August 2019


Hot Ember cook- can be done in a cast iron plan, fire box and even in a Hibachi! Try this unique cooking method to add a flare and unique tastes to your outdoor grilling and cooking!

To Hot Ember cook vegetables it can be done in a cask iron plan, fire box and even in a Hibachi! Try this unique cooking method to add a flare and unique tastes to your outdoor grilling and cooking!

TOP 10 VEGETABLES TO HOT EMBER COOK

I want to be perfectly clear – this is not cooking over hot flame or direct flame. This is cooking after the wood and/or charcoal has burned down in to very hot coals; when the coals develop a white-gray ash coating. THIS is the time to hot ember cook or coal cook these select vegetables.

The Rules of Hot Ember and Ash Cooking

The essence of using all that the wood can give for cooking. That it was ember or coal cooking is. I want to be sure there is no misunderstanding on what is needed to do this type of cooking safely and effectively.

Rule #1: If going with all wood for the coals, only use hardwood and clean hardwood at that. You’re going to lay foods into this material so I believe it should be clean and mold free with moisture level 15-20%. If higher, it will simply take longer to get to the coal stage.

Rule #2: Again, if using all hardwood, try to limit the bark or go bark-free if possible to reduce the potential for mold spores that can be released into the air.

Rule #3: Have everything ready before you start. You’ll need an ash-coal hoe, fire gloves, and small coal shovel at the ready. I would also have tongs for those times when you don’t bury your foods completely in the coals but rather lay them which requires turning of the vegetables.

Rule #4: Equipment wise, you can use a charcoal grill that has fire brick added for insulation, a clean fireplace (I prefer an outdoor unit), a clean fire pit, or an open pit built in a safe area with brick or gravel as the base to protect the fire from spreading.

Hot Embers Birthed in One Hour

On average, it will take about an hour to move a small fire from flame to hot ember. Depending on whether you elect to use charcoal or wood will determine the amount of time the fire needs to burn down – an all charcoal fire will be 30-45 minutes; all hardwood fire about 45-60 minutes. Remember, charcoal produces heat and little smoke, whereas hardwood, produces heat, smoke and specific aromatics and flavorings in that smoke. At the hot ember-coal level, both have equal carbonization and act similar for this method of cooking.

Using approximately 8 lbs. of charcoal or 10 lbs. of hardwood, or any combination of the two, light a fire in the equipment of your choice. Let the fire completely burn down until only hot coals remain. Rake the coals to produce a thick even bed. Then select your favorite vegetables from the ones listed below, and you’re on your way! Always keep a small fire going for additional hot coals if doing large amounts of vegetables.

Vegetables That Love Hot Coals

Here are the top 10 vegetables to hot ember cook for fantastic flavor:

Asparagus Broccoli Cauliflower Eggplant

Garlic Leeks Gourds (squash, pumpkin)

Onion Peppers Potato

If you want minimal monitoring to the actual cooking process, then place the selected vegetables into the bed of coals and then shovel hot coals and ash over the top so that the entire vegetable surface is covered in embers. Leave untouched until tenderized, which will be 45-60 minutes depending on the vegetable selected. Otherwise, you can set vegetables within the coal bed and turn them during the cooking process to ensure even char.

The Culinary Team wants you to know …

that cooking food with wood, whether it be directly on embers or more of the traditional way- above the heat source on grates, needn’t be an all meat, all protein cooking episode. As our blog explains many vegetables can and should be the “main event” for your wood-fired cooking events. Dense or thick-skinned fruits are great too! So, be it veggies or fruits, ember cooked or grilled conventionally, your taste buds will be treated to rich, unparalleled flavors. Give ‘em a try!

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For related reading:

-THAT EMBER GLOW!

-EMBER FIRED ASPARAGUS ON THE HIBACHI

-EMBER COOKED SWEET PEPPERS

-EMBER COOKING/ROASTING GARLIC IN AN IRON SKILLET

SmokinLicious products in this blog:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Dr Smoke- “Try ember cooking; it is a great way to entertain your guests and enhance your grilling skills.”

We ask the question why people grill and found the response much different than our expectation.
When you ask why people grill we found the answer very interesting!
Listen to the audio of this blog

You may not be aware that every year a trade show is held usually in the month of March that is dedicated to all things related to fireplace, stove, heater, barbecue, and outdoor living appliances and accessories. In addition to the trade show, this organization, known as HPBA or Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, conducts various surveys every couple of years. A recent survey was posted asking the question “Why do people grill?”

The top answer to this survey surprised and THRILLED me!

Most Recent Statistics

For North America, owning a grill is common. Currently, in the United States, 7 of 10 adults own a grill while in Canada that number increases to 8 of 10. Gas grills remain the most popular (64%) with charcoal units coming in second (44%). When looking at the most popular times of the year to use the grill, holidays, of course, dominate. Memorial Day and 4th of July are the clear winners for firing up the grill but Father’s Day remains a high demand grilling day as well likely due to this holiday falling right before true summer begins on the North American calendar. Of course, Labor Day is not far behind on the list.

This survey will be conducted again in 2019 with updated numbers likely available by the close of the year. I can’t wait to view them to see current trends.

Now to the question of “Why do people grill?”

It’s All About Flavor

The number one reason people stated for grilling is for flavor! This got me thinking about this answer.

What exactly made the flavor difference? Is it that the heat of the grill produced changes in the ingredients used? Was it the charring affect from direct fire of the grill which leads to a distinct taste? Or was it the flavor choices used when grilling with wood like wood chips, wood chunks, and charcoal?

I think without adding these follow up questions, it’s very hard to know just what the flavor enhancer is when grilling for these respondents.

For me, there is no question that it is the introduction of smoke to my outdoor cooking experience. Whether I’m cooking on a gas grill that I’ve included a smoker box of wood chunks, a charcoal grill equipped with hardwood charcoal or charwood plus wood chunks, an electric grill I’ve incorporate a micro wood chip product, or my outdoor fireplace that I’ve converted to an open pit fire using hardwood, I let the tantalizing smoke vapor work with the other ingredients of my foods to bring out the best of all the blended flavors.

Smokinlicous Charwood products.
#charwood

Direct fire or indirect cooking, either way the eating experience of foods cooked grilled, smoked, or by embers is unique and is likely the reason why people from around the world continue to seek out these methods of cooking.

Smokinlicious Double filet smoking wood chunks
Smokinlicious Double filet smoking wood chunks

So I agree with the 72% of North Americans who say they grill for flavor but I’d certainly add that I grill for flavor that is heightened by the addition of the natural plant material known as hardwood which takes my grilling to an umami level that’s hard to beat by any other cooking method.

What is your reason for grilling? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on all platforms. Providing tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the flame and fire to improve your skills with wood-fired cooking! That’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious products in this blog:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

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

More blogs you might enjoy:

BOOST UP THE FLAVOR OF YOUR SMOKER BOX!

GRILLING & SMOKING QUESTIONS/ANSWERS THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU!

TEMPERATURE, MATERIAL AND TIME DETERMINE WHEN ITS CALLED BARBECUE

Dr. Smoke-
Dr. Smoke- The answer to Why people grill was a pleasant surprise to our Smokinlicious® products and the flavour they bring to BBQ foods!

Enjoyed this blog? Please spread the word

Our double filet box of pristine, NO BARK, hardwood wood chunk for smoking ready for the next customer!

Our double filet box of pristine, NO BARK, hardwood wood chunk for smoking ready for the next customer!

WHAT’S IN THE SMOKINLICIOUS® WOOD CHUNK FOR SMOKING BOX? Click To Tweet

To our blog kiwifruit gets smoky

These two questions have been quite common for the 12+ years we’ve been in business. What does a cubic foot box of wood weigh? How many pieces do you estimate are in a cubic foot box of wood?

Due to the regulations imposed by The National Conference on Weights and Measures -Uniform Regulation for the Method of Sale of Commodities, we cannot specify weight on a wood product, even though we are a cooking wood. Instead, when asked about weight, we only provide an estimate clearly stating that wood is not sold by weight due to the variation in moisture level and density of the wood selected.

I can, however, tell you the details that a recent first-time customer posted to an online forum that had me elated!

The Specifics You’ve Asked About Wood Chunk for Smoking

This customer took a lot of time and effort to get to the details about our wood; the packaging and the weight not just of the carton, but of specific select pieces. This customer purchased the Serious Smoker Double Filet Wood Chunk which is our cubic foot carton product with the smallest chunk sizing. We offer an option to select up to 3 wood choices for this carton size, with this customer selecting our 3 most popular hardwoods: Hickory, Sugar Maple, and Wild Cherry.

First, let’s look at this customer’s overall purchase.

Wood Chunk for Smoking- It’s In The Numbers

The packaged hardwood weighed in a 32.5 lbs. A total of 139 pieces of wood were packaged. Of that total, 48 pieces were Wild Cherry, 44 pieces Sugar Maple, and 47 pieces Hickory.

Individual Weights

This customer owns equipment that references specific weight of wood needed to smoke optimally. In this case, just 2-4 ounces of wood is ideal.

Although weights for each of the 139 pieces of wood were not obtained, sufficient sampling was done. Here is what was reported:

  • the lowest weight of a Wild Cherry chunk (remember, these are all double filet) was 1.5 ounces and the highest was 4.1 ounces
  • lowest weight of a Sugar Maple chunk was 2 ounces and the highest at 5.7 ounces
  • lowest weight of a Hickory chunk was 2.8 ounces and the highest at 6.4 ounces

For this equipment user, there was an estimate that 139 pieces of hardwood would provide for some 100 smoking events!

What I loved the most about this report is that it correlates specifically to the density of these 3 hardwoods. Hickory has the highest density of the 3 kinds of wood selected and this is reflected by the weight of the individual pieces sampled. Sugar Maple would be next in density followed by the Wild Cherry, all proven with the reported weights.

What Did You Learn?

Unquestionably, there is a lot of wood chunk pieces in a cubic foot carton! Which means you want to ensure you can use that much wood in a reasonable amount of time to maximize the freshness factor and peak level for function as a smoking wood. Individual pieces will vary in weight even if the dimensions of the pieces are relatively the same. That is the nature of a water-rich material – the water weight influences the overall piece weight.

We are indebted to this customer for taking the time to inform us all of his findings since, by law, SmokinLicious® can’t offer this detail.

We hope you liked this post. We’d love to hear from you so subscribe, comment and follow us on all social media platforms. Keep those suggestions coming for the future information you crave.

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:

HOW MUCH WOOD TO ADD WHEN SMOKING

BOOST UP THE FLAVOR OF YOUR SMOKER BOX!

THE ART OF CUSTOMIZING YOUR COOKING EXPERIENCE

Our Products Discussed in this Blog:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Dr Smoke- "Thank you to this great customer for analyzing our box."

Dr. Smoke- “Thank you to this great customer for analyzing our box- wood chunk for smoking.”

beech-trees of the beech wood species growing in the forest setting

Great beech wood for smoking results are provided from many beech species

 

Not the most popular of hardwoods in the North American region and certainly it doesn’t have the following in the European market. However, this is still an interesting hardwood to use for wood-fired cooking techniques.

Going Beech! That means your entering the wood family that includes white oak as a relative. Part of the Fagaceae family, the variety we manufacture is Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. Unlike its cousin, Beech doesn’t produce a heavy, pungent flavouring but rather a more balanced, medium toned profile. The common names for the varieties found in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania regions are American Beech and Red Beech.

Less temperament than Oak, Beech is considered a rather bland wood to look at. When it is exposed to steam/heat, it takes on a golden hue and that is commonly what the coloring to various meats, poultry, and fish will also show. Keep in mind, like all of our cooking woods, the descriptors used are truly in the palate of the taster. There are no rules that say one wood must be used with a specific food. Experimentation is what the art of fire cooking is all about. And, the region that the wood is harvested from also factors into the flavoring it will provide when foods are exposed to it. The same wood in a western state will not produce the same flavoring as the wood from an eastern state. Everything interacts with the tree: soil pH, growth location, sun exposure, precipitation exposure, etc.

Heat Level: High – 21.8 MBTU

Fuel Efficiency: Excellent

Ease of Lighting: Poor

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

So, take a go at Beech, even if it takes a bit to get it lite. The aroma is pleasant, the burn time is extensive, and the infusion appealing.

The Culinary Team wants you to know …

… although Beech is common in many areas of the world and often used to smoke foods and brew beer in the European tradition, our harvest region of the Eastern Appalachian Mountains has a distinctive balance of soil Ph levels and climate conditions which give our Beech hardwood cooking products a ‘one of a kind’ smoky flavor profile that can be used for a wide variety of foods!

Smokinlicious® products used in this Blog:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More Related reading on this subject- More Related reading on this subject of cooking & Grilling with wood

More Related reading on cooking and smoking woods like beech wood for smoking:

-BEECH IS CERTAINLY “GRAND” IN EUROPEAN SMOKER WOODS

-WHAT WOOD TO USE FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

-THE PRECIOUS FOREST

 

 

 

Dr. Smoke- we provide the wood chip moisture readings on all our packages as guidance for the chef to gauge the amount of smoke output to their tasting needs.

Dr. Smoke- Dr. Smoke- “Often a favorite of many chefs, beech wood for smoking offers a touch of European mellow flavor!”

Wines to pair with your smoked Meat is important but not easy!
Wines to pair with your smoked Meat is important but not easy!

Great Sustainable Wines To Pair With Your Smoked Meat Guest blog by — Kylee Harris is an events planner and writer who is a strong advocate of allergy awareness.

Introduction of our Guest Blogger

She has also expanded her mission to stress the importance of food safety not just in events, but in her community. She also has a great eye for current interests and finds great ways to tie wood fired foods and sustainable food practices together.

Listen to the audio of this blog wines to pair
Wines to pair

Back in 2015, only 6% of consumers said that their first choice of wine would be a bottle that is produced in a sustainable way. This figure has been steadily rising. The 2018 American Wine Consumers Survey even showed that customers are willing to pay $3 more for a sustainable option. They want an environmentally-conscious wine that has been made from ethically grown grape varieties. The farming process is pesticide free and even bottling the wine is done in a way that won’t cause harm to the environment. It has even been suggested (although not proved as yet) that sustainable, organic wine can prevent a hangover. You’re more than welcome to test out this theory – and even better, you can pair the wine with some delicious smoked meat.

Maple-Smoked Pork Chops, Wines to Pair

Pairing your wine with smoked meat, is all about complimenting the delicate smoky flavor of the wood used. Maple-smoked meat will naturally have a slightly sweet and fragrant taste. This can be achieved by using maple woodchips in your barbecue or smoker. In order to contrast the sweet maple taste and the white umami flavor of pork, you should pair your meal with a sharp and zingy white wine. Benziger Family Winery

Benziger Chardonnay-Coelo Chardonnay
Coelo Chardonnay

in Sonoma county have a few delicious and fresh Chardonnay options, including the Coelo Chardonnay and the West Rows Chardonnay. Perfect for a barbecue on a hot summer’s day with friends and family. Don’t forget you can also buy sustainable wines by the can – this makes it so easy to keep cool when you’re having a garden party. Everyone can help themselves. 

White Oak Smoked Venison 

The strong and almost pungent aromas of white oak are best paired with a dark, gamey meat that can hold its own. Duck breast, pigeon and venison are good choices. The white oak adds a complimentary bitterness that balances well with the rich flavors. A hearty sustainable red wine is a good option with smoked white oak. Silver Oak Vineyard in Napa Valley have a fruity and dark Cabernet Sauvignon that pairs beautifully with White Oak smoked dark meat. New York’s sustainable Red Tail Ridge Winery offer a tangy Teroldego,

2012 Teroldego bottle -Red Tail Ridge winery
Teroldego

which is similar to Syrah that is a great partner to White Oak smoked venison. 

Alder-Smoked Seabass Wines to pair

The mild flavor profile of alder makes it the perfect wood choice to smoke fish with – particularly slightly salty seabass. The taste of the alder itself adds a slightly sweet taste to the fish, even if it is only smoked for a short amount of time. Pairing alder with a sustainable wine is easy. A good Prosecco or sparkling wine will work well – look for something dry and fresh. Left Coast Cellars in Oregon have a lively Blanc de Noir

Left Coast Cellars Blanc de Noir sparkling wine
Left Coast Cellars

that is perfect with alder. It adds citrus notes of lemon and pineapple, which complement the taste of the smoke and the fish well. 

There are an increasing number of vineyards and suppliers in America offering truly sustainable wine. Pair something tasty and delicious with your smoked meat and enjoy a great meal.

More related reading on Wines to pair with Smoking & Grilling meat, plus other tips and techniques- see our directory on previous blogs!
More related reading on Wines to pair with Smoking & Grilling meat, plus other tips and techniques- see our directory on previous blogs!

More blogs you may enjoy:

Sip ‘Em If You Got ‘Em: Smoked Whiskey Cocktails And Meat

-HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SMOKY COCKTAILS

How To Maintain A Safe Kitchen Environment

Dr. Smoke- Kylee did a great job on the wines to pair with your Smoked meat!
Dr. Smoke- Kylee did a great job on the wines to pair with your Smoked meat!

Fruitwood trees are sprayed with pesticide to maximize the fruit yield. Spraying of chemical on the bark may not be too good for using in barbecue?

[Fruitwood trees are often sprayed with pesticide to maximize the fruit yield. Spraying of chemical on the bark may not be too good for using in barbecue?]

To our blog kiwifruit gets smoky

ARE FRUITWOOD TREES LIKE THE APPLE “SNOW WHITE” BIT INTO?

There is a fierce debate out there about the use of fruitwood trees, specifically apple and cherry varieties, for cooking purposes. As a Company, we frequently get the same question – “Why don’t I see Applewood as an option to purchase?” Here’s the short answer: We do not, and will not, produce our products from orchard-based woods. Our reason is simple – we do not believe in smoking foods over woods that have been or have the potential to be sprayed or growth enhanced with chemicals.

Trees

Let’s review a fact about trees. All trees produce prussic acid, better known as hydrogen cyanide. We feel that humans can use woods produced in nature when they have been left alone, unburdened by the human hand in trying to manage what sometimes is the normal cyclical pattern of nature. In the areas in which we purchase the heartwood for our cooking wood production facility, the varieties of cherry (Prunus pensylvanica L.f.) we commonly deal with are:

  • Northern Pin Cherry, Fire Cherry,
  • Wild Red Cherry, and Pigeon Cherry.

Of course, predominately, we bring in Wild Red Cherry. There are many different cherry tree varieties available throughout North America. The main difference in these woods is that our forest trees, the type we manufacture, tend to be on the sweet-tart side versus the sour-bitter. For the most part, hydrogen cyanide is found mainly in the leaves and seeds of the cherry tree. Black Cherry bark is also commonly used in herbal cough remedies.

Opinion:

The dominant opinion is that when used in small quantities, the hydrogen cyanide is a moot issue. Now let’s talk about the smoking application of wood. Cyanogenic compounds WOULD remain a factor in our production of cooking wood. This is because we do not allow our woods to deplete their moisture content to a level that other wood product manufacturers may (what is commonly referred to as “seasoning of the wood”).

For ideal smoking of foods, wood needs to have a moisture level preferably at ~20%. This results in the wood smoldering rather than burning at a rapid rate. The resulting smoke from the plant material provides for that wonderful flavor. Because smoking is done at low temperatures for longer periods of time, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) found in wood molecules are not stimulated as they normally would be when cooking, say, a steak over a hot flame. Thus, the health risk associated with PAH’s and smoked foods is not considered an issue. The same can be said for ember cooking – using the heat of the residual coals to cook foods.

OUR CONCERN:

Our main concerns regarding woods used for wood-fired cooking methods is to always ensure a bark-free product. Bark does not hold moisture but rather is designed to rid the tree of wastes by absorbing them and locking them into this area. In fact, this is the reason why bark-on woods burn so much faster than bark-free wood pieces. This portion of the tree is responsible for temperature flare-ups, tainted smells, ‘spotty’ appearance of the food’s skin, creosote, an increase in the production of ash. Additionally, once the temperature is increased during wood-fired cooking, heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, are created due to the reaction of the amino acids and creatine with the higher cooking temperature.

In a nutshell, a person is at greater risk of cyanide exposure in treated wood products for home construction than they are when consuming BBQ or other wood-fired foods. Knowing the source of the wood being used in the cooking application is vital to ensure that the necessary steps have been taken to prevent tree disease and pest infestation spread, as well as to ensure that the wood has not been exposed to any chemical/toxin treatments.

It is our hope, that one day soon, inspection of the wood products used by restaurants, caterers, BBQ competitors, and grocery stores who promote smoked and natural-wood fired foods, will occur as normally as food inspections. After all, I think we all can agree that WHAT you cook the food over is just as important as what food you are cooking!

ARE FRUITWOOD TREES LIKE THE APPLE “SNOW WHITE” BIT INTO? Click To Tweet

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

For related reading:

TO BARK OR NOT

TASTE IS AROMA!

WOOD FIRED CLAMS MAKE THIS THE PERFECT BITE

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet
Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Dr. Smoke-<em> "Enjoy the fruit of the tree because that is what they're there for. Just be careful when using fruitwood trees from orchard based woods to cook your food."</em>

Dr. Smoke- “Enjoy the fruit of the tree because that is what they’re there for. Just be careful when using fruitwood trees from orchard based woods to cook your food.”