I participate in the Sizzle On The Grill Forum run by Char-Broil. One of my favorite Char-Broil products is the Big Easy Smoker Roaster Grill because of the cooking versatility. One of the discussions on the more interesting uses I've seen for SRG was for dutch oven cooking. In most cases the dutch oven is inserted all the way into the SRG. My first thought was how un-viable of a process this was. It takes only a few pieces of charcoal to heat a dutch oven and my fear was that it would be take a great deal of propane to to keep the dutch oven up to temp. I was wrong... My son wanted some Jambalaya for dinner this past weekend so I thought I would give the dutch oven/SRG combination a try. Although I was really hoping it would work, I didn't think it would.
I’ve used my 14 inch dutch oven and it fit perfectly right in the top of the SRG. My fear was that it would take a long time to actually heat the dutch oven up to a temperature where I could actually start to cook. I was surprised at how fast it did get up to cooking temperature.
The SRG works through infrared science. There is a propane fired heat source at the bottom of the chamber which heats up in between the inner chamber and the outer casing. The process works fantastic for cooking meats, I knew that, but it also works heating up cast iron. Works like a charm.
Since I don’t have a dutch oven “table” the SRG allowed me to cook without having to keep bending down to tend the Jambalaya. My knees aren’t as young as they used to be and being able to cook with the dutch oven at almost waist high was a great advantage.
The andouille sausage, pork sausage and bacon were the first things to hit the pan along with 1/4 cup of home rendered pork fat, courtesy of my good friend Rob over at Into The Flames. Once the sausage and bacon were rendered and browned I added the chicken. When the chicken was browned the bell pepper, celery and onions were added. The smell was simply fantastic. There is no other way to describe it.
Once all the meat and veggies have been cooked it was time to add the tomatoes, chicken broth and rice to the mixture. By this point in the cook I was beginning to sense a successful meal.
I used a recipe from My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh. (I cut the recipe in half) One of the great techniques I learned from this recipe was how to cook the shrimp to perfection. Once the rice was done I removed it from the heat, stirred in the raw shrimp and put the lid back on. After waiting 10 minutes we were ready to eat.
If you are at all interested in “New Orleans” cuisine then the John Besh cookbook is a must for your library. It’s full of great recipes and stories about growing up in New Orleans. The jambalaya recipe was the best I’ve ever eaten. Get the book and give it a try.
Shrimp, Chicken, and Andouille Jambalaya
By John Besh
- 2 pounds bacon, diced
- 3 pounds andouille sausage, diced
- 1/2 cup lard
- 2 pounds fresh pork sausage, removed from casings
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large onions, diced
- 4 bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 10 stalks celery, diced
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 9 cups converted Louisiana white rice
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons pimention de la Vera or smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 6 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 5 pounds Louisiana white shrimp or other wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 bunches green onions, chopped
(BBQ Grail Note: The directions for the recipes in the cookbook are the best part. Not only does Chef Besh provide you with detailed instructions but he also spells out the timing of doing the cooking. He also explains the WHY of the cooking process. Something very, very helpful and educational)
First, you’ll need to heat a very large pot 3-5 gallons) over high heat until it is hot, then reduce the heat to moderate. This will allow the heat to be uniform all over, preventing those little hot spots that are likely to burn.
Render the bacon with the sausages and the lard in the hot pot, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon or a spade. While the pork is rendering, go ahead and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot, stirring, and cook until the chicken becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes.
After the chicken as browned, add the onions to the pot and all them to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Continue stirring from time to time so that everything in the pot cooks evenly.
Next add the rice, thyme, bay leaves, pimention, cayenne, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoons black pepper, and the celery salt to the pot and cook, stirring often for 3 minutes.
Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot, Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat do medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the rice is cooking in the covered pot, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and save them, along with the green onions, to be added at the last minutes.
After the rice as simmered for 15 minutes, go ahead and remove the lid from the pot and fold int he shrimp and green onions. Turn off the heat and let everything continue to to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the jambalaya and serve.