April 2019

Smoked Whiskey Cocktails are great libations for drinking!

Smoked Whiskey Cocktails are great libations for drinking!

Guest blog- Kylee Harris, an events planner and writer.

Let's Smoke the Whiskey for our cocktails Click To Tweet

There are over 550 annual barbeque competition events in the United States. Originally constrained to the Southern states, barbeque is now ubiquitous in most parts of the country. Thanks to the popularity of all things vintage, craft cocktails have made a huge comeback, and although it may not seem so at first glance, these two are a match made in heaven. As creative as barbeque pitmasters can get with their rubs and sauces, so, too, can you with specialty cocktails featuring smoked whiskey to pair with smoked meats.

Smoked Whiskey Manhattan- A Classic Match

You don’t need a pull-behind trailer rigged with the latest smoking equipment to make your own delicious smoked meats. As long as your kitchen is equipped with a stove, you can get in on this delicious food preparation. While you can purchase stovetop smokers, it’s fairly easy to DIY a smoker yourself with household products you probably already own. No matter what you’re serving, a Manhattan will pair beautifully with your meat.

Classic Manhattan

Classic Manhattan- for our smoked whiskey cocktails
Classic Manhattan (up)


  • Ice
  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • ½ oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash of Angostura bitters
  • orange peel
  • Maraschino cherry

Shake whiskey, vermouth, and bitters with ice; strain into lowball glass. Rub the rim of your glass with the orange peel and garnish with cherry. Substitute vermouth with 1 oz. of agave nectar and use chocolate bitters and Jim Beam Devil’s Cut (barrel aged whiskey) for an alternate take on this classic.

A Smoked Whiskey Summer Treat

Take this simple, two-ingredient cocktail and kick it up a notch by infusing it with a smokey flavor that matches your menu. With a smoking gun (available for around $100, or you can make your own with some inexpensive tubing and a small-mouthed container), you can “rinse” your chilled glasses with smoke, or even smoke your entire concoction, using the same wood you use for your meat. The tartness of the grapefruit juice will cut the richness of the meat and is perfect for a backyard, al fresco dinner.

Jack Honey

Jack honey cocktail
Jack Honey cocktail


  • 2 oz. Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey
  • 3 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

Pour over ice into collins glass.

Something Truly Special

If your skills as a pitmaster aren’t the only thing you want to show off, here is a very special cocktail that will wow your guests. The smokey flavor and touch of cinnamon gives the classic whiskey sour a brand new twist that will leave your guests in awe. You’ll need to plan ahead for this one, as it requires two different, homemade syrups, but if you’re looking to win for best bartender, this one can’t lose.

Smokey Sour

classic whiskey sour
Classic whiskey sour


  • Ice
  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz. cinnamon bark syrup (.3 oz cinnamon bark, 1 cup Turbinado sugar, 1 cup water; bring ingredients to a boil and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, let sit for 2 hours, strain and keep refrigerated)
  • ¼ oz. Lapsang souchong tea syrup (3-4 tea bags, 1 cup Turbinado sugar, 1 cup water; bring ingredients to a boil and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, let sit for 2 hours, strain and keep refrigerated)
  • 1 egg white

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake until frothy. Strain into a coupe glass.

The bold, rich flavor of whiskey is the perfect complement to a rich, smoked meat dish; both American traditions trace their roots back to the South. If you are looking to skip the same old beer next time you smoke meat for your guests, you can’t go wrong with whiskey cocktails, either made-to-order or batched for a larger group. Let the elements of barbequing guide you to experiment with new techniques and flavors and take your pairings to a new level.

SmokinLicious® products:

Wood Chips- Minuto® & Piccolo®

More related reading on how Smokinlicious® reduces the risks of Microbial bacteria in our wood products
More related reading on smoked Whiskey Cocktails & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs

More related blogs:

-How To Maintain A Safe Kitchen Environment



Dr. Smoke- Thank you Kaylee for another very informative article!
Dr. Smoke- Thank you Kylee for another very informative article!

Ash will tantalize your smoke with a Mediterranean flare

Ash will tantalize your smoke with a Mediterranean flare


We’re off to introduce you to Ash- another hardwood that may not be as well known for cooking as some of its siblings in the hardwood family. But this particular wood, in my opinion, is one of the hidden gems of the hardwood forest.

Ash hardwood is part of the Oleaceae family of wood which is the family of olive trees. The scientific name for the variety we manufacture is Fraxinus Americana L. but the common names for the varieties found in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania regions include American Ash, Ash, Biltmore Ash.

This hardwood is so versatile in the kitchen whether indoors using wood chips for stovetop smoking, cold smoking, or handheld food smoking or outside in the traditional smoker, LP grill or pizza oven. It can be used with any food for natural wood flavoring/smoking; essentially, any wood-fired cooking technique. The flavor profile is on the light side making it ideal for most any food but in particular, it works great with wood-fired pizza and fish due to its lower moisture level and ability to form the most even bed of coals. I really like using Ash wood chunks for ember or coal cooking as nothing beats how this wood lays the perfect small dimension bed of embers.

Ash provides a neutral coloring to the outer skin of foods. This wood mixes easily with other hardwoods and fruit woods, particularly Hickory, Maple, Cherry, and Alder. It can even tone down the harshness of pungent woods like oak and mesquite.


Heat Level: High – 23.6 MBTU

Fuel Efficiency: Good to Great

Ease of Lighting: Fair

Ideal Uses: Baking/Grilling/Roasting/Braising/Pit Roasting/Hot Smoking/Cold Smoking

Why not consider leaving the traditional hardwoods for your wood-fired cooking and flavoring and enjoy the awesome benefits of the lesser known Ash hardwood tree!

More related reading on how Smokinlicious® reduces the risks of Microbial bacteria in our wood products

More related reading on smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More blogs about wood species:



Dr. Smoke- Ash is a great hardwood & can be used for many types of wood fired cooking or smoking!

Dr. Smoke- Ash is a great hardwood & can be used for many types of wood fired cooking or smoking!

Our Cherry smoking wood gives a wonderful favor for Smoking, Grilling or Ember cooking. Adds a distinctive reddish-pink hue!

Our Cherry smoking wood adds a wonderful favor for Smoking, Grilling or Ember cooking. Adds a distinctive reddish-pink hue!

Our Cherry wood smoke is a wonderful flavor for Smoking, Grilling or Ember cooking! Click To Tweet

Listen to the audio of this blog




We introduced you first to the details on the ever-popular Sugar Maple hardwood but now let’s talk fruit wood, specifically, the forest grown cherry hardwood.


Know your wood sources when you're going to do cooking over wood

Know your wood sources when you’re going to do cooking over wood


Listen to the audio of this blog

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 by 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.



This bucolic photo can be yours if you follow our 6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON

Follow our 6 tips for a healthy outdoor cooking season in 2018!

Tips for Safe Outdoor Cooking- “6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SEASON”

listen to our blog


Everyone seems to be so much happier during the seasons that allow for outdoor cooking and entertaining. Whether it’s a planned cooking event or spur of the moment decision, these cooking events turn into an opportunity to relax, kick back and truly enjoy life.

There are steps you should take to ensure that the foods you enjoy outdoors remain safe. What follows are the top tips for safe outdoor cooking that will make for the best outdoor cooking season ever, no matter what you elect to cook.

Tips for Safe Outdoor Cooking

Tip #1

There are times when you want to marinate meats and poultry before cooking on your grill or smoker. Know that foods will only remain safe if you marinate in the refrigerator in a covered container, not with the marinated foods laying out on the kitchen counter. Also, if you plan to incorporate some of the marinades into a sauce, be sure to reserve some before it is applied to the raw foods. If there is marinade leftover from the raw food marination, be sure you boil it before using as anything that has contact with the raw food can carry bacteria.

Tip #2

You can grill a variety of foods on the same equipment but to know when everything is cooked, you will need to have thermometers. It’s best to use a different thermometer, marked by color, for each type of food: beef, pork, chicken, fish. The thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the meat or poultry to get an accurate internal temperature reading. Here is a guide on temperatures:

  • Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145°F/62°C
  • Ground meats & sausage: 160°F/71°C
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165°F/74°C
  • Hot dogs: Cook until steaming hot

Remember, thicker cut meats and poultry will need to be placed closer to the fire or heat. Utilize the upper grill grate for those items that are more fragile like thinner fillets of fish, vegetables, fruit, or for heating sauces.

Tip #3

You cannot partially cook meats and poultry by parboiling or microwaving and then placing in the refrigerator for grilling the next day. Although you may think this will lessen the cooking time on the grill, what you’re doing is introducing the potential for everyone to become sick. The reason? Partial cooking does not eliminate all bacteria growth. The reality is, you would be allowing bacteria to continue to grow.

Tip #4

Take the time to properly clean your grill or smoker at the start of the outdoor cooking season. It’s common to close vents on the grill or smoker when you cover it up for the winter season but these aides in stimulating mold growth on the grill grate and/or inside cover and walls. For that reason, it’s important to scrub down the interior of the grill or smoker using a cleaning mixture; 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water or a bleach to water blend if you’re not opposed to the more toxic bleach.

Tip #5

Be sure you start with a hot grill or to cooking temperature smoker. That means, preheat. Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature to ensure all bacteria is killed. Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat. By having a properly heated grill, you will guarantee a moist outcome for your meat and poultry.

Tip #6

There are many of us we prefer a good charcoal grill versus gas. It is important that you understand that there are many more influencers to altering the flavor of what you’re cooking when you cook over charcoal. Be sure to use an additive-free lump charcoal, which is charred wood. Conventional briquettes, which are easy to find, may contain wood scraps and sawdust as well as coal dust, sodium nitrate, borax and additives like paraffin or lighter fluid. As for lighter fluid, NO! Lighter fluid can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, leave an unpleasant flavor to foods, and pose a serious danger if used improperly. Skip it altogether.

Without question, our 6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON should help you on your way to a healthy, memorable outdoor cooking season. Likely, the best ever!

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks: Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on "What Wood for Smoking" and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

More Related reading on “What Wood for Smoking” and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

Additional reading:





Dr. Smoke- please follow our blog 6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON!

Dr. Smoke- Food labeling is important for health and food safety. It should apply to all smoked foods!

Olive Trees of Italy are facing the same Bacterium invasion as the USA

Italy’s Olive Tree Disease


listen to our blog

listen to our blog regarding wood for smoking

I am a wood geek. I love the living cells of trees and the hundreds of compounds that produce the various aromatics, tannins and flavors that make trees so valuable for medicinal, cosmetic, and flavoring uses. Whenever I’m in the woods, I always feel like these giants are breathing with me.

Then my joyful thoughts turn sad. Observing over the years how our lifestyle and explorative ways have changed our atmosphere which in turn changes the natural order of things. One of those things is our trees and the current impact of olive tree disease.

But North America is not alone! Battles over the loss of various hardwoods and softwoods continue as we fight to save the forest giants as well as orchard soldiers around the globe.

Prepare for Higher Olive Oil Pricing due to Olive Tree Disease

It’s called Xylella fastidiosa or commonly called “olive tree disease” and it’s a deadly bacterium that is gaining attention as it takes mark on the olive trees and groves of Italy since 2013. In 2016, this bacterium was blamed for the death of some one million olive trees in Southern Italy most of which were cut down to stop the deadly bacterium from spreading. But it hasn’t stopped. Even with netting and routine pruning, olive trees continue to suffer and eventually die or are cut down.

We know that the bacterium that causes olive tree disease starts somewhere within the heart of the tree and then travels towards the roots and branches. This is the reason pruning can sometimes be beneficial. Research has also shown that there are specific varieties of olive trees that are more susceptible to Xylella resulting in growers moving toward varieties with less risk when they replace or add new growth areas.

There is a pest, the meadow spittlebug, that is the carrier of Xylella and the reason it is necessary to net the trees to prevent this pest from traveling and spreading this major bacterium concern to other areas and other countries.

Much like our North American Emerald Ash Borer pest that is responsible for tens of millions of ash tree death and destruction, the meadow spittlebug and the Xylella bacterium it can carry results in loss of olive production to those damaged branches. Although the olive oil pressed from the olives research shows does not carry any disease or risk from this specter of olive tree disease, the bacterium has significantly reduced the volume of olives available to produce oil. Thus, pricing goes up as availability of olives depletes.

Olive Tree Disease- It’s Not Just an Olive Concern

You might think this is just an olive tree issue but you’d be deadly wrong. Xylella is a strain of bacterium that is considered one of the most dangerous plant bacteria in the world. It causes a tree to die of thirst from the inside out by blocking the xylem or transport tissue of the tree responsible for moving water and nutrients from the roots upwards to other parts of the tree. Xylella is then carried from tree to tree by the spittlebug who latch on to the tree’s xylem tubes sucking out liquid. When they travel to the next tree to feed, the bacterium they’ve picked up is passed into that tree’s xylem when they go to feed again. With no cure, the plant or tree stays infected for life, until it dies.

There have been strains of Xylella fastidiosa in citrus as well as pear, peach and plum. There is also a potential new strain in Southern California that could affect the grape production which could decimate the wine production something not needed after all the years of wildfires.

Continents currently affected by this bacterium include North America, Europe, and Asia but more are expected.

Olive Tree Disease- What’s Next?

In my opinion, the focused concern is on the specific market of product whether it be olive oil, wine, or fruits and not on the tree destruction that is occurring all around us. I’m wondering how much longer we have to witness century old trees dying and family businesses evaporating from what appears to be nature taking back or returning to the soil what she feels is rightly hers. I can’t help but think that these pests that are invading our largest plants on our planet are likely the result of our own actions or even inaction.

How concerned are you about the North American trees? Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest tips, techniques, and recipes, plus, the science behind the fire and smoke.

SmokinLicious® products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®, Minuto® & Piccolo®


More related reading on how Smokinlicious® reduces the risks of Microbial bacteria in our wood products
More related reading on smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading:




Dr. Smoke- Olive trees are threaten with pest just like our forests in the USA.
Dr. Smoke- protect our tree resources.



Can hardwood be too dry for wood smoke vapor? We discuss this topic

Can hardwood be too dry for wood smoke vapor? Our thoughts for you!

Listen to the audio of this blog


Here are the misnomers:

Wet = Smolder

Wet = Smoke

Dry = Fast Cook

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear – all wood, whether hardwood or 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 do 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.

Can Hardwood Be Too Dry? – 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 wood chips, wood chunks, logs or even smoking dust for cooking, does not mean that product 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 secondary 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 secondary or waste wood for cooking, you need to understand where the MC needs to be in order to work for the furniture making, flooring manufacturer, 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 producing wood-fired cooking woods- wood chips, wood chunks, logs, smoking dust and our newest product- Charwood! 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 on 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! We will explore for you the science behind the fire and topics to can hardwood be too dry to produce smoke vapor!

More Related reading on the cooking wood question of Can hardwood be too dry?

More Related reading on the cooking wood question of Can hardwood be too dry?







How to Store Wood Chips

How Seasonal Factors Influence Cooking Wood Storage

Dr. Smoke exploring all the aspects of wood cooking and the importance of moisture content in our blog CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY

Dr. Smoke exploring all the aspects of wood cooking and the importance of moisture content in our blog CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY