Kielbasa Stuffed Cabbage

The Kansas City Barbecue Society’s Georgia State Championship is coming up in Dillard, GA this August 5. The General and TLW only cook two contests a year these days…down from 12 to 15 or more a year just a few short years ago. The Dillard contest is special to us since we won it in 1999. Its setting is in a beautiful part of the state near the North Carolina border.

Again this year we look forward to our participation in the contest! The main part of the contest includes chicken, ribs, pork butt and beef brisket, but Dillard plays host to three side contests including cabbage, grits and dessert…all native to the North Georgia region.

Our neighbor, Wild Bill, showed up at our door this weekend with his copy of the July/August edition of the AARP magazine. (Of course, we are tooo young to get this esteemed publication!) He was excited about it because it had a whole section on barbecue by our friend Steve Raichlen. And guess what? One of the recipes was stuffed cabbage with kielbasa roasted on the grill! We tried it last night with very satisfactory results.


Kielbasa Stuffed Cabbage

1 medium-size head of cabbage

3 T unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 oz. kielbasa (about 3 inches), cut into 1/4 inch dice

1/4 C of your favorite BBQ sauce

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory or pecan), soaked for an hour in cold water to cover, then drained

Crumple a 12 inch long piece of aluminum foil and shape it into a ring about three inches in diameter. Use this ring as a base to hold the cabbage upright while stuffing and cooking.

Set the cabbage on a cutting board on its crown. Cut out the core by angling your knife about 3 inches down toward the center of the cabbage and cutting in a circle about 3 inches in diameter. Pull out the core and discard it. The piece you’ve removed should look like a cone. Prop the cabbage upright on the aluminum-foil ring, cavity facing up.

Melt 2 T of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Brush a little melted butter (about 1/2 tablespoon) over the outside of the cabbage. Add the onion, garlic, and kielbasa to the skillet and cook over medium heat until lightly browned…3 to 5 minutes. Spoon the kielbasa mixture into the cavity of the cabbage. Pour the barbecue sauce on top and top with the remaining 1/2 T butter. Season the outside of the cabbage with salt and pepper.

Set up for indirect grilling. Place a large drip pan in the center of the grill with the coals ringing the outside.

When the coals are ashy grey, toss all the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Place the cabbage on its aluminum foil ring in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat and cover the grill.

Cook the cabbage until very tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours; when done, it will be easy to pierce with a skewer.

To serve, peel off any dried-out or charred outside leaves and discard. Present the cabbage on its ring to your guests, then cut in wedges and serve.

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