This is almost certainly the best way to cook grouse.
So a while back I wrote about how to cook grouse best. I still stand by this, almost. For really special occasions, I think I may have found something better.
It all started at a party. Following a conversation with a friend about making smoked salmon, he asked “which foods can you smoke?” To which the answer is almost anything. (A while back, inspired by the North Fork Table & Inn in Long Island, I smoked some onions. Results were good, not as good as theirs! North Fork: Recipe please?)
His response was “I think smoked grouse would be really good,” so we talked, and one thing led to another and a date was set.
The first thing to do was take the breasts and legs of the grouse we were going to smoke. Easy. We didn’t use the legs that day, though there’s another interesting plan to make BBQ grouse legs (in the style of your traditional American ‘wings’). A story for another time.
Following that, we seasoned and seared the grouse to keep moisture in and start the cooking process. Next, we got the hot smoker going and put the grouse breasts in, hot smoking them over hay for c. 20 minutes. Because the smoker wasn’t getting as hot as we’d hoped (it was a windy day, not good for gas fired smoker outside) after 20 minutes, when we felt the grouse had enough smokey flavour we took them out and finished them off in a hot oven for 5 minutes. (Being hot smoked, they need to be cooked through – though still pink!).
The result was far better than anything we’d expected, and is certainly something we’ll try again. As I was leaving with my share of grouse, Robbie ran out with a chopping board and a huge grin and forced me to try some before I left. I drove home very smug!
Next time: cold smoked grouse…