This is how you make an epic backyard spread with all Indigenous ingredients

Chef Bill Alexander whips up delicious dishes to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Published June 19, 2020 1:59 p.m. EST
Last Updated June 23, 2020 7:41 a.m. EST
June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day, and there's no better way to celebrate than with some delicious food. Gather your family in your backyard and cook up some of these mouthwatering recipes, all made with Indigenous ingredients, courtesy of chef Bill Alexander. Most of these tasty dishes use a smoker, but if you don't have one, that's okay! Chef Alexander outlined some alternative smoking methods for people with an oven, or a BBQ.Check out Chef Alexander's recipes and tips below, and watch the video above for more!

Smoked pheasant with wild mushroom and sweet grass sauce

Smoked sweet corn and bison bacon pudding

Smoked blueberry and mint duck breasts with grilled balsamic romaine hearts


Oven smoking

  1. The first step to smoking in an oven is really wet soaked wood chips. Submerge your hickory, mesquite, or whatever flavor chips in water for one to two hours. Once soaked, drain your wood chips through a colander, reserving some of the chip water in a container.
  2. Now you’re ready to cook so preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. First, so you don’t burn yourself adjust your oven rack so that it is one notch below the middle notch and closer to the bottom of the oven.
  3. Using a metal pan, (preferably aluminum) place the soaked wood chips at the bottom of the pan, making sure some of the water creates a film at the bottom along with the chips. Be careful to only line the bottom of the pan and not stack the chips in layers as it will produce too much smoke. The right amount of wet wood chips will ensure there is an appropriate amount of smoke.
  4. Over the wood chips place a raised metal baking rack. Make sure there is enough space between the chips and bottom of the rack for the smoke to flow freely.
  5. Now you’re ready to place the protein onto the baking rack. The protein should be placed directly over the wood chips. When you put the meat on the rack, make a nice tent of aluminum foil that seals the roasting pan on all sides and has room in the top for the smoke to circulate. The more tightly the foil is sealed, the more the wood flavor will penetrate the meat.
  6. Place the aluminum pan in the oven and let the meat cook. Depending on the amount and type of protein you’re smoking, let it slow cook for three to six hours. During the smoking process, the water may become absorbed, drying out your chips and conversely your Protein. Pour some of your reserved chip water in, rewetting the chips and re-creating the film of water at the bottom.
  7. Once you’re nearing completion time, check the internal temperature of your protein according to your favorite cooking guide to determine readiness. Pull the protein out of the oven, slice (or gouge) to your liking, and enjoy all that smokey goodness.

BBQ Smoking Gas Grill

  1. Grab some aluminum foil. Tear off two large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil and layer them flat on your work surface.
  2. Make the pouch. Place two cups of dry wood chips on the center of your foil. Fold up each long side and crimp to secure. Then roll up the ends to make a sealed wood chip pouch.
  3. Poke holes in the pouch. Poke holes in the top of your pouch to allow the heat from the fire to singe the wood chips inside the pouch and make some gorgeous smoke that will be released through the holes and add a delicious smoke flavor to your food.
  4. Add the pouch to your grill. Take off one of your grates on your gas grill and nestle your pouch right over one of your burners. Replace the grates, and you’re ready to go.
  5. Fire up the grill! Turn on your burner on your gas grill. If you’re aiming for a temperature of 180-275 degrees F, you’ll likely only need to turn on one burner. This will heat the pouch, circulate the smoke through the grill, and it should provide enough heat to get your grill to a perfect smoking temperature.
  6. Cook your food. Place your food on the opposite side of the grill from the smoking pouch, close the lid, and use the dome thermometer on your grill to monitor the temperature. Turn on additional burners as needed to maintain your desired smoking temperature (this is often around 225 to 250 degrees).
  7. Keep an eye on your grill and your smoke packet. It’s going to take about 45 minutes to burn through all of your wood pellets in the pouch, so have extras on hand when the first one burns through. Continue to cook and smoke your food until it reaches your desired internal temperature/doneness.
  8. If you do not feel like going through continual tinfoil, you can purchase smoking tubes attachments that sit inside your grill and you just refill the wood chips. You can get efficient models for approx. $30
  9. You can also create the smoked flavor without heat by using liquid smoke, but this require some diligence due to the potency of the product and cannot be directly consumed. Effective for smoked flavor but least effective compared to other methods.
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