This is the The Smokinlicious® Story and the birth of the cleanest USA manufactured hardwoods specifically for cooking.
We all have dreams. I can seriously tell you that one of mine did not include owning a cooking wood company. It just happened. The short story is, my husband and co-founder of SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products, agreed to take over a wood products business that required a more skilled leader. For two years, I let him tackle this venture alone until his vision saw more potential.
Just a few years ahead of this, we had another dream of owning a lake property. We managed to make that dream a reality in 1999 when we lucked out finding our ideal property. It needed a lot of work. A LOT! We jumped off the cliff that year and continued working on this project for the next 12 years adding various out buildings. The fourth building to be built would turn out to be one of the most used and bring to life our cooking wood company – our outdoor kitchen.
The Outdoors Brings Clarity
We brought in larch logs to stand majestically as pillars on the countertop surround. We brought in stone from a local quarry and built a beautiful outdoor fireplace with an elevated hearth. And we outfitted the kitchen with a small refrigerator, sink, prep area, and loads of under counter cabinets. When it was done, we began cooking and creating and dreaming some more. You see, we are blessed with mountains all around us that harbor the best hardwoods for cooking. And we owned a wood company!
Here’s where life got interesting.
We would entertain friends and family, always cooking in that outdoor kitchen when we could. The questions started pouring in! “What did you do to these short ribs? I’ve never tasted anything so good! How is it possible that my 7-year old, who won’t ever eat my steaks, is asking for 3rd helpings of yours?”
Have you ever experienced one of those moments? I call it karma.
We had plentiful hardwoods so we never paid attention to what other people had for cooking supply. Until that moment.
Make It Like No Other
We scoured the stores and online sites looking at what was available for cooking wood. We didn’t like what we saw. The packaged wood looked dry, dirty, inconsistent in sizing, loaded with bark, not something enticing to cook with. And that was our moment.
We knew we could produce a better product line then what was currently available. We made our list of issues we could see with the current product offerings. Then we launched into our plan.
If you’re like me and you understand that you control your own fortune in life, then you’ll understand that I could see what I wanted in this product, I believed I could make this product and company a reality. I just didn’t know the how. That is generally the pattern for all success in business.
Belief Becomes Reality
SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products started business by providing a handful of products to meet the initial needs of those who wanted to smoke with hardwood. We tested our products on the competitive barbecue circuit throughout North America, we studied the equipment that most competitors and home users used, and we studied the wood. Over the past 13 years, we’ve been listening to our customer’s comments, listening to the needs of our potential and existing commercial customers, visiting commercial smokehouse operations, and analyzing what’s missing in the market. We’ve gone from one size of wood chip to over eight options, three offerings of wood chunks, five sizes of heartwood logs, and over 15 flavors of our Smokin’ Dust® product, making SmokinLicious® the most innovative cooking wood supplier who also happens to manufacture every product.
If the equipment to make our dream real didn’t exist, we made it. If writing how to guides didn’t prove enough, we offered videos. Additionally, if photos couldn’t prove the differences in our products from others, then we offered up molecular analysis.
This is The Smokinlicious® Story or at least our story to this point. There is so much more to come. Join us and experience a rebirth when it comes to wood fired cooking techniques and get the perfect partner for your needs. You can be part of the rest of The Smokinlicious® Story!
For thousands of years, it was the only way to cook. Many believe that this discovery separated man from the other animals. Fire.
Estimated to have been discovered some 2 million years ago, the discovery of fire and more importantly, the discovery of how to tame fire, resulted in man’s brain development, value of food, changes in our body, and social structure. It gave us survivability. It extended our life by improving daily calories and nutritional needs by allowing us to cook poisonous plants and meats.
So how did fire cooking get discovered? That is the million dollar question. Here are some of the hypotheses out there regarding the discovery of fire for cooking:
Nature Provides Ignition
There are some scientists who believe that fire cooking was found by accident. A lightning strike or grass fires that sprung up due to the excessive dry conditions exposed to the hot sun. Many don’t feel man did anything to “discover” fire other than observe the characteristics of fire: it produces abundant heat, light, and when it traps an animal within its flames, it produced a more tender meat, easier to digest food source, and more pleasing aroma to the meat.
There are others who believe that early humans realized the importance of tools. By sharpening stones to produce spears, cutting tools, etc., these early beings observed spark. Either through intention or perhaps with Mother Nature’s assistance, these sparks caught twigs, brush, fruit, and/or grains on fire. Remember, early human life did not involve a developed brain. A discovery of fire, however, would help advance not only our brains, but our bodies into the erect beings we are today.
The Earliest Cave Cooking
In South Africa’s Northern Cape province, a dwelling known as Wonderwerk Cave, contains the earliest evidence that our ancestors and apelike ancestors were using fire. Compacted dirt showed evidence of ashes, carbonized leaf and twig fragments, and burnt bits of animal bones. Scientists were then able to analyze this material and determine that the fragments were heated between 750 and 1300°F, which is the heat level of a small fire made of twigs and grasses.
If indeed our earlier species learned to harness fire for cooking, this would account for the advancement of our brains and our ability to become erect beings walking on two legs. Cooking on fire allowed for easier chewing and digestion and produced extra calories to fuel our brains. Fire also warded off nighttime predators, allowing for sleep on the ground or in caves rather than in the trees.
It’s All About Energy
Raw food diets have been popularized as a method of losing weight and of being healthier. However, only a fraction of the calories in raw starch and protein are absorbed by the body via the small intestine. As a result, the remainder passes into the large bowel, where it is broken down by the organ’s high population of microbes, which consume the majority for themselves. However, cooked food is mostly digested by the time it enters the colon. For the same amount of calories ingested, the body gets roughly 30 percent more energy from cooked oat, wheat or potato starch as compared to raw, and as much as 78 percent from the protein in an egg. In experiments, animals given cooked food gain more weight than animals fed the same amount of raw food.
Cooking breaks down collagen (connective tissue in meat) & softens the plants’ cell walls to release their storage of starch & fat. The calories to fuel the bigger brains of successive species of hominids came at the expense of the energy-intensive tissue in the gut, which was shrinking at the same time. If you look at early imagery of apes, you’ll see how we morphed into narrow-waisted Homo sapiens.– the history of fire cooking part I
Coming up in The History of Fire Cooking: Part II, learn more about why cooking foods by fire made us who we are today. In conclusion, did we provide you with new information you didn’t know? Additionally, leave us a comment and subscribe as we bring recipes, tips, techniques, and the science behind the fire and smoke.
In today’s age of selling products and services, there are acronyms that are common to marketing and sales strategies. First, there is B2B which refers to business to business relationships. This means that a product or a service is sold from one business to another. An example of each would be windshield wiper fluid being sold to gas stations and attorney services to large corporations.
B2C is shorthand for business to consumer. This is selling a product or service directly to a customer that is not necessarily a business.
Now, you may automatically assume that SmokinLicious® would fall under both these sales types, and you would be right. But there is another acronym you likely aren’t familiar with: F2C.
Making a Better Connection
F2C refers to factory to consumer or more specifically, manufacturer to consumer. There are many reasons why this is a plus to both businesses and consumers doing business with a specific manufacturer. Let’s examine the major advantages from the perspective of doing business with SmokinLicious®:
Advantage #1 Details
As the manufacturer of all the products sold under the brand SmokinLicious®, we can provide the specifics on where the hardwood comes from, the age of the wood, the handling of the product, the treatment the wood is exposed to, and the details on packaging. You don’t have to wait on answers to your product questions like with a supplier who is simply a re-seller of the wood. We give answers immediately!
Advantage #2 Intimate Knowledge
When you are committed to manufacturing a specific product, you tend to know that product thoroughly. For SmokinLicious®, that equates to us knowing not only about wood fired cooking techniques like hot smoking, ember cooking, and cold smoking but we know the science behind hardwood; molecular biology of the wood as well as for combustion. We know why smoke gives flavor and how to respect and control it.
Advantage #3 Availability
We aren’t simply selling a product to move it out of inventory. As a manufacturer, we are committed to answering questions whether on email, via phone, or social media platforms. No, we don’t operate the phones 24/7. But we do get back to anyone who contacts us, usually within 24 hours. We are available to everyone!
Advantage #4 Passion
Sometimes I feel the word “passion” is overused but that word really does describe the people who make up the SmokinLicious® Team. We are passionate about cooking with fire and the smoke it produces. We simply love to offer our perspective on cooking with wood. Remember, just because someone sells a specific product doesn’t mean it was a dream of theirs. It simply may be the “thing” to do with no real commitment. Who wants to commit to that type of supplier!
Advantage #5 Skilled
We have a test kitchen/patio and we use it – all the time! That’s the only way you can know all the different applications for the product we manufacture and sell. We possess the skills to guide you on what might be causing bitter flavors, poor color, equipment failures, and so much more. Plus, we offer daily postings on recipes, tips, techniques, and the science behind cooking with fire and smoke.
Advantage #6 Global
We can be everywhere because we know our commodity and the regulations that relate to our products. We don’t cut corners because we are as concerned about our environment and forests as the agricultural agencies around the world. You won’t ever need to worry about having your supply cut off because a regulation or law wasn’t followed.
Advantage #7 Exclusivity
You’re purchasing smoking wood to cook with. That means, food is exposed to the wood’s components. Don’t you want assurance that it’s clean? We only sell hardwoods for cooking and culinary use! That’s it! We don’t take waste product from some other wood process and sell it off under a new label or brand. We don’t buy woods from anyone who can’t document on paper where the smoker wood is from and if exposure to chemicals is possible. SmokinLicious® is exclusively a culinary wood product!
These are just some of the advantages to working directly with and purchasing directly from a manufacturer, or F2C. When you want assurances that any question you have can be answered, that any product need can be met, that your equipment will be protected, then seek a direct manufacturer first and eliminate a middle man that may only be in it for dollars and cents. Or one day you could simply find they’re no longer in business or they no longer can ship product throughout North America or other continents, leaving your Company with a big problem.
Smoked foods can lend an inspired touch to the menu of almost any restaurant, regardless of the type of cuisine it serves. Today, it’s easier than ever to smoke food quickly and efficiently whether in a restaurant setting or at home. The first step is to choose a hot or cold smoker. Both types of smoking devices come with their own benefits, and each is ideally suited for different types of food. Both hot and cold smoking can be used to infuse foods with different flavors; and both can be used to preserve otherwise perishable foods. The infographic below can help you decide whether hot smoking, cold smoking, or a combination of the two is right for you
Originally posted this on January 11, 2017 on their web site. The Alto-Shaam® Social Marketing Team made a request to have us post this to our Blog. We felt the content was a great value to our readers/followers! Please note that the wood chips outlined in this article are limited to only those that Alto-Shaam® has available. SmokinLicious® produces 8 species of smoker wood chips compatible to the Alto-Shaam® equipment. (Note: we do not produce Mesquite or Apple).
You are what you eat. We discuss the double standards of smokehouse processing emphasizing high quality ingredients but less than quality smoking methodology.
Food & Smokehouse Processing Double Standard?
Self-disclosure here. I work for a USA cooking and smoking wood company that has earned recognition for its commitment to manufacturing quality products specifically suited for many culinary professions, trades and interests. Even though not required to do so, the company treats its entire product line as food additives. This is an important point for my following observations.
I’ve always been especially impressed how reputable food processors and manufacturers accept, follow and even exceed many of the numerous public regulations in place to provide consumers with safe and healthy food products. For the most part our nation’s food industry operates from a philosophy that maximizes consumer protection by prioritizing food safety. Clearly, we’d be in a world of hurt if it didn’t!
Here’s my dilemma
Recently, I tuned into a very popular realty television program which showcases “dirty” jobs- I think you know the name. Maybe you’ve even seen it. Like most other episodes, this show highlighted a series of tough job tasks, performed by hardworking employees. This episode dealt with all food processing elements of a very high quality, perishable specialty deli meat item- Lebanon bologna.
It’s impressing that the company, for over 100 years, goes to great heights in sourcing only the best ingredients. Its processing methods seemed to be top notch. Except a few of the techniques shown in the latter stages of the show highlighting smokehouse operations. At first it was disturbing to see that the main source of smoking wood is wood slabs with bark on considered to be “mill waste material.” If that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t believe when a worker demonstrated their process of generating smoke in the smokehouses. Step #1- douse a rag with kerosene, light it and kick it in to the burn pit of the smokehouse. To me, the very defining aspect of this company’s high-quality food product, smoked bologna, has been denigrated with a cheap, uncleaned and potentially harmful fuel source and an ignition process that is archaic and potentially harmful.
For the life of me, I can’t truly understand why a company that has been in business since 1902 and is apparently known in large markets for having the very best ingredients to make its consumable food products would revert to a smoking operation that involves waste wood being ignited with nearly the same petrochemicals that fuel the likes of a diesel locomotive? Given the residuals of burnt petrochemicals, I’m not sure I’d ever want to eat any of their smoked deli meats.
You Are What You Eat
So, I guess the adage of you are what you eat apparently doesn’t have the same meaning with this company. It appears their smoking method hasn’t evolved much beyond the same dirty way done 100 years ago, before health risks came to the forefront. When considering that smoking methods are a big part of their overall food products, I can’t help but think that a double standard is in place with the consumer to suffer.