I always used to smoke meats (including fish) without any wet preparation at all. These days I'm trying different marinades for different smoke/meat combinations. The best one I've found so far is an aromatic brine for smoking salmon over sassafras or hickory. (I used this at the Madison hotluck.) Make a salt water brine, then add freshly (perhaps coarsely) ground coriander and black pepper. Of course you can add in any ground pepper you like, and I haven't experimented around yet. It could be nice to have a hab-infused brine, or maybe something subtle and darker like ancho.
Something else you might try is an orange-hab combination for brushing while grilling. I made a hab sauce from some Savinas that James the Elder gave me, and part of that batch was changed into a sweet Asian-style sauce. You could imitate it pretty easily if you combine equal parts of a full-strength red hab sauce and some orange marmalade, then add some garlic. The marmalade melts when you heat it moderately, and the texture becomes more easily workable. You get a sugary glazing sauce whose chunkiness depends on the kind of marmalade you used.
Too stormy last night for grilling, so I was in the kitchen getting red spots on my shirt. I made a batch of chili starting with one entire package of dried California peppers. I simmered them and ran them through the processor, and I got an amazingly rich dark red sauce.
From: Alex Silbajoris
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