showcasing the diversity of products available for hot and cold smoking applications

Customized Smoking Wood Products Make a Difference with Equipment Efficiency and Taste

Why Not Build Your Own Wood-fired Ingredient Box?

I’m old enough to remember the days when the purchase of a new car was very limited in terms of customizing.  You didn’t get the opportunity to choose much more than the exterior color and even those choices were limited to a few!  Today, you can go online and literally build your own car from the type of engine and fuel it will use, to the color, texture, and material of your interior and everything in between.  This got me thinking about customizing when it comes to the wood-fired cooking experience.  Why should cooking woods be any different than the car industry?  Why not build your own wood-fired ingredient box when it comes to the smoking wood?

Since SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Productsinception, we have offered a level of customization to the user purchasing our products that has been unmatched by any other company.  We provide options that empower the user to combine various products as you would the ingredients to a homemade stew.

Why is this option of value and importance?

There are times that you need different products on hand to simply do specific functions.  For instance, Grande Sapore® Wood Chips are a means of bringing the temperature of some equipment up quickly.  Smokin’ Dust® provides for a sudden burst of smoke vapor due to its lower moisture level.  Double filet smoker wood chunks tend to be the ideal sizing to place on diffusers/flavor bars of LP grills and achieve smoke vapor around foods being cooked.

I think one of the primary reasons that smoking wood should have a level of customer choice is that most of us don’t own just one piece of equipment.  I think I’m safe to assume that all of us have a conventional stove top.  That gives the opportunity to do stove top smoking.  Many of us have the newer models of LP grills that allow for the placement of woods chunks and/or the use of wood chips.  Then there are those that have the conventional stove top, the LP grill, the charcoal grill, and a dedicated smoker.  Wouldn’t it be great to source all the products need for these different types of equipment from one supplier and even get the chance to purchase a combination of products for one price?

And the icing on the cake –  Now that’s customization at its best!!  That’s SmokinLicious®!

It’s time to make your wood-fired cooking experiences uniquely your own by starting with SmokinLicious® and our wide array of species and flavor options just waiting for your hand and imagination to take your wood-fired cooking memories to new heights!

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Dr Smoke- “Don’t limit your cooking experience to one product; mixing and matching can only enhance your culinary flavoring. That’s why we provide a very diverse product base.”

Descriptive guide for women maning the grill

Woman ‘Man’-ing the Grill- Tools are Essential

 

 

 

Part one of the Audio:

Part two of the the Audio:

It’s long been the equipment associated with the guys.  Perhaps it’s due to the primal start of cooking over live fire which initially was a man’s skill.  Hunt the animal and cook it on fire and hot coals.

Recently, the trend has begun to turn around in favor of more women grilling components of a meal on the grill.  In fact, it’s not just the traditional LP/gas grill but charcoal grills as well, as women take their new recipe and technique finds out of the traditional indoor kitchen and to the outdoors.

Just Because It’s Outside Doesn’t Change The Purpose

There is no question that outdoor grilling equipment has evolved into something of fantasy.  We now have choices beyond the standard LP, natural gas, charcoal, and electric grills.  Many brands are now featuring dual fuel cooking, meaning they may have gas or electric assist but use wood and/or charcoal for heat and flavor!

What does this mean for the ladies who want to do more outdoor cooking on the grill?

 Versatility!  It is so easy to cook an entire meal on the grill without it taking several hours or more.

Accessorize!

The key to ensuring that an entire meal can be cooked on the grill is to have the right tools and that includes some accessory items.  Let’s look at each recommended item and answer the question why it’s important to the woman’s full meal grill event.

#1 Grill Grate Accessories:

First up, the grill pan, grill basket or grill topper.  These are perfect for vegetables and fruits making it so easy to ensure that the food doesn’t stick to the grill grates and that every piece gets cooked evenly.  Plus, since many grills are now sold with a side burner, you can always steam or par boil tougher vegetables first, then transfer to the grill pan/basket/topper.  Or, use that side burner to make rice for a healthy starch side.  Don’t have a side burner on your grill or are using a charcoal grill?  Then buy a butane burner!  These are so inexpensive yet give you another cooking option to get everything ready at the same time.

#2 Easy Charcoal Lighting:

If you don’t know what a chimney starter is, time to learn.  The charcoal chimney starter is the best way to light a charcoal fire.  Although these traditionally use newspaper at the bottom (for ignition) and load charcoal chunks (can be briquettes or lump) into the body of the unit, I take a simple method of lighting my chimney.  I load with my favorite charcoal and use a butane torch under the unit to light – no newspaper needed.  This allows me to leave the butane on auto fire for a few minutes to ensure the lower coals are lit.  Simply pull the torch out, shake the chimney while wearing fire gloves, and return to a heat safe surface until the top coals turn white-gray.  Oh, and you can always light the chimney off that side burner too!

#3 Purchase 2 Thermometers

Stop guessing at when things are done!  You need to invest in 2 quality thermometers; one for the grill/smoker and one instant-read for the food.  Be sure the thermometers you invest in can take a reading in 5 seconds or less, have at least a 4-inch probe for thicker cuts of meat, and have cables that are durable (if you don’t go with a wireless), especially for equipment thermometers that are placed through venting holes or under lids.

#4 Silicone

Anything made from silicone will become a lifesaver at the grill.  Silicone pot handle covers, spatulas, heat resistant tongs – you get the idea.  This material can handle the high heat of grills so stock up on those items you’ll need and use the most.  Suggestions? Tongs, pot handle covers, spatulas, spoons, mat.

Diversify!

Grilling does not necessarily mean you must put all foods on the grill grates.  Use high heat cookware to help you out.  Think cast iron or high heat clay and enamels meant for the grill.  These are perfect for starting one pot wonders like legumes, pasta dishes, even sauces.  With a roomy enough grill, you can fit many different items – grill pan/basket, Dutch oven, and rib racks.  Don’t forget most grills come equipped with a lower and upper grill rack so more fragile items that need less heat can go to the top.  Here’s some tips on food to cooking equipment match:

Tip #1: Cast Iron and Charcoal

Cast iron is, without question, the best material for cooking directly in the coals.  Here’s a tip – if you have an outdoor fireplace or even a fire pit that uses wood, you can do this method of cooking by placing your cast iron skillet or Dutch oven directly in the coals.  Keep in mind, I said coals, not flame.  Coals have a very high BTU rating and can cook foods within cast iron as if they are in the oven.  Just be sure to pack the hot coals around the cast iron after placing the pan in the coal bed.  Perfect items to try: vegetable medley, roasted potato, curry dishes, au gratin dishes.

Tip #2: Cast Iron and LP/Gas Grill

Just like having the side burner on a grill, cast iron on the grill is like having an extra pot on the stove.  Cast iron comes in lots of sizes and cookware type: saucepan, skillet, Dutch oven.  Anything you would traditionally make in cookware on the stove can be done on the grill.  The key is to ensure that you have this on a section of the grill that isn’t set to “high”, as cast iron holds heat.

Tip #3: The Upper Grill Rack

Though small in overall size, the upper grill rack is designed for those fragile items or for items that require simple warming.  Think melting butter for vegetables, heating sauces, warming bread and rolls.  Use it!  It can be of great value to keep you from needing anything indoors.

Tip #4: The Rotisserie

If you have a grill with a rotisserie, use it!  Keep in mind, as that item turns on that rod, the meat or poultry renders some fantastic juices.  Catch them!  Put a high heat pan under the food item with some great vegetables and use the drippings to add superb flavor to the cooking process.

Flavor It Up!

Now, let’s be clear!  Unless you’ve invested in a dual fuel or hybrid grill, one that allows you to use charcoal and/or smoking wood, most standard LP grills are just that: grills not smokers.  If you don’t have a hybrid but want to get some smoking woods flavoring to your foods, then start thinking of adding charcoal and wood chunks!

Yes, you heard me right.  Wood Chunks vs. woodchips which was the product of choice for years with LP grills.

Why Smoking Wood Chunks?

Most grills today are designed with covers for the gas burners to diffuse the heat more evenly.  They go by a lot of names: heat distributors, flame tamers, heat plates, burner shields, flavorizer bars.  The addition to the traditional LP grill is the reason why you can use smoking wood chunks.  Simply place a few small wood chunks under the grill grate right on top of the heat diffuser.  Be sure you only put chunks on a burner you will ignite.  Replace the grill grate and you’re ready to go!  And, yes, you will get real wood smoke vapor to flavor whatever you’re cooking on the grill.  I promise!

Final Points

“Man”-ing the grill is no different than planning a meal in your conventional kitchen.  Pick out the components of the meal and decide what needs to cook where on the grill: directly on the grate, on the rotisserie, in cast iron, on the coals.  If doing a meat, be sure to marinate 6 hours or best, overnight, to ensure a moist outcome and to reduce cooking time.

Have everything prepped including the grilling tools you will need and this is a walk in the park for the woman that is use to planning daily meals for her family.  The best part, you can enjoy more of those great warm days and not sweat in the confines of the hot summer kitchen!

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Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- “Behind every good grill is a woman.”

Showing the technique on how to add wood chips over charcoal to enhance the flavor of any meat, fish, or vegetable being cooked

Adding grill wood chips to charcoal brings added flavor to any cooking category

The questions are quite frequent: “Since (the equipment) uses lump charcoal, do you need to add wood for smoke flavor?” “Do wood chips or chunks work best if they are needed or desired?”  “Generally, how much lump charcoal does equipment use for 10 hours of smoke?”

Learn What To Do

The intent today is to give you a comfort with cooking fuel woods.  That includes charwood, charcoal, smoking wood chunks, and charcoal wood chips in all shapes and sizes.  Know that all these products are made from wood – hardwood to be specific since you never want to cook with any other type.  But, differences do exist between products.

Product Differences

Although the products listed above have their beginnings as hardwood trees, there are some noted differences between the products.

Charcoals:  Yes, charcoal starts out as wood but not all charcoals are created equally.  There are 2 distinct types of charcoal: briquettes and lump hardwood.  The key difference?

Briquettes are not pure charcoal but rather a combination of charcoal, coal, starch used as a binder, sawdust, and sodium nitrate for ease of lighting.  And, yes, that means they are not a “natural, organic” product.  In fact, some brands are manufactured with lighter fluid as an ingredient.

Lump hardwood charcoal is 100% hardwood that is sourced from flooring, building material, saw mill, and furniture manufacturers as a scrap wood or bye product.  With the use of these materials, a great deal of variation in the size of the charcoal is generated which translates to variation in carbonization of the wood.  Often, there is more carbon ash in this type of charcoal but as a 100% wood product, it is viewed as a “natural” product.  Keep in mind, many lump hardwood charcoals cannot be sold as a single wood type charcoal due to the production from scrap and bye product woods, so “mixed” hardwood is the general product.

Charcoals do not produce smoke or flavor.  They are intended strictly for heat with the output level dependent on the brand.

Charwood: Often described as possessing the consistency of briquettes and the organic benefits of lump charcoal, charwood is a term reserved for those products that have a higher carbonization level which makes them much more efficient as a fuel source.

Smoking Wood Chunks & Smoking Wood Chips: These are pure hardwood that can be used for both heat and flavor.  The difficulty?  Moisture.  All hardwood contains water and, depending on the level, ease of lighting and ability to burn or combust will vary.  This is the primary reason why most people do not use only wood when cooking but a combination of charcoal and wood.  The bigger reason?  Wood is the flavor producer!

So now that you know charcoal is for heat and hardwood is for flavor, how to you use both together for perfection in outdoor cooking?

 If you have a piece of equipment that can use both charcoal and wood, you’re on your way to absolute fantastic flavor.

Tips For Combining Charcoal and Hardwood

  • When adding both charcoal and hardwood, be sure to include a water pan to the equipment as humidity increases the smoky flavoring, helps to tenderize meat by breaking down collagen, and can give a better meat yield
  • A little wood goes a long way in terms of flavor so put only a few pieces to start – you can always add more
  • If you intended to cook for a long time, say a muscle meat like pork shoulder, then it’s important to have unlit charcoal within the equipment so that the few pounds of lit charcoal will gradually ignite the unlit and maintain the cooking temperature
  • Just like the unlit charcoal, you can place wood pieces (just a few now) along the unlit charcoal path so flavor is also time released
  • If meat/poultry juice will drip directly into the charcoal area (you have no drip pan in place) then note that this will stimulate smoke vapor off the hot coals as drippings contain sugars, proteins, oils and the ingredients used directly on the food item, meaning you may not need to use as much wood for smoky flavors
  • The choice of smoking wood chunks or charcoal wood chips is total up to the cook – chunks will combust longer than charcoal chips but if you’re looking for faster combustion for smoke vapor, chips can fit that need
  • Select a hardwood with a moisture level of 20-25% for maximum flavor infusion
  • Amount of coals needed for the heat/temperature is dependent on the brand of charcoal, method of cooking, and equipment. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 lbs. available for a full day cook

 Now your armed with the basics on cooking fuels and why a combination of products often is the best choice!

Learn 10 Things To Consider Before Purchasing Wood For Cooking, Grilling & Smoking

As always, we’d love to start a conversation so leave a comment.

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Dr Smoke “A grill is just a grill until you add SmokinLicious® smoking wood chips.”

The sign is the entrance to the allegheny national forest which includes 513,175 acres or 801.8 square acres and includes the allegheny reservoir natural habitat

This Forest Covers 513,175 acres (801.8 square miles) and includes the Allegheny Reservoir Natural Habitat.

THE PRECIOUS FOREST

It is likely when you have your heart set on some wood-fired cooked foods that you give little attention to the wood that will be required for that cooking event.  You may have seen wood chips or chunks available in your local box store and decided that you can always pick those up last minute, to be assured your plans aren’t foiled. Or, you simply plan to go with charcoal without considering that this product is made from wood as well.

STOP and ponder this for a moment – Do you realize where exactly those wood products come from?

Unless you are in a direct county of involvement, you likely haven not realized the invasions that are occurring readily to our forests, woodlots, and home landscapes.

To date, here are some of the diseases and infestations we are battling in the United States:

  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
  • Whitebark Pine Beatle
  • Beech Bark Disease
  • Dutch Elm Disease
  • Butternut Canker
  • Asian Longhorn Beetle
  • Dogwood Anthracnose
  • Gypsy Moth
  • Balsam Woolly Adelgid
  • Laurel Wilt disease
  • Sirex Wood Wasp
  • Sudden Oak Death
  • Polyphagous & Kuroshio Shot Hole Borer affecting sycamores, willows, oaks, maples (including Boxelder), and commercial avocado trees.

EVERY state in the US has battled imported forest pests with the hardest hit being New York State followed closely by MA, WI, IL, VA, MI, NJ, OH, and CA.  Every decade, 25 new insect pests are established in the US which can lead for potential decimate of an entire tree species in just decades.

So why if you are a lover of BBQ smoking chips or BBQ wood chunks (smoking using woodchunks or woodchips) or other wood fired foods, should issues with bugs be of concern?  Because cooking by fire is the oldest known cooking method for human kind.  Right now, you may simply enjoy 3 benefits of trees: for shade, for beauty (viewing), and for flavor to foods cooked on your grill/smoker.

But there are many other benefits:

  • Decrease atmospheric carbon by capturing and storing CO2
  • Improve air quality by filtering pollutants and releasing oxygen
  • Reduce storm water runoff and pollutants entering local water bodies
  • Increase property values by 3-7%

The pollutant removal alone that trees are responsible for provides a human health benefit worth $6.8 billion per year!  Trees keep us alive!

As of December 2016, NYS DEC has detected increased prevalence of Oak Wilt in the state which has no known treatment to contain and kill this fungus.  Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods for wood-fired cooking methods.

Please, take the time to source wood for cooking from reputable sources and follow the laws in place in your specific state to ensure we can limit the spread of these pests and diseases, and continue to enjoy the oldest method of cooking: by fire!

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Dr Smoke- “Appreciate our renewable resource.”

Example of the layers that form a tree

Cross section of a harvested hard wood tree

 

Heartwood

By now you’ve come to recognize SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products as the Company that produces it’s cooking wood products from only heartwood.  Yet, there are still many questions out there as to what that means for the individual using our products.  Is heartwood where all the life forces of the tree thrive?

 The short answer is, no, but there are benefits to using woods derived from the heartwood of the tree for cooking.  Let’s explore!

Mini molecular-biology course: wood is an organic material that is porous and fibrous.  It contains hundreds of organic compounds but there are three primary compounds responsible for the cell construction in trees: Cellulose which is a glucose that is tasteless and odorless but comprises 40-50% of the cell.  It is crystalline so it provides for the strength of the cell wall.  Hemicellulose is also a glucose and carbohydrate but unlike cellulose, it has little strength and makes up 15-25% of the tree’s cell structure.  Lignin is the cell compound that is responsible for the structural materials in the support tissues of wood and bark, and makes up 15-30% of wood cells.  Lignin is what fills the cell wall spaces between the cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin components and is crucial for conducting water.  Lignin yields more energy than cellulose when burned.  Most importantly, lignin is what gives wood-fired cooked foods their flavor and aroma.

Now, on to the heartwood.  All wood starts life as sapwood, the living, outermost portion of the tree that is just under the bark.  Sapwood is where water and dissolved minerals are transported from the roots to the crown of the tree.  Essentially, it is where energy for the tree is stored.  As older sapwood cells age and die, they become heartwood, which plays no role with transport of essential nutrients for the tree.  Then what are the benefits to heartwood?

Heartwood is known to be resistive to insects and decay.  An additional benefit is heartwood tends to be darker in color than the sapwood.  Because the cells die off, the moisture level is less difficult to manage than sapwood, meaning it can be dialed in with greater ease.  That’s why traditional firewood can take so long to season (up to a year) as it will contain bark, sapwood and heartwood due to the splitting of the harvested tree.  The combination of these three distinct components can alter the aroma and flavor when used together in cooking, producing a more muddled flavor profile.  This is where the risks for toxicity in cooking reveal themselves.

One of the reasons that SmokinLicious® has specific hardwood species in our product offerings is because the hardwoods we’ve selected tend to have a healthier heartwood to sapwood ratio, are known to have less risk of heartwood rot, and have lignin percentages that are more complimenting to cooking.  We’ve done the hard thinking for you so go ahead and select one of our hardwoods with confidence that you will get a super aroma and taste to your wood-fired menu items!

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- “A little biology knowledge can help your cooking!”

 

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Savory Smoked/Grilled Potatoes

Savory Smoked/Grilled Potatoes

As the #1 crop in the world, available all year, potatoes are a favorite for a variety of reasons.  Get the nutritional benefit of this abundant vegetable by adding flavor in a different way – cooking it over charcoal and hardwood!

Ingredients:

Simple Preparation For a Simple Vegetable

I’m using small red and white potatoes.  You’ll need a knife and cutting board, as I like to cut these small potatoes in half to allow for maximum wood fire flavoring.  I’m going to use a vegetable grill pan but you can use any heat safe pan whether foil, glass, heat safe ceramic, or cast iron.  Cut each potato in half, and place in the grill pan.

Seasoning and Oil Bring Out the Best

Just 3 simple ingredients are needed before the pan is placed on the grill.  Drizzle three tablespoons of oil over the halved potatoes, then add coarse salt and fresh pepper.  The oil can be grapeseed, walnut, almond, vegetable, or canola, anything you have and prefer.  Mix well to ensure each potato is coated, then let rest to allow the seasonings to penetrate before adding to the hot grill.

Charcoal Grill Set Up

Time to get the grill ready.  I’ll be using a combination of charcoal and wood – charcoal as the fuel for heat and wood chunks and chips for flavor.  Keeping my intake vents open on the kettle grill, I start a chimney full of charcoal.  Just one chimney will be needed for the actual cooking.  I lay a small line of unlit coals down both the right and left side of the charcoal grate to keep my temperature stable through the cook.  I pour the hot coals in the middle then add two Sugar Maple wood chunks and a handful of Wild Cherry Grande Sapore® wood chips on top of the hot coals.  On goes the food grate and then my vegetable pan of halved seasoned potatoes.

Depth of Flavor Through Smoke

Once the wood is set up and the food grate is on, the pan of potatoes is added.  Put the grill cover on and adjust the lid outtake vent to 1/3 open position.  Now, adjust the lower intake vent to ½ open position.    Let the potatoes cook for about 25 minutes prior to stirring.  You’ll see the golden hue from the maple and cherry smoke vapor.  Be sure to rotate the potatoes on the bottom to the top so that there is even color and flavor to each piece.  The total cook time will be close to an hour but each grill and charcoal will perform differently so be sure to watch closely after the first 35 minutes.  Remove when the potatoes can be pierced easily with a toothpick or knife tip.

Full Flavor With All the Nutrition Intact

With all the nutritional value still intake, these golden, smoky potatoes are ready to eat as is or you can include them in your favorite potato recipes.  I’ll be giving a smoky edge to my interpretation of a potato curry in our next recipe feature.  Take advantage of this popular comfort vegetable and the ease of using a charcoal/wood grill for cooking and give your meals a memorable flavor enhancement.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our feature so start the conversation with a comment!

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke “This is a great easy barbecue recipe!”

 

 

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Picking the proper cooking wood can only lead to success versus a flop

Menu board found in most restaurants

WHEN A FLOP COULD HAVE BEEN A SUCCESS!

There is no question that being in the franchise restaurant business is a challenge especially given that there is a national menu dictated by the brand you partnered with.  I am amazed at the risks brands will take when it comes to making major capital investment in marketing strategies, equipment upgrades, and personnel training for single concepts.  Case in point: the obsession with wood-fired grilling to get customers in or coming back!

Here are just a few brands that took the leap of faith into the wood-fired grill market:

  1. Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  2. Applebee’s Grill & Bar
  3. Outback Steakhouse
  4. Red Lobster
  5. Logan’s Roadhouse
  6. Bonefish Grill

Certainly, not all these efforts have resulted in 100% failure as often the addition of a wood-fired oven or grill was added for other menus items that had an established following or existed from the conception of the franchise.  For instance, Carrabba’s Italian Grill offers wood-fired pizza in their brick oven so it is not a giant leap for them to do wood-fired chicken.  The same can be said for Bonefish Grill  whose focus is fresh fish.  Logan’s Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse bring diners in for mostly steak and that is a protein accustomed to being cooked by fire.  

What happens when a decision is made by a brand to go into this unchartered area?

 There are two franchises that standout on this topic: Red Lobster and Applebee’s Grill & BarMore than 6 years ago, Red Lobster began a major marketing campaign on their newly launched “wood-fired assisted grills”.  The brand stated a commitment to using oak wood for their wood-fired menu items. At some locations, though not all, you would find a log holder with firewood logs outside or just inside the front door.  In 2016, Applebee’s Grill & Bar attempted a major menu change with the introduction of wood-fired steaks, pork, chicken, and salmon which required the purchase and installation of wood-fired grills to its nearly 2000 locations.  Why don’t you see these two brands focused on wood-fired menus any longer?  The short answer is, they didn’t study the market on wood-fired cooking with the help of a wood expert!

What should have been done to make this capital venture, this leap-of-faith, successful? By far, the most pivotal mistake made was not understanding the roll the wood plays in food flavor.  Both Red Lobster and Applebee’s Grill & Bar defaulted to using oak, an extremely strong wood to use in cooking.  Also, they elected to use firewood meaning that the variety of oak, if not sourced by one supplier, would vary by region or state, if indeed they received oak exclusively.  Most firewood suppliers do not sell one type of wood.  In fact, firewood could be a mix of softwood and hardwood which should be of great concern when you are targeting cooking.

Understand, that most franchise brands do not come up with a concept and immediately put it in place.  There is a testing period, usually two, whereby they take a small sampling of their locations and put the new menu items in place.  Then they collect feedback and data.  The catastrophic failure that occurred for Applebee’s Grill & Bar is that they did not stay true to the procedures set in place during the testing period when they rolled this out to nearly 2000 locations.  The result: they will turn in the worse 2016 sales numbers for a franchise restaurant.

What is the lesson to take away?

If you are considering adding wood-fired menu items to your business, do your research!  Don’t get enamored with the idea of this style of cooking.  Learn from an expert what occurs to foods exposed to live fire, what changes result flavor wise, and what to avoid in wood choices based on the equipment.  Most of all, start out by understanding not all wood is appropriate for cooking and not all suppliers have great wood.  Then take advice from the expert rather than risking not only the success of your business but the health and experience of your guests who dine with you.

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

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Know your wood sources when you’re going to cook your food over

Let me begin by emphasizing that we have a lot more research to do on woods used for cooking!  There has been a great deal of attention to developing countries who, out of necessity, have to rely on wood fires for cooking to survive.

I’m going to first relate the information on why the risks in North America are not the same as developing countries and then I will highlight the top six (6) potential reactions we face when using specific woods for cooking.  This will be generalized reactions to wood compounds and not the direct result of a specific cooking technique.

Developing countries generally use very primitive equipment for cooking the daily meals needed to sustain families.  The simplest method is with three large stones to contain the fire with a pot or other metal container placed on top for the cooking.  The fires are fueled with solid materials like coal, wood, dung, and crop waste.  All these materials release harmful particles into the air as they burn.  Here’s the issue: they employ this cooking set up INDOORS, where they live which generally is in homes constructed from thatch, mud, and/or animal skins.  Chimneys may not be present or if present, have no flue to draw the contaminated air out.

What results from the exposure to smoke from cooking daily in these situations?

  • Respiratory Infections
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Ocular Disorders
  • Lung Cancer and Upper Airway Cancers
  • Death (from long-standing exposure)

In North America, we view wood-fired cooking as entertainment as we are blessed with having other options for our primary cooking needs, specifically, gas, electric and convection cooking equipment.  Our equipment is built from high end materials with proper ventilation key to installing and using this equipment.  All our cooking can be done safely with minimal exposure for the health risks listed above.

Most of us engage in wood-fired cooking outside, where the particulate matter of smoke cannot accumulate in one area lowering our risks for compromised health.  Restaurants who include wood-fired menu items do so by having specialized ventilation that must pass rigorous inspection.  All this ensures that we don’t suffer the same consequences as these developing countries.

The question is: are there any other variables that put us at risk when we cook with wood even outdoors?

I’m going to pick some of the most popular woods to cook with in North America and isolate some of the potential concerns with these woods.  I will list these by two categories: fruit wood and hardwood.

Fruit Woods

In this group, I’ll include Apple, Cherry, Grape, Peach, Pear as these tend to be the favorite fruit woods to use for wood-fired cooking.  Let’s address the gorilla in the room first– pesticides.

Like the fruit these trees produce, the wood absorbs the pesticides that are applied to the trees.  Eat a non-organic apple (keep in mind organic produce also is exposed to pesticides but usually these are natural derivatives and not synthetic), wash it, and you will still absorb any pesticide that has been absorbed into the actual fruit meat.  Same is true for the tree.  Pesticide applications embed into the soil base of the tree, which then enters the root system, and is on the way to the other parts of the tree.  Now let’s be clear, pesticides can also become air born as they turn into a vapor and travel with air.  Bark of any tree is a great absorber of these air particles.  Once pesticides enter the human body, they are stored in the colon.

For the Prunus Armeniaca family which includes ornamental cherry, peach, plum, and apricot trees and shrubs, it is the stems, leaves, and seeds that pose the greatest risk if these are consumed by animals, even the dog and cat.  Cyanide is present and can be lethal to animals so if you bring in wood with bark and/or leaves intact, be sure these are away from all animals.

Hardwoods

Popular hardwoods to use for cooking include Beech(nut), Cedar, Alder, Pecan, Mesquite, Hickory, Maple, and Oak.  For all these woods as well as the fruit woods, dust irritation in the form of rhinitis and general respiratory reaction is a given.  Wood dust is an irritant.  How people react to the dust is dependent on each person’s immune system.  You should make every attempt to purchase wood for cooking that is clean of dust, particularly for wood chips.  Often sellers of wood chips don’t screen the product sold and you can often end up with a bag or box full of wood dust.  This will certainly aggravate most respiratory systems and potentially could exacerbate already compromised systems.

Many hardwoods trigger pollen sensitivities.  New research in the areas of allergens and immunology are beginning to show that many allergens survive combustion or wood burning when used in cooking and trigger the same allergic reaction or sensitivities as a pollen sensitivity.

Of the hardwood listed above, these are the noted potential reactions:

Alder: dermatitis, rhinitis, bronchial effects, eye irritation

Apple: seeds contain cyanogenic (cyanide), pesticide risk/reaction

Beech: irritant likely from bark lichens, dust, leaves

Cedar: allergic contact dermatitis

Cherry: cyanogenic

Grape: pesticide risk/reaction

Hickory: irritant from dust

Peach: pesticide risk/reaction

Pear: pesticide risk/reaction

Pecan: irritant from dust; high level of ethanol extract in bark

Maple: irritant, asthma, sensitizer

Mesquite: dermatitis, coughing, respiratory

Oak: irritant, sensitizer, asthma, eye irritation, dermatitis

Today, I’ve highlighted only those hardwoods that have gained popularity as a cooking or grilling wood.  In future articles, we will explore the hazards of using woods that are less common and more toxic.  Don’t assume just because you’re cooking outdoors, the risks are few.  Be informed on the wood choice before you make a lethal mistake.

Start a conversation with us on this topic by leaving a comment!

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

Alder

I’m often asked if there is any hardwood that is a safe bet to use with any food item and equipment.  One that won’t be too strong if over applied or hurt the equipment if too much wood is used.  Well, as you’ve heard me mentioned before, we don’t provide descriptors of the woods we manufacture as we believe there are too many variables that affect the overall flavor of the hardwood.  Instead, we offer a rating of our woods based on how bold they are.  On the low end of that rating scale?  Alder.

Family of Trees

First, let me state that Alder is part of the Birch family of hardwood.  It is a genus that is a flowering plant.  Around the world, there are 35 species of both the tree and shrub form.  Yes, that is correct.   Alder is not always a tree but can be a tall growing shrub.  In New York State, we have roughly 13 varieties with our Alder referred to as Eastern Alder.  On the density side, this is a lighter hardwood and thus, it does not hold moisture long.  This makes this hardwood ideal for very specific cooking applications.

Alder is very light in its stimulating flavor compounds.  I’m sure you’ve read that Alder is ideal for fish but there are missed opportunities if you don’t go beyond the fish category.  Given there are so many options to infuse smoke vapor, this can be a great wood choice when using a hand held food smoker or even a stove stop smoker or cold smoke generator.  Contemplating chocolate, cheese, or fruits?  Alder can be a perfect match.

Caution

Here’s my one caution.  If you are planning to incorporate bolder ingredients with your food item, then alder may not be the first choice.  Lots of bacon, chili or cayenne pepper – these will mask the flavor of the Alder wood. Instead opt for foods that have lighter ingredients like herbs, citrus, dairy components.

As mentioned, Alder or Birch will start with a moisture level that is higher but due to the composition of its cell structures, the water will evaporate faster in the hardwood.  Using it on a LP grill or in a charcoal unit may require quicker replenishment than another denser hardwood so extra supply is always recommended.

Blending

Don’t forget, blending Alder with another hardwood works well too so if you do want a spicier kick to your ingredients, feel free to add Alder with a bolder wood like hickory, beech or oak.

The best part is always in the experimentation so have fun working with this hardwood that I call the safety net – it won’t let you fall flat if you select it for your smoke infusion.

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

 

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See our other wood species blogs:

PUT A CHERRY ON IT!

wood has to have a certain level of moisture in order to smoke and not be just fuel

Can wood be too dry to smoke?

CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY FOR COOKING?

 

Here are the misnomers:

Wet = Smolder

Wet = Smoke

Dry = Fast Cook

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear – all wood, whether hardwood of softwood, contains water!   As a comparative, when wood is dried to ~20% moisture content (MC), it weighs 40-50% less than un-dried wood.  This is the direct reason why the National Conference on Weights and Measures – Uniform Regulation for the Method of Sale of Commodities does not allow for the sale of wood products by weight. It would not be a level playing field for those of us selling this commodity.

So, we know that wood has too much water when a tree is first cut down and obviously will need to dry to some degree before being used for cooking.  Why you ask?  Without reducing the water in the wood when burned/combusted, the wood will produce an acrid aroma and smoke vapor which, in turn, will produce off flavors, colors, and textures in foods cooked over wet woods that are consumed.

You might ask, does it matter how the wood is dried?

Absolutely!  There are various ways wood products can be dried with the decision on a drying process usually dictated by what the wood will be used for.  Just because you purchase a wood chunk bag or other product for cooking, does not mean it started out for that intended purpose.  Often wood is used first for a primary business like furniture manufacturing, hardwood flooring, or cabinet making.  It’s only the waste wood that is re-purposed for cooking use with a focus on BBQ.

Let’s examine the most likely methods of drying woods for this scenario.

  • Kiln Drying: Lumber or other wood items that have been dried in a closed chamber in which the temperature and relative humidity of the circulated air can be controlled.  There are 3 types of kiln drying methods: low temperature drying which is below 130° F, conventional electric de-humidification drying, and conventional steam-heated drying which have temperatures up to 180° F.  Of the 3, the conventional steam-heated drying system is preferred due to its computerized programming but the high cost of this system makes it less attractive to most businesses.
  • Air Dried: The process of drying green lumber or other wood products by exposure to prevailing natural atmospheric conditions outdoors or in an unheated shed. There are 3 dominate air drying methods: open yard, shed, and forced-air shed.  The first is not held in high regard as the wood is exposed to all the elements making it the longest method of depleting moisture content.  The second, similar to the first, has the addition of a roof covering to maintain a precipitation-free environment.  The third option is most used although the use of electric fans increases the cost from the other two options, it produces quicker results meaning products can be sold quicker.  Remember, the primary purpose of the wood is not necessarily cooking so quicker is better to get it to the primary business’ production.
  • Warehouse Pre-drying: A very popular method of drying lumber despite higher capital and energy costs, this system can run consistent drying parameters almost 24 hours per day.

Now, knowing many wood producers sell their products first under the guise of another business before packaging waste wood for cooking, you need to understand where the MC needs to be in order to work for the furniture making, flooring manufacture, or cabinetry business.  These are items that require lower MC and that level across the United States and Canada has an average between 4-13% MC!

Can you imagine putting a piece of wood on a grill’s diffuser or on hot coals when it only has a moisture content of 4%?  What do you think will happen to such a dry piece of wood?  POOF!  It’s gone!

SmokinLicious® developed a method of decreasing moisture content in our hardwoods using a controlled heat method with a re-hydration parameter.  Our sole/primary business is wood-fired cooking woods!  That’s it!  We have no reason to reach for moisture  content in the single digits and for cooking purposes, you would NEVER want this!  The ideal moisture content for cooking is in the 20% range (this is dependent of wood species, however).

We ALWAYS provide you with a moisture content of the hardwoods you purchase from us, so you can be educated about the conditions of the wood for the type of wood-fired cooking you want to do. That is just one of the reasons why SmokinLicious® is a superior product for superior outcome in wood-fired cooking!

Related reading

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

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discussion of the 8 common mistakes to avoid in cooking with wood

8 common mistakes to avoid when cooking with wood.

THE TOP 8 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COOKING & GRILLING WITH WOOD

We are approaching that exciting time of the year when just about all of North America can start to enjoy cooking outdoors again!  Make it the best outdoor cooking season yet by learning the steps to using wood for cooking and grilling successfully, avoiding the trademark pitfalls that sink those outdoor meals.

#1: Don’t Soak the Wood Chips or Chunks

The goal when you cook on outdoor equipment is to maintain a stable temperature for the cooking process.  This ensures that your foods cook evenly and have a pleasant flavor from the cooking process.  When you add wet wood products to coals, you stimulate a “cool down” effect to those coals which translates to fluctuating temperature.  Energy is expended to steam off the water from the wood and bring the coals back up to temperature.  Even when you add wet wood product to a gas or electric assisted unit, you still use up energy for temperature control, requiring more energy to generate steam to dry the wood.  Always apply wood products dry whether directly to charcoal, to the flavor bars/diffusers of an LP grill or in a smoker box, smoking tube, or disposable pan.

There is a time when wet wood is preferred.  If you are going to do a traditional hot smoking technique on a food item that will take more than a few hours, and you don’t want to constantly replenish the wood chips, you can do a “two-pan” set up of wood.  Using disposable foil pans, add dry wood chips to both and place under the food grates.  Pour enough warm water into one pan to cover the wood pieces.   Leave the other pan dry.  By the time the dry wood product has combusted completely, the water in the “wet” pan set up will have dried up (steamed off) making the wood ideal to start smoking.  This is a great way to keep the wood flavoring the food the whole cook time without having to constantly feed wood.

#2: Don’t Add a Lot of Wood

Likely the biggest mistake made when cooking with wood is to add too much.  I always tell cooks to view the wood as another ingredient in the overall dish and have a tempered hand.  Smoke is a vapor that contains very small particles of organic compounds with certain compounds that contain the actual flavoring imparted from wood.  As a plant material, these flavonoids, when combusted, can be quite bold.  Always start with about 6-8 ounces of wood product and only replenish when the wood has reduced to 1/3 its size.  Replenishment is only needed to get the full cooking time completed.

#3: Don’t Measure Flavor Infusion By the Quantity of Smoke

It will take another article to explain the differences in smoke by color so let’s stick to the basics.  As I mentioned above, smoke vapor particles are quite small and are known to be attracted to moist surfaces.  With most equipment on the market today, materials used in construction ensure an efficient set up so air does not escape other than out the intended vents.   Don’t add wood to the equipment just because you don’t see smoke.  The best smoke vapor is barely visible and has a blue tint to it.  Rest assured, the wood is doing its job even if you don’t see a lot of smoke.  You certainly should smell the aroma of the wood as it combusts.

#4:  Stop Peeking When Your Smoking or Indirect Cooking

I know it’s hard to keep to this rule but you must stop opening the grill hood or smoker lid and looking!  Proper oxygen flow, a balance between intake of air and exhaust damper or vent, is critical to keep everything you grill, smoke or wood-fire tasting good.  If you’re using wood on a traditional charcoal smoker or kettle style grill, then you shouldn’t be checking anything – water pan, charcoal level, wood combustion – until at least a couple of hours have passed.  And for those units that have a charcoal access door, you can cause a temperature differential when you expose the hot coals to a flood of air as well as cause ash to become air born if windy.  No one likes ash on their foods!  Limit the amount of time you lift the lid.

#5: Pick the Right Moisture Level for the Cooking Technique

For most wood-fired cooking techniques, a moisture level of between 15-25% is ideal.  That level will allow you to hot smoke either via direct method (heat/smoke directly under the food) or indirect method (food placed to the side without direct heat under), produce smoke vapor on the gas grill using the diffusers/flavor bars or a smoker box, and do direct fire cooking.  For ember or coal cooking, I prefer to see a wood with a moisture level around 15%, as that will allow the wood to combust faster and produce the bed of coals needed for this type of cooking.  If the wood is too dry, say below 10%, you simply are using something designed for a maximum amount of heat output so that wood should be reserved for campfire cooking or direct hot searing.  Remember, moisture means there is water in the wood.  It takes some time to evaporate the water out which is how the wood will last longer during cooking.

#6: Hardwoods Only

Without question, the type of wood as well as the species is critical for a successful wood cooking event.  ONLY use hardwoods!  That means no pine, redwood, spruce, fir, cypress, cedar, or hemlock.  Softwoods contain a greater percentage of sap which translates into unpleasant flavors when you cook.  Additionally, many of these softwoods can trigger reactions to the digestive track which make many people sick.  Also, stick to hardwoods that have been tested for cooking.  Favorites include: apple, beech, hickory, pecan, oak, cherry, peach, maple, alder, ash, mesquite, walnut.

#7: Build a Hot Fire

Many equipment manufacturers include a charcoal basket or grate for the charcoal and wood to sit on.  This is done for a very specific reason; wood needs oxygen to generate heat.  If wood product sits in ash, it won’t burn consistently and cleanly.  This can result in soot coating your foods.  Also, don’t build a huge fire.  A small fire that can ignite unlit charcoal and wood is the ideal and produces the best temperature control and flavor.

#8: Balance Everything

Don’t simply purchased grilling, smoking, or cooking wood and throw it on the fire without thinking about how you want the dish to taste.  If you’re using sweeter ingredients, than pick a hardwood that has a bit more boldness to it like ash, beech, hickory or oak.  Fruity ingredients to the food doesn’t translate to using a fruity wood.  Remember, “taste is aroma” keep these tips in mind, you’re on the way to having one of the best outdoor cooking seasons ever when everyone wants to always gather at your house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The steps and equipment used in the smoking of bananas for a dessert

Smoking Bananas

 

BANANA’S ULTIMATE SMOKY CREAMY GOODNESS!

Banana’s peak season is from January thru April but you can enjoy this fruit anytime of the year!  Although you’ve likely enjoyed most of your bananas raw, they are one fruit that works exceptionally well in all types of recipes, from breads, puddings, smoothies, cookies, and muffins, their sweet undertone makes them ideal as a dessert item.  With a light, creamy flavor you’ll find bananas are compatible with so many other ingredients like dark and white chocolate, coconut, blueberries, caramel, ginger, honey, sugar, vanilla, and many nuts.  The best part, is they work in recipes whether ripe, under ripe, or overripe!  The level of ripeness determines what you do with it.

In this series, we’re going to use the Gourmia® hand held food smoker with Piccolo® Chips in Size 8 from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products to get the perfect level of smoke using this quick, easy method.  No spending hours over a traditional smoker and taking the risk of your bananas turning to mush!  Get ready for a new flavor to your traditional banana for drinks, breakfast items, and desserts.

MATERIALS:

I’ll be using the Gourmia® hand held food smoker for this series, but any similar unit will work fine.  In addition, you will need a cookie sheet, a food storage bag large enough to go over the cookie sheet or you can use plastic wrap, bananas – any variety will do, SmokinLicious® Minuto® Chips in either size #6, #8 or #10, and a lighter or kitchen torch.  When selecting your bananas, look for evenly colored yellow bananas flecked with tiny brown specks which indicates ripeness. Avoid those with any visible blemishes as that usually indicates the fruit is bruised.

Be sure you are doing the smoking process in a well ventilated area or even outside.  Kitchen hoods work great!

 PREPARING THE HAND HELD SMOKER:

Gourmia® Hand-held Smoker

Gourmia® Hand-held Smoker

A good rule of thumb prior to starting your smoking process is to be sure everything is in working order.  Check the batteries of your hand held food smoker and the butane level of your lighter. You’ll also need a few tablespoons of SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products Minuto® Wood Chips available. I’m going to use Cherry today to keep the fruit flavoring marriage.

Attach the smoking tube to the hand held unit and have a lighter at the  ready.  It is important not to over stuff the bowl of the hand held smoker with chips as a little goes a long way. Now, place the Minuto® wood chips in the bowl of the unit being sure not to stuff.  Remember, once lit, these hand held units produce a lot of smoke vapor quickly so everything needs to be set up well.

PREPARING THE BANANAS:

Cutting and removing the peel to prep the bananas

Removing the peel

I have a preference for using  a small sheet pan or cookie sheet when I cold smoke fruits.  It makes it very easy to expose the fruit to the smoke vapor without the need to rotate the food.  As I want to get good wood flavor to the bananas, I am peeling them and cutting them in 2 inch pieces as the recipe I plan to use them in will require smaller segments. I then placed the cut pieces on the sheet pan, and then secure a food storage bag or plastic wrap over the pan.  Be sure you are able to draw in the end of the bag as if you’re going to tie it off with a twist tie.  The ability to cinch off the bag is what will ensure that the smoke vapor produced is trapped within the food bag and infuses each piece. If using plastic wrap, leave one end loose so you can insert the smoking tube. The length of time you leave the smoke vapor in the bag or under the plastic wrap will determine the strength of the flavor.  I plan to incorporate dark chocolate, coconut and nuts with my smoked banana so I will be filling the bag with smoke vapor and allowing it to dissipate on its own.  Remember, you have control of when you release the smoke so timing is up to you!

 

 

 

Smoking the bananas with the Gourmia Mini Smoker

Smoking the Bananas with the Gourmia® Mini Smoker

SMOKING PROCESS

 

My Gourmia® hand held food smoker is assembled and filled with Wild Cherry Minuto® wood chips in Size #8 from SmokinLicious®.  I now position the smoking tubing within the sealed bag or under the plastic wrap if you are using that, and cinch the excess around the tube to prevent any smoke from exiting while the unit is on.  I turn on the hand held smoker and lite the Minuto® wood chips.  Once I have enough smoke into the bag, I will shut the unit off, remove the tubing, and seal the bag using a cable tie or tighten the wrap around the sheet pan.  Can it get any easier than that?  This will let you see just how long smoke vapor can last in a contained area.

 

 

THE SMOKY FINISH:

As I see the bag start to clear of the smoke vapor, it’s time to release the cable tie and be ready to remove my smoked banana slices for my recipe. So, what do you do with smoked banana?   What can you think of?  Essentially any recipe that calls for banana can be considered for smoked banana. I’ll get you started with our upcoming series on Smoked Banana Double Bites that you’ll fall in love with.  Oh, don’t forget, smoked bananas freeze exceptionally well so put some away for those days when you want something made with the sweet, creaminess of banana and you’ll have a great start.

Bon Appetitó!

The finish- Smoked Bananas

The finish- Smoked Bananas

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr Smoke discusses the need for proper air flow in grilling, smoking and cooking

Air flow is extremely important in any and all grilling applications, Dr smoke explains the importance

Dr Smoke’s March Newsletter

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

 

This article explores the items to consider when purchasing wood beyond price

Price is NOT everything!!!!

We have your top things to consider when purchasing cooking wood !  We are getting closer to peak season in North America for outdoor cooking.  What a perfect time to start thinking about what you want to get out of your outdoor cooking time this year so you’ll be able to source the supplies you’ll need and feel confident in your decisions.  This includes the wood used for cooking.

There are many companies who offer woods for cooking in the United States.  We thought we’d assist you in determining the perfect fit for your needs based on what you’re looking for in the cooking wood as well as a match for your equipment.

Today, we are going to compare 7 popular cooking wood companies who may use the terms cooking woods, grilling woods, wood and BBQ, gourmet cooking woods, or BBQ products.  The comparison will include 9 key areas: Established date of the business, where the wood is harvested or sourced from, wood types offered, how the wood is sold, shipping costs, treatment process the wood is exposed to, packaging of the product, if bark is present, and primary claim made by the Company.   Following this listing, I will highlight any information that you may want to question further.

Our goal is to arm the purchaser with needed information to ensure that they are getting the perfect wood for the cooking technique(s) they plan to do.  Remember, there are different variables needed in a wood for different methods of wood-fired cooking which you can read about further in our blog Taste is Aroma (http://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/?p=405)

CAROLINA COOK WOOD

Established: Unable to locate

Harvest: Local to S. Carolina

Wood Types: Cherry, White Oak, Apple, Hickory, Peach

Shipping: Charge

Product Sold By: Cubic feet for logs/pounds for chunks & chips

Wood Treatment Process: “Naturally cured”; denies kiln drying

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Burlap bags, ½ cord stacked split firewood or on a pallet

Claim: “Our cooking wood is locally harvested, freshly cut and naturally cured”

Notes: All species listed would be native to S. Carolina with Apple and Peach being orchard woods not necessarily forest woods.  Although some products are sold by the cubic foot which is the legal method of sale for the wood commodity, others are sold by weight.  “Naturally cured” implies air drying so the wood could have laid around for many months.

 

COWBOY CHARCOAL

Established: 1992 under the name Cowboy Charcoal; purchased in 2015 by Duraflame, Inc.

Harvest: Unclear

Wood Types: Apple, Hickory, Mesquite

Shipping: Charge

Product Sold By: Cubic inches

Wood Treatment Process: Not specified

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Plastic bags, individual foil tins for chip product

Claim: Long standing charcoal manufacturer under various trade names

Notes: Apple would be an orchard wood rather than forest grown.  Mesquite is not native to TN and KY which are the manufacturing locations for the Company, thus, it’s likely these woods are imported into the states.  Plastic packaging implies the wood has a very low moisture level which would be in line with a charcoal manufacturing practice.

 

FRUITA WOOD & BBQ SUPPLY

Established: Unable to locate

Harvest: Not specified

Wood Types: Apple, Cherry, Peach, Apricot, Red Oak, Post Oak, Maple, Hickory, Pecan, Pear, Grape, Plum, Alder, Mesquite, Sassafras

Shipping: Included in pricing

Product Sold By: Weight

Wood Treatment Process: “Naturally cured”

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Cartons

Claim: “The wood out of our valley contained more sugar and moisture than any other wood on the market.”

Notes: It is likely that the woods sources for sale are from areas outside of the state since many of the selections are not native to Colorado.  This implies that the Company is merely the seller and not directly involved with the manufacturing process.  Wood is sold by weight and is air dried as defined by the term “naturally cured”. Their claim to have woods that “have more sugar and moisture than any others on the market” cannot be validated as hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin composition are relative to the wood species.  Plus, they indicate that they “naturally cured” their woods which translates to air drying like you do for seasoning firewood to render out the moisture.

 

MAINE GRILLING WOODS

Established: 2005

Harvest: “Local wood cutters and farmers in Maine”

Wood Types: Acadian Oak, Black Cherry, DownEast Hickory, Golden Alder, Mountain Mesquite, North Atlantic Olive, Northern Beechnut, Northern White Cedar, Sugar Maple, Wild Apple

Shipping: Included in pricing

Product Sold By: Cubic Inches

Wood Treatment Process: Not specified other than “dried”

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Cartons, poly bags

Claim: “Our wood comes fresh from the many small woodlots and family farms in the nearby rural areas of coastal and central Maine”

Notes:  I assume that Acadian Oak is a reference to the oak coming from the Acadian forest in Maine while the name “DownEast Hickory” is the company’s nickname since there is no variety of Hickory by that name.  I am unclear on the references to North Atlantic Olive as I am aware of no olive trees per se that are native to Maine.  Again, Mesquite would not be native to the state of Maine given its poor tolerance to winter conditions.

 

SHARPE GOURMET COOKING WOODS

Established: 2006?

Harvest: None specified – indicates they source woods from all over the USA

Wood Types: Alder, Almond, Hickory, Peach, Apple, Red Oak, Cherry, Pecan, Wine Barrel, Post Oak, Olive logs, Ash, Avocado, Citrus, Grape, Maple, Mesquite, Walnut

Shipping: Charge (note: delivered and stacked for firewood sold in S. California)

Product Sold By: Cubic feet

Wood Treatment Process: Not specified

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Plastic bags

Claim: “All Sharpe Gourmet Products are custom processed, packed & shipped from The Woodshed in Orange, California.  We search the U.S. for the best quality wood & package the finest chips, chunks and logs to enhance the flavor of your favorite foods!  We specialize in exotic, hard to find varieties!”

Notes: Since this Company is sourcing woods from all over, there is likely no consistency in the products moisture or overall condition.  It is also unclear who is completing the manufacturing of the wood into the chips, chunks, and logs.

 

VAUGHN WOOD PRODUCTS

Established: Unable to locate

Harvest: Within a few weeks of being sold but does not state where the wood’s origin is

Wood Types: Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Oak, Alder, Grape

Shipping: Included in pricing

Product Sold By: Cubic feet for chunks, weight for split logs, weight for chips

Wood Treatment Process: “heat treated to prevent mold”

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Plastic bags, shrink wrap, cartons

Claim: “Nearly 95% of all our products come from trees we have harvested within a few weeks of our products being sold. We have high quality and the freshest woods on the market.”

Notes: Although it certainly is possible to harvest fresh wood and heat treat it, as wood, when green can have as much as 50% water by weight, it would take a very long heating process to rid enough moisture from the wood to be able to package it stably in plastic bags.

 

WESTERN PREMIUM BBQ PRODUCTS

Established: 1986 AS W W Wood Inc.

Harvest: Not specified

Wood Types: Apple, Alder, Hickory, Mesquite, Maple, Oak, Pecan, Orange, Peach, Jack Daniel’s

Shipping: Must be purchased at a partner location

Product Sold By: Liter, cubic feet

Wood Treatment Process: Under USDA-Protocol T-314-a.  Compliance Agreement Permit No. TDA-271

Bark On: Yes

Product Packaging: Plastic bags

Claim: “Business has grown from supplying Hickory and Mesquite wood to local barbequers to supplying the world with a multitude of wood flavors and BBQ related items”

 Notes: This is a Texas based Company which means some of the species listed are not native to that state.  They likely source outside wood supply for the inventory.   Online purchases will dictate if shipping is included or is a separate charge based on the online business dealer selected.

There you have it!  A place to start.  Of course, if you’ve reached us on our site then you already know the answers to above key areas for SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products!  These companies may provide some opportunity to purchase woods not offered by us so you have a pantry full of options!

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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