CRUSHED OR DICED WOOD CHIPS?

The Difference Between Crushed and Diced Wood Chips

You see the options all the time.  Crushed or diced tomatoes?  Every chef knows when and why you choose one over the other. Did you know the same concept is true for wood chips?

At SmokinLicious®, the only true cooking wood Company, we produce our wood chips in the same manner as tomato processors! We crush the wood for our Grande Sapore® chips – these pieces produce a unique flavor because of their shape just like crushed tomatoes give a deeper flavor to recipes!  These chips are meant to last and work with other ingredients for full flavor balance. We also offer our “diced” option of predetermined wood slices to produce our Minuto® and Piccolo® chips for smoldering on heat plates, cast iron, and flavor bars.  Just as diced tomatoes give a fresh-from-the-garden taste, diced wood chips likewise produce a different, often more intense fresh wood flavoring.

SmokinLicious® only manufacturers cooking woods.  That is our primary and only business.  We know hardwoods for cooking, all types of wood-fired methods.  And we know wood flavoring – how to get the best clean flavors from the select hardwoods ideal for cooking!

See for yourself why we are a superior product with a superior outcome.  Enjoy the benefits of the knowledge of our flavorists and get the options you are looking for.  Made the SmokinLicious® way!

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wood chips the size of a coinJOIN OUR WEIRD NAME CLUB (FOR YOUR WOOD CHIPS)!

The conversation always ends the same when we inquire about the size chip product needed.  “It’s the size of a penny”, or sometimes they say a nickel, dime or quarter.  That is the only reference we are provided with to produce a wood chip product quote!   With all due respect, coin currency is not the same from country to country including the penny which is now obsolete in Canada!

A great deal of commercial brand equipment, especially industrial smokehouses, are manufactured in Europe and Canada.   These countries use the metric system, a concept that is all but lost on most American companies since it is not a commonly used practice.

This is not the case for SmokinLicious® which currently tracks 9 sizes in our manufacturing process so we can assure consistent product manufacture. And yes, we reference the metric system in our sizing!

Taking a page from the “Dummies” guide book concept, we found that most companies producing a wood chip product screen for two common sizes.  In fact, they often sell the two sizes by reference to packaging bag color.   We at SmokinLicious® screen for 9 different screened sizes!  Why?  Because for food manufacturing companies to be cost effective while gaining optimal level of flavour infusion to their food product(s), correct wood product size matters!

Smokinlicious® Custom Sizing Process

Smokinlicious® Custom Sizing Process

If you comprehend that an incorrect size chip product in your commercial equipment will compromise the overall flavour profile due to variability in combustion of the product, then you would be ready to maximize not only the budget for the smokehouse operation but likely preserve more capital that would have gone to equipment breakdown expenses caused by inappropriate sized wood product clogging smoke regulators.

We know what the various equipment manufacturers recommend; well, to be honest, we know what they think is best for their equipment.  But let’s face it – their goal is to produce a state of the art, mass volume producing, time efficient smoke house with the hope that it will be efficient with the wood product material selected by the user.  They do not commonly source the wood product material to go with the equipment once sold and they certainly don’t know the intricacies of hardwood.   That’s where SmokinLicious® will step in.  Our Team has the expertise to make the perfect size match that will produce ideal combustion rate which in turn results in ideal flavour infusion, color infusion, and function of the smoke house. Plus, we dial in the suitable moisture level to generate that perfect combustion rate that produces consistent results every time the smoke house operates.

Once you join us, you’ll come to appreciate our “weird” names like Grande Sapore® (our larger screen chip sizing), Minuto® (covering 4 mid-screen sizes) and Piccolo (are smallest screen production that includes 3 micro sizes). We’re confident that you will come to understand and appreciate that our “weird” names provide assurance that we know what we’re talking about, we know what will work with your specific equipment, and that each order will have consistent particle sizing.  No “two color” bag option that contains whatever scrap wood happened to be available that day for processing.

We don’t complicate things.  By offering more options in wood chip/sawdust product, we can give our customers the flavour outcome they never imagined and cost efficiency they only dreamed about.  Let’s find out what your favorite “weird name” will be and make you a member of our “club”!

 

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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smoke vapor from the grill

Smoke vapor from the grill

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SMOKING (FOOD THAT IS!) DOESN’T MAKE IT ALL BAD!

Recently, I received a very interesting question regarding the safety of ingesting foods and beverages that have been exposed to smoke vapor using hand held food smokers.  Specifically, the question consisted of whether you need to be 18 years of age for items that have been infused with smoke using these gadgets.

This got me thinking:

  • does the word “smoke” automatically give off the bad vibe response?
  • why do people only inquire about the smoke without needing to know more about the plant source that produces that smoke?

There is a lot of data out there on carcinogenic affect to high heat grilled foods like burgers, chicken, and steaks, even data on hot smoking foods at lower temperatures.  Really, what it all boils down to is, if you grill meats to the point where you blacken them, that increases the risk for the carcinogens.  Even if you cook to the blacken state, eating these foods in moderation will halt any real risk over an average person’s lifetime.

So why the question on legality to consume smoked foods and beverages?

 If you understand that the tobacco industry had to start putting warning labels on tobacco packaging back in 1966, and smokeless tobacco products in 2010, then you comprehend that smoke vapor does contain toxins (http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/Labeling/default.htm ).  Everything regarding level of toxicity with cooking is related to type of food, method of cooking, cooking temperature, and length of cooking time ( https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet ).

Let’s examine those parameters from the hand held food smoking perspective.

You are not cooking the food by this method, merely infusing it with the smoke flavonoids, so there is no temperature (cold smoking technique).  You are not exposing the food to smoke vapor for hours – it really comes down to minutes.  Most importantly, you are not directly attempting to inhale the smoke vapor into your lungs.  Yes, if your standing near the container that is holding the cold smoke when you open it, you will have some exposure but not like the person that takes a drag directly from a tobacco product or is chewing on a tobacco product!

Like anything else in our world, there are risks to everything we do, experience, sense, taste, explore, desire.  Hot smoking is another name for roasting just at a lower temperature and usually with cheaper cuts of meat.

What should never be compromised is the plant material – the wood – that is used to extract these flavors.

Really, I believe it is time to start asking more questions about the hardwood products (don’t even start me on softwoods and waste wood http://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/?p=244 !) being used for the smoking process rather than focusing on the process itself.  Perhaps the risks associated with dirty, moldy, contaminated wood are too high to ignore anymore.

Dr. Smoke

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Smokinlicious Wood Blocks

Smokinlicious Wood Blocks- DrSmoke

 DON’T PUT US LAST!

Case Notes: A restaurant is preparing to open in a new location and made the decision to invest in an Italian made pizza oven that has an option for wood-fired cooking.  This equipment would take 6 months to manufacture and deliver to the USA, which gave the owners time to complete renovations on their new building in preparation for the free-standing oven’s installation.  During that time, menu development and plating options were reviewed and decided upon.

The one planning need that was left to the last minute – locating the supplier for the cooking hardwood and determining appropriate sizing for the new equipment!  WHY???

It always surprises me that restaurateurs are willing to spend $50,000 and up for commercial equipment that does a specific function or technique, yet they don’t spend the time before that purchase ensuring they can obtain the quality accessory needs to get every benefit from that investment.

Here’s the best part: often these equipment lines tote that they can do all sorts of functions including wood-fired cooking techniques.  The truth – they aren’t really promoting that function of their equipment line!  They simply want to sell you the equipment and have you use standard fuel options like electric and gas.  How did I come to this conclusion?  By the content of the user’s manual.

Many do not reference:

  • size of wood product needed for the equipment
  • how to light the product
  • how much of the product to use
  • where to locate a supplier of the cooking wood
  • pictorials of the steps to do the technique
  • provide a troubleshooting guide.

Do you really want to spend $50,000, $60,000, $100,000 and be left to fend for yourself with that investment?

Take the appropriate steps when considering additions to or replacements in your equipment line.  Research not only the equipment but what is needed to do the smoke infusion technique with that equipment.  Yes, wood chips are readily available even though there is a high level of variation between products.  But other products are not so easy to find like wood pieces larger than wood chips but smaller than split firewood logs.

In addition, wood-fired techniques can also require additional “tools” to be available in the kitchen that may not have been standard inventory before.

Such things as:

  • fire retardant gloves
  • fire grade tools like long handled tongs and a wood poker
  • a MAP canister/torch for lighting the fire
  • an infrared thermometer for reading temperatures within the cooking chamber
  • an ash receptacle.

Prioritize the needs of a wood-fired equipment addition by first reviewing the best option in equipment for your business’ need and second, assessing all the requirements of the wood to be successful in bringing this technique to your kitchen!

 

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoked Chestnuts on a Stovetop Smoker

Collage of Smoked Chestnuts on a Stovetop Smoker- Dr Smoke

TO THE SMOKE THE CHESTNUT GOES!

Depending on where your located, chestnuts may only be available for a short period each year, usually around the holidays.  Mostly pan roasted in the oven, why not do something unique with this prized fruit and smoke them!  In addition to the chestnuts, you’ll need a stove top smoker, purchased or you can make your own with tools likely in your kitchen.  You can see our writing on the “The Kitchen Find” which will guide you on what is needed.

You will also need:

You will find chestnuts available prepackaged or in bulk when in season.  Although the packaged product will include a directive to cut and X in the flat surface of each nut, I grew up in a household where we always cut off the stem side.  This is the small, dark cap side to the chestnut.  The chestnut has a cap and a pointed end giving it a bloated teardrop look.  I have found that when smoking, I get better control to the smoke infusion with a fresh cut to one end.  Keep in mind, not all the chestnuts purchased will likely be viable as often mold will take hold of some of the chestnuts which you won’t see until you cut in to them.  As the chestnuts age, they can develop a fuzzy mold on the outside which will tell you not to waste your time cutting that one open!  Simply discard!

Generally, chestnuts have a flat side and a rounded side.

To prepare them:

  • lay the chestnut on the cutting board with the flat side down.  Place your knife blade over the small dark cap, and slice off in one motion.  This will reveal the chestnut meat inside which will have a yellow-white hue.  Once the cap is off, you’ll be able to tell if any mold has set in as it will have a marked gray/black appearance.  If any mold is noted, discard the chestnut as it won’t cook tender.  If the majority is free of mold, go ahead and keep it for the smoking/cooking process.

To do stove top smoking, there are 4 parts needed:

  • a pan to hold the heat and wood chips
  • a drip pan to prevent rendered fat and juices from entering the wood. Generally, you only need the drip pan when you actually have a food item that will produce juices or fat drippings.
  • a grill pan
  • a lid.

Note: Chestnuts will not produce any drippings though they do have a percentage of water that will be released as steam into the lid of the pan.  Just be sure when you open the lid that you keep any collected water from dripping back into the cooking grate.

Now it’s time to start the heat under your smoker pan. 

  • Place the base of the stove top smoker over the burner and turn the burner to medium.
  • Add about 1 handful of wood  chips.  I am using SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips Size #6 in Wild Cherry which will provide great color to the chestnut’s meat.  The wood chips will combust and char but they will not ignite and there won’t be any need to add any additional wood chips.  One handful is all it will take to both cook and flavor the chestnuts.
  • After adding the wood chips to the smoker base, place the grill pan on next.  Take the prepared chestnuts and spread them evenly into the grill pan.  Then cover with the lid.  Do not change the heat level during the cooking/smoking process.  There is no need to rotate the chestnuts as the cut end will ensure that the heat and smoke vapor penetrate each piece.
  • The cooking process will take between 40-60 minutes depending on the number and size of the chestnuts used.  I usually do a check about 30 minutes in order to gauge the total cook time.

As you check the chestnuts and start seeing the shell separate from the meat, you’ll know you are getting close to the tender stage.  Here is my trick for checking for doneness.  Take the end of a paring knife and gently insert the tip into the center of the chestnut meat.  If the blade passes into the flesh without effort, you are finished with the cooking process.

  • Turn off the heat to the smoker pan and allow the chestnuts to rest for a few minutes before removing from the pan.  Remember, these shells will be very hot so use tongs to remove them from the pan.

You can see that despite the Minuto® Chips being exposed to consistent heat for about an hour, they merely smolder and char, never igniting.  In fact, you could easily use these chips again for another short cook item and they would still give off great flavor.  Once the chestnuts have cooled enough to handle, I remove all the shell and membrane.  These golden beauties are now ready to eat or to add special flavor to recipes calling for chestnuts.  Just another way to bring something new to a seasonal favorite.

Bon Bar B Que

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE KITCHEN FIND!

smoking-pot

Stock Pot-Dr Smoke

STOVE TOP SMOKING….If you’re like me, over the years you’ve become a collector of various cooking gadgets and equipment to the point where you simply don’t have room for one more thing!  Yet, you are enamored with the thought of doing stove top smoking & cooking when the weather isn’t cooperating or you simply prefer to be in the house rather than take food and gadgets outside.

Well, I have got just the solution for you!

Stove top smoking can be as easy as locating a deep pot with lid, metal steamer insert, aluminum foil from your kitchen, and tools you likely already own.

Now when I say deep pot I’m talking about a lobster pot, large sauce pot, or even a Dutch oven.  Anything that has capacity to hold a suitable number of food items on a steamer insert will do.

Once you have your pot and food item that you want to smoke, here are the STEPS FOR STOVE TOP SMOKING:

  • Put a piece of foil at the bottom of the pot so it touches both sides
  • Place a second piece of foil or disposable foil pie plate on the chips followed by your steamer insert (this will keep drippings from falling on the chips)
  • Place the food items (chicken, fish, pork, beef, vegetables, fruit, etc.) on the steamer being careful not to crowd so the smoke can circulate around the food
  • Depending on the extra room in your pot, if there is a lot of surface above the foods, go ahead and tent the steamer insert with foil so the smoke vapor has less area it needs to travel
  • Put the lid on the pot and seal the rim with foil to ensure none of the smoke vapor can escape
  • Turn the heat under the pot to high and allow to begin the smoking for 5-8 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to medium and cook small food items like chicken, fish, vegetables, or  fruit for 10-15 minutes and large food items like pork tenderloin, beef short ribs, etc. for 30-40 minutes
  • Shut off the heat and allow the food to rest in the residual smoke vapor for 10 minutes
  • Remove the lid and foil tent if one was used

If you have done smaller cuts of poultry, fish, or meat, these may well be cooked through (175° F for dark meat 165° F for white meat), otherwise, if cooking is still required, transfer the food to an oven safe dish or sheet pan and finish cooking in the oven.

There you have it!  A simple in-house, smoking technique using tools you likely already have in the kitchen!  Just think, you stayed warm, dry, and comfortable in your own house while the Grande Sapore®, Minuto®, or Piccolo® Wood Chips did their wood-fired magic.

As always, we would love to see your take on the homemade stove top smoker so send along pictures or link with us on social media.

info@smokinlicious.com

@DrSmokeSmokin

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

smoking-pot

Stock Pot found in Most Kitchens- Dr Smoke

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TASTE IS AROMA

Aroma chef

Aroma chef

Flavor by Mother Nature

Flavor by Mother Nature

It is likely the most common question posed to us – how does the wood make the food taste?  Although I have answered this question hundreds of times, it started me thinking about my answer.  It was not complete.  I was not explaining that taste IS aroma.

Our experiences with food revolve around our senses and of those senses 3 deal primary with food: taste, touch, and smell.  Obviously, you would assume that the sense of taste is the absolute in food experience but you would be wrong.  10,000 plus different odors are relayed via our sense of smell which occurs through our nose and mouth.  As much as 80% of what is referred to as taste is truly aroma.

Now, apply this information to the fact that we use wood in cooking techniques that involve infusion of smoke vapor to foods and ingredients, and you will begin to understand where I am going with this.  We have all had the experience of smelling a neighbor burning fallen leaves come Fall.  It is not a pleasant aroma.  Could you imagine someone putting food over a fire that contained leaves as fuel and then tasting the food cooked over that fuel source?  Terms that come to mind include bitter, acrid, burnt, and pungent.

 

I have decided that my new answer to the question of “What kind of flavor does (insert wood type here) produce” will be: the overall flavor is dependent on a lot of factors.  These include:

  • climate and soil of where the tree is grown: the more balanced the pH level of the soil and a location that has suitable precipitation throughout the year, are more favorable to a hardwood tree’s benefit as a cooking wood
  • bark or bark-free: this affects burn rate and flavor, and yes, it can fluctuate your temperature control
  • moisture level: the drier the wood the faster it goes through combustion and the more heat it produces. You need some level of moisture left in the wood to produce smoke
  • humidity of the cooking environment: dry cooking environments do not allow for smoke vapor to stick
  • type of dry rub and/or sauce/marinade used: wood needs to be viewed as an ingredient to the entire cooking experience so ALL the ingredients need to marry to produce a great flavor. The wood is just one flavor component
  • what your cooking (beef, turkey, pork, chicken, lamb, goat, etc.): maple used on beef will taste completely different than maple used with chicken. Plus, the type of meat/poultry also influences the flavor,  so think generic versus farm raised and cage free versus free range. Just as the soil and climate affect the trees so too does the diet and climate affect the animal.

Although we offer a SmokinLicious® flavor guide with descriptors of the undertones the wood can produce, here is my best summary of the hardwoods we provide:

Mild: Alder, Ash, Sugar Maple, Wild Cherry

Moderate: Beech, Hickory

Strong: Oak

If you treat the wood as an ingredient you will come to appreciate all that it can offer and produce some spectacular tasting and aromatic dishes both during the cooking process and at its final stage!

Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

Aroma chef

Aroma chef

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoking Boxes Available at Retail Locations

Smoking Boxes Available at Retail Locations

                                                               BOOST IT!

People are always in search of that great flavor to food that only comes from hardwood.  In fact, it is common for discussions around outdoor cooking to use the terms grilling and barbecuing interchangeably as if they mean exactly the same thing.  Let’s be clear – cooking with just LP/Gas is grilling.  Barbecue is outdoor cooking over hot coals or wood, whether in lump charcoal form or straight hardwood pieces.

In an effort for grilling equipment manufacturers to compete with charcoal grills and smokers, many began integrating a wood chip drawer in their units to imply that “barbecue” was possible on a gas grill.  If you ever tried these, you likely were disappointed in finding that the intensity of flavor just didn’t compare to charcoal equipment.  Then the smoker box was developed with a wide variety of design options from rectangular in shape, v-shaped at the base to fit between grill grates, and venting hole configurations that made claim to more intense smoke penetration.  Here’s the thing – no one ever discussed what should go in the smoker box.  The assumption was to always use wood chips but I am going to take you on a flavor journey using that box that will open your eyes to understanding cooking with hardwood.

One of the key complaints I hear is that when using wood chips in a smoking box or drawer, the chips don’t seem to give off enough smoke and have a very short burn life.  In fact, refilling the box or drawer is often needed to finish a simple food item like chicken pieces or ½ slabs of pork ribs.  Wood chunks or uniformed sized pieces of hardwood lend to a much longer burn/smolder rate and give off great flavor infusion.

Smokinlicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks

Smokinlicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks

So how can you still work with your smoker box?  Simply remove the lid or, if hinged in place, open the lid and place 3-4 SmokinLicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks in the box.  Be sure the box is placed on the hot area of the grill and let it go.

The increased volume of the wood allows for things to smolder longer which means the combustion stages are extended, thus, the flavor infusion is extended.

No cover is needed on the box.  What I like the best about this application is the box acts as an ash collection tray so removal for cleaning is quick and easy.  Keep in mind, LP/Gas units have heat diffusers – although they may go by other names like heat distributors, flame tamers, heat plates, burner shields, and flavorizer bars to name a few – so you already have a built-in method of using wood chunks for maximum flavor infusion to the foods on the grate (see our previous postings on this).

So are wood chips obsolete for the LP/Gas unit?  Absolutely not!  It is just another option for you especially those of you who pine for more smoke flavor to your cooking.

Go on the hunt and locate what you did with the smoker box.  Then visit SmokinLicious® .com in the USA or SmokinLicious® .ca in Canada and order up some Double Filet Wood Chunks and test out this easy method for yourself.

Examples of Smoke Boxes Available at Retail Locations

Examples of Smoke Boxes Available at Retail Locations

 

Smokinlicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks

Smokinlicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks

This is part our cooking series. See our Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for recipe videos. #smokinliciousmenu

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SmokinLicious® for the Combitherm® Combi Oven by Alto-Shaam®

Alto Shaam Combitherm oven

Alto Shaam Combitherm oven

We love having the opportunity to work with chefs throughout the world in determining what they desire in a wood-fired flavor for various menu items.

As you can imagine, we get the opportunity to work with a variety of equipment lines that use wood for flavor and coloring.  One of our favorite commercial equipment lines is produced by Alto-Shaam® who specialize in food service and retail markets by offering cooking, holding, display, and chill equipment lines.

Part of the Alto-Shaam® cooking offerings is the Combitherm® Combi Oven which not only offers convection cooking but smoke infusion as well.  This highly efficient oven works with hardwood chips to bring the aroma and taste of wood infusion to all types of meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.  In fact, when SmokinLicious® began development of our micro chip line, we targeted the Combitherm® oven for ideal sizing production to meet the needs of the commercial kitchen.  In the end, we found that our smaller Minuto® Wood Chip line offered even greater flavor than traditionally sized wood chips with little ash residue when used with the Combitherm®.

Here’s the best part: because we manufacture every product, we can offer chefs single species of our filtered specialty wood chip line or we can custom blend to give their menu items greater diversity from others.  That includes blending different wood species as well as sizes.  Smaller chip particles may be used for more pungent woods while larger sizes of sweet or savory chips are included for a fully balanced wood recipe flavoring based on the overall food ingredients.

Chefs who use the Combitherm® simply love the ease of adding our dust free product to the equipment, dialing in the smoke infusion level they desire, and letting the oven do its magic.  The best part is they don’t have to worry about an unclean wood source going into their expensive equipment and causing equipment failure or producing off color and taste to the foods being cooked.

We know we can offer the best flavor in wood combustion by starting with the ideal hardwoods for cooking.  The rest can be left to the cook’s imagination.  We know the effort it takes for those in the food and beverage industry to commit to a specific piece of equipment.  We know the expense involved.  What we don’t understand is why the same time and research isn’t spent assessing the wood supply to be used in the oven?  Why risk this investment to an unvetted supplier?

If you own an Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven or you are in the market for a new piece of equipment, join those who have already experienced the benefits of our exceptional Minuto® wood chip line and get ready to be blown away with the possibilities our products can bring to your kitchen!

Bon Bar B Que!

Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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stop watchWe’ve all heard it!  The infamous 5 second rule.  When something falls on the floor, you have 5 seconds to pick it up and still consume it. At SmokinLicious®, that will NEVER be the case.  If it falls on the floor, it is NEVER used in our manufacturing process!

You might ask, “Why apply this rule when we’re only talking about wood, right?”  If you understand the basis of wood-fired cooking then you understand that smoke is a vapor.  And like any vapor, it attaches itself to anything in its surrounding area.  When you cook with wood, you are adding its smoke or vapor as an ingredient to the foods being cooked.

So, do you really want something that has been on the floor for a short period or a longer period to be considered an ingredient in food you will consume?

SmokinLicious® is unique in this thinking and as a result of this approach allowed our wood processes to be Kosher certified! We handle everything with care and with your food consumption in mind.  To us, wood is a flavor ingredient and needs to be exceptionally clean.

Whether it’s our larger cuts of hardwood like our friction logs, barrel logs and assorted chunk sizes or our smallest product, Smokin’ Dust®, we ensure that the wood never touches the ground or floor.  SmokinLicious® developed custom storage containers and air collected systems that preserve the cleanliness of the wood and assure no product is EVER swept from the floor!

Why wouldn’t you want to deal with the leading cooking wood manufacturer in North America?  Especially when others are simply recycling their waste wood products.

Don’t you think your customers care about the 5 second rule and deserve to know if you allow it?

Get peace of mind AND a guarantee with a REAL cooking wood company…  SmokinLicious®!

Stop watch

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oak tree

With over 60 species of oak in the USA, this hardwood can be split into two categories: Red Oak and White Oak.  It is one of the most popular hardwoods to use in cooking likely because of its ready availability.  But as we’ve mentioned before, just because something is available in your area, doesn’t make it a success for all cooking techniques and foods.

Oak is a heavy, strong, and ring porous hardwood resulting in a course texture and prominent grain.  Oak hardwood is part of the Fagaceae family of wood.   The scientific names for the varieties we manufacture are Quercus coccinea Muenchh., Quercus falcata Michx. Var. Falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii Engelm., Quercus prinus L., and Quercus velutina Lam.   The common names for the varieties found in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania regions include: Red Oak, Spanish Oak, Yellow Chestnut Oak, Rock Oak, Smoothbark Oak.

Oak is considered the strongest in flavour for hardwoods.  It is known for providing deep coloring to the outer skin of foods meaning a very dark often black outer skin and it can be overpowering to those who aren’t use to smoked foods.  It also is a hardwood that can mold easily especially when exposed to significant variations in temperature and humidity.  Plus, it does not like to make contact with metal which can be a challenge when cutting with metal/steel tools!  Oak will show its distaste by producing black streaks on the wood or even coating its entire outside with a black “dye”-like substance.

Heat Level: High – 21.7 (red) 26.5 (white) MBTU

Fuel Efficiency: Excellent

Ease of Lighting: Fair

Ideal Uses: Grilling/Braising/Pit Roasting/Hot Smoking/Cold Smoking (white)

If you are keen on bold flavours and definitely like smokiness to your foods, then oak is a clear winner.  However, I do recommend using less of this wood when cooking poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables and herbs/spices especially if you have a gas assist unit or are using lump hardwood charcoal or hardwood charwood for fuel.

oak tree

 

 

 

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bon Bar B Q

 

Dr Smoke and the Culinary Crew

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