Foodborne illnesses and allergies are common problems that affect many Americans. The CDC estimates that Americans acquire roughly 9.4 million food related illnesses each year, and more than 19 million people were diagnosed with allergies in 2017 alone. Between one and three percent of beef may contain toxic strains of E. coli, which sicken as many as 265,000 Americans each year. Fortunately, the high temperatures involved with smoking meats can help protect your family from E. coli infection. Since the kitchen is a haven for germs and irritants that can make you and your family sick, knowing how to maintain a sanitary environment can make the difference between a healthy family and one who becomes ill frequently.
Eliminating Mold for a Safe Kitchen
Although mold doesn’t grow quite as readily in the kitchen as it might in the bathroom, without proper attention, your kitchen can become an ideal home for types of mold that could be aggravating or even causing allergies in the younger members of your family. The heat and humidity that is the result of cooking in a kitchen provides an optimum environment for mold. Kitchen sink leaks may also lead to the development of mold if left undetected as well as garbage cans and disposals. Turning on kitchen fans and opening windows in the kitchen and in the whole house will lower the level of humidity in the kitchen while also allowing fresh air to enter. If you live in a humid climate, purchasing a dehumidifier will be the best bet for preventing humidity related mold growth. Checking for leaks regularly, as well as keeping your kitchen environment clean, including the regular sanitation of cupboards and drawers will also help to eliminate mold growth in the kitchen.
Preventing Foodborne Illnesses in a Safe kitchen
common way that an unclean kitchen can lead to illness is through foodborne
illnesses, due to incorrect preparation or spoiled food. Proper handling
of foods, particularly raw meat, can prevent your family from making that list.
Smoking meat and other delicious foods can have rewarding results, but if food
is not handled properly, unfortunate consequences may result. Washing hands for
20 seconds with warm, soapy water both before and
after preparing food is the first line of defense against
foodborne illness. Washing hands immediately after coming into contact with raw
meat, as well as any surfaces the meat might have touched with hot, soapy water
will help you have peace of mind that your meal will not make you sick. Proper
food handling, like cooking meat to the correct temperature, will allow you to
fully enjoy a delicious steak, possibly smoked with hickory chips.
sure to create a clean and safe environment, free from mold, germs and various
contaminants, will allow your family to maintain the high levels of health we
all strive for. Be sure to always follow proper food safety guidelines,
and check for mold regularly, as not doing so could negatively affect your
Himalayan Salt Blocks used for grilling! – #himalayansaltblock
Himalayan Salt Blocks: Benefits, Uses, and Tips
Jeffrey Lewis (Bio)
Hey there, friends! I’m Jeffrey. I’m a blogger at Ittefaq Salt. Thank you for joining me, as I share different aspects of my life. I’m so thrilled you stopped by! I love to create a beautiful, thriving life around me and helping others to do the same. I love writing about nature, health, food and nutrition-related topics.
You must be aware of the importance of salt for our body. It is required for the proper functioning of many body functions. But have you ever heard about using Himalayan salt blocks for cooking? Well, this is becoming a trend among those who want to add a wow factor to their cooking. The idea of cooking on these salt blocks is itself very fascinating. But there are more benefits that you can get from these incredible salt blocks as well.
Keep on reading to know more about these amazing salt blocks.
What Are Himalayan Salt Blocks?
As the name suggests, these are the big Himalayan salt slabs that are hand mined from Khewra salt mines in Pakistan. These are hand carved into different sizes and thickness. Click here to know more about these salt blocks.
These salt blocks are made of pink hued Himalayan salt crystals that are locked up in mountains for over 250 million years. This salt is unrefined, unprocessed and free from contaminations. This is to be the purest salt due to the extreme pressure that it has experienced over a long period of time.
Himalayan salt provides a number of health related benefits due to which it is being widely used as an alternative to regular table salt. It contains 84 minerals that fulfill our body’s mineral requirement. It is said to be helpful in maintaining the body’s pH level, regulating blood pressure and reducing water retention.
So, these Himalayan salt blocks have all the goodness of this salt.
Benefits of Himalayan Salt Blocks:
These salt blocks are heat resistant and can hold temperature for a long time which makes them really useful. These are good for both high and low temperature and can be used for cooking and chilling the food.
Cooking on a salt block means you are adding flavor along with 84 minerals of Himalayan salt to your food.
Salt blocks have moisture retention and low absorbency properties which make them anti-bacterial. Because of this, these blocks are an amazing choice for serving and presenting food.
Uses of Himalayan Salt Blocks:
Himalayan salt blocks are so versatile in their usage due to their tendency of temperature. These blocks are hand carved into different sizes so that they can be used for various purposes.
You can cook and grill different kinds of food on these blocks such as meat, vegetables etc. This will make your grilling more fun and exciting. It not only gives a very subtle saltiness to your food but also imparts minerals to the food.
Salt blocks can also be used for curing of some food items such as salmon fish. It will increase the shelf life of the fish.
Due to its ability to hold temperature for a long time it can also be used for chilling the food.
Another amazing use of this block is to use it for serving a variety of foods. It will make the food more presentable.
Tips for Using Salt Blocks:
First of all, you need to choose the salt block that has right size and thickness according to your need.
Salt block needs to be tempered before using it for the first time. For this, you need to heat it slowly at a low temperature in an oven, then increase the temperature gradually until you reach 500°C. After that, cool it down to room temperature. This process will improve the cooking surface and strength.
If you want to use it for cooking, you always need to pre-heat it. It will make cooking and grilling easy.
It is also very easy to maintain and clean a salt block. After using it, cool it down and wipe with any damp cloth. Then let it air dry and store in a cool and dry place.
Himalayan salt blocks are not just pretty with their pink hues but also add flavor and nutritional value to the food along with so many other uses. These all natural blocks are a must have cooking tool in any kitchen to add uniqueness and creativity to the cooking. These will not only add to the beauty of your kitchen but also a unique and creative way to cook the food. So, next time if you want to impress your guests, grill and serve food on these blocks.
Don’t ruin your Smoking & Grilling Experience by making simple mistakes!
10 THINGS YOU DO THAT RUIN YOUR SMOKING & GRILLING EXPERIENCE
We’ve all had those moments when the food comes off the smoker or grill and we wonder, What went wrong??
Sometimes the event is so bad you want to swear off outdoor cooking for good. I’m here to ask you to step away from the ledge and think about whether you do any of the following things. The more items on the list you engage in, the more likely you can benefit from my suggestions.
#1 Resting Meat
This tends to be the common practice for roasts and steaks/chops. You’ve managed to get a nice crisp skin to the roast or steak and then you let it sit or rest, thinking it will make the outcome juicier. You end up with a soft skin, a wet outside, and waxy fat. These are meat cuts that don’t require resting. In fact, they will rest enough on your dinner plate so they are best served hot of the grill or smoker, without a rest period.
#2 Using Too Much Wood
You know that charcoal and gas are the fuels used to reach and maintain temperature while you’re cooking, and that hardwood is what flavors your food. You want to ensure there is adequate smoke flavor so you add 10 pieces of wood chunks to the hot coals when you start cooking. Then after the first hour, you add another 6 pieces of wood. STOP! That is way too much and simply put, a waste of a tree. On average it takes just 6 ounces of wood to start flavoring meat. My rule of thumb is to add 3-4 wood pieces for a full chimney of charcoal plus a couple of pounds of unlit. Only when those pieces are fully combusted (black and ashy) do I add a couple more pieces. Depending on what and how long I’m cooking, I may only use 6 pieces total.
#3 You Soaked Your Smoking/Grilling Wood
I know this is one of the biggest controversies out there when it comes to smoking with wood. To soak or not. I take the stand that you should never soak the wood as adding water will only fluctuate your cooking temperature and take more energy away from the fire to steam the water from the wood. Remember, the wood cannot start to combust until the excess water has been vaporized. Work with a wood that has at least 20% moisture for the best flavor.
#4 Room Temperature Meat
It is well documented that when you want to attract smoke vapor from burning wood, colder temperatures are like a magnet. Don’t take the meat out of the refrigerator until right before you’re ready to place it on the grill. In addition to attracting smoke vapor, colder temperature meats will warm up faster in your equipment than if you left them out on the kitchen counter.
#5 Searing to Lock in Juices
This is the one item even well-known restaurants can get wrong. Searing meats before finish cooking does not lock in the juices. What it does do is brown the outside of the meat and firm up the outer surface, giving a distinct pleasant flavor. The meat fibers do not get sealed by this method or produce any additional juiciness to the meat.
#6 Marinating Overnight or Longer
As marinades tend to contain oil and meat is made up mostly of water, the two tend to compete against each other. Here’s the thing with marinades. Marinating for long periods of time do not allow the marinade to penetrate any deeper than if you marinate for just one hour. In fact, you have an increased risk of breaking down the meat fibers too far with a marinade, producing a soggy outer layer. Stick to short marinade times and understand most of that flavor will penetrate only to the outside layer.
#7 Don’t Trim the Fat Cap
Just like meat being made up of mostly water, fat is made up of oil. Again, water and oil don’t mix. Leaving a fat cap on meat only allows it to melt and drip into the equipment you’re using. This can produce some additional flavors to the meat but allow too many drippings into the fire area, and you’ll cause flare ups that will deposit soot onto your meat. Don’t forget, most of us have a habit of trimming fat off meat before we consume it.
#8 It’s Done When There’s No Pink Meat
I’m not sure how many ways I can say this so I’ll be blunt. YOU NEED AN EASY READ DIGITAL THERMOMETER WHEN YOU COOK!! That is the only way to know when various meats and poultry are fully cooked. Follow safe temperature guidelines and don’t go by the color of the meat. Remember, bone marrow reveals itself differently in animal proteins which causes variation in pink, red and even purple coloring near bone.
#9 Steak Should Always Have Grill Marks
Grill marks are not the mark of a great steak ! A uniform brown coloring on the meat’s surface is what your goal should be. That means a deep sear was achieved and great flavor is hidden underneath. The only way to achieve that is to learn how to direct cook the steak with a higher cooking temperature and frequent turning. This allows for maximum radiant heat and even coloring and cooking.
#10 You Use Something Other Than Water in the Water Pan
There are all kinds of justifications for why liquids like beer, juice, wine, etc. should be used in a water pan while cooking. It produces better flavor, it penetrates deeper, it produces more moisture. Let me be clear. It’s called a water pan for a reason. It is designed to hold water and hot water at that. By starting with hot water, you allow the energy of the fire to go directly to cooking the meat not heating up the water. Water evaporates which produces a moisture rich environment keeping meats from drying out. Other liquids will not evaporate and could even burn in the pan due to sugar alcohol levels.
Even if you’ve checked off a lot of these items as practices your guilty of engaging in, it’s easy to turn around your outdoor grilling and smoking skills. In the end, it will be safer for your guests, better for your meat investments, and an overall more pleasurable experience doing the cooking.
Do you have a bad habit you turned around when you grill and smoke? Leave us a comment to let us know. We welcome all types of questions and encourage you to follow and subscribe to our social channels so you don’t miss anything. We look forward to providing you with tips, techniques, recipes, and the science for all things wood-fired cooked.
Our preparation of smoked herbs, from picking, smoking and grinding to make smoked herb dust. Adding great flavor to dishes.
SMOKED HERBS FLAVORS WITH SMOKED HERB DUST
Don’t make the mistake of thinking fresh herbs are to be used in dishes as, well, fresh only. Although you may have dried your fresh herb harvest before, we are bringing another alternative to you.
We hot smoke the fresh herbs on the grill then turn them into a dust for use in all types of dishes. The smoking process will bring a depth of flavor that you’ve likely never experienced before. Go to the herb garden and pick your favorite varieties and let’s get making smoked herb dust!
Smoke Vapor Infusion
One thing about this smoked herb technique is you can do the smoke infusion by a variety of equipment methods.
For those with a gas grill, add wood chunks either directly to the heat shields on one side of the grill or add wood chunks to a metal smoker box that can be placed on the heat shields or the grill grate. For charcoal grill owners, light your charcoal and allow to reduce to hot coals only. Add a piece or two of hardwood chunks or a handful of hardwood chips to the hot coals. If possible, push the hot coals to one side of the grill. For both grill types, you want to use a two-zone cooking method so the herbs don’t catch fire.
For those that don’t own grilling equipment or who simply don’t want to bother lighting up the grill, you can use a handheld food smoker. Simply place micro wood chips in the bowl of the unit, place the herbs in a storage bag with the tubing of the smoker unit, cinch the end of the bag around the tubing, and light the chips. I like to leave the smoke in the bag for maximum smoke vapor infusion.
I used both my gas grill and charcoal grill for the smoke process by placing my herbs in a vegetable basket and grilling with the herbs on the unlit side of the grill. Within the first 5 minutes, you’ll see how the herbs lose moisture and begin the drying stage.
Tasting Notes: I find the handheld food smoker will produce the boldest smoke flavor to the herbs. The intensity of flavor rated from lightest to boldest based on equipment would be a gas grill, electric smoker, pellet smoker, charcoal grill, handheld food smoker.
Once the herbs have charred and dried, it’s time to remove them from the grill and bring them to the food processor. I have a mini processor that only has two settings: chop and grind. I prefer to use this appliance to bring the smoked herbs to dust level but a spice grinder works just as well.
First, remove all the herb leaves from the stems and place a small quantity in the food processor bowl. You can remove the leaves by placing the entire herb sprig in a colander and pressing the leaves through to parchment paper. Secure the lid and grind until you get as fine a dust as the appliance will allow. Both the appliance and the herb will determine how fine the herb dust will get. As you will see, basil dust becomes finer than oregano. This technique will work for just about any herb you can grow or locate at the market. Store the herb dust in glass or metal jars for up to a year.
Tasting Notes:Smoked herbs are much stronger in flavor than the standard dried herb. Adjust the amount used in recipes as needed. It is often best to start with less, taste, and then add more as needed.
So Many Uses
Experimentation is key when it comes to #herbdust. Most often, herbs will be applied to meats and poultry, perhaps rice and pasta dishes, but there are so many more foods that are good pairings for herb dust. Let’s take parsley as an example. Commonly used with fish and beef, parsley is a great pairing for sweet items as well. This includes banana and cream. It’s important that you look beyond the traditional side dishes and entrees and explore the sweet side of what herbs can offer. By doing so, you’re sure to find endless combinations that will tickle your palate and give you more pleasing menu experiences.
The SmokinLicious® culinary crew’s two-zone cooking method set up to smoke Fava Beans on the Gas grill with Wood chunks!
WHY TWO-ZONE COOKING METHOD LET’S YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE GRILL
We all know that the key to easy and successful outdoor cooking is to control the temperature. I also believe that outdoor cooking should not hold you hostage at the grill. That’s why everyone should learn the two-zone cooking method for grilling.
Let’s cover what type of cooking you can do by this method, why it’s so successful, and how to set up the zones.
Why Two-Zone is Best
Two-zone cooking can be done on any type of grill no matter the fuel source. What is two-zone cooking? Using the fuel source on only half the grill while the other half holds the food. Although you may use the unlit side of the grill for most of the cooking, you have the benefit of finishing crispy skins of items or quick cooking thinner cuts of meats on the direct heat side.
Two-zone cooking is also called direct and indirect cooking. The indirect side uses indirect convection heat to cook the food which means the heat generated by the lit side radiates into the material of the equipment and produces heat (convection heat) on the unlit side. The direct side produces the heat within the unit and can be used when quick cooking is needed or when a food that has been cooked on the indirect side needs crisping, additional coloring, or some char.
Set Up a Two-Zone
The primary reason you want to set up two-zone cooking is most of the grill cooking does not require direct heat. When you consistently cook foods, especially meats, over direct heat, you easily can have dried, stiff, flavorless results. This is due to the components of meat reacting at different temperatures that with direct cooking occur too fast to react.
I will tell you that you need a grilling area that is large enough to establish two zones. I judge the space needed with a rectangular, disposable foil pan. If the pan can fit on half the grill area without issue, then you have plenty of room for a two-zone setup. When using a gas grill, this means lighting the burners on one half of the grill. If you don’t have an even number of burners, then decide how many are to be turned on and how many left off. With a charcoal grill, placing the hot coals on only half the charcoal area. On an electric unit, if you can manipulate the heating element, isolate the element to one side of the unit. The temperature that works ideally for two-zone cooking is 225°F. Of course, I always add wood chunks to give a smoky flavor to the foods. Remember, the hardwood goes on the direct side of the grill or lit burner or hot coals.
Note that you can also use a water pan using two zones. This can be placed on either side of the grill depending on when you need the direct heat side. Keep in mind, when doing meats, it’s great to place a pan under the meat with vegetables (onions, potatoes, celery, peppers, etc.) and a small amount of liquid that can collect the meat renderings. You can also place pans of beans to catch those drippings. Anything is fair game.
For those times when you don’t want to add any additional foods, you can simply lay a thin foil pan under the grill grate of the indirect side or a sheet of foil. That will collect any fat drippings.
Since radiant heat is what you are cooking with when foods are placed on the indirect side, you can cook anything. I love doing tarts and cakes via this method, especially during the hot months when you don’t want to lite your indoor oven. In fact, those are the times that I cook an entire meal using a two-zone setup.
You can also cook multiple items using both direct and indirect heat. A long cooking meat goes on the indirect side, is cooked to temperature and held there, while a side dish is cooked on direct heat. Don’t forget, if the cookware you use is high heat tolerant, you can use cookware as well. This is how I can make cakes, tarts, and bread on the grill. You need to view this equipment like an oven as that is essentially what it is!
Use Like an Oven & Walk Away
I’m going, to be honest. Although it’s true that you can produce more moist foods using a two-zone method the real reason I love this method of cooking is I can walk away from the grill. This is particularly true when using a gas grill which holds the temperature steady, which for me, is 250°F for long cook meats and regular baking temperatures for all my cookies, cakes, tarts, bread. Remember, charcoal grills will still require you to refuel so the temperature can fluctuate more if you’re not careful. Keeping an extra chimney starter of charcoal going will solve that issue.
As a final note, even though two-zone cooking allows you more time away from the grill, you still need a good digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the food. Invest in an easy read one and you’ll really enjoy this new way of grilling and smoking.
Our drawing of the typical offset smokers, which come in a variety of sizes! Study our Smokers list
“MATCH YOUR COOKER” – SMOKERS LIST-OUR WOOD MASTERS GUIDE
For those that have followed us for years, you know we are proud that almost from the start of our Company, we were committed to providing a guide for equipment to cooking wood product match. We refer to our guide affectionately as “Match Your Cooker”.
In this article, we are covering our recommendations for smoker equipment; these are cookers that are dedicated for use as a smoker, usually hot smoking at that. As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates. We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed so we can add this to our listing.
For now, we introduce you to our wood master’s guide to SmokinLicious®cooking woods for specific smokers.
When you are going through the steps of installing an outdoor kitchen, you’ll quickly find that deciding where to set it up is one of the most difficult and impactful decisions of the process. Since you have multiple options, it can be hard to figure out exactly where to put it. We’ve come up with a list of things to consider to help you decide!
Be Conscious of Sun and Shade
Summer is prime time for outdoor kitchen use. So, when planning your outdoor kitchen, bank on warm temperatures and lots of sun, and take reactive measures. Placing your outdoor kitchen under existing shade, or planning to add new sources of shade will provide you and your guest’s comfort year-round.
Natural shade from trees and vines is best because they ventilate easily. As an added bonus vines and trees “transpire,” evaporate moisture to cool themselves, creating their own natural misting system.
There are plenty of man-made shade options as well, such as pergolas, or trellises. The growing popularity of transition rooms provides an even more permanent and durable option for your outdoor kitchen.
Leverage Your Natural Space
Do you have a pool or hot tub in your yard? A beautiful garden? When choosing where to add your outdoor kitchen, take note of any existing structures or features that you want to complement. Also be wary of design overlap. The last thing you want is for your outdoor kitchen covering to inadvertently shade your vegetable garden.
In addition, when planning the placement of your outdoor kitchen, it’s important to consider the relationship between the indoor and outdoor versions, and how they will be used together when cooking or entertaining. If you have a large outdoor space to work with, it may prove prudent to place your outdoor kitchen in closer proximity to your indoor kitchen to create a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors.
Consider the View
Another crucial element to consider when you’re placing your outdoor kitchen is your views and sight lines. You can have the most beautiful outdoor kitchen in the world, but when your guests sit down to eat at the table, if they’re facing a brick wall or the old shed in your backyard, that’s what they’re going to remember. So, be sure to consider the view when you’re trying to find the perfect location for your stainless steel outdoor kitchen.
Another key consideration is the location that will provide the most privacy from neighbors. Screening views with trees and shrubbery will provide privacy while also providing a noise buffer for your close neighbors.
Don’t Forget Utilities
When planning your outdoor kitchen layouts, keep in mind the best practical placement or installation of the necessary gas, water, and electrical supply. Note where your water, gas and electric lines are, and design your kitchen accordingly.
Furthermore, when placing your grill or smoker, think about the natural flow of wind – make sure that smoke from the grill will be carried away from dining and living areas. You should also think about making sure the kitchen area is located a safe distance from doors and entryways to keep foot traffic away from potential hazards.
Additionally, make sure to place all outdoor cooking appliances away from areas where children play or where people play sports. You’ll want to avoid basketballs or soccer balls bouncing over onto a hot grill.
Don’t Shy Away From the Roof
When one thinks “outdoor kitchen,” the tendency is to think of backyards – but that doesn’t have to always be the case. Especially if you have a small or nonexistent lawn space, building your stainless outdoor kitchen on the roof can prove a very viable design option.
If you are choosing this option though, pay special attention to restrictions and codes. They vary by municipality, so check with your town’s building department to find out rules about setbacks, fire safety, and what kind of permits you’ll need to file. We recommend working with a general contractor so you are up to code and all safety requirements are included.
Fit Your Needs
The right spot to place an outdoor kitchen will vary from homeowner to homeowner. You may like the idea of an outdoor cooking area just outside the back door of your house or a freestanding pavilion near your pool area.
At the end of the day, there’s no one “right” spot for your outdoor kitchen. But by using these outdoor kitchen location tips, you’ll ensure you make an excellent choice.
Our asparagus after seasoning and ready to become Charcoal grilled Asparagus!
By Chef C. V. Calle Guest Chef in Residence, SmokinLicious Kitchens
Nothing in the vegetable word represents late spring-early summer than fresh local asparagus but the window for fresh local asparagus is a short one. The growing season in our area (Western New York State) typically begins mid to late May and lasts until mid to late June all depending on the weather. Buying your asparagus at a Farmers Market or a Farm Stand provides the highest quality asparagus.
Luckily asparagus season corresponds to the beginning of outdoor grilling season and that is a good thing. If you have never prepared asparagus on the grill read this and you may never want to boil or steam asparagus again.
Fortunately for me, my good friends Terry and Donna Grant, owners of SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products in Olean, New York provided me with their locally manufactured charwood product for grilling. Try it and you will never go back to charcoal briquettes again. SmokinLicious® all-natural charwood, adds flavor as well as the high heat needed for proper grilling. Remember, cooking with wood is not just a heat source because when you grill with high-quality wood products like SmokinLicious® you add substantial and delicious flavor to whatever is on the grill.
This is a simple recipe and takes just minutes to prepare.
Ingredients: (serves 2 to 4 persons as a side dish)
1 pound local farmer’s market asparagus
high-quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
salt & pepper
Wash and break off the tough bottom two inches of each asparagus spear
Toss with EVOO and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
Place asparagus on a hot grill top
Cook 3-10 minutes; depending on the size of the stems and until lightly charred on the outside but the stems remain firm and crisp (al dente). Tasting a spear or two while cooking will let you know when they are ready to eat
Remove from grill, add salt and pepper to taste and you are ready to go
Optional plating technique: top with fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese and drizzle with a high-quality balsamic glaze
The above recipe is suitable for anyone including vegans. If you are a meat eater, always grill your asparagus after you finish grilling your meat. While the beef, pork, lamb or chicken rests you can complete this process. Place asparagus spears on the grill where the meat was located, and the small amount of fat left on the grill top adds to the flavor of the natural wood. (This recipe can also be used on a gas grill with wood chunks placed on the heat shields).
Electric Smoker Guy is our guest blogger discussion how to select the best electric smokers
Electric Smoker Guy Guest blogger
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ELECTRIC SMOKER
Tips from the Electric Smoker Guy about electric smokers, best electric smokers, electric smoker reviews, small electric smoker and finally how to choose the best electric smoker. Read this and his blog to guide you in looking for a good quality smoker, purchasing electric smokers, analog smokers or digital smokers!
You don’t have to be an expert to prepare a perfectly smoked meat if you have the best electric smoker by your side. Now, you have to be aware that you can’t just come into the store and ask for the best electric smoker because that doesn’t exist.
The best electric smoker for me and for you doesn’t have to be the same model and that is why it is important to know what to look for an electric smoker. You don’t have to be modest, there are many electric smokers on the market which means that you can adjust almost every part of the smoker to your needs.
If you don’t know where to start, let me guide you through the process of picking the best electric smoker for you.
#1 Choose the Capacity
The size of the smoker is the most important feature you can adjust because there is no need for buying a big electric smoker if you are smoking only for your family. If you want to smoke for your family and friends, go with the medium electric smoker and if you want to smoke for a large group of people, then I would suggest you take a look at the commercial-grade electric smokers.
#2 Choose the Place for It
Electric smoker has to be outside and you can’t smoke in the kitchen if you don’t have a special ventilation, which most homes don’t. Choose a place for it and see if it can stay there all the time. That place should be protected from the wind, the rain and under a roof. If you don’t have that place, buy a smoker with wheels so you can take it out of the garage to smoke it and store it again when you are done.
#3 Choose the Smoker Features
If this is your first smoker, choose the one that has a window on the doors so you can see the smoking process. That is very important, especially for rookies who aren’t sure what smoking does to the meat and how long it takes for the meat to be done. If you are constantly opening the door of the smoker you will lose smoke and the heat. That will prolongate the smoking process a lot. The window on the door should be from tempered glass to withstand the heat and it mustn’t be easy to break.
#4 Choose the Controller
The electric smoker can be analog and digital. The analog smoker shows you the temperature on a temperature gauge and it is not so easy to control it. The electric smokers, on the other side, are easier to control. You have to set the time and the temperature you want and the smoker will maintain the same temperature through the entire smoking process.
As you can see, smoking is not just picking the first smoker you see in the store and buying it. If you buy a good quality smoker you will be able to control the heat and the smoke better and that will result in a good smoked meat. If you choose the best electric smoker you won’t have to do anything, the smoker will do most of the hard work. But, if you want to learn more about electric smokers you can visit the site about them called the Electric Smoker Guy:
Does stainless steel rust? This is a common question asked by many.
by Linda Colon
Our Guest blogger discusses Stainless Steel, does stainless steel rust in outdoor appliances. Tips on how to care for stainless steel outdoor kitchen units. She explains active metals and passive metals in stainless steel grill and to avoid hard water, wire brushes, steel pads and only use non-abrasive cleaning tools.
Myth: Stainless steel does not rust.
Myth Busted: Unfortunately, stainless steel is susceptible to rusting.
Here is a little background to help you understand why this myth has created confusion for the metals world.
First, let’s take a look at the difference between active and passive metals. Metals such as iron and steel easily corrode – showing yellow or orange rust – within the natural environment and are called active metals.
The two grades of stainless steel most referenced in relation to outdoor environments are 304 and 316L, also known as marine-grade stainless steel. Their numbers are determined by their alloy composition. Unlike the active metals mentioned above, stainless steel is referred to as passive because it contains other metals including chromium. For a material to be considered stainless steel, at least 10.5% of the make-up must be chromium. Additional alloys typically include nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorous, selenium and molybdenum. The key difference between the 304 and the 316L is the addition of molybdenum in the 316L. It is the molybdenum that enhances corrosion resistance in environments rich in salt air and chloride – giving 316L the moniker of “marine grade” stainless steel.
It is also important to note that stainless steel is not stain proof; it’s stainless. As such, regardless of whether you use 304 or 316L exposed stainless-steel cabinetry and appliances requires maintenance. The addition of molybdenum (in marine grade stainless steel) only delays corrosion, it does not stop it.
The chromium contained within stainless steel creates an invisible passive film covering the steel surface and shielding against corrosion. As long as the invisible film – or passive layer – remains intact, the metal remains stainless and corrosion resistant.
However, three things can break down this film:
Mechanical abrasion – steel pads, wire brushes and scrapers will scratch the steel surface.
Water – depending on where you live, your water can be hard or soft. Hard water may leave spots and, when heated, leave deposits behind. These can break down the passive layer leaving the stainless steel to rust. Be sure to remove deposits from food preparation and service.
Chlorides – are found everywhere including in water, food and table salt. Household and industrial cleaners contain some of the worst chlorides!
There are many types of corrosion that affect stainless steel metals. Corrosion mechanisms fall into five different categories; pitting corrosion, crevice corrosion, galvanic corrosion, stress-corrosion Cracking, and general corrosion.
Pitting corrosion happens to stainless steel when it is exposed to environments that contain chlorides.
Crevice corrosion is triggered when oxygen levels are low in a crevice.
Galvanic corrosion happens when dissimilar metals come into contact with another.
Stress corrosion cracking is when tensile stresses combine with environmental conditions.
General corrosion happens when the stainless steels pH is less than 1.
So, does stainless steel rust?
The answer: Yes, how quickly is determined by the type of stainless steel the outdoor appliances and cabinets are made of.
By keeping the stainless steel surfaces free from food and other debris, following these cleaning tips for outdoor kitchen cabinets will help maintain your cabinets integrity and reduce the risk of rusting and corrosion:
Use only alkaline, alkaline-chlorinated or non-chloride cleaners
Avoid hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) on your stainless steel
Always use a non-abrasive cleaning tool such as a soft cloth or plastic scouring pad
Avoid steel pads, wire brushes, and scrapers
Always clean in the direction of the polishing marks by locating the lines or grain and scrub in a motion parallel to them
If you do end up using a chlorinated cleaner, be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry it, immediately
Air dry your equipment
Remember, our stainless steel equipment is not stain-proof, it is stainless.
Package labeling. It is the key to drawing attention to a product, to reduce interest in other similar products, and to make someone buy a specific product. Let’s be honest. Not everything printed on a label necessarily provides ALL the information. Use certain words and an “implied” thought will occur.
When it comes to packaging wood for smoking and grilling purposes, there are a lot of terms floating out there that certainly can be deceiving. Let’s see if I can provide clarity on what specific terms and wording mean when it comes to purchasing wood for cooking, smoking, and grilling. SMOKING-GRILLING WOOD SELLING TERMS
The intended meaning of 100% natural implies that it has not been touched by human hands. As such, with wood, this would refer to the fact that a tree is a plant designed by nature and other than cutting the tree down, it is not modified in any way.
However, we do know that trees, like flowers, can be manipulated when it comes to their genetics. Genetically modified trees are quite common in the growth of orchard woods, especially those seeking to develop dwarf varieties or specific blossom colors or hybrids. Keep in mind, genetically modified trees will have a reduction in the lignin compound which is responsible for the flavor the wood gives when it burns and gives off smoke vapor.
Currently, it is not legal to genetically modify forest trees but there is a lot of allowances when it comes to plantation and orchard/nursery trees, which often have chemicals applied to make up for the weak lignin which makes the wood susceptible to decay and pest infestation.
Wood that is dried in a closed chamber in which the temperature and relative humidity of the circulated air can be controlled is called “kiln drying”. There are three types of Kiln Drying methods: low-temperature drying which is below 130° F, conventional electric dehumidification drying, and conventional steam-heated drying which have temperatures up to 180° F.
For the most part, when a smoking or grilling wood product lists “kiln-dried” on the packaging, it does not state the type of method being employed. Also, many that use this term do so without providing any information on what compliance record keeping is in place to attest that they are doing what they say.
There is one company who states that they adhere to the protocol designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) but quote a core temperature and length in minutes of the heating process that is not the standard written by the USDA. Their compliance agreement is provided by the state in which the business is located, which may have a different standard in place than the USDA.
The process of drying green wood by exposure to prevailing natural atmospheric conditions outdoors or in an unheated shed is known as air drying. There are three dominate Air Drying methods: open yard, shed, and forced-air shed. The first is not held in high regard as the wood is exposed to all the elements making it the longest method of depleting moisture content from the wood. The second has the addition of a roof covering to maintain a precipitation-free environment, while the third option is mostly used by traditional lumber companies as it produces quicker results meaning products can be sold quicker.
Here’s the issue when you see “Air-Dried” on package labeling of grilling and smoking woods: you don’t know what method is used and no one is saying how long the wood was air-dried for. You don’t know how old the wood is, what method of air drying was employed, how long it took to “dry” it, and you likely won’t know what moisture content is left in the wood. Remember, dry out a piece of wood too far, and it is simply firewood designed for heat output only.
This is another term that floats out on the packaging that implies it is different from air drying techniques. It is not different.
Naturally curing wood means the wood is stacked in a manner that allows air to flow around the wood pieces usually in an outdoor setting. It may be left exposed, covered with a tarp or have a roof structure overhead. Naturally curing wood for fireplace use is recommend for 365 days but there is no benchmark for the timing used to dry the wood for the use of smoking or grilling. Some suppliers will use moisture levels of 20-30% as their benchmark but 10% is a large variable in moisture when it comes to wood.
Here is the biggest challenge with a natural curing method: dry the wood too quickly and you will find cracks, splitting, honeycombing, and/or warping. Dry too slowly and the wood will stain and suffer decay. Remember, decay attracts pests as that is what they feed on. SMOKING-GRILLING WOOD SELLING TERMS
I won’t lie to you – there are a lot of choices out there for wood. How do you go about selecting from the limited information on the packaging?
Some decisions you’ll have to make on your own: do you want to cook with bark or do you find that bark indeed fluctuates the temperature of your equipment too much? Do you want to use a kiln-dried product even if you don’t know what temperature and for how long that product was heated? Would you want to use a product that hasn’t had any heat application applied to it meaning there may be pests, larvae, mold, and spores that haven’t been eliminated by a heat process? Do you want to use a product from a supplier that provides no information on the moisture of the wood? Do you want to go with a “natural”, “air dried” product that may have been exposed to anything that could access the wood: animal feces and urine, insects, chemical contaminants from the ground or another source?
In the end, I think the selection can be easy by simply looking at the wood for purity and cleanliness, looking at the packaging for evidence of air exchange meaning its likely not completely dried out and looking at the packaging information for claims that don’t seem to match the product that is packaged inside.
Most of all, you should be able to gain valuable information from any supplier’s website on the wood they are selling to you. If not, be cautious that they may not know anything about the manufacturing process of the wood and/or what is needed in wood to qualify it as cooking ingredient. We hope that our discussion of smoking & Grilling Wood Selling Terms adds clarity to your selection process.
In Smokinlicious® customers’ houses, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stocking was hung and filled with charwood with visions of great barbecue to come.
When it comes to Santa’s ‘Nice & Naughty List,’ Dr. Smoke of SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products has this explanation for those that cook with wood- “If you’re fortunate to get Charwood® in your Christmas stocking, it’s a great cooking wood product and shouldn’t be confused with the message being sent by a stocking filled with coal!”
Whether you prefer a wood-fired oven, grill, or smoker, efficiency should be the key consideration. Higher quality materials, insulation, heat retention, and radiant heat, result in more efficient function of the appliance. Likely the most important consideration though, is the type of fuel you plan to use in the appliance. That is where efficiency takes on a whole new meaning.
So why do we call our product Charwood? In short, because our product is not standard charcoal. Our method of production is based on the Japanese direct method which removes pyroligneous acid during the charcoal making process. The difference is, when burning, there are almost no stimulating smells or smoke. We produce our Charwood in small batches, carbonizing at temperatures between 400 and 700 degrees Celsius. The Charwood is then smothered using a non-chemical procedure to cool it down. Plus, we produce a wood specific charwood for those that understand that every component used in wood-fired grilling, smoking, and cooking affects the outcome of overall taste in the food. As with ALL our products, we manufacture our Charwood with premium, heartwood that is 100% bark-free, not from recycled or waste wood by-products.
Happy Holidays from all of us at SmokinLicious®!!
Dr Smoke- “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, if Santa puts charwood in your stocking.”