May 2018


"You are what you eatII" saying is more true today than it was years ago!

“You are what you eatII” saying is truer today than it was years ago!

‘YOU ARE WHAT YOU EATII’ APPLIES TO WOOD COOKING

Summary of You Are What you EatII

Healthy eating recipes, eat smart with Bark free cooking wood, cooking wood as a food ingredient is a clean eating basic. Responsibly sourced wood and only using heartwood Hardwoods avoids what woods are toxic to humans. Please remember you are what you eatII when it comes to smoke flavor in food and your sourced wood.

We’ve all heard it, likely from our mothers.  You are what you eat.  If you truly understand the meaning of the statement, you know that we extract necessary nutrients from the foods we ingest to energize and stabilize our bodies.  The nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, and hormones.  Every day we lose cells which is why the foods we consume are so vital to our body’s health.

Like Any Other Food Choice

If you’ve been a follower of my writings then you are aware of the stress I put on recognizing the wood used to cook foods is just as important an ingredient as the cut of meat, choice of spices, quality of oil, etc.  There has been a lot of focus on the origin of food and how important it is to source locally both as a means of supporting local business and to control what you’re putting in your body.  From our perspective, you want to know that the wood used for cooking is sourced close to the growing area.   This ensures that there is knowledge about how the wood is processed before it gets to you and it assures the freshest product.

Minimal Processing

Just as with the clean food concept which focuses on minimally processed foods and as direct from nature as possible, SmokinLicious® holds to the same approach.  Sourcing wood from forest regions (direct from nature) that are in close proximity to our manufacturing facility, provides us with the unique advantage to process into the various cooking products the hardwoods harvested that meet our strict criteria: 100% bark-free (we don’t allow any bark-on product to cross our threshold), 100% heartwood (no outer cores of the tree cross our threshold), harvested hardwood that is less than 6 months of age (ensures this is still a “green” product), chemical-free (no pesticide or growth enhancement techniques employed), and in raw state to allow us to process it into a suitable cooking wood size.

The Risks

If you love foods that are cooked with wood, then you should know a few specifics to keep you on the path to health and long life.

Hardwoods only!

  • Softwoods or coniferous woods should never be used for cooking as they have elevated sap levels and more air in their cell structure. This causes them to burn fast, produce lots of sparks, and unpleasant flavors that are not ideal for flavoring foods. These include pine, redwood, cedar, fir, spruce, hemlock, larch, cypress.

Toxicity Risks:

  • There are many known toxicities in certain species of wood with softwoods containing the highest risk. Other woods have the potential to cause sickness and in some cases death if a person’s system is already compromised. Most of the risks are associated with the cooking process rather than the ingestion of the actual wood-fired food. But know that if a balance of the wood-tar creosote is not found, then the ingestible risks of the food heighten.  One of the best means of obtaining a balance is by starting with hardwoods that are considered safe for cooking, are clean, are bark-free, and derive from the inner cores rather than outer of the wood, where more impurities lurk.

Cooking Technique Influence Risk:

  • At some point, I’m sure you’ve read about heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are the chemicals that form when meats, poultry, and fish are cooked using higher temperature methods like grilling. Why does this pose a health risk?  Because these chemicals cause changes in DNA and when you change DNA and they are metabolized by specific enzymes in the body, you can increase the risk of cancer associated with these compounds.  There is no definitive link between HCA and PAH exposure from cooked meats and cancer in humans.  There is no way to differentiate between other exposures to the chemicals from the food exposure.

HCAs are found to only be associated with meat cooked at high temperatures. While PAHs can be found in other smoked foods.  Remember, PAHs are also in cigarette smoke and fumes from car exhaust.  A recommendation is to remove any charred portions of meat, continuously turning meat over the high heat source, and avoiding direct exposure of meat to the open flame to reduce exposure.  Here’s a tip that can also reduce the risk of forming HCAs – marinate your foods for at least 10 minutes.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips: Grande Sapore®, Minuto®, Piccolo®

Wood Chunks: Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-Food & Smokehouse Processing Double Standard?

-TO BARK OR NOT

-COOKING WITH WOOD YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOUR SAFETY

-HOT TREND MAY NOT BE THE SAFEST BET

Dr Smoke-As we promote a healthy diet enjoying different foods please remember "you are what you eat" !

Dr. Smoke- As we promote a healthy diet enjoying different foods please remember “you are what you eatII” !

WILDFIRE SMOKE TAINT grapes may add some bold tastes

WILDFIRE SMOKE TAINT grapes may add some bold tastes

WILDFIRE SMOKE TAINT IS THE BBQ COOK’S UMAMI

Summary:

The Wine Spectator article has us thinking how Wildfire Smoke taint grapes can make smoke taint in wine! Think what a smoke taint wine with a smoky taste can do for your Barbecue sauces! These vineyard grapes caught in the California wildfires by the traveling smoke can add some smoky boldness to our cooking!

Listen to the audio of this blog

I came across a fascinating article in Wine Spectator (June 15, 2018) that made me salivate.  The article focused on the wildfires of California, specifically Northern California, in October 2017 that had vineyards struggling with grapes that had not yet been harvested for wine production and were exposed to the fire’s smoke.

Smoke taint.  That is the smoky flavors grapes will pick up from traveling smoke gases and particles that become airborne with the wind.  Even if a vineyard did not experience the fire directly, it can be affected by the traveling smoke.  That is the key though: a vineyard may or may not contain smoke taint in the grapes.

Lab Research

There were many California wineries that sent grape and juice samples to labs for analysis to determine if compounds indicative of smoke exposure existed (probability is said to be 70% with testing).  Specifically, they test for the primary volatile phenols present in smoke.  This research and technique have its base in extensive research done in Australia who experience bushfires more commonly than Californians experience wildfires.

If these volatile phenols are found in the sample, this means the waxy cuticle of the grape skin absorbed the compounds forming glycosides.  At this stage, the phenols are not detectable by smell or taste.  Once the fermentation begins, the acids break down the bond making the phenols volatile again.  Additionally, our own mouths can breakdown remaining glycosides releasing the smoky flavors when the wines are consumed.

What to Do

Though there is a risk to white wines, these tend to be less susceptible to smoke taint since most are not fermented on their skins.   Wines fermenting in tanks and barrels during the fires also appear protected by the layer of carbon dioxide that forms.

For those wines found to have the smoke taint, the vineyard is faced with options:

  • minimize the skin contact by adjusting the grape press
  • use lighter toasted oak barrels for the fermentation
  • bottle the tainted wine under a different label
  • sell the wine on the bulk market to be blended into an inexpensive wine
  • sell the wine to distilleries

BBQ Umami

I have another idea!  Along the lines of selling the wine to another user, why not market this to Chefs, cooks, and barbecue enthusiasts who understand and desire those charry undertones.  Think about the sauces, marinades, glazes, and assorted other uses these tainted wines could be used in.

Think about how many people use handheld food smokers to get a smoky undertone to liquids, whether a cocktail, syrup, juice, even water.  With a bottle of this tainted wine, blooming with an ashy component, you have ready-made umami for those of us searching for the perfect ingredient to bring a balanced smoky undertone to a recipe.

Here’s my suggestion: think about contacting one of these vineyards to see if they would be willing to sell you some unmarked bottles.  They wouldn’t have to label them with their pristine brand, just sell it as is to those of us who love that undertone.

Some of the vineyards with tainted wine: The Hess Collection, Jackson Family Wines, Jarvis Wines.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure going to try to get my hands on at least a couple of bottles of the smoke-tainted wine as my recipes are just waiting for this special ingredient!

 

Purchase Products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-COOKING WITH WOOD YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOUR SAFETY

-Is It Fresh? Here’s Why You Need to Know

-HOT TREND MAY NOT BE THE SAFEST BET

-6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke-  Interesting discuss WILDFIRE SMOKE TAINT could provide some bold flavors to the BBQ chef

We do a summer favorite WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON!

We do a summer favorite WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON!

WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON BECOMES A STAR

Summary:

Learn how to do wood fired Grilled Watermelon by using your gas grilling techniques, charcoal grilling techniques, wood grilling delicate fruits and other gas grilling tips and tricks. Wood flavors add to grilled watermelon taste for a spicy grilled watermelon desserts. Add to your grilled watermelon recipes!

Listen to the audio of this blog

You may have seen segments on grilling watermelon before which show slices of watermelon on a standard gas grill.  Although I agree that the heat generated from the grill will produce a sweet outcome, there is no comparison to doing a grilling technique that incorporates wood for added flavor.

In this segment, I’ll show you how to grill watermelon on a grill of your choice with wood chunks for the unique combination of sweet and char flavors that only comes from grilling with wood.

Easy Prep

I think this is by far, the easiest preparation for the grill.  All you need is a watermelon of your choosing and a grill; gas, electric or charcoal.  Just 2-3 wood chunks from SmokinLicious® and about 20 minutes once you have a lit grill, and this method of bringing flavor to the standard watermelon will be complete.

As watermelon contains a lot of water, it is essential that you work with a medium heat setting on your gas grill and hot coals with a moderate flame for the charcoal grill.  If using a gas grill, be sure to set up the wood chunks on just one side of the grill and allow the chunks to smolder first so there is plenty of smoke vapor.  Since watermelon grills in no time at all, you want to have enough smoke vapor produced to give a great tasty outcome for both a gas grill or charcoal grill method.  Electric smokers are self-contained allowing for simple dialing in about 15 minutes worth of smoking time.

our slices ready to be wood fired!

For the watermelon, cut lengthwise in half and cut each half into individual slices about 1-1/2 to 2” thick.  Or, you can remove all the rind and grill just the watermelon meat.  Keep fire safe tongs at the ready so you can turn the watermelon slices just once as they evaporate some water and sweeten up.  DO NOT leave the grill!  This fruit requires a careful watch so stay put and you’ll have every piece cooked to perfection.

So Many Uses

You’ll see how the watermelon darkens in color, get bits of char coloring to the skin, and is less water soluble.  That’s the perfect outcome.  Now it’s time to think about how to use your wood flavored melon.

Our finished wood fired grilled watermelon

First, you can enjoy it as is.  When I serve this naked, I just give one additional flavor such as fresh, chopped mint.   But if you’re looking for a lunch or lite dinner entrée, think salad by including some baby arugula, goat cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  For a spicy version, sprinkle the wedges with red pepper flakes, a bit of granulated sugar, and lime zest.  Wood fired watermelon also works great with other summer favorites like grape and cherry tomato, pepper slices, sugar snow peas, and cucumber.  No matter how you choose to serve it, grilled watermelon with wood flavoring is going to top your list of grilled favorites.

 

 

Proving that there’s more to wood-fired cooking than just animal proteins, SmokinLicious® brings you great ideas for recipes featuring a wood-fired ingredient.  Bringing you tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

-Smoked Snow Peas With Cucumber Salad

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- Wood fired grilled watermelon is my favorite summertime dessert!

Electric Smoker Guy is our guest blogger discussion how to select the best electric smokers

Electric Smoker Guy is our guest blogger discussion how to select the best electric smokers

Electric Smoker Guy Guest blogger

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ELECTRIC SMOKER

Summary:

Tips from the Electric Smoker Guy about electric smokers, best electric smokers, electric smoker reviews, small electric smoker and finally how to choose the best electric smoker. Read this and his blog to guide you in looking for a good quality smoker, purchasing electric smokers, analog smokers or digital smokers!

Listen to the audio of this blog

You don’t have to be an expert to prepare a perfectly smoked meat if you have the best electric smoker by your side. Now, you have to be aware that you can’t just come into the store and ask for the best electric smoker because that doesn’t exist.

The best electric smoker for me and for you doesn’t have to be the same model and that is why it is important to know what to look for an electric smoker. You don’t have to be modest, there are many electric smokers on the market which means that you can adjust almost every part of the smoker to your needs.

If you don’t know where to start, let me guide you through the process of picking the best electric smoker for you.

#1 Choose the Capacity  

The size of the smoker is the most important feature you can adjust because there is no need for buying a big electric smoker if you are smoking only for your family. If you want to smoke for your family and friends, go with the medium electric smoker and if you want to smoke for a large group of people, then I would suggest you take a look at the commercial-grade electric smokers.

#2 Choose the Place for It

Electric smoker has to be outside and you can’t smoke in the kitchen if you don’t have a special ventilation, which most homes don’t. Choose a place for it and see if it can stay there all the time. That place should be protected from the wind, the rain and under a roof. If you don’t have that place, buy a smoker with wheels so you can take it out of the garage to smoke it and store it again when you are done.

#3 Choose the Smoker Features

If this is your first smoker, choose the one that has a window on the doors so you can see the smoking process. That is very important, especially for rookies who aren’t sure what smoking does to the meat and how long it takes for the meat to be done. If you are constantly opening the door of the smoker you will lose smoke and the heat. That will prolongate the smoking process a lot. The window on the door should be from tempered glass to withstand the heat and it mustn’t be easy to break.

#4 Choose the Controller

The electric smoker can be analog and digital. The analog smoker shows you the temperature on a temperature gauge and it is not so easy to control it. The electric smokers, on the other side, are easier to control. You have to set the time and the temperature you want and the smoker will maintain the same temperature through the entire smoking process.

As you can see, smoking is not just picking the first smoker you see in the store and buying it. If you buy a good quality smoker you will be able to control the heat and the smoke better and that will result in a good smoked meat. If you choose the best electric smoker you won’t have to do anything, the smoker will do most of the hard work. But, if you want to learn more about electric smokers you can visit the site about them called the Electric Smoker Guy:

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-ELECTRIC SMOKERS: WHEN IS A WOOD CHIP DEAD?

-HOW MUCH WOOD TO ADD WHEN SMOKING

-SALT FREE SPICE RUBS- HEALTHY CHOICES

-Does Outdoor Kitchen Stainless Steel Rust

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke-Read more from the Electric Smoker Guy on his blog!

our guest blogger is linda colon discuss outdoor kitchen stainless steel

Outdoor Kitchen

Does Stainless Steel Rust

& What Does it Mean for Your Outdoor Kitchen?

Listen to the audio of this blog

outdoor kitchen photo from Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchen photo courtesy of Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens

Does stainless steel rust? This is a common question asked by many.

by Linda Colon

Our Guest blogger discusses Stainless Steel, does stainless steel rust in outdoor appliances. Tips on how to care for stainless steel outdoor kitchen units. She explains active metals and passive metals in stainless steel grill and to avoid hard water, wire brushes, steel pads and only use non-abrasive cleaning tools.

Myth: Stainless steel does not rust.

Myth Busted: Unfortunately, stainless steel is susceptible to rusting.

Here is a little background to help you understand why this myth has created confusion for the metals world.

First, let’s take a look at the difference between active and passive metals. Metals such as iron and steel easily corrode – showing yellow or orange rust – within the natural environment and are called active metals.

The two grades of stainless steel most referenced in relation to outdoor environments are 304 and 316L, also known as marine-grade stainless steel. Their numbers are determined by their alloy composition. Unlike the active metals mentioned above, stainless steel is referred to as passive because it contains other metals including chromium. For a material to be considered stainless steel, at least 10.5% of the make-up must be chromium. Additional alloys typically include nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorous, selenium and molybdenum. The key difference between the 304 and the 316L is the addition of molybdenum in the 316L. It is the molybdenum that enhances corrosion resistance in environments rich in salt air and chloride – giving 316L the moniker of “marine grade” stainless steel.

It is also important to note that stainless steel is not stain proof; it’s stainless. As such, regardless of whether you use 304 or 316L exposed stainless-steel cabinetry and appliances requires maintenance. The addition of molybdenum (in marine grade stainless steel) only delays corrosion, it does not stop it.

The chromium contained within stainless steel creates an invisible passive film covering the steel surface and shielding against corrosion. As long as the invisible film – or passive layer – remains intact, the metal remains stainless and corrosion resistant.

However, three things can break down this film:

  1. Mechanical abrasion – steel pads, wire brushes and scrapers will scratch the steel surface.
  2. Water – depending on where you live, your water can be hard or soft. Hard water may leave spots and, when heated, leave deposits behind. These can break down the passive layer leaving the stainless steel to rust. Be sure to remove deposits from food preparation and service.
  3. Chlorides – are found everywhere including in water, food and table salt. Household and industrial cleaners contain some of the worst chlorides!

There are many types of corrosion that affect stainless steel metals. Corrosion mechanisms fall into five different categories; pitting corrosion, crevice corrosion, galvanic corrosion, stress-corrosion Cracking, and general corrosion.

  • Pitting corrosion happens to stainless steel when it is exposed to environments that contain chlorides.
  • Crevice corrosion is triggered when oxygen levels are low in a crevice.
  • Galvanic corrosion happens when dissimilar metals come into contact with another.
  • Stress corrosion cracking is when tensile stresses combine with environmental conditions.
  • General corrosion happens when the stainless steels pH is less than 1.

So, does stainless steel rust?

The answer: Yes, how quickly is determined by the type of stainless steel the outdoor appliances and cabinets are made of.

By keeping the stainless steel surfaces free from food and other debris, following these cleaning tips for outdoor kitchen cabinets will help maintain your cabinets integrity and reduce the risk of rusting and corrosion:

  • Use only alkaline, alkaline-chlorinated or non-chloride cleaners
  • Avoid hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) on your stainless steel
  • Always use a non-abrasive cleaning tool such as a soft cloth or plastic scouring pad
  • Avoid steel pads, wire brushes, and scrapers
  • Always clean in the direction of the polishing marks by locating the lines or grain and scrub in a motion parallel to them
  • If you do end up using a chlorinated cleaner, be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry it, immediately
  • Air dry your equipment

Remember, our stainless steel equipment is not stain-proof, it is stainless.

For any additional questions or advice on a stainless steel outdoor kitchen project, reach out to our in-house design team at 203-889-9640!

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- Great Article by Linda Colon!