Homemade Beef Jerky and the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse

Homemade Beef JerkyLast weekend was awesome!  College football kicked off last weekend, and the NFL season kicks off this weekend.  I spent the better part of last Saturday watching college football…and I couldn’t have been happier!  In addition to having the game on, I also made a batch of Homemade Beef Jerky.  What better way to celebrate the return of tailgate season than with some tasty smoked meat?  I used Masterbuilt’s Digital Electric Smokehouse to smoke the jerky, and the entire process was incredibly easy.  Marinate the meat.  Put it into the racks in the smoker.  Shut the door.  Turn it on.  Sit back and watch the game while the meat smokes.  The only thing I had to do was occasionally load a new handful of wood chips into the smoker…which was easily done in about 30 seconds.  Talk about smoking made easy!

Masterbuilt Digital Electric SmokehouseIn breaking in the new smoker, I decided to go with a recipe from John McLemore’s latest book “Dadgum That’s Good, Too.” John wrote this book with the Masterbuilt smoker in mind, and a whole section of his recipes are dedicated to smoked foods.  As soon as I flipped to the Homemade Beef Jerky page, I knew what recipe I would be making…and I wasn’t disappointed at all!  After marinating the beef overnight, I loaded it into the smoker the next morning.  About 4 hours later, I was enjoying some delicious smoked jerky while watching the game.  (While I used a beef roast from the market, you could easily substitute in wild game like venison.  With hunting season approaching, I know some of my friends will be lining up to borrow this smoker so they can make their own tasty treats!)

Masterbuilt Digital Electric SmokehouseOne really cool feature of this smoker is the fact that it comes with a remote control.  That’s right, I can monitor the temperature and time remaining all from my sofa inside.  (I could even start and stop the entire smoker with the remote if I wanted to!)  I can imagine how handy this remote will be when I’m doing other things around the house or in the kitchen.

Masterbuilt Digital Electric SmokehouseAll in all, I found the Masterbuilt Smokehouse ingeniously designed and easy to use.  The grease trap and wood chip loader are both external to the unit, so once the door shuts, it can stay shut until your meat is done.  (If you’ve ever smoked meats before, you know how important it is to maintain a steady temperature inside the smoker.)  The controls on the smoker itself are simple to use, and the remote just makes it that much easier!

This smoker is a great addition to my grilling toolkit.  It’s large enough to be able to smoke a substantial amount of meat, but still small enough to be portable.  I foresee many more Autumn weekends of football and smoked meats in the near future.  I also noticed some recipes for smoked side dishes like peppers, onions, and even cabbage.  Now if only I could decide what meats to smoke during tomorrow’s games….and yes, I am already planning how to smoke my turkey for Thanksgiving this year!

"Dadgum That's Good, Too!" by John McLemoreClick here to learn more about the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse!  And be sure to follow Masterbuilt and John McLemore on Facebook and Pinterest, too.

Homemade Beef Jerky


  • 2 sirloin tip roasts (each about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 7.5oz cans of Coca-Cola
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt
  • Wood chips, soaked in water


  1. Slice roasts into 1/4" strips. (Freezing the roasts for about 30 minutes before slicing will make this easier.)
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, kosher salt, brown sugar, molasses, hot sauce, and onion powder. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat and stir. Cool to room temperature and add 1 can of Coca-Cola.
  3. Place strips of meat into glass casserole dish and pour marinade over each layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (If meat is not entirely covered with marinade, then turn meat at least once.)
  4. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry.
  5. Preheat smoker to 180F degrees. Fill water pan with remaining can of Coca-Cola, 1/2 cup water, and 2 Tbsp minced garlic. Sprinkle meat strips generously with Jane's Krazy salt and place meat directly on middle and top racks of smoker. Do not let strips touch.
  6. Smoke for 3.5 hours, adding soaked wood chips as necessary. Check for doneness: meat should be a dark color inside and out.
  7. Let cool. Store in a resealable bag in refrigerator or freeze up to 3 months.


Recipe courtesy John McLemore and "Dadgum That's Good, Too!"


Disclosure: Masterbuilt provided the Digital Electric Smokehouse and a copy of John McLemore’s book at no charge, but all opinions are my own.

Rustic Zucchini Stew

Make now and freeze for the winter!! Rustic Zucchini StewIt’s that time of the year again in upstate New York.  The backyard garden is working overtime, which means I’m looking for yummy ways to use loads of garden produce!  Just yesterday, I turned a basket of ripe blackberries into blackberry jam and a whole row of basil plants into pesto.  (Don’t worry…both of those recipes will be up on Spiced soon!)  Then I decided to turn my attention to zucchini.  Zucchini grow incredibly well in this area, and I often end up with way more than I can use.  One of my favorite zucchini recipes is simply to quarter them length-wise and throw them on the grill.  Just brush them lightly with an herb-oil mixture a couple of times while they are grilling, and bam…easy, delicious side dish!

Rustic Zucchini StewA neighbor recently told me that she always makes zucchini stew at this time of the summer and then freezes it to eat on cold, winter nights.  And I thought…hey, that’s a great idea!  So armed with this Rustic Zucchini Stew recipe, I set out to the garden to collect zucchini.  And collect I did!  (If you’ve ever grown zucchini, then you’ve probably had at least one or two grow way too big.  These monster zucchinis don’t have much taste, but they work great in this stew.)  The good news is this stew calls for about 3 lbs of zucchini (~4-5), so it wasn’t hard to use all of my zucchini.  I actually made a double batch of this stew: half went into the refrigerator for lunches for the rest of the week and half went into the freezer for easy January dinners.

Rustic Zucchini StewNot only is this stew incredibly tasty, but it is also quite healthy, too.  In fact, the only ingredient to watch out for is the Italian sausage, but there is only 1 lb of sausage in the entire stew.  (Does that mean I get to have an extra piece of chocolate cake for dessert when I eat this stew?  I think yes.)  I also thought it was strange that the stew didn’t call for any chicken or vegetable stock.  Little did I know how much liquid would come out of the zucchini once they cooked down!  I know it’s still summer and the last thing on your mind is cold, winter nights…but do yourself a favor and make a batch of this stew now.  Freeze it and forget about it until January.  Then wait until a particularly cold night to pull it out.  All of the delicious summer flavors in this stew will help you forget the cold…well, at least for a little while!

Rustic Zucchini Stew

Yield: 3.5 quarts


  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
  • 5 stalks celery, sliced on angle into 1/2" slices
  • 3 pounds zucchini (~4-5), cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 medium onion, medium diced
  • 2 (28 oz) cans tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 green peppers, cut into 1/2" pieces


  1. Using a large stock pot or dutch oven, brown the sausage. Once browned, drain the fat and add celery.
  2. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except for green peppers (zucchini, onions, tomatoes, salt, Italian seasoning, oregano, sugar, basil, and garlic powder). Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add green peppers, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Allow stew to cool before freezing in gallon-sized bags or containers.


Recipe courtesy of Joy Blanchet.


Homemade Blackberry Jam

EASY Homemade Blackberry JamNow that the weather is just starting to cool off, I’m really been craving toast and jam every morning for breakfast.  (Very few things can top a hot cup of coffee with a couple slices of tasty homemade bread + jam.)  I also have a blackberry bush in my backyard that is was loaded with fresh berries.  I hope you see where this is heading!  Yup, the next morning I was eating Homemade Blackberry Jam on my toast.  The recipe is incredibly easy, too…click here to check it out on Food Fanatic!  

And if you want to try your hand at homemade bread, I highly recommend this Homemade White Sandwich Bread.  Enjoy!

Food Fanatic

Easy Homemade Pretzel Rolls

Easy Homemade Pretzel RollsHas anyone else noticed that pretzel rolls seem to be all the rage lately?  It seems like every time I turn the television on, there is a new restaurant advertising their pretzel roll sandwich.  Wendy’s has the pretzel bacon cheeseburger.  Ruby Tuesday has 4 different burgers served on pretzel rolls.  Heck, even Dunkin’ Donuts jumped on the bandwagon with their pretzel roll roast beef sandwich.  While all of these options sound tasty, you actually don’t need to go out at all to have delicious pretzel rolls.  This Easy Homemade Pretzel Rolls recipe is done in about 2 hours.  Continue Reading »