Author Archives: Charlie Copeland

Louisiana Gumbo

Fall is here and it is gumbo season! This recipe will serve 8-10 but I make the same amount whether I’m serving myself or the whole family. It’s amazing the next day and it freezes great.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 flour

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

20oz diced tomatoes

1.5 lbs okra, fresh or frozen

8 cups hot water

3.5 tbsp salt

1 tsp crushed red pepper

.25 tsp dried thyme

2 bay leaves

10 allspice berries

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces

1.5 lbs andouille sausage, sliced and cooked separate to reduce oil

1.5 lbs peeled/deveined shrimp

I aim for 5 lbs of meat in this gumbo but you can change the proportions all you want. I’ve added crawfish and crab in place of shrimp. I’ve done it with just chicken and sausage. Add what you want. It’s hard to go wrong.

1/2 cup green onions

Time for the roux. I like to go for a caramel colored roux with gumbo. Some people go darker but I just think that fits more with ettouffee or other dishes. Heat your oil in a heavy pot. Add your flour and stir over low heat until you get the color you want. Be careful not to burn it or you will have to start over. Getting the roux your looking for will take 30 to 90 minutes depending on how dark you want it. Just keep stirring!

Once you get your roux where you want it, add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are transparent. Add the diced tomatoes and cook on low heat until oil rises to the top stirring frequently.

While that is happening, fry your okra over high heat. Keep stirring until the okra is no longer stringy. Add the okra to the pot and continue to simmer for 15 minutes and you stir.

Add the water, salt and red pepper and simmer with a loose lid for 45 minutes. Add your chicken, sausage and remaining seasonings and simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken is about done. Add your shrimp and let simmer for 10 more minutes.

Taste and add seasoning until you get what you’re looking for. Serve over rice or potato salad (Try It) and top with some green onions. I also hit my bowl hard with some hot sauce.

Grilled Pork Chops

Pork chops are a solid comfort food for me. I mostly had them pan fried and finished in the oven growing up, but my preferred method is just the simple grilled pork chop.

I don’t always use a binder with pork chops but the Spicy Ground Mustard from Duke’s pairs amazingly with The Gospel from I usually let them season at least 2 hrs and pull them from the fridge 30 minutes before a start the cook.

You can do the entire cook on indirect or direct heat but I’m a fan of doing a two zone cook here. Once I get the hot zone up to 400, grill both sides of the chops for 3 minutes each. This will give you that great char you are looking for. Once you get both sides, you can move the chops to the indirect heat side. Thick (1 1/2-2 inch) chops will take about 16 minutes of total cook time to get to 145, but don’t worry about the time. You’re aiming for that temp. Pull them off at 145 and give them a 5 minute rest before you tear into them. Enjoy!

Smoked Turkey Legs

My boy Bodhi is a chicken leg connoisseur and I decided to up the game for him this weekend with some turkey legs.

Brining you turkey legs isn’t required but they turn out so much better if you do. I use a very simple brine for my legs. Just 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup of sugar, ¼ cup of salt and pepper mix, and 2-3 bay leaves. Add some water to make sure the legs are covered and put in the fridge for at least 8 hrs.

I then pull them out and place on a drying rack. The next step is to dry them off with a paper towel and then I spray them with some olive oil. This helps get that skin to pop when you bite into it. I like to use a sweeter rub with turkey legs and the Sweet Mash from is perfect.

While those are sitting, I get my smoker fired up to 250. I used cherry wood for these legs but pecan is also a solid choice. Once you get your smoker to temp, just drop them on. After about 1 1/2 hrs your temp should be around 160. Sometimes you get the big turkey legs and this number is closer to 2 hrs, but 160 temp is what you’re looking for. Hit them with whatever sauce you want to use. I went with the Sweet N Tangy sauce from a local place Let them go for about 8 minutes and then flip them over a sauce the other side. You should have about 30 more minutes before you hit your target temp of 175.

Let rest for 5 and then enjoy.

Smoked Pepper Corn Dip

Had to throw together a dip for a party this weekend and this simple corn dip was a hit. I had some time before the party, so decided to smoke the peppers separately before tossing them in the mix. I used cherry wood and smoked the peppers (jalapeno, habanero, poblano and serrano) at 180 for 5 hrs. I wasn’t looking to make it overly spicy for this party but there are so many pepper varieties you could go with on this.

After the peppers smoked for a bit, I took them off and set the smoker to 250. While the smoker was heating up I added the following to a pan.

3 drained cans of corn

2 blocks of cream cheese

1 bag of pepper jack cheese

The chopped smoked peppers

Top with taco or fajita seasoning. (I used the Tex-Mex from Hardcore Carnivore)

Place in the smoker for 1 hour, stirring 30 minutes in.

Alabama White Sauce

Made famous by Bob Gibon’s Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL, Alabama White Souce is great on chicken and pretty much anything else I’ve put it on. Ivory and Duke’s make some decent ones that you can get in many stores but I love making my own.

1 cup of Duke’s mayo

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp horseradish

1/2 tbsp brown mustard

1 tsp lemon juice

You can get creative with adding seasonings. I start with the below measurements but add more if i’m looking for more of a flavor. Have fun with it.

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

I like to use Mason jars. Makes it easy to mix and easy to store in the fridge. This sauce has a shelf life of 8-10 days but it’s never lasted that long in my house.

Sleeveless Days and Nights in Rodanthe

Loaded up the family and took the camper to Rodanthe last week. It was a solid trip filled with good eats and drinks. I put a butt on the smoker for Father’s Day but ate out plenty.

Hotdogs For Whining Kids

You’ve just spent all day drinking bourbon and perfectly smoking a B-E-A-UTIFUL brisket for dinner when you hear “Eww, I don’t want that”.  What do you do?  Force those little ungratefuls to eat brisket or do you fold and make them hotdogs.  It’s late and you don’t feel like fighting with them, so you grab 4 dogs, 3 buns and pour another drink.  Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

Smoked Beef Cheek Sandwiches

Beef Cheeks, gooiest stickiest meat you will ever smoke.  Perfect in tacos or sandwiches, beef cheeks are amazing and are super easy to prepare. Grab a couple of cheeks from your local butcher or grocery store if they carry them.  I wanted BBQ sandwiches, so I did a nice spicy beef rub.  Use what you want on them, they take in flavor amazingly.  Put them on the smoker at 250-275 and leave them alone until they hit 210.  You may think that sounds high but you’ll need that to break it down into the sticky mess it you want.  I smoked this batch with cherry but use your favorite wood.