This Thanksgiving, why not bring a little Southern flavor to the table with these recipes from John McLemore chef and author of the new cookbook "Dadgum, That's Good, Too!"
Governor Huckabee's Smoked Tenderloin
Serves 10 to 12
1 whole beef tenderloin (4 to 6 pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil to coat
Freshly cracked black peppercorns
Suggested wood: Apple or hickory
1. Remove the fat "chain," and all membrane and silver skin from tenderloin. (You can also ask your butcher to do this for you.)
2. Fold thin end of tenderloin under so thickness is even, then tie with butcher's string in 6 to 8 places.
3. Sprinkle tenderloin with kosher salt. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove plastic wrap and apply a thin coat of olive oil and sprinkle with freshly cracked black peppercorns.
4. Preheat smoker to 225°F to 250°F. Place tenderloin in smoker and smoke for 55 to 65 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 120°F to 125°F for rare to medium-rare or 130°F to 135°F for medium-rare to medium. Cooking times can vary a lot and this is an expensive piece of meat! Don't go by time - use a meat temperature probe and trust it more than the clock.
5. After tenderloin has smoked to desired temperature and doneness, an option worth doing is to sear tenderloin on all four sides. Place on a very hot grill for about 2 minutes per side. This will give the outside a slight caramelized crust. I know that most of the time with beef (such as steaks) you sear it first, then cook it. Do the opposite with the tenderloin - smoke it first and THEN sear it at the end.
6. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This is when you DO want to use the clock! Don't rush it! Let those dadgum good juices settle before you go slicing into it.
Smoked Mac and Cheese
1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 ounce Velveeta Cheese, grated
4 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 cups crushed cheese crackers
Suggested wood: Hickory
(It's not necessary to use wood chips if your smoker is well seasoned, and you would like a lighter smoke flavor.)
1. Preheat smoker to 275°F.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions, adding olive oil to the water before boiling to avoid sticking. Drain and rinse with warm water. Add Velveeta and Cheddar cheeses, sour cream, mayonnaise, onion powder and Cajun seasoning, and stir together well.
3. Place mixture in a greased 11- by 7-inch disposable aluminum foil pan, and top with crushed cheese crackers. Place in smoker and smoke for 1 hour. Remove from smoker and enjoy.
4. Add wood chips the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time (do not over smoke).
Smoked Sweet Potatoes
Serves 8 to 16
8 large sweet potatoes
2 1/3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil