June 2020


Smoking with Maple Wood the Sweetness with surprise you! Click To Tweet

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If you checked out our previous article on the Maple tree (“Oh, The Mighty Maple”) then you know that maple is a great addition to cooking with wood whether your hot smoking, grilling or ember cooking. Time to take a closer look at how this hardwood actually flavors the foods you cook.

Wood contains a variety of complex organic compounds with two that contribute to actual flavor – lignin and cellulose. In short, these compounds are sugars (cellulose is an indigestible carbohydrate). Here’s the kicker – wood, regardless of species, burns incompletely and unevenly. It is directly dependent on oxygen as well as the percentage of water it contains – what we call moisture content. The four stages of combustion actually occur simultaneously which is why you have great variation in temperature of the actual fire.

That being said, woods do have different percentages of lignin and cellulose and so we tend to lean towards certain hardwoods over others for specific cooking techniques. Tip: Not every hardwood is a good choice for cooking!

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Brining Sciene for the ultimate meat!

Brining Science for the ultimate meat!

 

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BRINING SCIENCE -You’ve likely heard the term brining and might have a general understanding of what is involved when a brine solution is applied to meat, but have you ever understood the simplicity of how brining improves overall quality and flavor? For all you science geeks, yes we’ve covered the scientific principles here but please don’t lose sight that this process is relatively easy and the little time invested will certainly lead to favorable results for your taste buds!

Let’s equip you with the science behind brining and a guide on producing a successful brine solution for meats, poultry and fish.

Osmosis and Diffusion

Brine is a salt and water solution used to soak food in, usually meat proteins, to improve the overall quality by a change in the structure of the proteins in the muscle of the brined meat. There are three primary reasons to brine: texture, flavor, and moisture retention. To get these results, osmosis must take place.

Osmosis is the movement of a higher concentration of water to a lower concentration of water through a semi-permeable membrane. To create osmosis, you must start with a solution. The water being solvent (higher percentage of water) and the salt being the solute (lower percentage of salt to the water percentage).

With a balanced solution, brined proteins have an increased level of moisture when compared to non-brined proteins. Now, know up front, that you certainly could soak a protein in plain water and have it gain moisture but this process would be much slower than if you add salt to the water. Also, proteins don’t bind to water as effectively during the cooking process which is why salt is introduced when cooking.

Here’s the process of a brine: Salt is sodium chloride (NaCl) and when dissolved into water, it breaks into a positively charged sodium ion and negatively charged chloride ion. Both these ions will diffuse throughout food flowing from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentration. It takes 100-1,000 times longer for salt to diffuse into food than heat. The negatively charged ions repel one another creating gaps in the muscle fiber for water to enter the food product. The food protein will then bind water more tightly which prevents the muscle fibers from shrinking and squeezing water out during the cooking process.

Three Types of Brining Strategies

There are three recognized methods of brining: Dry Rub Brining, Gradient Brining, and Equilibrium Brining.

Dry Rub Brining:

This is likely the most widely used form of brining as it is fast and easy. Salt and other dry ingredients like herbs and spices rubbed onto the surface of the meat. How do you know the percentage of salt? Start by calculating 1% of the proteins weight. For example, if you are doing a rack of pork ribs that weigh 3 pounds, the amount of salt used in the dry rub would be 1% of that weight minus the bone weight, which is generally calculated as 40% of the gross weight. Thus, that 3 pound rack of ribs would be reduced to 1.8 pounds for the calculation of salt at 1%.

Gradient Brining:

This is referred to as a traditional brining method as is includes a 5-10% salt content which after the food is soaked in the brine solution, the surface of brined foods is rinsed under cold water to remove excess sodium from the surface. Salt is dissolved into water with the amount of salt used determined by the desired brine salinity, again, usually between 5-10% of the weight of the water (desired brine salinity X water weight = salt weight). As an example, it takes 1,000 grams of water to cover chicken. If we want 5% salinity, then we would require 50 grams of salt in our brine solution (1,000g X .05 (5%) = 50g salt).

Equilibrium Brining:

This method of bring requires a salt or salinity meter to read the salt content in the brine solution during the brining process. The goal is to have the parts per million (PPM) on the meter drop to half of its initial reading. This is the state of equilibrium and brining is complete. This method requires you to calculate the PPM – 1 parts per million equals 1mg/1,000g. 1g = 1,000mg. If you desire a 1% salt water solution, dissolve 10g or 10,000mg of salt into 1,000g or 1,000,000mg of water producing a salt content of 10,000PPM.

A Bit of Sweet

Although we refer to a brine as a salt and water solution, there is a third component to consider for use. Sweetener usually in the form of sugar but can be honey, or even a sugar-based soda. Although sugar does nothing for the texture of the brined meat, it does add flavor and promotes better browning of the skin.

Once you have your brine solution, there are a few methods to speed up the brining process.

Jaccard meat tenderizer
Jaccard

The first method is a Jaccard, a mechanical meat tenderizer. A Jaccard tenderizer utilizes several rows of thin, penetrating blades, honed to a razor sharp edge on two sides that cooks can press into the meat’s surface, to create a series of small channels that break up the tough tissue and create a more tender texture.

Injection tube for adding brine deep into food
Injection

The second, is injection. A special marinade/brine injector dispenses the brine to the interior of the meat, thus, speeding up the process of diffusion.

Vacuum brining machine
Vacuum brining

The last method is vacuum tumbling. This process “tumbles” proteins and brines/marinades together under vacuum. The combination of low atmospheric pressure and the tumbling process can reduce the time needed for brining to mere minutes.

Brining Guide

The goal of a brine is to produce juicy, tender and seasoned items. Overall, brining foods adds less than 1/8 teaspoon of salt equivalent to your overall daily sodium consumption so you can brine without worry about exceeding the recommended sodium allowances.

Smokinlicious Brine guide
Smokinlicious Brine guide

SmokinLicious® Products:

Smoking Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Wood Chips- Minuto® and Piccolo®

More related reading on Brining and other smoking & grilling tips and techniques see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading on brining and other smoking & Grilling tips and techniques see our directory on previous blogs!

Other valuable information:

SALT CHOICES: HOW MUCH AND WHAT KIND?

GRILLING & SMOKING QUESTIONS/ANSWERS THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU!

-SO YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN DRY RUB

WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??

Dr. Smoke- follow our brining guide

Dr. Smoke- You can’t go wrong by following our easy brining recommendations!

EMBER FIRED ASPARAGUS ON THE HIBACHI IS A PERFECT WAY TO ADD A GRILLING FLAVOR!

EMBER FIRED ASPARAGUS ON THE HIBACHI IS A PERFECT WAY TO ADD A GRILLING FLAVOR!

EMBER FIRED ASPARAGUS ON THE HIBACHI

Its Asparagus season and that means you should get the most out of this sensational vegetable while it’s fresh! Learn how easy it is to ember roast this thick skinned vegetable to bring out the fantastic flavor of this vegetable as a side dish, or used as an ingredient in other recipes like a refreshing dip, soup, or stuffing for meat or fish.

You’ll need:

PREPARING TO EMBER COOK:

Clean the Hibachi or small charcoal grill unit of all previous ash, as well as any leftover wood and charcoal. Add the SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® Wood Chips in the base of the Hibachi on the charcoal grates. If not using a Hibachi unit, then place the wood chips in the charcoal area of your small charcoal grill. I like to use Wild Cherry Grande Sapore® Chips to bring a balance to the asparagus’ flavor. Since I plan to use my roasted asparagus as an ingredient in other recipes, I’m using the chips in their natural state rather than soaking in a flavored liquid but feel free to soak in wine, alcohol, juice or other liquid of your choice.

LIGHTING THE FIRE

After loading the Hibachi or other unit with my Grande Sapore® Cherry Chips, I light the chips using a small kitchen size torch. I let the chips burn down until I have about 2-3 inches of hot embers to cook with. I need the layer long enough to accommodate the spears of asparagus and deep enough to ensure the embers encircle most of the spear. I keep plenty of extra Grande Sapore® Cherry chips on hand to ensure I get the depth and size of the ember bed throughout the cooking process. This includes maintaining a perimeter of unlit chips around the hot embers.

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We don't use or sell Apple wood for smoking! Too many potential health risks

We don’t use or sell Apple wood for smoking! Too many potential health risks

We don’t offer any applewood for sale! Here's why. Click To Tweet

 

Why we Don’t Use or Sell Apple wood for Smoking– Those of you living outside of New York State may be surprised to learn that we are the number two state for apple production behind Washington state. However, we do rank number one for the greatest number of varieties of apples. Annually, our state produces nearly 30 million bushels of apples. So, why not use apple wood for smoking of foods?

With an abundance of apple trees, the assumption would be that our number one hardwood offering must be apple. However, you would be wrong.

Apple Wood for Smoking? Abundance Comes at a Cost

Just because apple wood is abundant in our state doesn’t mean it should automatically be sold as a cooking wood. This is without question, a favorite fruit. When something is at high demand it is protected in order to assure the supply for that demand. For this reason, growers of apples put their priority into preserving the fruit production.

Keep in mind, an apple tree may not start producing fruit for the first 8-10 years but it can produce for 50 or more years. In fact, with careful and frequent pruning, these trees do remain in the orchard bearing fruit if they don’t become infested with a disease or pest.

Good Agricultural Practices

Around the year 2001, the New York apple industry began working on a strategic plan in conjunction with Cornell University to develop what they referred to as an integrated fruit production program. The purpose of the program was to ensure apples were produced using environmentally friendly processes to include eco-friendly insect, mite, disease, vertebrate and weed pest management. In other words, this was meant to use more “friendly” pesticide applications and methods. What didn’t change is the that chemicals were still being used.

The USDA has done extensive study on pesticides and their life on agricultural products (USDA Pesticide Data Program). As a result of the studies, here is a list of the common pesticides found to be present on apples in what is termed residual form.

USDA Findings:

Diphenylamine (DPA) 82.8%
Thiabendazole 81.0%
Pyrimethanil 75.2%
Chlorantraniliprole 41.2%
Acetamiprid 28.7%
Imidacloprid 20.2%
Carbendazim (MBC) 17.3%
Tetrahydrophthalimide (THPI) 16.7%
Methoxyfenozide 15.9%
Fludioxonil 13.4%
Thiacloprid 12.7%
Boscalid 12.7%
Pyraclostrobin 11.8%
Phosmet 9.6%
Azinphos methyl 9.2%
Fenpyroximate 8.5%
Endosulfan II 8.1%
Myclobutanil 8.1%
Diazinon 6.5%
Trifloxystrobin 5.8%
Spinetoram 5.0%
Endosulfan I 4.3%
Etoxazole 3.3%
Pendimethalin 3.3%
Fenpropathrin 2.8%
Fenbuconazole 2.7%
Carbaryl 2.4%
Endosulfan sulfate 1.9%
Flonicamid 1.6%
Chlorpyrifos 1.6%
Cyhalothrin, Total (Cyhalothrin-L + R157836 epimer) 1.1%
Spinosad 0.9%
o-Phenylphenol 0.9%
Imazalil 0.5%
Chlorpropham 0.4%
Difenoconazole 0.3%
Permethrin cis 0.3%
Esfenvalerate+Fenvalerate Total 0.1%
Buprofezin 0.1%
Thiamethoxam 0.1%
Pyriproxyfen 0.1%
Tebuconazole 0.1%
Pronamide 0.1%
Methoxychlor olefin 0.1%
Dicofol p,p’ 0.1%
Permethrin trans 0.1%
DCPA 0.1%

The premise for using all these pesticides is the common belief that apples cannot be grown without chemical pesticides. Despite efforts to institute ecofriendly practices, we remain dependent on chemicals. But here’s the kicker: apples are ranked number 4 out of 12 as a fruit most contaminated by pesticides. Washing with water doesn’t do enough either. The chemical pesticides can penetrate the skin into the flesh of the apple making every bite a risk.

Apple Wood for Smoking? In the Fruit, In the Tree

So what does this mean for the actual tree growing the apples? Spray the tree with chemical pesticides to protect the fruit production and consequently, you compromise the tree for any other purpose including cooking. Pesticide applications embed into the soil base of the tree, which then enters the root system, and is on the way to the other parts of the tree. Pesticides can also become air born as they turn into a vapor and travel by airflow (think wind). The bark of any tree is a great absorber of these air particles. Once pesticides enter the human body, they are stored in the colon. Symptoms then progress to stomach pains, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Certainly, toxicity can advance and produce colorectal cancer. Know that once the chemicals are absorbed into the tree’s roots and nutritional supply center, they are there for life.

As a company, SmokinLicious® just can’t participate in risk to the public’s health. If we can offer products that are as natural as possible, bark-free to prevent absorption of pollutants captured by the bark, we will do it.

Avoid Applewood and orchard woods only use Forest Fresh wood for Smoking.
Our Forest Fresh Symbol

Given there are so many other choices for safe hardwoods free of potential chemical contamination. We opt to dismiss apple wood for smoking even though we are a state in apple abundance.

In conclusion SmokinLicious® makes you an informed consumer through valuable articles like this one. So leave us a comment and follow us or subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor and fire. Most importantly, that is SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® Products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

More related reading on using Apple wood for smoking and other orchard woods see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading on using Apple wood for smoking and other orchard woods see our smoking & Grilling tips and techniques.

Additionally, read more on orchard woods:

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

-TO BARK OR NOT

-6 REASONS WHY CEDAR WOOD SHOULD NOT BE YOUR TOP CHOICE FOR COOKING

-THE BALANCE OF WOOD LIGNIN IN BARBECUE

Dr. Smoke- Now you know the reasons we don't use or sell Apple wood for smoking or any other Orchard woods for Smoking, Grilling or Cooking!

Dr. Smoke- Now you know the reasons we don’t use or sell Apple wood or any other Orchard woods for Smoking, Grilling or Cooking!

During stay at home or Quarantine doesn't mean you should place your taste buds on hold!

During stay at home or Quarantine doesn’t mean you should place your taste buds on hold!

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Stay at Home

You’ve committed to a stay-cation. Lists of games to play, tasks to complete, books to read, and movies and shows to see have been compiled. Now its time to give some thought to the food that will sustain you during this time.

Don’t compromise taste because your afraid to make too much work out of cooking. Using the grill is a super easy way to keep your foods and meals highly flavorful. Let’s give you some ideas that will provide options for everyone to feel satisfied and pleasantly full.

The Breakdown

I think the easiest way to view meal preparation when you focus on the grill as your primary method of cooking is to breakdown foods by categories.

Fruits:

This group of food can make some of the best grilled items. Already sweet in flavor, grilling them produces more vibrant flavor as the heat caramelizes the natural sugars and produces a char to the outside of the fruit. When selecting fruits for the grill, be sure they are ripe but not over-ripened to where they present as soft, or they will have tendency to break apart on the grill. Keep the pieces of fruit large when placing on the grill to maintain as much cell structure as possible. Brush the fruit pieces lightly with a high heat oil like coconut, avocado, or grape seed. The key is to leave the pieces untouched for at least 3 minutes before flipping to get great char and flavor infusion. Perfect fruits for the grill: banana, avocado, apple, mango, peach, papaya, pineapple, peach, pear, plum, grapes, cranberry, eggplant, kiwi, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, tomato.

Vegetables:

You likely are already aware of popular vegetables to grill like corn on the cob, peppers, and onions, but there are so many more that pair perfectly with the grill. In fact, I would go as far as saying ANY vegetable is appropriate for the grill, you just need to control those that should be exposed to direct heat versus indirect. The easy method of determining heat level is the thicker the skin on the veggie, the more tolerant to direct heat. All vegetables can cook on the grill in less than 10 minutes so time really isn’t a factor. Always remember to avoid moving the vegetables on the grill until they have cooked for at least 3-4 minutes. For preparation to the vegetables, most require just quartering or slicing in half, with some going on whole like tomatoes and smaller mushrooms. Basting with high heat tolerant oils is also recommended.

Nuts and Seeds:

These are foods that react with a super boost in flavor when exposed to the heat of a grill and flavor of wood on the grill. Any seed or nut can be grilled by using a disposable foil pan or griddle pan designed for grilling. These items take about 15-20 minutes and should be stirred every 5-8 minutes to prevent scorching.

Baked Items:

Anything you normally would bake in an oven can be done on the grill. This includes cookies, cakes, breads, pies, tarts, and pastry. Just remember, like vegetables, these items can be a bit more fragile. Using a two-zone cooking set up on the grill – baked item placed on the unlit side of the grill while the heat is on the opposite side – produces a radiant heat that will cook the item evenly and without any direct hot spots. I will say that baked items tend to do best on a LP/Gas grill versus charcoal unit.

Animal Proteins:

Of course, animal proteins are well known as a grilled food item. My recommendation here is to marinate items with either wet or dry rubs for 8 hours to ensure great moisture in the finished product.

As a final note, grilled foods store very well and don’t lose any of their flavor when refrigerated. Plus, it’s easy to grill a variety of items at the same time. Any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner – can be done exclusively on a grill. For those that love even more char flavoring, think about adding wood chunks either in a smoking box or directly on grates or heat shields. You can learn more about this technique for the gas grill here.

Do you plan to take a stay-cation? 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!

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks- Single & Double Filet

Charwood

More related reading on more to do during this staycation year see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading on more to do during stay at home time see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More blogs you might enjoy!

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

-HOW TO TURN YOUR LP/GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-WHY TWO-ZONE COOKING METHOD LET’S YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE GRILL

-HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

Dr. Smoke-

Dr. Smoke-Don’t put your taste buds on hold during this stay at home or Quarantine year!

Kiwi gets smoky by adding a new twist to your kiwifruit by cold smoking it to enhance its wonderful sweet flavor.

Kiwifruit gets smoky by adding a new twist to your kiwifruit by cold smoking it to enhance its wonderful sweet flavor.

To our blog kiwifruit gets smoky

KIWIFRUIT GETS SMOKY

Kiwifruit is now in season! It’s time to use this potassium, vitamin A, C & E enriched fruit in your favorite recipes. How about doing something to up the flavor level a bit?

Packed with more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana, Kiwifruit, more commonly called kiwi, is also a fiber powerhouse. I’m going to take this creamy fruit favorite to a new flavor level by cold smoking it.

The Ease of Hand Held Food Smoking

To do this technique, you’ll need a handheld food smoker, SmokinLicious® Minuto® Smoking Wood Chips in size 6, 8 or 10, a lighter, a sheet pan, a food bag large enough to go over your sheet pan, and a cable tie. Then gather together the number of kiwifruits you’d like to infuse with smoke vapor, and have a knife and cutting board available.

Kiwifruit Gets Smoky by Letting the Smoke In

Simply cut your kiwifruit in half to allow the smoke vapor to penetrate the fruit flesh. As kiwifruit is covered by a brown, fuzzy skin, you will need some of the fruit’s meat exposed to get real smoke flavor incorporate. Otherwise, leaving them whole won’t bring much of a smokiness to the fruit meat.

What I love the most about cold smoking with a handheld food smoker like The Smoking Gun™ Smoker, is how fast this flavoring can be done to any food, beverage, liquid, spice or herb item. After cutting me kiwifruit in half to allow for maximum penetration of the smoke vapor, I place the cut halves on a sheet pan. I then slip a food bag over the sheet pan.

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Smokinlicious® orders in a shopping cart being delievered by FedEx to your door step.

WHY WE WON’T SELL PRODUCT ON AMAZON ®

SUMMARY:

We have been an online shopping source since 2005! We promote quality products and living wages for our employees! Producing a list of food safe woods, bark-free cooking wood only from the heartwood of a tree! Our internet online business brings “fresh” products to you! Which is why we won’t sell product on Amazon!

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I won’t deny that I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to wanting more out of every 24 hours I can get. This is the main reason why I am an internet shopper. I rarely frequent an actual retail store aside from a wholesale club to purchase office supplies and the occasional trip to the grocery store.

I also won’t deny that I am an avid Amazon.com shopper! Just about everything you can think of, I have purchased: clothes, specialty paint, make-up, kitchen supplies, food products, small appliances, area rugs – like I said, just about every category they offer.

So why aren’t SmokinLicious® products offered for sale on Amazon.com?

“Negative” Feedback Services

Today, there is literally a service for anything and everything. That includes services to pay individuals to post negative reviews on a seller’s product and services. Let me be clear. SmokinLicious® certainly has had negative issues arise from time to time in the past 13 years. When they occur, we have our own procedure in place for remedying the situation which often results in great appreciation from the customer and a brand loyalty relationship developing. However, when negative feedback occurs when selling on Amazon.com, it can take a little as .0008% reported issues of the total products sold to kick you out as a seller! Kicking you out means you’ve lost all the inventory costs you started out with as Amazon.com ties up your account.

Open Market for Copy Cats

As anyone who has been in business for themselves can attest to, you spend months working on verbiage for your products, photo imagery for a gallery, and unique header descriptors to bring attention and get you sales. The last thing you want is someone stealing your work and posting to a seller’s listing on Amazon.com. That can and has happened! When it does, you are obligated to show proof of ownership of all content if you want to bring issue against an Amazon.com seller.

Worse yet, the other seller may be allowed to continue to sell a product that looks exactly like yours but maybe lesser quality in similar packaging! Plus, it is easy for your photo to be high-jacked and replaced with another image to cause high percentages of returns. Remember, there is a return option that states the item “does not match description,” allowing the buyer to make the return easily while you get a demerit from Amazon.com.

Sinking Price Margin

By far this is the number one issue for my brand to use Amazon.com. For a good majority of shoppers on this site, they are price driven in their choices. Imagine SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® wood chips going against the company that sweeps wood shavings off the floor from their flooring or cabinet making business, placing them in a cheap plastic bag, and slapping a simple label over the bag. That company can afford to list the price at $3.99 a bag when they have no extra costs involved for the material, just the cheap packaging. We are not in the market to compete on price. We are in the market to compete on quality and purity of product. That’s it!

For the brand SmokinLicious®, we are all about quality, safety, legitimacy, and value! Our goal is to enable anyone around the globe who enjoys wood-fired cooking to do without having to think about the cleanliness and type of wood. We’ve selected the safest hardwoods to cook with, stripped them of all the impure bark, reduced the wood to just heartwood so you have the fillet of the tree and dialed in the moisture so you have success at the grill, smoker or plancha every time. You’ll find us online 24/7 to fill your needs in North America, the UK, and soon, in South Africa and New Zealand.

 

I hope you gained a better understanding of SmokinLicious® and why we do what we do! Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest articles and information on recipes, techniques, and the science beyond the fire, smoke, and flavor.

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks: Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-THE SMOKINLICIOUS® STORY

-HOT TREND MAY NOT BE THE SAFEST BET

-WHAT’S IN THE SMOKINLICIOUS® WOOD CHUNK BOX?

-IT’S A MATTER OF PRIORITY! DON’T PUT US LAST!

Dr. Smoke our reasons on why we won't sell product on Amazon® at this time

Dr. Smoke our reasons on WHY WE WON’T SELL PRODUCT ON AMAZON at this time

Bagged boxed or canned foods can be cooked on any grill

Any grill, yes gas grill,bagged boxed or canned foods can be cooked!

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Bagged Boxed or Canned

If you have one or more grills at your home then likely, without even knowing it, you have prepped for emergency situations. I’ve been encouraged to see while social distancing is in place, people are reaching out to their grills to cook family meals. It is simply fabulous!

Don’t limit the use of this cooking equipment to the traditional items like animal proteins and thick-skinned vegetables like peppers, onions, and corn. Embrace the concept that nearly anything can be cooked on the grill.

Bagged Food Items

Common bagged food items that are considered perfect for storing as emergency food rations include: rice, dried pasta, dried beans, oats, quinoa, trail mix, dried fruits, candy, snack foods like chips and cookies, cornmeal, granola, and more.

Any of these items can be used in food preparation on the grill as long as you have cookware that can tolerate the heat of the grill or even use disposable foil pans or aluminum foil that you can mold into your own cookware.

Starting with common items like rice, dried pasta and beans, and quinoa, these items can be cooked in water or broth using cookware placed directly on the grill grate. Generally, direct heat works for these items, since you need to reach a boil and then simmer these items for a relatively long period before they are tender. Trail mix, oats and dried fruits work great as breakfast items to cook with milk or milk substitutes, again using a saucepan directly on the grill. Snack foods, candy, trail mix and more work well for making desserts on the grill. Cookie crumbs work for making tart and pie shells, crushed chips for crusting animal proteins, and candy for those special treats that may just include some type of chocolate candy and prepared phyllo dough sheets, which I always keep available in my freezer for spur of the moment needs.

Boxed Food Items

Although some of the items listed above such as dried pasta, rice, and beans also come in box packaging, I want to address some of the other boxed foods that you may not think of cooking on the grill. As life has become busier, many food manufacturing companies maximized the need for ready meals by providing meal prep in a box that just may need the addition of a protein or liquid to bring the meal alive. Don’ forget to use the grill for these items. For example, macaroni and cheese often comes in a box with the packaged ingredients that only require the addition of milk. Here’s where you can take these items and step the up. Cook the boxed item in a saucepan on the grill while also grilling some meat or poultry that can be added to the boxed item for more nutritional value. Knorr® is another company that makes many main entrées in a packet or box that can easily be cooked and modified on the grill. Other options to cook on the grill: Stove Top Stuffing, Chef Boyardee Pizza Maker, Near East rice blends, Hamburger Helper, Miracle Noodle packets, and more.

Canned Food Items

Without question, this is a large concentration of foods that are packaged in cans. When you can cook these items on the grill with a bit of wood for added flavor, you’ll bring this from an ordinary food to something with greater flavor depth. Dinty Moore stews, Chef Boyardee pasta and meat items, Hormel items like tamales and hash, Campbell’s soups, and even some upscale items like Duck Confit are available in cans and ready for the pot located on the grill.

Final Tips

We often have considered the grill as a “summer” or “good weather” item only to be used when we feel like it. Turn your thinking around and start to view the grill as a true extension of the kitchen that should be used frequently. If you’ve never considered owning a charcoal grill, bring one in as the ultimate prepper item. You will no longer be dependent on propane or gas to operate it, just charcoal or other plant based combustible material. That type of grill could truly save you in a pinch. Or, consider doing a safe set up of an outdoor self-made grill, which just requires some fire-safe material like stone, brick, sand, or metal. Use a grill grate you already have or high heat cookware to do the cooking by hot coals and fire.

I always recommend you keep an inventory of disposable foil pans around for outdoor cooking as well. This is an easy method of cooking foods without breaking out a ton of pots and pans that will require cleaning. Although I still like to clean some of my foil pans for re-use, know you always have the option to use and discard. This is particularly helpful when utilities may be down.

If you’re quarantined, what type of foods are you cooking and how? 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:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More related reading cooking Canned, boxed or bagged foods on a grill along with other tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading cooking bagged boxed or canned foods on a grill along with other tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

Additional reading

-CUTS OF MEAT THAT GRILL & SMOKE WELL & PROVIDE MORE THAN ONE MEAL

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

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

-THE SMOKER WATER PAN EXPLAINED!

 

Dr. Smoke-

Dr. Smoke-Bagged boxed or canned foods can be made interestingly flavorful on any grill

We use a moisture reader to maintain proper wood chip wetness of our products.

We use a moisture reader to maintain proper wood chip wetness of our products.

Wood Chip Wetness chart for smoking and grilling with Wood! Click To Tweet

 

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Wood Chip Wetness Reference Data

If you’ve been following the Smokinlicious® Culinary Wood Products website for a while, then you’re very aware of how serious we take wood. It is extremely important to us to educate you on hardwood and how it can be used for cooking. We know there are choices out there when it comes to purchasing wood. That’s why we love to make comparisons between popular products on the market.

Recently, we investigated the moisture levels of two popular name-brand products that are available across the USA. Using a commercial-grade moisture reader (Delmhorst Instrument Co., RDM-3 #12084), we recorded the moisture level of both name-brand smoking wood chips. One was Hickory, the other Mesquite – two very popular wood species for smoking.

Why should you care about the moisture level of the wood?

Moisture is what causes wood to smolder rather than burn up. It’s the difference between firewood and cooking wood. If you want to burn a fire for heat output only, then you need dry wood. If you want to cook flavorful foods by fire, the wood needs some measurable moisture, preferably over 15%, in order to flavor the food with the essence of the wood.

The Results Are In!

The Hickory wood chips registered 7% moisture and the Mesquite 7.3%! Although SmokinLicious® is not a manufacturer of Mesquite products (we only manufacturer products native to our area), we are able to provide you with comparable numbers for our seven hardwood species. On average, the following are the moisture levels for our woods:

Alder = 19.8%

Ash = 20.2%

Hickory = 25.6%

Red Oak = 26.2%

Sugar Maple = 24.4%

White Oak = 21.9%

Wild Cherry = 23.8%

Be An Educated Shopper

It is important to remember that when shopping for smoking wood chips and chunks, products that are packaged in plastic bags generally must have an average moisture level of less than 8% to remain stable enough to prevent mold growth and spoilage. Unfortunately, this means this type of product would compromise your cooking flavor, as once the molecules of the wood are deprived of air circulation and moisture, they permanently die and cannot be re-hydrated. That means, don’t waste your time trying soak the wood. It will do nothing but produce a musty smell when burning.

SmokinLicious Culinary Wood Products only sells our products fresh! You’ll never see our woods sealed in plastic and now you know why!

More Related reading on smoker wood chip wetness

More Related reading on smoker wood chip wetness

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- 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.

 

this map depicts the varied terrain of the appalachian hills where smokinlicious harvests their Oak Hardwood Species

Oak Hardwood Species is abundant in Our rich harvest area for the best hardwood cooking woods in the world.

To our blog kiwifruit gets smoky

 

THE BOLDNESS OF OAK HARDWOOD SPECIES!

New York State is home to the most varieties of Oak anywhere in the world! Currently, there are 16 native to New York State alone, with many more varieties having been brought into the state. In Central Park alone, there are 18 species of oak represented. Comprised of two subgroups – white oaks and black oaks – there is one key distinction between these groups. White oaks produce acorns that are usually sweet while black oaks produce bitter acorns. So how does this translate when using Oak wood for smoking?

At SmokinLicious®, we try very hard not to make flavor descriptors of each hardwood we manufacture into cooking wood, as we hold to the belief that there are so many factors that contribute to the reveal of the underlying wood flavonoids (i.e. temperature the wood is exposed to, other ingredients used on the food cooked over oak, moisture level of the wood, etc.). However, we do have a scale to guide the user on the boldness of flavor. Oak is at the highest end of that scale. It is the boldest flavor we offer!

Knowing that oak is a powerful flavor, I must remind you that smoke particles do not penetrate completely into the meat. In general, for meats, smoke vapor only penetrates about a 1/8” meaning the “flavor” you will decipher from the oak is actually to the outside area of the meat. Certainly, if you cook a meat until it can be shredded, you will mix the outside flavor areas with the less wood flavored inner meat and get a good balance to the smoky flavor.

Hardwood- The Boldness of Oak Hardwood Species

As I’ve tried to stress, cooking foods with a specific hardwood is the choice of the cook. I am not one to say that you can never cook a specific food with a certain hardwood. Everyone’s palate is different and tolerates different levels of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. I will, however, remind you that bold flavors need to be balanced and this can easily be done through the other ingredients incorporated with that food item or even on that food. This will allow you to use oak wood for smoking: cold smoking say beef jerky or game jerky, hot smoking lamb, goat or beef, grilling steaks of beef or pork, stove top smoking pungent flavors like onion and garlic, and handheld cold smoking say a robust cheese.

As always, very little quantity of wood is needed to bring forward the unique qualities of the wood and Oak, with its boldness, is not an exception. If you’re in the market for a very bold flavor, then go for the black oak varieties including Pin Oak, Scarlet Oak, and Red Oak. A step down from the black oaks, the white oaks include Chestnut Oak, White Oak, Swamp Oak, and Post Oak. Either choice will bring you hardwood offering that is strong in appearance, aroma, and flavor!

 

Check out more articles similar to this one:

TO THE BEECH (WOOD SPECIES) WE GO!

AS HARD AS OAK!

OH, THE MIGHTY MAPLE!

Purchase Products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Dr. Smoke- If you're looking for a very distinctive flavor for your wood-fired cooking- the boldness of oak hardwood species is your choice!

Dr. Smoke- If you’re looking for a very distinctive flavor for your wood-fired cooking- the boldness of oak hardwood species is your choice!

Our forest grown Hickory cooking wood blocks are center cut with NO BARK! Perfect sizing when you need a "chunky" piece of hardwood for smoking and wood-fired cooking!

Our forest grown Hickory cooking wood blocks are center cut with NO BARK! Perfect sizing when you need a “chunky” piece of hardwood for smoking and wood-fired cooking!

 

HICKORY COOKING WOOD- WHAT A “NUTTY” CHOICE

Continuing our feature on specific hardwoods for the sole purpose of wood-fired cooking, let me introduce you to very popular choice, especially when it comes to hot smoking or pit roasting techniques and meats.

Hickory hardwood is part of the Juglandaceae family of wood better known as the Walnut family. The scientific names for the varieties we manufacture are Carya glabra (Mill.) sweet and Carya laciniosa (Michx.f.) but the common names for the varieties found in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania regions include Pignut Hickory, Sweet Pignut, Smoothbark Hickory, Kingnut.

Hickory cooking wood is most commonly used with animal proteins like beef (ribs, brisket), pork (shoulder, ribs), and game (elk, bison, moose, duck, deer). Its overall flavor profile is more significant with a moderate level of infusion. It often is described as having a bacon-like undertone. Because the overall infusion is on the stronger side, it works well when mixed with a lighter hardwood or fruit wood like ash, cherry, or maple to balance the use of Hickory with non-animal proteins.

The overall color that results from the smoke vapor of hickory cooking wood is on the brown or deep side.

Heat Level: High – 27.5 MBTU

Fuel Efficiency: Excellent

Ease of Lighting: Fair

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

HICKORY TREE Oh, and the answer is no, you don’t need to be concerned with the use of hickory cooking wood for those with a nut allergy. The trigger for an allergic reaction is contained within the nut themselves rather than the tree and occurs when the nut is cracked. So enjoy this giant of the forest and Bon-Bar-B-Q!

 

 

 

 

 

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The ways to use wood chunks on gas grill!

The ways to use wood chunks on gas grill!

Try wood chunks on gas grill for a natural taste! Click To Tweet

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This is the year! You made a promise to yourself, family and friends that this outdoor cooking season, you were going to bring more flavor to meals cooked on the grill by incorporating smoking wood and grilling wood. All you need to know is, what are the options for setting up the grill for this type of cooking without purchasing a smoker?

 

We have the answer and lots of options to utilize your existing equipment!

LP/Gas Grills of All Types

There is a great deal of variation in LP/Gas Grilling equipment in terms of grilling surface space, the number of burners, BTU rating, etc. Know up front, that this will play into how frequently you need to replenish grilling or smoking wood or even to monitor the foods being smoked on the grill. Essentially, these tips will work on any brand/model that you may own.

How To Add Wood Chunks on Gas Grill

Heat diffusers are commonly found on newer models of grills. They are made of high heat tolerant metal and cover the actual burners of the unit. Their purpose is to ensure even heat distribution throughout the grill so both radiant and conductive heat is maximized.

Wood Chunks On The Diffusers

If you have a grill model that has heat diffusers (remember, they may go by other names like flavorizer bars, flame tamers, heat plates, burner shields, and heat distributors) then you’re ready to use smoking wood chunks on your unit! Yes, I said smoking chunks. This is by far the easiest method of getting the true smoke flavor to the foods being cooked. Plus, you can set up an indirect method of cooking using smoking chunks.

You will need 3-4 wood chunks sized to fit over your heat diffusers and under the grill grate when setting in place. A 2x2x3-inch size fits most units and these should have some measurable moisture level; at least 20% moisture is ideal meaning you won’t need to presoak the wood. If you have an old grill model before heat diffusers were standard, you can still use smoking wood chunks by placing them in a smoker box. These boxes will generally fit 3-4 chunks of the size referenced above but be sure to use a good quality box. My preference is cast iron. Insert the chunks into the smoker box and leave the lid off!

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Our collage for makeing Spatchcock Smoked Turkey showing the breast bone removal

Spatchcock Smoked Turkey is perfect for even cooking! Moist and smokey what a delectable combination

Try this Spatchock Smoked Turkey Click To Tweet

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Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

Often when faced with cooking a whole turkey, you find the challenge of ensuring every part of the bird is cooked to temperature. This can result in some extra work in ensuring that certain parts that cook faster don’t dry out or burn on the exterior. Think the wings and drumsticks. It’s a lot of work!

I’m going to introduce you to a method of cooking a turkey that will ensure every part cooks at the same rate and to the same doneness level without having to cover specific parts with foil. Spatchcocking a whole turkey meets that goal and by doing the cooking process on the gas grill with hardwood, you get the added benefit of a smoke flavor and oven room for preparing other dishes.

Order up a whole turkey, preferably under 24 lbs., and let’s meet in the kitchen to prepare the bird for smoking.

Does Fresh Make a Difference?

Our Fresh Turkey out of the box ready for us to do Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

#freshturkey

There is no question that I prefer a fresh turkey over frozen as the flavor is simply cleaner and the bird produces super moist meat compared to a frozen turkey. We are fortunate to have within 10 miles of our location, a fresh turkey farm that harvests turkeys once a year, just a couple of days ahead of Thanksgiving. My bird weighed in just under 22lbs. The organs and neck are removed from the cavity and the bird flipped breast side down to expose the backbone. This is where we start our spatchcock process. Get sharp cutting shears ready as we prepare to remove the backbone of our turkey.

Tasting Notes: If fresh whole turkey is not available, you may substitute frozen whole turkey. Just be sure it is completely defrosted and pat dried before starting this recipe.

Flatten and Rub for a Perfect Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

I won’t lie to you. Removing the backbone of a fresh turkey can be a bit of work, but it is so worth it. Start on one side of the backbone, insert sharp kitchen shears, and start to snip away. You’ll draw the shears along the edge of the backbone, releasing the bone from the meat. Done correctly, the spine will come out in one piece.

We have cut and completely removed the breast bone, which will allow us to press down and flatten the turkey

#spatchock

With the backbone removed it’s time for the final preparation to the turkey. Flip the turkey back so the breast is facing up. Time to break the breastbone so the turkey will lay flat on the cooking sheet pan. This will take both hands and a lot of force. Position your hands across the breast and push down with all your force until you hear the breast plate break. Now the turkey should be able to lay flat on a sheet pan equipped with a rack for rendering all the juice and allowing even heat distribution around the entire bird. The rack is key to use so heat distributes evenly. The turkey is now ready for a rub with your favorite seasonings, herbs, and spices.

Using your hands to push down and flatten the Turkey on the cooking sheet allows for an even cook!

#spatchocking

I’m using a simple herb rub that includes fresh sage, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, black pepper, marjoram, basil and cumin. I place my ground rub all over the skin of the bird and on the exposed meat side, reaching under the breast skin as well. Now cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. All this work can be done the night prior to grilling ensuring all that is left to do, is the simple two-zone cooking. Remember, two-zone cooking involves turning only half the burners on and placing a metal smoker box of wood chunks on the hot grate or directly on the heat shield of the hot burners. Be sure you have the box and hardwood at the ready for this step.

With our prepared spatchcock turkey readied, the sheet pan is added to the grill on the no heat side and the lid is closed. I leave this to cook on its own for about two hours before returning to rotate the pan, checking the smoker box of wood chunks I’m using on the lit side of the grill for the great smoke flavor. Remember, the heat from the burners that are lit will radiate throughout the entire grill, grill-roasting the turkey while the heat stimulates the release of the smoke vapor from the wood.

We use our smoker box with Double Filet Wood chunks to add the smoke while doing a two zone cooking method!

#twozonecooking #woodchunks#smokerbox

Tasting Notes: If you prefer, you can cook the turkey directly on the grill grate. Just be sure to place a water pan under the grate to collect all the juices.

Ready in No Time

My nearly 22 lb. fresh turkey takes about 3-3/4 hours to reach a 165°F internal temperature. In total, I use about 8 double filet wood chunks for the entire process. The best part, I can do other things while the turkey cooks, then rest it for about 20 minutes before carving. Don’t forget about all the beautiful juice it produces in the pan as well. Make gravy, use it as au jus, or save it for producing stock. Spatchcock fresh turkey – the easiest method of no-fuss grilling and smoking of a turkey!

What’s your favorite spatchcock turkey recipe? Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes. Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

Nice golden brown color to the bird, just cut into it for the best moist meat!

#spatchcocksmokedturkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SmokinLicious® Products used in this technique:

Our hand split double filet smoker wood chunks

#woodchunks

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More related reading on Spatchcock Smoked Turkey and other Sptachcocking itmes see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading on Spatchcock Smoked Turkey and other Sptachcocking itmes see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More blog topics you might enjoy:

-SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN IS THE WAY TO MOISTURE & HARDWOOD FOR FLAVOR

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

-THE NOT-SO-SMOKEY SMOKED TURKEY

-WHY TWO-ZONE COOKING METHOD LET’S YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE GRILL

Dr. Smoke- Great moist smokey meat from our Spatchcock Smoked Turkey- awesome way to cook the "bird"

Dr. Smoke- Great moist smokey meat from our Spatchcock Smoked Turkey- awesome way to cook the “bird”

We discuss how long do wood chips last in an electric smoker!

We discuss how long do wood chips last in an electric smoker!

How long do wood chips last in an electric smoker Click To Tweet

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Without question, electric smokers are by far the easiest smokers to manage as they require no charcoal lighting, no constant checking of the fuel supply, and usually no messy ash pan. These are units that are designed to run on very little wood product, usually between 2-5 ounces because the actual ‘fuel’ is an electric coil. No gas, charcoal, or pellet.

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