Peter Disclafani is a fearless chef who has been experimenting with a variety of culinary methods since age 13. He roasts, pickles, cures, and braises, but we love his smoking methods best. He’s been smoking trout, salmon, chicken, duck, pork shanks, and various veggies for 30 years now.
The smoker he uses—a stainless steel food warmer fixed with a gas burner—isn’t any more complicated than his process.
“Some of our favorite recipes are inspired by smoking experiments,” he says.
At Catskill Rose Lodging & Dining, Peter smokes onions for smoked onion mustard that pairs well with braised pork shanks, and he uses the onions again in his campfire potato soup.
Different foods call for different smoking treatments.For example, Peter brines fish lightly before smoking.
“You can do so many things with a brine or rub. Salt, honey—whatever accent flavor you prefer, the smoker helps preserve,” he says. “My goal is to add just a light smoky flavor, not to overwhelm the ingredients.”
Peter also experiments with the wood for the smoke. His favorites are apple wood, hickory, and oak. “In summer, fresh corncobs are great,” he says. “In fact, I throw cobs in the freezer to use year-round. You get a really sweet flavor from them.” Peter favors those cobs in his hot smoke process.
“Cold smoking is keeping the temperature in the 60-80 degree range; if you get up over 105-125, it’s hot smoking,” he says. “It’s not a long process, depending on the food. For example, trout or salmon will be done in two or three hours, whereas cold-smoking it would take six hours.”
Peter’s smoked duck has been on his menu since day one. He uses mostly apple wood and corn cob in the smoking process after glazing the duck with balsamic vinegar, tamari, and maple syrup. Then, he hot-smokes it for three hours.
“The meat is tender and juicy, and it is very different than cold smoking, which would give
it more of a ham taste,” he says. “Served up with Dijon mustard and cornichons, it is a must for charcuterie plates.” Complemented with a fruit sauce, Peter’s duck makes for an elegant dinner.
“It’s also great in spinach salad with Thai dressing, in quesadillas with gouda, [in] all manner of pasta dishes, and in hash topped with poached eggs and hollandaise for brunch,” he says. We asked Peter what makes his smoked duck such a hit.
“I think it’s just the richness of the duck that pairs together so nicely with smoke—two distinct flavors that complement each other,” he says.
want to try your hand at smoked foods?
Smokers—and designs for homemade ones using everything from barrels to large clay flower pots—are readily available online. The odds are that your first efforts may not be just like the smoked duck at Catskill Rose Lodging & Dining, but never fear—you can always order it at the restaurant or bring it home from Migliorelli’s Farm Stand in Mount Tremper for your own elegant dinner.
catskill rose lodging & dining
5355 Route 212, Mount Tremper