures Seasoning or to your taste
  • Less is more – sprinkle  about a 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes over the shrimp
  • Lastly, hit it with your pepper grinder – a little to taste
  • Over med-high heat, stir infrequently but turn all the shrimp as they cook, my cook time is about 7 – 9 minutes – – you’ll know they’re done as the color changes, don’t over cook

Red Pepper Flake Shrimp (1 of 3)

Red Pepper Flake Shrimp (3 of 3)

…that’s the shrimp color you’re looking for

Now, for the vino…  I seldom drink white wine but when I do, MER SOLEIL is go-to for me and Val.  It’s from the Wagner Family (Caymus, Meiomi, Belle Glos, et al.) and it’s an Unoaked Chard – more our style.  And, @ $19, it’s at a good price point – for me anyway.  It pairs well with the spiciness of the shrimp.  The Chard has nice floral notes and acidity with a hint of lemon/citrus.  It’s crisp with a nice finish.  Cheers!

un’Wined with a pour…