Bologna is a much-celebrated mystery meat in the south. Undeterred by calorie count and sodium intake, we enjoy a good – and let’s just spell it how we say it – baloney sandwich. But we particularly like our baloney sliced thick, and either fried or smoked.
Get off the interstate and travel down a country road. At most diners or mom-and-pop general stores, you’ll find some rendition of a fried or smoked baloney sandwich. It’s usually served on a plain hamburger bun with few embellishments. Perhaps some plain yellow mustard and a slice of onion. No need gilding the lily.
The application of heat and smoke elevates baloney to something ethereal. The interior becomes almost creamy – probably all the saturated fat just loosening up and having a party. We call it the Tennessee Tenderloin – the choicest cut of meat, whatever that mystery meat might be.
Many of my brethren smoke an entire log of baloney, called a chub, and then slice it. But King Daddy and I are empty nesters and we don’t need to be fooling with an entire chub of baloney. So I just buy thick slices of all-beef baloney at the deli counter and smoke them using one of the assortment of disposable wood packets and wood chip smoker boxes from Char-Broil® on my Premium TRU-Infrared™ grill by Char-Broil®
I will admit to this – I ate the prop after taking the photo without a single second of fear or regret. King Daddy polished off the other three sandwiches within the course of a single day. Yes, they’re that good.
With it’s great flavor and high fat content, this is a great project for first-time smokers, since the meat won’t dry out if you let it stay on the grill a little too long.
- ¼ cup chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 4 ½ -inch thick slices of all-beef bologna
- Yellow mustard
- 4 hamburger buns, buttered
- Sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia, sliced
- Special equipment: Wood chips or a Char-Broil® Smoker Box, a wire rack and an aluminum half pan
- Preheat your grill to high on one side, leaving the other side off for indirect cooking.
- Add the wood chips, if there is a smoker box as part of the grill, or put the Char-Broil® Smoker Box on the hot grate. Heat until the chips begin to smoke and then turn the grill down to medium low until it reaches 250-275°.
- Mix the chipotle chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar together.
- Make 1/4-inch cuts around each slice of bologna to prevent the slices from curling during the smoking process. Spread both sides of bologna slices with mustard and sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture (you won’t taste the mustard in the final product).
- Put the wire rack over the half pan and place the bologna slices on top. Place on the unlit side of the grill and smoke, with the lid down, for 90 minutes.
- Remove smoked bologna from the grill, turn the lit side up to high and grill the buttered sides of the buns until char marks form.
- Top the buns with a slice of smoked bologna, plain yellow mustard and sliced onion.
Feel free to substitute your favorite spice rub for the one in the recipe.
Use an oven thermometer on your grill to check the interior temperature.
I used Char-Broil® smoker chips for these sandwiches. Maple and any other wood but mesquite will work equally well. Mesquite is a very strongly flavored wood and will impart a bitterness to delicate meats.