HOT TREND MAY NOT BE THE SAFEST BET

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Recently, I came across a great article on the new hot trends in cold cuts and smoked meats.  The article stressed how the $200 million in sales was the result of companies offering such things as chorizo, pepperoni, salami, and smoked bacon with bolder flavors and cleaner ingredients.  So, why do I have a problem with this?

What About the Smoke

The article went on to explain that the No. 1 trend in smoked and processed meats is products that are “uncured” or “no-nitrates added”, stating that this is due to the new health-conscious consumer.  This got me thinking about smoked products in general.  No one seems to be asking about the smoking process used to get that bacon hickory smoked!

If people are so sensitive to the ingredients in their foods, why haven’t we become concerned about the smoke component used for the actual process?

Demanding Label Changes

There are so many companies investing in the repackaging of their products to include such labels as “no-sugar-added”, “dairy-free”, and “gluten-free”.  Consumers are label readers and keenly interested in how products are made, how animals are raised, how products are preserved, and the percentage of fat in the processing.

One factor in food preparation that doesn’t seem to have been included in labeling is the actual smoking process for food products like smoked bacon, fish, or beef jerky.

Why doesn’t anyone seem concerned enough to ask what are they smoking with?  Is it actual wood or the wood-flavored vapor that is used to make liquid smoke, hardly an ingredient that would be considered chemical-free?

Wood Should Be a Food Ingredient Hot Trend

Let’s examine why wood should be looked at as a food ingredient when used for hot or cold smoking or wood-fired cooking in general.

First, not all companies selling wood products under the guise of smoking, identify what components of the tree are manufactured in the product.  Nor do they give any indication if the wood used in the manufacture of products started for only the purpose of food application. To clarify this point, let’s review one common seller of wood products found on Amazon.com.

This popular choice in wood chips started as a hickory and mesquite manufacturer of log products by a single owner back in 1986.  Originally, they sold logs to locals around their area.  Eventually, they branched out to wood chips and wood chunks in retail packaging when BBQ became so popular.

The company was sold to a fire log company who uses recycled wood sawdust and agricultural fibers to produce fireplace log products.  With the change in ownership, the company began selling other woods; pecan, post oak, and mesquite that are native to their home state of Texas, and the rest of the offerings which are brought in from other suppliers and locations.  There is no bark removal, there is no separation of wood layers.  Much of the product lies in open areas on the ground exposed to the southwestern sun as well as to anything else that may make contact.  The product is left uncovered in outdoor areas awaiting packaging, even after it has been kiln dried which is the only reference made to any preparation of the wood.

Here is one concern with the current ownership – keep in mind, with a primary business of manufacturing charcoal and fire log products, this business was originally connected to a cedar and basswood pencil business.  For those who don’t know woods, cedar and basswood are both softwoods, something that can be toxic if used for cooking food.

No Wood Regulations

There are no regulations that specifically state that you must guarantee that the wood packaged is clean, pure, and 100% of what it says it is on the label.  Just about anyone can start to package wood, whether hardwood or softwood or a combination of both, as a “cooking”, “grilling”, “smoking” or “BBQ” wood.  There are no regulations that it must be kiln dried or heat treated.  It is a free-for-all!

There may be claims that we are label readers, but it appears when it comes to wood used for cooking, we don’t have a clue.  This may be the oldest method of cooking in existence, but it certainly doesn’t have to contain the same risks as what the earliest homo sapiens endured.

The next time you see packaging that bacon, jerky, deli meat is of a smoked variety, look at the label and ask the question, “How was this smoked?”  You will be amazed that little or no answers are provided.  I hope you enjoyed our topic “Hot Trend” and the argument for better food labeling!

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-THE SMOKINLICIOUS® STORY

-WOOD SUPPLIER- ARE YOU GETTING WHAT YOU PAID FOR?

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

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

 

Dr Smoke

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

Smokinlicious is proud to be a F2C company- meaning a manufacuter to Consumer Sales Organization

Smokinlicious is proud to be a F2C company

 

SMOKINLICIOUS® IS AN F2C

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In today’s age of selling products and services, there are acronyms that are common to marketing and sales strategies.  First, there is B2B which refers to business to business relationships.  This means that a product or a service is sold from one business to another.  An example of each would be windshield wiper fluid being sold to gas stations and attorney services to large corporations.

B2C is shorthand for business to consumer.  This is selling a product or service directly to a customer that is not necessarily a business.

Now, you may automatically assume that SmokinLicious® would fall under both these sales types, and you would be right.  But there is another acronym you likely aren’t familiar with: F2C.

Making a Better Connection

F2C refers to factory to consumer or more specifically, manufacturer to consumer.  There are many reasons why this is a plus to both businesses and consumers doing business with a specific manufacturer.  Let’s examine the major advantages from the perspective of doing business with SmokinLicious®:

Advantage #1 Details

As the manufacturer of all the products sold under the brand SmokinLicious®, we can provide the specifics on where the hardwood comes from, the age of the wood, the handling of the product, the treatment the wood is exposed to, and the details on packaging.  You don’t have to wait on answers to your product questions like with a supplier who is simply a re-seller of the wood.  We give answers immediately!

Advantage #2 Intimate Knowledge

When you are committed to manufacturing a specific product, you tend to know that product thoroughly.  For SmokinLicious®, that equates to us knowing not only about wood fired cooking techniques like hot smoking, ember cooking, and cold smoking but we know the science behind hardwood; molecular biology of the wood as well as for combustion.  We know why smoke gives flavor and how to respect and control it.

Advantage #3 Availability

We aren’t simply selling a product to move it out of inventory.  As a manufacturer, we are committed to answering questions whether on email, via phone, or social media platforms.  No, we don’t operate the phones 24/7.  But we do get back to anyone who contacts us, usually within 24 hours.  We are available to everyone!

Advantage #4 Passion

Sometimes I feel the word “passion” is overused but that word really does describe the people who make up the SmokinLicious® Team.  We are passionate about cooking with fire and the smoke it produces.  We simply love to offer our perspective on cooking with wood.  Remember, just because someone sells a specific product doesn’t mean it was a dream of theirs.  It simply may be the “thing” to do with no real commitment.  Who wants to commit to that type of supplier!

Advantage #5 Skilled

We have a test kitchen/patio and we use it – all the time!  That’s the only way you can know all the different applications for the product we manufacture and sell.  We possess the skills to guide you on what might be causing bitter flavors, poor color, equipment failures, and so much more.  Plus, we offer daily postings on recipes, tips, techniques, and the science behind cooking with fire and smoke.

Advantage #6 Global

We can be everywhere because we know our commodity and the regulations that relate to our products.  We don’t cut corners because we are as concerned about our environment and forests as the agricultural agencies around the world.  You won’t ever need to worry about having your supply cut off because a regulation or law wasn’t followed.

Advantage #7 Exclusivity

You’re purchasing smoking wood to cook with.  That means, food is exposed to the wood’s components.  Don’t you want assurance that it’s clean?  We only sell hardwoods for cooking and culinary use!  That’s it!  We don’t take waste product from some other wood process and sell it off under a new label or brand.  We don’t buy woods from anyone who can’t document on paper where the smoker wood is from and if exposure to chemicals is possible.  SmokinLicious® is exclusively a culinary wood product!

These are just some of the advantages to working directly with and purchasing directly from a manufacturer, or F2C.   When you want assurances that any question you have can be answered, that any product need can be met, that your equipment will be protected, then seek a direct manufacturer first and eliminate a middle man that may only be in it for dollars and cents.  Or one day you could simply find they’re no longer in business or they no longer can ship product throughout North America or other continents, leaving your Company with a big problem.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-SMOKIN’ DUST®: A SPICE FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT

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

-WHEN A FLOP COULD HAVE BEEN A SUCCESS!

Our primary focus is on the consumer of our products. Our culinary team provides support to all chefs!

Our primary focus is on the consumer of our products. Our culinary team provides support to all chefs!

Not all wood supplier are like Smokinlicious®, cutting their product from forest grown fresh harvest. Rather they use recycled material.

Not all wood supplier is like Smokinlicious®, cutting their product from forest grown fresh harvest. Rather they use recycled material.

WOOD SUPPLIER- ARE YOU GETTING WHAT YOU PAID FOR?

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One of the things we do at SmokinLicious® for commercial-grade customers is take in a sample of their current smoking wood and analyze it.  When you’re a Company producing a food product, you need consistency of the final product.  When it comes to smoked foods, this can be a challenge as wood is a plant material that can be highly variable when put through the stages of combustion.  If a mixture of woods is used in the process, combustion rate, biochar production, volatile burn off, and other parameters of the wood can be affected in a negative way.

Like a Game of Roulette

If a price is the only factor guiding your decision on a wood supplier, then you are playing a game of roulette.  Just like any other business transaction, you should be looking for authenticity of the wood.  Let me give you an example:

Germany is the only country currently taking direct steps to protect woods on the endangered species list.  Yes, there is such a list of 183 countries participating in some level of enforcement.  The direct goal of The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is to prevent deforestation but the challenge, as with most lofty goals, is personnel to enforce the regulation. Germany is uncovering case after case of fraudulent wood sales and finding that less expensive woods in the manufacture while invoices reflect another more expensive wood.

Now, look at smoking wood products.  There are no regulations.  A company can package wood product of pretty much any condition, label it as a specific species, and put it into the marketplace.  There is no accounting for:

▪ how the wood was collected

▪ what the wood pieces are made from

▪ treatments conducted on the wood

▪ if the wood is 100% of a specific species

▪ the origination of the wood

▪ the age of the wood

Mixed Product Dominates

I can’t even count how many times we’ve visited a Company’s location to view their wood supply and find that what they thought they were purchasing is not what’s present.  Some suppliers have gone so far as to including softwoods in the product labeled as hardwood!  This doesn’t happen with just the larger pieces of wood either.  Microchips commonly used in industrial smokehouses rarely contain 100% of a said wood.  Perhaps this is the reason why packaging regulations for a smokehouse bacon or ham can state it is Applewood smoked when Applewood may have only made up 10% of the wood used in the smoking process!

Ask and Demand

The budget for wood can be substantial for companies and restaurants.  You have every right to demand a product’s accountability.   Ask questions!

What is the origin of the wood?  Remember, many smoking wood suppliers are not involved in the manufacturing process.  They are the seller, not the manufacturer meaning they likely have little or no knowledge of the history of the wood.

Has the wood undergone any processes?  Kiln dried? Preservation chemical added? If the wood didn’t start out for cooking, it is likely that processes used to stabilize the wood for its main purpose, say flooring, were applied.  That won’t make it the best choice for a cooking method or even a safe choice.

You have every right to request a Letter of Guarantee or Letter of Authenticity.  Remember, woods used for food preparation or cooking currently have no universal regulations.  The only wood regulation that exists in the USA is regarding moving firewood and that is regulated primarily by the individual states.

Why be so concerned about the wood when we don’t consume wood? 

We may not consume the wood in its natural form but we certainly consume food products cooked over or near that wood, that infuses many of the organic compounds of the wood.  Not all organic compounds are good.  There are many known toxicities in certain species of wood with softwoods containing the highest risk.  That is the reason why you should never cook with a softwood.  Other wood has the potential to cause sickness and in some cases, if a person’s system is already compromised, death.

Take the time to learn about the wood you will use in the cooking method and ask the questions that could be the difference between a successful venture and partnership with your wood supplier or a disaster you simply didn’t need.

Proving you with additional information on woods including the science behind the fire, along with tips, techniques, and recipes.  That’s why you should subscribe and follow us so you don’t miss a thing.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

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

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

-THE TOP 8 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COOKING & GRILLING WITH WOOD

-DON’T COOK WITH TRASH!

 

"As one of the premier cooking wood manufactures in the world, always use caution on sourcing wood, especially when you're going to cook with it- too much is being labelled "green" and it's not fit for cooking."

Dr. Smoke- know your wood supplier “As one of the premier cooking wood manufactures in the world, always use caution on sourcing wood, especially when you’re going to cook with it- too much is being labelled “green” and it’s not fit for cooking.”

 

Is it fresh, is always a question that comes from new customers! At Smokinlicious® we are cutting products daily and measuring moisture to maintain the best smoking wood in the world

Is 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? Here’s Why You Need to Know

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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.

The Truth Is in The Sample

Sending the current wood supply sample is key to determining what should be used in product.  Once we provide the video review of what is in the sample in terms of sizing, we’re on the way to getting an understanding of why the current product may not be ideal.  Our concern is not just the overall flavor and color to the finished product, but also to reducing equipment failures that may occur from clogging of the wood material due to dust particulants.

Is It Fresh- Is Best

we check all our products for the proper moisture levels for the proper balance of too dry and just perfect for smoking. Following our discussion on product sizing, it’s time to explain why ordering fresh product is key.  We don’t operate on the concept that you need tons of extra product inventory sitting in your location, making the potential for color changes to the wood, moisture depletion, and susceptibility to mold spores a reality.  Instead, fresh product is produced when you need it, allowing for consistency in your smokehouse products’ flavor and color.  I know this is a stretch when there are many suppliers out there who encourage you to order pallet after pallet of product with the incentive of saving 10% if full truck loads go out.  Good luck getting the premium flavor and color your looking for with that old, dehydrated product!

We’ve Got Your Back

We know every customer we have the privilege of doing business with needs assurance that we can cover their needs.  That’s why our entire Team is involved to ensure that we can ship earlier if needed.  We take the time to monitor your Company’s usage and predict your next order.  Or, we can set up a shipping schedule you’re comfortable with that is easy for everyone involved and won’t require extra, valuable storage space be used.

our Minuto wood chips are a clean bark free wood chip for superior results in any commercial smokehouse. There are many sizes to fit any equipments need.Yes, you could say we are not the norm and we’d be just fine with that.  In fact, we encourage it.  To us, there’s nothing like cooking with fresh product that has been designed with your Company’s needs in mind.  That’s why our superior product will give you a superior outcome.  Fresh hardwood product for unmatched smoke infused food products. That’s the SmokinLicious® way!

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Related reading:

-THE TOP 8 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COOKING & GRILLING WITH WOOD

-CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY FOR COOKING?

-TO BARK OR NOT

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Dr Smoke giving advice- "Fresh is best in food and in the wood products you use for smoking."

Dr Smoke- “Fresh is best in food and in the wood products you use for smoking.”

<a href="https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/">Smokinlicious<strong>®</strong></a> is the only company to produce enhanced <a href="https://www.smokinlicious.com/smokin--dust.html">Smokin'<strong>®</strong> Dust</a> is over 15 flavors beyond just natural to use as a spice for your equipment.

Smokinlicious® is the only company to produce enhanced Smokin’® Dust is over 15 flavors beyond just natural to use as a spice for your equipment.

Listen to the audio of this blog

SMOKIN’ DUST®: A SPICE FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT

There seems to be some legend out there that wood-fired cooking methods are all about the endless hours of tending food and fire that produce taste results that are only granted to a small percentage of committed cooks.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Ready for simple methods of wood flavor infusion that do not take stockpiles of wood and equipment so large, you start thinking about adding on to your house?

Wood-fired cooking includes the simplest methods of wood infusion like the current rage with hand-held food smokers or even the stovetop smoker.  Kitchen gadgets that have opened the door to anyone who wants to explore the fragrant and flavorful bounty that awaits all foods and beverages.  One thing that still is evolving is the concept of spices not for your food but for your equipment!

If you’ve read some of our previous articles on wood flavoring you’ll come to understand and appreciate that there is no set rule on wood-fired cooking.  Oh, yes, there is plenty of science when it comes to cooking with fire or as I like to say when you combust to flavor, which is what you are accomplishing with wood for cooking.  I feel more attention should be given to the actual wood products put into the equipment rather than focusing on the ingredients to the foods being cooked.

First, wood to us IS an ingredient, one that still needs to be balanced with the other components to bring forth a food memory.  As an ingredient, the easiest by far to manage for wood flavor infusion is sawdust or in our Company’s listing, Smokin’ Dust®.  Compatible with all types of equipment, Smokin’ Dust® literally becomes a ‘spice’ for your equipment.

Thinking of island flavors of pineapple, coconut, and mango for a recipe?  Why not add one or more of those flavorings through the wood product?  Yes, using all-natural flavoring infused into our Smokin’ Dust® is one of the quickest methods of getting the great flavor to a specific regional dish.  With 15 flavor-infused options that are 100% all natural, designed for cooking, and infused in hardwood, as well as 8 natural hardwood flavors, we’ve given new meaning to the word ‘spice’ as ours can now apply to the wood product!  Remember, applewood doesn’t smell or taste anything like an apple.  Use our apple infused product, and you’ll experience hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and the bite of an apple!

Why settle for a run-of-the-mill smoking sawdust product that you don’t know where it comes from?  A softwood, swept from the floor, shoveled from the ground, or worse, taken from under an animal?  Instead, get excited about the flavor opportunities awaiting you and your equipment when you use a smoking sawdust product from a real cooking wood company.  Get excited about the opportunities out there to experiment with, whether for hot smoking, cold smoking, handheld food smoking, stovetop smoking, or even traditional LP and charcoal grilling.  And get ready to experience the world through flavor aroma!

Smokin Dust is one of our most customized and versitle cooking wood product.

Dr. Smoke- “Smokin’ Dust is one of our most customized and versatile cooking wood product.” which is a spice for your equipment

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-TASTE IS AROMA!

-JUST BECAUSE YOUR SMOKING (FOOD THAT IS!) DOESN’T MAKE IT ALL BAD!

-KIWIFRUIT GETS SMOKY

Our products used in this Blog:

Flavored Smokin’ Dust

 

The sign is the entrance to the precious forest- allegheny national forest which includes 513,175 acres or 801.8 square acres and includes the allegheny reservoir natural habitat

The precious Forest Covers 513,175 acres (801.8 square miles) and includes the Allegheny Reservoir Natural Habitat.

THE PRECIOUS FOREST

Listen to the audio of this blog

Listen to the precious forest blog

It is likely when you have your heart set on some wood-fired cooked foods that you give little attention to the wood that will be required for that cooking event.  You may have seen wood smoker chips or chunks available in your local box store and decided that you can always pick those up last minute, to be assured your plans aren’t foiled. Or, you simply plan to go with charcoal chips without considering that this product is made from wood as well.

STOP and ponder this for a moment – Do you realize where exactly those wood products come from?

Unless you are in a direct county of involvement, you likely have not realized the invasions that are occurring readily to our forests, woodlots, and home landscapes.

To date, here are some of the diseases and infestations we are battling in the United States:

  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
  • Whitebark Pine Beatle
  • Beech Bark Disease
  • Dutch Elm Disease
  • Butternut Canker
  • Asian Longhorn Beetle
  • Dogwood Anthracnose
  • Gypsy Moth
  • Balsam Woolly Adelgid
  • Laurel Wilt disease
  • Sirex Wood Wasp
  • Sudden Oak Death
  • Polyphagous & Kuroshio Shot Hole Borer affecting sycamores, willows, oaks, maples (including Boxelder), and commercial avocado trees.

EVERY state in the US has battled imported forest pests with the hardest hit being New York State followed closely by MA, WI, IL, VA, MI, NJ, OH, and CA.  Every decade, 25 new insect pests are established in the US which can lead for potential decimate of an entire tree species in just decades.

So why if you are a lover of BBQ smoking chips or BBQ wood chunks (smoking using wood chunks or woodchips) or other wood-fired foods, should issues with bugs be of concern?  Because cooking by fire is the oldest known cooking method for humankind.  Right now, you may simply enjoy 3 benefits of trees: for shade, for beauty (viewing), and for a flavor to foods cooked on your grill/smoker.

But there are many other benefits:

  • Decrease atmospheric carbon by capturing and storing CO2
  • Improve air quality by filtering pollutants and releasing oxygen
  • Reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants entering local water bodies
  • Increase property values by 3-7%

The pollutant removal alone that trees are responsible for provides a human health benefit worth $6.8 billion per year!  Trees keep us alive!

As of December 2016, NYS DEC has detected an increased prevalence of Oak Wilt in the state which has no known treatment to contain and kill this fungus.  Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods for wood-fired cooking methods.

Please, take the time to source wood for cooking from reputable sources and follow the laws in place in your specific state to ensure we can limit the spread of these pests and diseases, and continue to enjoy the oldest method of cooking: by fire!

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

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

-TO BARK OR NOT

-SHOULD YOU GRILL WITH MOLDY WOODS?

Purchase Products:

Wood Chips-Grande Sapore®

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Follow us on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flipboard, Google+, Reddit, Medium, Blogger, BuzzFeed, Bloglovin’

Dr.Smoke- <em>"Appreciate the precious forest our renewable resource."</em>

Dr.Smoke- “Appreciate the precious forest our renewable resource.”

Picking the proper cooking wood can only lead to success versus a flop- for the wood fired grill

Menu board found in most restaurants- regarding wood-fired grill

WHEN A FLOP COULD HAVE BEEN A SUCCESS WITH THE WOOD- FIRED GRILL!

Listen to the audio of this blog

Listen to our blog about the wood-fired grill

There is no question that being in the franchise restaurant business is a challenge especially given that there is a national menu dictated by the brand you partnered with.  I am amazed at the risks brands will take when it comes to making a major capital investment in marketing strategies, equipment upgrades, and personnel training for single concepts.  Case in point: the obsession with wood-fired grilling to get customers in or coming back!

Here are just a few brands that took the leap of faith into the wood-fired grill market:

  1. Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  2. Applebee’s Grill & Bar
  3. Outback Steakhouse
  4. Red Lobster
  5. Logan’s Roadhouse
  6. Bonefish Grill

Certainly, not all these efforts have resulted in 100% failure as often the addition of a wood-fired oven or grill was added for other menus items that had an established following or existed from the conception of the franchise.  For instance, Carrabba’s Italian Grill offers wood-fired pizza in their brick oven so it is not a giant leap for them to do wood-fired chicken.  The same can be said for Bonefish Grill whose focus is fresh fish.  Logan’s Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse bring diners in for mostly steak and that is a protein accustomed to being cooked by fire.  

What happens when a decision is made by a brand to go into this unchartered area?

 There are two franchises that standout on this topic: Red Lobster and Applebee’s Grill & BarMore than 6 years ago, Red Lobster began a major marketing campaign on their newly launched “wood-fired assisted grills”.  The brand stated a commitment to using oak wood for their wood-fired menu items. At some locations, though not all, you would find a log holder with firewood logs outside or just inside the front door.  In 2016, Applebee’s Grill & Bar attempted a major menu change with the introduction of wood-fired steaks, pork, chicken, and salmon which required the purchase and installation of wood-fired grills to its nearly 2000 locations.  Why don’t you see these two brands focused on wood-fired menus any longer?  The short answer is, they didn’t study the market on wood-fired cooking with the help of a wood expert!

What should have been done to make this capital venture, this leap-of-faith, successful? By far, the most pivotal mistake made was not understanding the role the wood plays in food flavor.  Both Red Lobster and Applebee’s Grill & Bar defaulted to using oak, an extremely strong wood to use in cooking.  Also, they elected to use firewood meaning that the variety of oak, if not sourced by one supplier, would vary by region or state, if indeed they received oak exclusively.  Most firewood suppliers do not sell one type of wood.  In fact, firewood could be a mix of softwood and hardwood which should be of great concern when you are targeting cooking.

Understand, that most franchise brands do not come up with a concept and immediately put it in place.  There is a testing period, usually two, whereby they take a small sampling of their locations and put the new menu items in place.  Then they collect feedback and data.  The catastrophic failure that occurred for Applebee’s Grill & Bar is that they did not stay true to the procedures set in place during the testing period when they rolled this out to nearly 2000 locations.  The result: they will turn in the worse 2016 sales numbers for a franchise restaurant.

What is the lesson to take away?

If you are considering adding wood-fired menu items to your business, do your research!  Don’t get enamored with the idea of this style of cooking.  Learn from an expert what occurs to foods exposed to live fire, what changes result flavor-wise, and what to avoid in wood choices based on the equipment.  Most of all, start out by understanding, not all wood is appropriate for cooking and not all suppliers have great wood.  Then take advice from the expert rather than risking not only the success of your business but the health and experience of your guests who dine with you.

Dr. Smoke- Learn about the wood-fired grill issues with restaurants

Dr. Smoke- Learn about the wood-fired grill issues with restaurants

Follow us on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flipboard, Google+, Reddit, Medium, Blogger, BuzzFeed, Bloglovin’

Follow us on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flipboard, Google+, Reddit, Medium, Blogger, BuzzFeed, Bloglovin’

CRUSHED OR DICED WOOD CHIPS?

Listen to the audio of this blog

You see the options all the time.  Crushed or diced tomatoes?  Every chef knows when and why you choose one over the other. Did you know the same concept is true for wood chips?

At SmokinLicious®, the only true cooking wood Company, we produce our wood chips in the same manner as tomato processors! We crush the wood for our Grande Sapore® chips – these pieces produce a unique flavor because of their shape just like crushed tomatoes give a deeper flavor to recipes!  These chips are meant to last and work with other ingredients for full flavor balance. We also offer our “diced” option of predetermined wood slices to produce our Minuto® and Piccolo® chips for smoldering on heat plates, cast iron, and flavor bars.  Just as diced tomatoes give a fresh-from-the-garden taste, diced wood chips likewise produce a different, often more intense fresh wood flavoring.

SmokinLicious® only manufacturers cooking woods.  That is our primary and only business.  We know hardwoods for cooking, all types of wood-fired methods.  And we know wood flavoring – how to get the best clean flavors from the select hardwoods ideal for cooking!

See for yourself why we are a superior product with a superior outcome.  Enjoy the benefits of the knowledge of our flavorists and get the options you are looking for.  Made the SmokinLicious® way!

Dr. Smoke- there is a smoking difference between crushed or diced wood chips

Dr. Smoke- there is a smoking difference between crushed or diced wood chips

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smokinlicious® Custom Sizing Process

Smokinlicious® Custom Sizing Process

JOIN OUR WEIRD NAME CLUB (FOR YOUR WOOD CHIPS)!

The conversation always ends the same when we inquire about the size chip product needed.  “It’s the size of a penny”, or sometimes they say a nickel, dime or quarter.  That is the only reference we are provided with to produce a wood chip product quote!   With all due respect, coin currency is not the same from country to country including the penny which is now obsolete in Canada!

A great deal of commercial brand equipment, especially industrial smokehouses, are manufactured in Europe and Canada.   These countries use the metric system, a concept that is all but lost on most American companies since it is not a commonly used practice.

This is not the case for SmokinLicious® which currently tracks 9 sizes in our manufacturing process so we can assure consistent product manufacture. And yes, we reference the metric system in our sizing!

Taking a page from the “Dummies” guide book concept, we found that most companies producing a wood chip product screen for two common sizes.  In fact, they often sell the two sizes by reference to packaging bag color.   We at SmokinLicious® screen for 9 different screened sizes!  Why?  Because for food manufacturing companies to be cost effective while gaining optimal level of flavour infusion to their food product(s); correct wood product selection matters!

Incorrect Size Chip

If you comprehend that an incorrect size chip product in your commercial equipment will compromise the overall flavour profile due to variability in combustion of the product. Then you would be ready to maximize not only the budget for the smokehouse operation but likely preserve more capital that would have gone to equipment breakdown expenses caused by inappropriate sized wood product clogging smoke regulators.

We know what the various equipment manufacturers recommend; well, to be honest, we know what they think is best for their equipment.  But let’s face it – their goal is to produce a state of the art, mass volume producing, time efficient smoke house with the hope that it will be efficient with the wood product material selected by the user.  They do not commonly source the wood product material to go with the equipment once sold and they certainly don’t know the intricacies of hardwood.   That’s where SmokinLicious® will step in.  Our Team has the expertise to make the perfect size match that will produce ideal combustion rate which in turn results in ideal flavour infusion, color infusion, and function of the smoke house. Plus, we dial in the suitable moisture level to generate that perfect combustion rate that produces consistent results every time the smoke house operates.

Join Us

Once you join us, you’ll come to appreciate our “weird” names like Grande Sapore® (our larger screen chip sizing), Minuto® (covering 4 mid-screen sizes) and Piccolo (are smallest screen production that includes 3 micro sizes). We’re confident that you will come to understand and appreciate that our “weird” names provide assurance that we know what we’re talking about, we know what will work with your specific equipment, and that each order will have consistent particle sizing.  No “two color” bag option that contains whatever scrap wood happened to be available that day for processing.

We don’t complicate things.  By offering more options in wood chip/sawdust product, we can give our customers the flavour outcome they never imagined and cost efficiency they only dreamed about.  Let’s find out what your favorite “weird name” will be and make you a member of our “club”!

 

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 DON’T PUT CULINARY QUALITY WOOD LAST!

Case Notes: A restaurant is preparing to open in a new location and made the decision to invest in an Italian made pizza oven that has an option for wood-fired cooking.  This equipment would take 6 months to manufacture and deliver to the USA, which gave the owners time to complete renovations on their new building in preparation for the free-standing oven’s installation.  During that time, menu development and plating options were reviewed and decided upon.

The one planning need that was left to the last minute – locating the supplier for the cooking hardwood and determining appropriate sizing for the new equipment!  WHY???

It always surprises me that restaurateurs are willing to spend $50,000 and up for commercial equipment that does a specific function or technique, yet they don’t spend the time before that purchase ensuring they can obtain the quality accessory needs to get every benefit from that investment.

Here’s the best part: often these equipment lines tote that they can do all sorts of functions including wood-fired cooking techniques.  The truth – they aren’t really promoting that function of their equipment line!  They simply want to sell you the equipment and have you use standard fuel options like electric and gas.  How did I come to this conclusion?  By the content of the user’s manual.

Many do not reference:

  • size of wood product needed for the equipment
  • how to light the product
  • how much of the product to use
  • where to locate a supplier of the cooking wood
  • pictorials of the steps to do the technique
  • provide a troubleshooting guide.

Do you really want to spend $50,000, $60,000, $100,000 and be left to fend for yourself with that investment?

Take the appropriate steps when considering additions to or replacements in your equipment line.  Research not only the equipment but what is needed to do the smoke infusion technique with that equipment.  Yes, wood chips are readily available even though there is a high level of variation between products.  But other products are not so easy to find like wood pieces larger than wood chips but smaller than split firewood logs.

In addition, wood-fired techniques can also require additional “tools” to be available in the kitchen that may not have been standard inventory before.

Such things as:

  • fire retardant gloves
  • fire grade tools like long-handled tongs and a wood poker
  • a MAP canister/torch for lighting the fire
  • an infrared thermometer for reading temperatures within the cooking chamber
  • an ash receptacle.

Prioritize the needs of a wood-fired equipment addition by first reviewing the best option in equipment for your business’ need and second, assessing all the requirements of the wood to be successful in bringing this technique to your kitchen!

 

Dr. Smoke- only manufacturers Culinary Quality wood- Nothing else!!

Dr. Smoke- only manufacturers Culinary Quality wood- Nothing else!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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These chips are produced to fit the Combitherm® Combi Oven by Alto-Shaam®

These chips are produced to fit the the Combitherm® Combi Oven by Alto-Shaam®

SmokinLicious® for the Combitherm® Combi Oven by Alto-Shaam®

We love having the opportunity to work with chefs throughout the world in determining what they desire in a wood-fired flavor for various menu items.

As you can imagine, we get the opportunity to work with a variety of equipment lines that use wood for flavor and coloring.  One of our favorite commercial equipment lines is produced by Alto-Shaam® who specialize in food service and retail markets by offering cooking, holding, display, and chill equipment lines.

Part of the Alto-Shaam® cooking offerings is the Combitherm® Combi Oven which not only offers convection cooking but smoke infusion as well.  This highly efficient oven works with hardwood chips to bring the aroma and taste of wood infusion to all types of meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.  In fact, when SmokinLicious® began development of our microchip line, we targeted the Combitherm® oven for ideal sizing production to meet the needs of the commercial kitchen.  In the end, we found that our smaller Minuto® Wood Chip line offered even greater flavor than traditionally-sized wood chips with little ash residue when used with the Combitherm®.

Here’s the best part: because we manufacture every product, we can offer chefs single species of our filtered specialty wood chip line or we can custom blend to give their menu items greater diversity from others.  That includes blending different wood species as well as sizes.  Smaller chip particles may be used for more pungent woods while larger sizes of sweet or savory chips are included for a fully balanced wood recipe flavoring based on the overall food ingredients.

Chefs who use the Combitherm® simply love the ease of adding our dust free product to the equipment, dialing in the smoke infusion level they desire, and letting the oven do its magic.  The best part is they don’t have to worry about an unclean wood source going into their expensive equipment and causing equipment failure or producing off color and taste to the foods being cooked.

We know we can offer the best flavor in wood combustion by starting with the ideal hardwoods for cooking.  The rest can be left to the cook’s imagination.  We know the effort it takes for those in the food and beverage industry to commit to a specific piece of equipment.  We know the expense involved.  What we don’t understand is why the same time and research aren’t spent assessing the wood supply to be used in the oven?  Why risk this investment to an unvetted supplier?

If you own an Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven or you are in the market for a new piece of equipment, join those who have already experienced the benefits of our exceptional Minuto® wood chip line and get ready to be blown away with the possibilities our products can bring to your kitchen!

Bon Bar B Que!

 

Dr. Smoke own a combitherm® oven?  You must try these chips

Dr. Smoke own a combitherm® oven? You must try these chips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bon Bar B Q

 

Dr Smoke and the Culinary Crew

SmokinLicious® Log burns cleaner than Compressed Sawdust

SmokinLicious® Log burns cleaner than Compressed Sawdust

WHY NOT DO IT THIS WAY? LET ME COUNT THE REASONS!

I read a lot. It is the nature of a scientist. It doesn’t matter if it’s a plant molecular-biology journal article or a cooking/food magazine that is readily available on any newsstand. I love to read and analyze the content. So, when I came upon Bon Appétit’s “Best of 2016” list (September 2016 issue), I was drawn to #11 on the list: a reference to using compressed sawdust blocks for cooking.

Now, if you follow us on our Blog, Flipboard, or our social media platforms, you know our stand on wood used for cooking: no bark ever, only specific hardwoods known to be free of or minimally contain toxins that can accumulate in the human body, use of heartwood only in our manufacturing process, and moisture-rich products so we can control that variable for the specific cooking technique.

I certainly have knowledge of compressed sawdust products used in the heating industry for standard wood stoves and fireplaces, but I had never come across a reference to using them for cooking aside from the pellets commonly used in pellet-style smoker equipment, products that have been around for years. So why did the red flag come up when this reputable magazine referenced a renewable heat product? Because none of these compressed wood product manufacturers ever referenced using the product to cook with. In fact, most stress the use of caution for the intended use in fireplaces and wood stoves, stressing that the BTU level of the product is much higher than standard firewood or cordwood. But let’s take a look at a number of other factors you should weigh before considering these products for the cooking application.

Compressed Sawdust is Not all it's stacked up to be

Compressed Sawdust is Not all it’s stacked up to be

Compressed Sawdust: Most of these companies never reference exactly what woods are used in their manufacturing process. If you know anything about wood-fired cooking you know that ONLY hardwoods should ever be used. Within that group of wood, there are some that are toxic when burned, or when there is exposure to their bark, or even to the sawdust. Of the companies I researched, almost all failed to inform if hardwoods were used exclusively in the manufacturing process. Certainly, there is the risk of a mixture of hard and softwoods. One seller even goes so far as to call their byproduct used “wood waste”.

Low Moisture: There are references by these compressed wood companies that they kiln dry the wood fibers for their process. Again, low moisture levels are great if you plan to use the wood for long heat periods. Remember, the lower the moisture level, the less energy that has to be exerted during combustion of the wood to heat and evaporate the water commonly found in wood. But what happens if you want to control your heat level to say less than 200° F? A high BTU product whose intended purpose is to generate as much heat output as possible may not be the ideal. Even if you are using these blocks in an all-wood unit like a pizza oven, it will take a tempered hand to learn when to feed the fire to ensure the stability of temperature. Even brick, ceramic and clay ovens can crack when heat levels exceed recommended levels.

Flavor: Although there are many out there in the culinary arts that would say that wood-fired cooking is the technique to do these days, I stress that you really need to know the purpose of why you would choose this method of cooking before you jump into it. Yes, you can use some standard cooking equipment to wood-fire cook, including the simple cast iron skillet that can be loaded with wood chips but ask yourself, am I doing this technique merely for the method’s appearance or to produce an unusual and exceptional flavor that is unique to wood-fired cooking? Here’s the controversy: cooking with compressed woods does nothing for flavor if you don’t know the composition of the wood material used to make the compressed wood product! Yes, you will get heat output for the cooking process but in my opinion, you simply can’t get the same flavor because you don’t know what woods are in the brick to feel comfortable balancing out the other ingredients of your dish. I think we can all agree that what makes a memorable meal and a winning dish is not necessarily the complexity of the ingredients or the technique employed, but rather the marriage of all the flavors that register with your senses.

I want as many Chefs, cooks, and culinary enthusiasts to embrace wood-fired cooking but I also feel an obligation to ensure that they have knowledge of what the risks can be and what to look for in a supplier’s product. Yes, storing firewood for kitchen use is not the ideal given firewood’s tendency for attracting bugs, molds, and sometimes rodents. This IS the reason why we’ve always promoted the fact that SmokinLicious® is not a firewood company but a COOKING wood company.

If storage is the only criterion being factored into a wood product selection and purchase for cooking application, then you’re not asking the right questions. compressed brick for Blog

 

Dr. Smoke- While compressed sawdust is wood, there are chemicals added to bind the saw dust particles together. Adding chemicals to the smoking process!

Dr. Smoke- While compressed sawdust is wood, there are chemicals added to bind the sawdust particles together. Adding chemicals to the smoking process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A PERFECT MARRIAGE FOR J&R EQUIPMENT

One key factor that is often not considered when the decision is made to purchase commercial-grade equipment is the cooking wood product that the unit derives its flavor from. Don’t be fooled by the statement that “any wood will be fine”, as there IS a difference! In fact, only hardwood should be used as a cooking wood, never softwoods, but even some hardwoods are not ideal for wood-fired cooking and flavor. Some bark is toxic, other woods are too high in resin, and others don’t possess a balance of flavonoids to make them pleasant to the palate.

You take the time to research equipment before making that purchase, isn’t it time you give the same consideration to the cooking wood product you need?

Our video featured here highlights the study, testing, and care we take to ensure a perfect marriage of cooking wood to equipment. Get the full potential from your commercial equipment investment by using only hardwoods DESIGNED for cooking! Be informed, don’t hesitate to ask questions, and find the best source for the investment you’ve made and will continue to make. Remember, the success you pine for in your menu is directly dependent on the skills of both your kitchen staff AND equipment.

 

Dr. Smoke- we have wood products that a perfect for the J & R Equipment. All models include the Rotisserie Ovens

Dr. Smoke- we have wood products that a perfect for the J&R Equipment. All models include the Rotisserie Ovens

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