Adding Smokey Flavor

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Hello everyone, 

New poster here but I've been a reader for some time.

I recently made a pot of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo which came out absolutely delicious.  One thing I wanted to do different was to incorporate more of a smokey flavor than is provided by the Andouille and Kielbasa sausage.  So this time, I actually smoked 2 chickens that I quartered for about 1 hour (not fully cooked), then used them to create my stock.  I pulled off all of the meat discarding the skin and bones; shredded and later added to the gumbo. 

Obviously, this added a LOT of time and effort to making this dish.  So my question(s) are: Is this an appropriate way to go about adding a smokey flavor?   Is there a different way to accomplish the same thing in a shorter amount of time.  (or less work).  Of course I thought of using liquid smoke but haven't tried it yet.  I'm open to opinions on that too. 

I'm not sure why but using liquid smoke just doesn't sit well with me.  Seems fake.

Thoughts?
 
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Using a dark roux would help, and if you have a smoker maybe try thinly slicing your trinity (Bell pepper, celery and onions) and smoking them might help although it is not going to cut down on time or effort. Maybe smoking the chicken skinless as alot of smoke tends to stay on the skin. I haven't tried any of this so its totally theoretical.
 
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Liquid smoke is not evil.  I use smoked salt and smoked paprika to give it that flavor and sometimes Stubbs liquid smoke.
 

phatch

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Smoked salt, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, smoke powder, (dehydrated liquid smoke essentially). 

George Hirsch would routinely use pre-grilled vegetables in his cooking. For gumbo think onion, grilled (roasted) peppers, garlic (whole heads, as in roasted garlic technique, but picking up smoke flavors.  Celery doesn't take as well to this.  Basically cut your onion in thick ring sections. Skewer to hold together. Brush with oil. Grill.  Chill/freeze for later use. Chop when cool to sizes you'll use. 

Some barbecue sauce isn't wholly out of place in the sauce, but use LIGHTLY.

Hirsch had one of the first dedicated grill cooking programs on PBS. Haven't seen those in a long time now.  Maybe Create channel has them now? 
 
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What kind of kielbasa are you using? The kielbasa I get at my local polish market is extremely smoky and does the trick.
 
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You can also smoke your flour. This may give you a more balanced smoke flavor throughout the Gumbo........Shit! Now I want Gumbo.....
 
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I smoke bacon skin on.  As soon as it is cool enough to handle, I take the skin off and cut it up.  This goes into the freezer.  Any time I want some smoke, I just throw the skin into the pot, much like you would use smoked hamhocks

Also starting the dish with bacon fat would do it
 
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    There are no rules for gumbo...you use what is on hand and you use the techniques at hand,  That said...my favorite type of andouille is the type you'll find in LaPlace Louisiana.  It's simply a properly made hot pork link heavily smoked.  We usually make our own.  Are you buying prepackaged Kielbasa or andouille?  If you are...stop. Look for the various smoked sausages in the deli section.  If one grocery store doesn't have anything try to find another that does.

    For gumbo, or other dishes, I'll usually use a smoked hock for flavor and smoke.  But don't overlook saving some of those left over ribs, or shoulder to use later as an ingredient rather than a meal.

Dan
 
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Thanks for all of the suggestions.  I thought about cooking down my holy trinity on the grill or smoker but that really doesn't buy me much in the time saving department. BUT...I never thought about smoking flour.  

ChefBillyB, how would I do that?  Spread flour out onto a pan and put it on the smoker? I guess stirring occasionally?  Then... can that be stored in an air tight container?  And if so, how long would you recommend?  I'm curious what effect that would have on my roux?  (both color and taste). 

I can see having smoked flour on hand being a big time saver.  (if thats possible)  I would think because of the amount of combined surface area of the flour, it would really pick up a tremendous amount of the smokey flavor.  (maybe too much)  I can see that being similar to what phatch suggested.  Smoked salt or paprika.  I never heard of smoked powder;  heard of smokeless powder for gun ammo! :).  

As far as the sausage goes, I'm using store bought prepackaged, Eckrich Polska Kielbasa and Veron Andouille.  I love the Kielbasa and it is smoked but neither is enough for my taste.  

Not trying to overdue the smokey flavor.  Smoking the chicken worked really well.  Just a lot of work.

BTW... I made a chocolate colored roux with this pot; darker than milk chocolate but not as dark as dark chocolate .... or as my Uncle would say...  a 2 beer roux!

Thanks for the suggestions
 
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WDC, your uncle knows, a two beer roux is spot on. The flour would go on a 1/2 sheet pan so it lets the smoke hit more of the surface area. I'm not sure about the shelf life but it should work out fine in the Roux. I could also bet no one else is doing it. That will make your Gumbo even more unique..........
 
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Adding a smoked turkey leg or wing does wonders. I also love liquid smoke, add it to barbecue sauce too, if you research how it's made it won't disturb you. Essentially smokey water.
 
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Coarse chop some onions, carrots, and celery. Use skins, peels ,leaves, root ends, the whole bit. Smoke the vegies. Then use the vegies to make a stock. Strain the cooked vegies out and throw away. Reduce the saved broth by ten. Freeze in ice cube trays. When frozen, put the cubes together in a ziplock bag for easy storage. Now you have your own liquid smoke to add to stocks etc.. Initially takes a bit of time but not much labor. Just reap the rewards in future cooking.
 
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Smoked onions, used to do sacks and sacks of smoked onions. Smoked onion soup, smoky flavour in stews. Whole lot better than something out of a bottle....
 
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I wouldn't think the Kielbasa is bringing any smoke flavor to the Gumbo. The Andouille sausage is bringing great flavor but again not much smoke. Lots of good ideas from all the posters. Why not smoke the whole pot of gumbo? They smoke BBQ beans in a smoker. I would just put the gumbo in a 2" or 4" hotel pan depending on how much you make. This way you cover more surface area of the Gumbo.
 
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If I were to look at adding smoke flavor... I'd look for triple or double smoked bacon. I'm not so keen on liquid smoke, but it's just because I had a bad experience with it as a younger cook.
 
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Curious how many other Cajuns Cheftalk has, can y'all chime in? It's a thread about our most basic comfort food [emoji]10084[/emoji]️ There was a poster named Twyst who actually went to my elementary school!
 
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As far as the sausage goes, I'm using store bought prepackaged, Eckrich Polska Kielbasa
I am not a fan of Eckrich sausage products...way too greasy and the grind brings to mind bologna (but that is just IMO ;-).

If you are ever in the Lafayette area drop by Don's Meats.

Their many choices of house made sausages and boudin cannot be beat (again IMO)  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif.

It used to be a regular stopping point on the way home from NOLA....

mimi
 
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I am not a fan of Eckrich sausage products...way too greasy and the grind brings to mind bologna (but that is just IMO ;-).

If you are ever in the Lafayette area drop by Don's Meats.

Their many choices of house made sausages and boudin cannot be beat (again IMO)  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif.

It used to be a regular stopping point on the way home from NOLA....

mimi
Flip, your right! If you can't find the best sausage in Nola there no more hope for the world. When I make my sausage I don'y want it emulsified I want to see the fat, meat and spices. This way when I fry the sausage all the flavors combine with a burst with every bite. This is what mine looks like........

 
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So to be perfectly honest, I never tasted or knew what Kielbasa sausage was until I bought it accidentally at the grocery once.  I loved the taste though. There are a couple of specialty meat shops around here and they all have good andouille sausage, boudin, pickle meat, etc but I don't ever recall seeing kielbasa locally.  

What exactly is different about it? Just flavor?  What's the origin of Kielbasa.

Lauren lulu... we could probably answer your question pretty quickly by just finding out who on this forum knows what pickle meat is. (without google!)

I lived in Houston for 4 years after the storm.  Thought nothing when I asked the butcher at the HEB.. where's your pickle meat!  You should have see the look he gave me!  ...and it wasn't just him, there was about 4-5 other ppl around and looked at me like I was crazy. (or a pervert!)  Thanks to one lady who was also from N.O. knew what I was talking about and approached me laughing and saying "no no no honey... there's no pickle meat around here.  You don't live in N.O. anymore!"  

4 years after that, I saw pickle meat at that same HEB before we left to move back home.  I guess enough ppl asked.

ChefBillyB, that looks down right delicious!!
 
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