May 2020


Let's stop the Dry Smoker effect-BBQ meats with our 9 easy steps!

Let’s stop the Dry Smoker effect-BBQ meats with our 9 easy steps!

WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY?? Click To Tweet

Summary:

The best way to keep meat moist while smoking is to follow the recommended cooking temperatures for meats! Wood fired cooking, wood smoker, electric smoker, charcoal grill, or gas grill a meat thermometer is a MUST! Meat cooking temperature is important for outdoor cooking to prevent why is my barbecue meat dry!

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You thought you timed the meat perfectly on your smoker or grill.  When it came time to cut it, all you found was a gray, dry former piece of meat staring back at you.

What went wrong?

Don’t fall into your old habits when it comes to outdoor cooking, whether you’re using a traditional wood or electric smoker, charcoal grill or gas grill.  Learn some easy tips to keep your foods juicy and enticing this outdoor cooking season.

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Tom and Chef Burt discuss the Fun Things to Smoke other than Meat!

Tom and Chef Burt discuss the Fun Things to Smoke other than Meat!

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Fun things to smoke beside Meat! Click To Tweet

 

We are going beyond the obvious and the traditional when it comes to items that you can smoke.  It’s time to up your skills and menu items with the top things you would never think of to smoke.

Keep in mind, we are not just referring to hot smoking.  We’re including the quick technique of handheld food smoking as well as stove top smoking in a pan.

Let’s get to it!

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BBQ Smoke color, Black, Brown White or Blue is the key to successful Barbecue flavor

BBQ Smoke color, Black, Brown White or Blue is the key to successful Barbecue flavor

BBQ Smoke Color know the differences Click To Tweet

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You smell it before you see it!  The aroma of foods being cooked outdoors.  When those foods involve cooking over wood – hardwood to be specific – well, it’s a flavor experience that is in a league of its own.

Today, instead of concentrating on the cooking technique of wood-fires, let’s examine the smoke vapor.

Does the color of the smoke being produced mean anything for flavor outcome?

The quick answer: absolutely!  Let’s take a closer look at the finer points of smoke vapor colors.

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Our Grill drawing for breaking out on your staycation

The Grill is the focal point of your Staycation this year!

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The Grill

The reports are in and all point to one common theory: people are likely to cancel previous plans to vacation away, especially those considering foreign travel, and instead opt for a staycation.

What does this mean for the economy?  Of course, there will be negatives with this decision not to travel but one potential positive is the soar in potential grill sales as people begin to ponder ways to keep home cooking interesting.

The Many Grilling Options

Likely the first assessment for most considering a staycation is what do we do for food.  People often have dining out plans built into their weekly schedule but due to concerns with visiting populated locations like a restaurant, food truck, or even street vendor, these locales will likely be one of the first voluntary bans.  That means, cooking at home just moved to the front of the line.  Cooking on the stove top or in the oven are certainly options, but given you want to keep your body from getting bored you’ll likely want to branch out to the outdoors and start grilling, especially if the weather makes that enticing.

Here’s where the lesson needs to be learned.  Don’t just settle for cooking direct heat method like you do with hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages.  Learn how to grill with indirect heat and you’ll be in great position to put a variety of foods including vegetables, animal proteins, and even fruits and nuts on the grill.

The starting point, however, is to assess your current outdoor cooking equipment and decide the following:

► Is the equipment in good working order to be used frequently?

► Are there any components of the grill that need replacing?  For example, the grill grates, heat shields, ignitors, wheels on a portable unit, charcoal pan, water pan, etc.

► Is the current equipment of adequate size to feed your family all at once?

► Is the equipment easy to operate meaning it won’t burdened you with constant supervision?

► Does the equipment have an option for a dedicated fuel set up like LP gas conversion to natural gas which will allow you full use without having to worry about filling LP tanks?

► If you want to up the flavor of your grill foods, can you easily add wood to the unit?

If you’re in the market for a new grilling unit, assess the frequency of its use and what you want to be able to cook on it before making the purchase.  The more frequent use the higher quality the materials that make up the grill need to be, to keep the grill functional for a very long time.

In the end, you not only will have piece of mind in knowing you can feed your family great tasting foods, but you’ll likely have a great opportunity to bond in a great outdoor environment.

Do you plan to take a staycation?  Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke, for all live fire cooking methods. That’s SmokinLicious!

SmokinLicious® Products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

 

More related reading on breaking out the grill on this years staycation and  for more smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading on breaking out the grill on this years staycation and  for more smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

Related reading:

 

-HOW TO KEEP FOOD INTERESTING, PRESERVED & SAFE DURING QUARANTINE

-Thermal Heating Process is Why You Shouldn’t Be Concerned About Receiving a SmokinLicious® Package

-OUR AIR HANDLING PROCESSES PAY OFF IN THE BATTLE WITH COVID-19

Dr. Smoke-

Dr. Smoke- don’t let your staycation this year affect your meals.  Break out the Grill for great tasting meals

our food scale demonstrates Grande Sapore® and Double Filet wood chunks as a guide to adding wood flavoring with our Smokinlicious® products.

Our food scale demonstrates HOW MUCH of Grande Sapore® and Double Filet wood chunks as a guide to adding flavoring with our Smokinlicious® products.

One of the most common questions asked when it comes to smoking foods on a gas grill, traditional charcoal grill or smoker is, how much wood do I need? Likely the second most common question is where does the wood go? Click To Tweet

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Let’s break this down by equipment and method of smoking so you have a good place to start in answering the above questions.

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Learn how to turn your charcoal grill with the right hardwood chunks and chips!

Learn how to turn your charcoal grill with the right hardwood chunks and chips!

LEARN HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER Click To Tweet

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Let’s be honest.  When you bought that charcoal grill you were likely thinking that you could both grill and smoke without needing to add anything.  Soon, you realized, that just wasn’t the case.  Now, you’re contemplating whether you need to purchase a smoker.  Well, hold on the shopping trip until you read this.

You can turn your charcoal grill into a smoker with these simple steps!

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IsIs it fresh, is always a question that comes from new smokehouse products wood chips customers only! Our old customers know that at Smokinlicious® we are cutting products daily and measuring moisture to produce the best smoking wood in the world! it fresh, is always a question that comes from new customers only! Our old customers know that at Smokinlicious® we are cutting products daily and measuring moisture to produce the best smoking wood in the world!

Is it fresh, is always a question that comes from new smokehouse products wood chips customers only! Our old customers know that at Smokinlicious® we are cutting products daily and measuring moisture to produce the best smoking wood in the world!

Smokehouse products, need fresh Smokinlicious® Minuto® and Piccolo® wood chips to produce the finest smoke flavor! Click To Tweet

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I always find it interesting when we receive a new inquiry about providing specialty products for commercial-grade smokehouses.   I’m speaking specifically to the large commercial-grade smokehouse.  The type that utilize walk-in, wall smokehouse units that can turn out hundreds of pounds of product each cycle.

First, there’s always the question if we can duplicate the current wood chip product.  That’s where the education begins.

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The Smoker <strong><span style="color: #3366ff;">Water Pan</span></strong> explained for grilling and smoking techniques!

The Smoker Water Pan explained for grilling and smoking techniques!

THE SMOKER WATER PAN EXPLAINED FOR GRILLING & SMOKING Click To Tweet

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If you’ve purchased a smoker, you’re likely familiar with the term “water pan”.  If, however, you’re more of an LP/Gas Grill person, than this term is likely one that escapes your knowledge.

Water pans are a means of introducing valuable moisture into the cooking environment which has immense value when grilling and smoking.  Let me explain each of the pros of learning and using a water pan for your outdoor cooking, no matter the type of equipment you’re cooking on.

Water Pan Pro #1

Temperature control.  This is the ultimate need when you grill or smoker, especially when you smoke.  Maintaining a stable temperature that you’ve predetermined.  When the day is scorching hot and the equipment is made of metal, you will experience a challenge with temperature control.  Introduce a water pan, and your battle can be won.

A water pan goes above the heat source.  If using a charcoal grill or charcoal/wood smoker, this pan would be placed above the coal area.  Have an electric unit and you’ll find the pan over the electric heating element.  If you want to introduce a water pan on an LP/Gas Grill, this would be placed over the lit burners.  Many vertical smokers come with a water pan.

Water Pan Pro #2

Water cannot go above the boiling point which is 212°F.  Additionally, evaporative cooling also takes place as the water is exposed to heat.

Water Pan Pro #3

A water pan can become the number one tool when doing direct heat cooking over an open flame.  Why?  It acts as a repellent for the flame giving your foods a chance to survive without becoming a blackened, dried out, former piece of food.

Water Pan Pro #4

Are you having trouble with hot spots in your equipment?  Well, a water pan will even them out.   Now, the temperature you desire can essentially be locked in just by using a water pan.

Water Pan Pro #5

Humidity that develops from the use of a water pan keeps the surface of the meat moist, which in turn, attracts smoke vapor, which in turn, produces great flavor.  The water vapor mixes with the combustible gases which are emitted from the burning material and add to the overall flavor.  Yes, water is a passageway to all things flavorful!

What Goes in the Water Pan

It’s called a water pan for a reason.  It is designed to hold water, specifically hot water to keep the cooker from wasting energy on heating cold water put in the pan.  Here’s a tip when you fill the water pan: use a teapot to fill the pan while it’s in place so you don’t take the chance of spilling hot water on surfaces or you.  Remember, water evaporates while other liquids don’t evaporate.

Don’t Make the Water Pan a Drip Pan

Here’s the thing with a drip pan.  Due to its location directly over the heat source, when used on vertical units it often serves double duty as a drip pan.  Don’t do that!  Here’s why.  The rendered fat drippings can produce an oil slick on the surface of the water which will prevent water evaporation.

Make Cleaning a Snap

Here’s a couple of tips when using a water pan.  If your unit comes with a water pan, line it in aluminum foil which will allow you to simply pull the foil off and preserve the condition of the original pan.

If you’re using a unit that has no water pan but want to introduce one, simply purchase a disposable foil pan.  You will want to purchase one that is compatible in size to the unit your using, that will fit comfortably over the heat source, and that can hold enough water to prevent you from having to make refill trips every 15 minutes.

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks- Single & Double Filet

More Related reading on smoker water pan, see our links for related readings

More Related reading on smoker water pan, see our links for related readings

Additional reading

-PREVENTING DRY BBQ IN YOUR SMOKER

-CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY FOR COOKING?

-TURNING YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-TURN YOUR LP/GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER

www.barbecue-smoker-recipes.com

Dr. Smoke- The smoker water pan explained is essential for moist results in grilling and smoking.

Dr. Smoke- The smoker water pan explained is essential for moist results in grilling and smoking.

Our Readers Are Asking…

What does water pan do in a smoker?

A water pan induces moisture directly into your smoker as an ally for the indirect dispersion of heat.  Never use your water pan as a drip pan.  Remember- drip pans = a collection unit for residual or run off grease from the cooking process; a water pan = water for moisturizing foods.

We discuss the pros and cons for using aluminum foil in smoking foods- in particular your BBQ and how it can affect the food.

We discuss the pros and cons for using aluminum foil in smoking foods- in particular your BBQ and how it can affect the food.

USING ALUMINUM FOIL IN SMOKING: PROS & CONS Click To Tweet

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“Does using aluminum foil in smoking foods still allow the wood flavor to penetrate?”

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Chef Burt and Tom visit the butcher for weekend large cuts of meat to grill & smoke!

Chef Burt and Tom visit the butcher for weekend large cuts of meat to grill & smoke!

Wow cuts of meat that Grill & Smoke well! Click To Tweet

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For many who have been spending additional time with family, new levels of communication and closeness have resulted, that simply put, want to be continued.  Given that nicer weather also contributes to family time scheduling, I thought I would cover how you can maximize time to spend with family rather than be cooking inside.  Or, worse yet, forfeiting money on takeout food purchases.

Time to cover the cuts of meats that are not only ideal for grilling and smoking but will produce enough meat to provide for more than one meal.  I will also make my recommendations on hardwoods to use for optimal flavor balance.

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Smokinlicious® Cooking Wood in the chimney starter!

Smokinlicious® Cooking Wood in the chimney starter!

COOKING WOOD WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Click To Tweet

 

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I’m going, to be frank.   When having an opportunity to search through social media photos of various foods cooked by fire and smoke and seeing a reference to the wood, I get uncomfortable.  There doesn’t appear to be the same concern for the choice of wood as there is for the rub, cut of meat, quality of meat, choice of equipment, and sauce.

Why is it that the wood used to flavor the foods grilled and smoked is an afterthought?

Rating Scale for Cooking Wood

Recently, I ran across an article in Reader’s Digest that focused on the dangers of wildfire smoke, especially for those living in areas of the United States that are hit repeatedly by these events.  What struck me the most was the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous.  This guide is used to recommend evacuations of locations, use of HEPA filtration to allow people to remain in an affected area, and as a method of gaining valuable data post-fire on the effects, smoke has on plant life.  There is considerable data available from tree bark which has long been known to absorb pollutants.

This got me thinking about hardwoods used for smoking, grilling, and overall cooking of foods.  There is no regulatory agency that oversees wood used for cooking.  Despite efforts to get the Food Safety and Inspection Services division to recognize the risks associated with cooking with wood, no governmental agency has stepped up to offer regulations in this area such as established inspections of equipment and wood.

Why Kosher is important for Cooking wood!

As the manufacturer of all the products sold under the brand SmokinLicious®, we struggled with what steps to take that would demonstrate our commitment to only offer hardwoods that are considered safe for cooking.  Although we stressed that we are bark-free (an important step to reduce the exposure to toxins locked in the bark layers), that we only manufacture from the heartwood (an area of the tree that is known to be resistant to insects and decay), and that we manufacture each cut to the wood for the end cooking product, we simply desired some validation of these steps.

Since we’ve always considered the wood another ingredient to cooking, we decided to explore the options from the food perspective.  What certification could we apply for that would demonstrate that we are a food-related item?  Kosher certification was the perfect place to start!

Certification Means?

For us, the steps we’ve taken to obtain Kosher certification via VA’AD HAKASHRUS OF BUFFALO verified our commitment to keep our manufacturing facility at the highest standard possible.  People are drawn to kosher food for various reasons including quality, a healthy lifestyle, food safety, and allergy security.  By securing this certification, we can demonstrate to the public that our products satisfy the food quality and safety requirements they should strive for daily.  As such, our customers don’t have to settle for an unregulated product that frankly, could contain pretty much anything in the package because, as pointed out, there is no system of check on wood cooking and smoking products.

The SmokinLicious® Cooking Wood Index

Taking a page from the Environmental Protection Agency, I thought it would be helpful to develop an index to use for hardwood intended for cooking.  Our grading system is based on toxicity factors of a wood, ease of lighting, sustained burn, coal formation, smoke production, and heat level.  Our index is: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, Unhealthy.

Excellent: Alder, American Beech, Ash, Cherry, Hickory, Pecan, Maple, Apple

Good: Persimmon, Red Oak, White Oak, Mesquite

Fair: Birchwood, Chestnut, Walnut, Peach

Poor: Aspen, Basswood, Poplar, Sycamore, Butternut, Cottonwood, Elm, Willow, Dogwood

Unhealthy: Buckeye, Hackberry, Gum (Sweetgum)

We hope you will find this guide useful. Use it as a means of sorting through all the types of wood offerings to make an educated decision, to look for key information on the packaging that will confirm you are making a safe decision.  After all, why take any additional risks when it comes to the health and safety of your family.

Making you an informed consumer through valuable articles like this one.  Hope you enjoyed this blog about cooking with wood!  Leave us a comment and subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor, that’s SmokinLicious®.

Products discussed in this Blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More related reading on Cooking wood, how to use and alter its great flavoring capabilities!

More related reading on Cooking wood, how to use and alter its great flavoring capabilities!

 Additional reading:

-WHAT WOOD TO USE FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

-BEYOND PRICING: THE TOP THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING COOKING WOOD

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

-10 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING WOOD FOR COOKING, GRILLING & SMOKING

Dr. Smoke- Cooking wood provides great flavor in our BBQ, Smoked Bacon, Ribs and even on Vegetables!

Dr. Smoke- Cooking wood provides great flavor in our BBQ, Smoked Bacon, Ribs and even on Vegetables!

Learn why moldy hardwood is unfit for cooking and smoking food. Do not GRILL WITH MOLDY WOODS!

Learn why moldy hardwood is unfit for cooking and smoking food. Do not GRILL WITH MOLDY WOODS!

SHOULD YOU GRILL WITH MOLDY WOODS? Click To Tweet

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listen to Grill with Moldy Woods

There are many opinions out there in the BBQ world when it comes to the wood used for smoking and grilling.  Some people preach it doesn’t matter where the wood comes from as long as it isn’t a treated lumber.  Comments include, “don’t worry if there are bugs or bug holes – if they’re in there, they’ll just burn up”, or “fires are hot so anything on the wood just burns”.

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Our take on the Top charcoal grilling tools - some may surprise you!

Our take on the Top charcoal grilling tools – some may surprise you!

TOP Top charcoal grilling tools Click To Tweet

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