Smoke Stacked Lite-enin' (with Beer Cheese Soup)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 30 min (includes curing and resting times)
  • Active: 1 hr 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Smoked Pork Tenderloin:

3 tablespoons paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound) 

Beer Cheese Squash Soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced small (about 3/4 cup) 

4 cloves garlic, sliced 

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

12 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups diced) 

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock, plus more as needed 

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/2 cup beer, preferably one with hop flavor 

1/2 cup low-fat half-and-half 

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar (about 2 ounces)

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat jalapeno Jack cheese (about 2 ounces)


2 cups shredded cabbage (from a 5-ounce wedge of cabbage)

1 carrot grated (about 1/3 cup) 

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives 

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

1 teaspoon celery seeds 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper 


Four 6-inch Cuban rolls, sliced in half and some of the bread scooped out of the top half

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, for brushing inside and outside of bread

8 teaspoons yellow mustard

4 slices bacon, cooked  

4 slices lean deli ham (1 1/4 ounces per slice) 

8 dill pickle slices 

8 teaspoons shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar, for serving


Special equipment:
a smoker (the stand-alone or grill-top variety) and 2 cups pecan wood chips soaked in water for 20 minutes
  1. For the pork tenderloin: Combine the paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 6 months.
  2. Clean the pork tenderloin of any silverskin or tough membranes with a sharp paring knife. Rub the tenderloin well with 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature or up to overnight in the fridge.
  3. Set up a smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions with 2 cups soaked pecan chips (either directly on the coals or in a smoke box) and preheat to a medium-low, about 265 degrees F. Add the pork and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F, about 1 hour. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then slice into thin slices.
  4. For the beer cheese squash soup: Heat a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until soft but no color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock, bring to boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes. Let cool slightly, then carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to puree. Return the soup to the pot, add the beer, half-and-half, nutmeg and remaining salt. Stir in the Cheddar and jalapeno Jack until melted.
  5. For the coleslaw: Mix the cabbage and carrot in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, chives, red wine vinegar, celery seeds, salt and black pepper. Toss with the grated vegetables. Set aside.
  6. For the sandwich: Preheat a cast-iron griddle over medium heat.
  7. To assemble: Lightly brush the inside of a roll on the top and bottom with some softened butter. Cook cut-side down on the griddle over medium heat until toasted, about 3 minutes. Spread 2 teaspoons mustard on the bottom piece. Add 2 ounces sliced smoked pork, 1 slice bacon, 1 slice ham, 2 dill pickle slices and 1/2 cup coleslaw. Add the top bun.
  8. Brush the top and bottom of the bun lightly with some softened butter, add the sandwich to the griddle, pressing to flatten with a spatula or another cast-iron pan, and cook until crisp and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat to a cutting board. Repeat to form 4 sandwiches total.
  9. Ladle 1/4 cup beer cheese squash soup into 4 small ramekins. Garnish each with 2 teaspoons Cheddar and serve hot on the side with the sandwiches for dipping. 
  10. Reserve the remaining soup and pork tenderloin for another use.