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

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

Try this Spatchock Smoked Turkey Click To Tweet

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Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

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

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

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

Does Fresh Make a Difference?

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

#freshturkey

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

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

Flatten and Rub for a Perfect Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

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

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

#spatchock

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

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

#spatchocking

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

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

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

#twozonecooking #woodchunks#smokerbox

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

Ready in No Time

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

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

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

#spatchcocksmokedturkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SmokinLicious® Products used in this technique:

Our hand split double filet smoker wood chunks

#woodchunks

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

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

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

More blog topics you might enjoy:

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

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

-THE NOT-SO-SMOKEY SMOKED TURKEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY?? Click To Tweet

Summary:

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

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

What went wrong?

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

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

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

BBQ Smoke Color know the differences Click To Tweet

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

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

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

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

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Our Grill drawing for breaking out on your staycation

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

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The Grill

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

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

The Many Grilling Options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SmokinLicious® Products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

 

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

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

Related reading:

 

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

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

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

Dr. Smoke-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smokinlicious® Cooking Wood in the chimney starter!

Smokinlicious® Cooking Wood in the chimney starter!

COOKING WOOD WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Click To Tweet

 

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

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

Rating Scale for Cooking Wood

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

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

Why Kosher is important for Cooking wood!

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

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

Certification Means?

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

The SmokinLicious® Cooking Wood Index

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

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

Good: Persimmon, Red Oak, White Oak, Mesquite

Fair: Birchwood, Chestnut, Walnut, Peach

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

Unhealthy: Buckeye, Hackberry, Gum (Sweetgum)

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

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

Products discussed in this Blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Charwood

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

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

Additional reading:

-WHAT WOOD TO USE FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHOULD YOU GRILL WITH MOLDY WOODS? Click To Tweet

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listen to Grill with Moldy Woods

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

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Top tools for charcoal grilling

TOP Top charcoal grilling tools Click To Tweet

(more…)

Diagram showing the importance of air flow in your smoker

smoker air flow is your temperature control Click To Tweet

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SMOKER AIR FLOW IS YOUR TEMPERATURE CONTROL

How do you keep a charcoal grill at 200°F? How do you cool down a charcoal grill? Do you keep the vents open all the time?

These are some of the common questions posed when it comes to learning how to control the temperature of a grill or smoker. This can be a challenge specifically for charcoal/wood units as they rely on the human hand to determine when to add fuel as opposed to a gas/LP unit that has continual, regulated flow.

You might assume that the only combustible material used in these units is charcoal or wood but there is another one. Oxygen.

I’m going to provide my top tips on gaining control of temperature by instructing you on airflow or oxygen regulation in specific styles of charcoal/wood burning equipment.

Intake and Outtake of smoker air flow

For many of the charcoal/wood using units, they are built with an intake and an outtake vent. Let’s make sure you understand what these vents are and what the purpose of each is.

Intake Vent: It has one job – bring in oxygen to control the heat of the fire. If you need to raise the temperature of your unit, open the intake vent. Too much heat, close the intake vent which starves the fire for oxygen. Note: if you close the intake vent entirely while keeping the outtake open, you will still starve the fire and put it out.

Here’s the trick – each unit will have a “sweet spot” for the perfect balance of oxygen flow. Find that spot, and you can maintain a temperature easily in your equipment. But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s discuss the opposing vent.

Outtake Vent: This goes by different names (chimney, flue, outtake, vent) but has the same purpose regardless of what you call it; vent out the gases from the combustible material and pull in oxygen from the intake vent which is commonly know as draft. Remember a charcoal/wood fire produces gases which need to be vented. If they aren’t properly vented, they will smother the fire.

When learning how to regulate your equipment for the desired temperature setting, always start with the outtake vent fully open. This allows you to manipulate only the intake vent until you reach the desired temperature. That will help you learn where the sweet spot is on your equipment.

When You Never Find the Sweet Spot

There are times when no matter how you play with the intake vent, you never seem to get the temperature to hold. What now?

Time to look for leaks in your equipment. If an access door or lid are bleeding smoke, then you know where the extra oxygen is coming from. That will affect the draft between the intake and outtake vent and result in fluctuating temperature that cannot be controlled. Best course of action is to try to seal the leaks with food grade silicone or other materials suitable for high heat appliances.

The Shape of the Equipment

In my opinion, the vertical-style equipment models tend to be much easier to get airflow/temperature control. Horizontal units also referred to as off-set smokers and grills, specifically the inexpensive models, tend to have poor design in the vent placements as well as poor insulation that results in heavy leakage.

If you insist on purchasing a horizontal unit, read reviews and ask questions about how the unit is insulated. Get specific with the materials used, quality of the metal parts, etc.

Chef Bert and Tom using a chimney starter for their grilling needs.

Other Tips

Always try to light your initial fuel product, whether briquets, lump hardwood charcoal, or charcoal in a chimney starter so you can control the quantity with every cook. Use the chimney to add hot coals to the unit when you need to increase temperature. Although you can have unlit charcoal in your charcoal area so it will ignite as the lit produce makes contact, this isn’t always a guarantee that you won’t produce some temperature variance. The best chance of getting the temperature regulated is by adding hot coals as needed, even if this may be every hour or so.

 

To summarize, learn to control temperature by using the same quantity and type of material for the fuel, lit it with a chimney starter, only add hot coals to increase the temperature, and always have the exhaust vent open at least ½ way when cooking. Remember the number one thing is Temperature control is all in the air flow and you will have tasty grilling results!

Our Readers Are Asking..

When should I add more wood to my smoker to prevent a bitter flavor?

There are a few possible causes for bitter smoked food outcome and easy to fix:

#1 Outtake vent is to tight – open it a bit more;

#2 Wood chunks are too wet. Don’t pre-soak the chunks. Put them on the charcoal dry;

#3 Using too much wood at a time. It only takes 3–4 chunks to infuse smoke flavor;

#4 Not using an ideal hardwood. Stick to common hardwoods like cherry, maple, oak hickory, pecan, ash, alder, beech. Never use softwoods like pine, spruce, cedar, etc;

#5 Use a water pan to keep a good balance of heat, vapor, and moisture.

SmokinLicious® Products Used in this Blog:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

More Related reading about smoker air flow is your temperature control an other cooking subjects.

More Related reading about smoker air flow is your temperature control an other cooking subjects.

 

 

Related readings

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE WATER PAN IN GRILLING & SMOKING

-HOW TO PREVENT BARBECUE MEAT FROM BEING TOO DRY??

-WHAT TO DO IF MY WOOD CHIPS WON’T SMOKE??

-WHY CHAR-WOOD IS THE BETTER OPTION OVER CHARCOAL

Dr. Smoke for best results in your grilling and smoking enjoyment follow smoker air flow is your temperature control guide.

Dr. Smoke for best results in your grilling and smoking enjoyment follow smoker air flow is your temperature control guide.

The foil pan for smoking is the handiest and, we believe, the indispensable part in all the stages necessary for cooking, functionality and sanitary purposes.

The foil pan for smoking is the handiest and, we believe, the indispensable part in all the stages necessary for cooking, functionality and sanitary purposes.

The foil pan for smoking is indispensible and why! Click To Tweet

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Many people have their favorite tool when it comes to outdoor cooking. It might be a wireless thermometer, specific grill grate, awesome fire safe gloves, or the go-to chimney starter. For me, it’s likely the least expensive item you can think of – the disposable foil pan. I’m going to list for you my top 6 uses for a simple and inexpensive foil pan.

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How to keep food interesting

How to keep food interesting during the quarantine

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You may be one of the unlucky families faced with the task of social distancing or voluntary/involuntary quarantine. Without question, this will test the limits of each family member’s patience, flexibility, and cooperation.

Not only are you responsible for ensuring everyone’s safety, you’re tasked with keeping them entertained and fed. Right now, with internet and utilities intact, you have the option to stream programs, movies, videos, etc., as well as use electrical and gas appliances. This helps to keep our sanity. But have you paused to plan for when those items become interrupted or permanently halted?

I’m going to list for you some ways of ensuring you can remain comfortably fed while also enjoying some foods that you consume when you’re not quarantined.

#1 Wood Fired Treats:

Part of the reason we go out to eat is we order items that wouldn’t be commonly prepared at home. Often, this includes foods that are live fired such as grilling over charcoal and/or wood or smoked with hardwood. This is where those larger cuts of meat come in handy. You can fire up the grill with a two-zone set up and some hardwood for added flavor, cooking enormous quantities of meat that can be used for many meals. Think pork shoulder, full racks of pork ribs, whole chicken and turkey, beef roasts and brisket. There are so many options including whole fish. Obviously, if we lose gas and electric services, you’ll need an alternative grill like a charcoal unit, fire pit, wood burning fireplace, or butane-using equipment. Or, you can make your own using bricks or rocks and a grate from another unit or simply place cast iron right in the coal bed. Even a charcoal chimney starter can be used in a pinch as a grill.

#2 Foods That Never Expire:

Powdered milk, dried beans, Spam, whole grains, honey, dried pasta. These are the items you’ll want to have on hand for the “when it happens” scenario as they last forever. Powdered milk can easily be mixed with other ingredients to make sauces, milk, and treats. Spam is one of those canned meats that can be a go to for emergency needs but what likely isn’t know is just how versatile it can be in recipes. This is a perfect item to grill or even smoke as substitute for fresh meats like sausage, bacon, ground meats. It can be sliced for making sandwiches and sliders, cubed and diced to be used with eggs, rice, quinoa, and pasta. Dried beans and pasta are also perfect for cooking on a grill even though they need a longer time in water to cook tender. Use grill-safe cookware on your grill, fire pit, or wood burning fireplace and you’re on your way to a great meal.

#3 Hot Smoking:

Preserving meat can be a challenge if you don’t have refrigeration for storing. That’s where hot smoking becomes a skill set that could possibly save you from going without animal protein. You need to make a hot coal bed that produces a lot of smoke not flames. That means you’ll need green hardwood to produce the smoke, which is wood containing about 20% moisture. Collect hardwoods like maple, oak, hickory, cherry, etc., and make a racking or hook system that will allow the meat to hang in an enclosure (a wood clothes drying rack works great for this purpose). A modified smokehouse made from a tarp that is anchored to the ground works just fine, if the enclosure can hold the smoke around the meat and maintain a temperature of 150°F. The better your enclosure the better it will retain heat and will require far less wood. Meat smoked for 12 hours will be preserved for about 1 week, while meat smoked for two days can last 14-28 days depending on the type and cut.

#4 Outdoors:

One benefit of getting to be home is the option to engage in outdoor cooking. Take advantage of doing as much as you can in the outdoors, whether on a standard LP/Gas grill, charcoal grill, fire pit, outdoor fireplace, or other outdoor equipment. It provides an opportunity to enjoy the air and feel less like a prisoner. Also, keep in mind that the more options you give yourself for cooking, the more food you can produce. For instance, you might have a pork shoulder smoking with wood on one grill, while doing a sheet pan of vegetables on another unit, while making a sauce or flavored butter in a saucepan on the side burner or a butane cooker. Just remember, if you are using wood and/or charcoal, once the heat is reduced to hot embers, use that to do additional foods like potatoes, peppers, onions, or even put a covered Dutch oven in the hot bed to cook another day’s meal. You can cook any meal on outdoor equipment so begin to experiment and get a comfort zone, and you will be a survivor in any situation.

If you’re quarantined, what type of cooking are you doing? Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke, for all live fire cooking methods. That’s SmokinLicious!

More related reading on Applewood and other orchard woods see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

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

Other blogs you might enjoy:

-THE EASY METHOD TO COLD SMOKED CHEESE

-A DIY STOVE TOP SMOKER MAKES PERFECT SMOKED RICOTTA CHEESE

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

-SPAM® ON A CHIMNEY STARTER FOR QUICK GRILLED ASIAN SLIDERS

SmokinLicious® products:

Our hand split double filet smoker wood chunks

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Charwood

Dr. Smoke-

Dr. Smoke-During the quarantine read our how to keep food interesting ideas!

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