Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spicy Smoked Corn Casserole

Oh, the excitement of a new smoker! Since our beloved stack type charcoal smoker bit the dust (ash?), I've had my eye on a Masterbuilt chest-type electric smoker. Amazon put the one I've lusted after on BIG sale (one day only) the Saturday before Father's Day...coincidence? I think not. 

Before I could give it a test run, Michigan beckoned. As I pulled out of the driveway, I glanced longingly behind at my yet-to-be-named smoky cutie and ahead at the prospect of time with those I love in Lansing. And hit the gas.

Not being the only family member with a yen for good BBQ, we all went to a favorite Q spot of Matt's called Meat Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine. What a find! We started with Pickle Fries that are long shoestrings of dill pickles, breaded and fried and served with a side of homemade remoulade for dipping. Not content with just ONE appetizer from Meat's oh-so-tempting menu, we shared a basket of nachos mounded high with pulled pork, house-smoked bacon and chopped brisket, then topped with cheese, one of their own BBQ sauces, sour cream, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and avocado. Transcendent. The nachos alone could have been a satisfying dinner and we only had a half order! 

Thank goodness we didn't stop with appetizers. The Meat platters came laden with perfectly moist, smoky brisket...sliced for me, chopped for Matt and Matthew's choice was the sweet n' smoky pulled pork. Mieke went with her favorite chopped brisket sandwich. Meat platters came with cornbread and 2 sides. And THAT is where I swooned. 

Nothing fancy at Meat Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine...that's a GOOD thing!           BBQ beans on the left, succulent brisket and Spicy Cream Corn on the top. 

Now, it's been a while since I've recreated a dish I was particularly taken with, but the Spicy Cream Corn left me wanting MORE! Note that it's not called "creamed" corn. No, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the loose, pale yellow, lumpy stuff from a can. This was CREAM corn. It had substance. It had heat. It. Was. Remarkable. So I came up with my very own version as soon as I got home.

What would go best with my version of Spicy Cream Corn? BBQ, of course. I loaded up the brand spanking new smoker with chicken...specifically 8 thighs, 3 breasts, 6 whole wings, 4 eggs (recommended by a BBQ'ing friend from Georgia - I'll be making deviled eggs with those!), and 5 ears of corn in the husk. Wouldn't smoked corn make the cream corn even better? It did!

Starting with smoky corn really made a difference in the finished dish. I decided to make the dish into a casserole (small individual cast iron skillets would make a wonderful presentation). For the heat (and creaminess) I used jalapeno cream cheese and a bit of chipotle powder; for color and flavor, sliced green onion and roasted red pepper; and for more smokiness, a "healthy" sprinkle of bacon crumbles across the surface. Nothing like reinforcing the smoke, right? 

Here you go...the recipe!

Spicy Smoked Corn Casserole

  • 4 ears smoked corn, approx 2 C of kernels (you don't have to use smoked can use fresh, frozen or canned corn if you wish!)
  • 4 oz. jalapeno cream cheese (1/2 of a tub) - if you want less heat, just use 2 oz. jalapeno and 2 oz. plain cream cheese. Don't want heat at all? Use all plain cream cheese.
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 green onion, sliced well into the green for color
  • 1/4 C roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 t salt
  • a hefty grinding of black pepper
  • 1/4 t chipotle powder (this makes it smokier and hotter - use less if you don't like HEAT, more if you like the heat sweats)
  • 2-3 T crisp, crumbled bacon
  • softened butter - enough to grease the inside of your casserole dish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 1 quart casserole dish (I used a cast iron oval casserole).

In a medium saucepan, add the cream cheese(s) and milk. Stir over low heat until smooth. Add the corn, green onions and red peppers, stir well. Add salt and pepper, chipotle powder and stir well again. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish, top with bacon crumbles and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until bubbling. Serve with damned good BBQ!

NOTE: Next time I'm smoking some jalapenos to go into the mix!

One last thing....

Well, it wasn't actually "last." A Meat Bloody Mary WITH BBQ sauce is what I started with!

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Sarah said...

LINDA! I have been searching all over the place for a recipe that attempts to recreate this exact dish! My husband and I had Meat BBQ cater our Lansing wedding a few months ago and my cousin cannot stop raving about the spicy cream corn. I offered to try to recreate it for our family Christmas and none of the recipes I found sounded quite right until I stumbled on this. I'm so excited to make it!

Dinner-Planit said...

Hey Sarah! First, much happiness to you and your new hubby! I'm happy to hear you like the sound of my interpretation of Meat's delicious side dish. Let me know how it works out for you!

Dinner-Planit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Hi Linda! I forgot to come back here and comment after I made the recipe the first time. It was delicious and got rave reviews at Christmas. I've made it several times since, including for a dinner party we are having tonight!! Thank you again :)