Smoked Deviled Eggs
The final leg of our North Woods journey was unexpected but really fun. We headed deep into Yooper and Husky Territory of Michigan Tech University to ski the final marathon of the season: The Great Bear Chase. We drove for hours into the Upper Peninsula with only woods and rivers for company, then finally entered the canal valley and home to the thriving communities of Houghton and Hancock, the copper country of the Keweenah Peninsula of Lake Superior. Native Americans had mined copper in that area for thousands of years, then it grew into a booming mining center in the late 1800’s when Europeans learned of the abundant resources. These days tourism, outdoor activities and the colleges help keep the area robust.
Amazing stonework and architecture from the early years of mining and lumber, and fortunately urban renewal didn’t raze the many gorgeous historic structures.
Swedes, Finns, Italians and Welsh immigrants settled in this area to work the mines and shipyards. As celiac is a condition very common in the Finnish population we found that eating gluten free at restaurants was stress free and mighty delicious. A long way to go for gluten free dining, but it was awesome!
Skiing is big culture up in the Keweenah where annual snowfall averages 250 inches, and they take their trails and grooming equipment seriously. We arrived at the Swedetown Trails in Calumet to check out the race course and test skis and were warmly welcomed by the organizers and volunteers.
Race day came early (especially because we were now in Eastern Time Zone!). Scott lined up his skis for the skiathlon wave of the race then went off to test kick wax on his classic skis. A skiathlon race involves both kinds of skiing—the first half is generally classic or stride skiing, the second half is usually skate skiing. There are very few skiathlons in the U.S. so the lure of something different was too great to pass up.
These are skate skis and poles lined up for the 100 skiers who will enter from the outer edge, change skis, poles and sometimes boots, then leave from the center skating up the hill for the second 25k loop.
This was the first woman to arrive at the changing station. Some people were out of there in less than 70 seconds, others took a few minutes depending on if they changed boots or had trouble with various mechanical elements in the snow. One guy had to ski back down the hill because he had only switched one pole to the longer skate length and he still had one shorter classic pole–not an easy way to ski half a marathon.
Of course an announcer in the U.P. just hangs out for hours with no hat or gloves!
Eggs on the first day of Spring! Of course.
I’m always amazed at what you can smoke. Even 20-30 minutes of smoking anything (tofu, peppers, onions, butter, carrots, salt, even water) can add intoxicating scrumptiousness and depth to any dish. It’s probably in the umami category of flavors and brings to mind ancient fires, protein, warmth, and life. Or at least the smell is umami, if a smell can be umami. Whatever the category, it’s tasty.
Smoked Deviled Eggs (or Smoked Egg Salad)
Boil the Eggs
Bring water to a boil in a pot. When boiling, gently lower eggs into the water with a slotted spoon. Cook at a low boil for 12-15 minutes then immediately drain or remove eggs from the water and immerse in ice water. Crack the shells to let water in between the membrane and the shell, this will help the the peeling process. Peel the eggs and store covered in the refrigerator.
Smoke the Eggs
Soak 2-3 cups wood chips (pecan or apple would be good).
Prepare your grill to use indirect heat at a temperature around 250 degrees.
When ready, brush the grill with a little oil then set the peeled boiled eggs on the grill but not directly above the coals.
OR slice the eggs in half, remove the cooked yolk, then set the white-halves on the oiled grill.
Use the grill or smoker as you would for smoking anything else: add the drained wood chips to the coals or box and cover the grill. Smoke for 25-35 minutes.
Devil the Eggs
There are many versions of this picnic favorite, choose your own version or try this.
Mash or puree together:
Yolks from 6 eggs
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Prepared Mustard
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons Louisiana Hot Sauce
Dash of Cider Vinegar
Dash of Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
OR chop everything together and use this as a Smoked Eggs Salad.
If you prefer downhill skiing this hill is located a few minutes walking distance from downtown Hancock, right across the river from Houghton.
More ways to entertain yourself in snow country…