Our Char-wood is produced by Direct firing our North American hardwood blocks until the right amount of Carbonization is achieved!

Our Char-wood is produced by Direct firing our North American hardwood blocks until the right amount of Carbonization is achieved!

WHY CHAR-WOOD IS THE BETTER OPTION OVER CHARCOAL

SUMMARY:

Binchotan charcoal is made from the Japanese direct fire method of making charcoal with Kiln! Japanese charcoal making has been around for centuries and burns longer than lump hardwood charcoal! We have replicated their process and make our Char-wood from our North American hardwood blocks! Carbonization is key to Char!

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Frankly, the term “charwood” may be a new one for you.  Although its function is like charcoal, the benefits clearly outweigh those of charcoal.  Let’s examine the key reasons why charwood may be the better option for outdoor cooking over standard charcoal.

Carbonization

Hopefully, if you’ve been engaging in outdoor grilling and/or smoking for some time. You’ve understood the need for a fuel material that burns evenly and hot.  You’ve likely also heard the controversy that’s brewed for years about what is the best product to use for the fuel.  Products range from briquets, lump hardwood charcoal, specialty wood charcoal, and compressed woods like pellets and compressed wood blocks.  The key is to understand that some of these products could contain binding agents as well as accelerants to make for easy lighting.

Carbonization is the conversion of an organic matter into carbon.  Carbon is an element that forms when the organic matter is heated to a high level without oxygen, burning off the volatile gases, leaving the pure carbon behind.   Although commercial material production, whether briquet, hardwood charcoal, or standard charcoal have different percentages of carbonization in the outcome, most are above 90%.  That high level of carbonization is what allows for heat to be produced for outdoor cooking.

Flavor

When you use straight charcoal briquets, you are getting heat only with no flavor as that is a fully carbonized or charred product.  Many prefer to use briquets because they are uniform in size and give the same outcome every time they are used.  Fill a chimney starter with briquets, and you’ll have the same number of briquets fit in the chimney every time.

When you use lump hardwood charcoal, you will get variation in sizing from small, chip-like pieces to half-log size pieces.  Here’s information you need to know.  Although the label may read “hardwood”, there is no information on where that hardwood derived from.  Often, manufacturers of lump hardwood charcoal produce their product from recycled materials such as old pallets, lumber scraps from flooring, cabinet, and furniture makers.  They may take in scraps from lumber mills.  When this material is carbonized, it will do so at various levels due to the variation in material sizing.

That means when you cook with it or for that matter when you lite it, expect great variation from use to use due to all the inconsistency in sizing.  The inconsistency will produce a lower percentage of carbonized material than briquets.  So know you may get some minimal flavor from lump hardwood due to poorly carbonized larger pieces of product.  This is the reason there is more ash production with lump hardwood charcoals.

Specialty charcoals, generally made in other countries, are a particularly hard substance, light in weight product, that can be a challenge to lite.  Once they are ignited, however, they produce a lot of heat – often more than the standard briquet.  Very little ash is produced and there is no flavor from this product.

Benefits of SmokinLicious® Charwood

When SmokinLicious® made the decision to manufacture a charwood product, we researched extensively why the Japanese binchotan charcoal, also called white charcoal, was so popular and expensive.  We found that though it could be a challenge to lite, it burned extremely hot, clean, leaving little to no ash, produced no smoke and no flavor.  We produced a similar set up to the Japanese direct-fire method with our charwood production.  Instead of using miniature branches, we use consistently sized wood blocks.  Unlike the binchotan, we do not do a complete carbonization.  The result is you get the ease of lighting like a lump hardwood charcoal, the flavor of premium hardwood.  Plus, the reduced ash production of a briquet, and reduced smoke output than burning wood alone.  We see this as the best of all the options out there.

Now, instead of viewing your charcoal as just a heat generator, when you use SmokinLicious® charwood you have one product that can be used as fuel for temperature while the reduced carbonized center portion produces the flavor.  A premium product that gives premium results!

What is Japanese charcoal?

Binchotan charcoal is made from the Japanese direct fire method of making charcoal with a kiln that has been around for centuries. Japanese charcoal is very expensive and burns longer than lump hardwood charcoal!

Is charcoal made from wood?

Charcoal briquets and lump charcoal are made from recycled materials such as old pallets, lumber scraps from flooring, cabinet, and furniture makers. Some charcoal products may contain binding agents as well as accelerants to make for easy lighting.

Is wood better than charcoal?

Cooking wood can offer an ease of lighting and flavor to your foods while its fuel performance is more consistent than that of many carbonized charcoal products. Plus, wood produces less ash than lump charcoal or briquettes.

SmokinLicious® products:

SmokinLicious® Charwood is produced in a similar set up to the Japanese direct-fire method.Char-wood

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-WHY CHARCOAL IS NOT AN INGREDIENT

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON

 

Dr. Smoke- Your will love using our Charwood!

Dr. Smoke- Your will love using our Char-wood!

Chef Calle's finesse technique of Grilling & Smoking Shallots on the charcoal grill using Charwood for the smoky wood flavor

Chef Calle’s finesse technique of Grilling & Smoking Shallots on the charcoal grill using Charwood for the smoky wood flavor

Grilling & Smoking Shallots with a Finesse Technique

By:  Chef Calle, Resident Executive Chef

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For all my BBQ cooking friends who have been under the assumption that grilling is only for protein food groups, (beef, pork, fish etc.) boy do I have a taste revelation that could transform you into a disciple of the vegetable sections at local farmers marketsChar Grilled and Smoked Shallots!

Using chimney starter to ignite charwoodGrilling Process

The process is fairly straightforward but doesn’t get the impression that this food item is something that you can flop on the grill grate and walk away from for an extended period of time.  Finesse is the cooking standard that must be applied to enjoy the maximum flavor result rendered from this sweet cousin of the onion family.

You can tell by my strong friendship with the folks at SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products, that I’m a big advocate of grilling with a hardwood fire.  It allows for uniform cooking temperatures while simultaneously infuses food items with a natural wood smoke flavor.

So, as we begin, go about preparing your grill with only the best hardwood cooking wood and remember- never, ever start your fire with a chemically based liquid starting fluid.  Use a chimney starter!

While your grill preheats to a medium temperature, prepare the whole shallots by cutting off the tips and drizzling them with skins on using the high-quality EVOO and a touch of Kosher salt. You can even season with fresh thyme or sage and let marinate for a few minutes.

Shallot Technique

Grilled shallots are a great side dish or garnish to prepare alongside your protein or immediately after you have removed your meat to let it rest.

Charring shallots on grill grate

Place the shallots on the grate directly over the outer fringes of the embers, ideally between the smoking wood chips and outer ring of embers.  Do not place them directly over the center most concentration of the embers.  If you want a slightly stronger smoky flavor, cover.  If not, leave uncovered.

Here’s where the finesse part comes in- over the next 3-10 minutes, (depending on the heat and size of the shallots) watch over the shallots like a hawk watches over hatchlings in a nest.  Turn often, get a good char on all sides but, for Heaven’s sake – don’t allow them to ignite into a raging conflagration!  If this happens, you will lose much of the smoky sweetness and be left with a bitter tasting, burnt onion.  You can best determine a great finish when the outer skins are charred nicely while the centers have a soft, moist feel when gently squeezed with cooking tongs or fingers.

Remove from the grill, let them cool a bit.  Once cooled for 2-5 minutes lightly squeeze the charred outer skin and out will come the sweet and delicious interior.

After you experience the fabulous smoky flavor of your grilled shallots, I’m sure you’ll have a greater appreciation for all the food flavor benefits that can be had from your backyard grill!

Finished dish with tasty grilled shallots

Purchase Products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Related reading:

-Charwood Grilled Salmon Fillets for a Hint of Smoky Flavor

-TOP 10 VEGETABLES TO HOT EMBER COOK

-Roasted/Toasted Onions over Embers

http://www.foodnetwork.com

 

Dr. Thank you, Chef Calle, for you finesse technique for grilling & Smoking Shallots on the charcoal grill

Dr. Thank you Chef Calle for your finesse technique for Grilling & Smoking Shallots on the charcoal grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our gorgeous filet of salmon is awaiting Chef Calle to turn it into Charwood Grilled Salmon on a kettle grill using a two-zone method along with Smokinlicious® wood chips!

Our gorgeous filet of salmon is awaiting Chef Calle to turn it into Charwood Grilled Salmon on a kettle grill using a two-zone method along with Smokinlicious® wood chips!

Charwood Grilled Salmon Fillets for a Hint of Smoky Flavor

By:  Chef Calle, Resident Executive Chef

Listen to the audio of this blog

 

 

 

Chef Calle here and thanks to SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products, I’m going to offer an easy and palate-pleasing method to cook and lightly smoke fresh salmon fillets over a Charwood fire that features a small number of smoking chips.  With this approach, the smoking chips infuse a delicate smoky flavor to the salmon without overpowering its delicious fresh taste.

Today, I’m using a Stok® Tourist™ grill, clearly one of the best Charwood grilling and smoking units on the market.  If you don’t have a Stok®, just about any Charwood grill will work, if its heat chamber has room enough for both the Charwood and wood chips.

Salmon seasoned and awaiting the grill

Preparation

Preparation is key with salmon and setting up the cooking equipment.  So, first prepare the fresh salmon fillets by lightly seasoning with EVOO, salt, pepper and if you have it- fresh dill or fennel.  Let them sit and soak up all those great flavorful ingredients for about half an hour or until the salmon reaches room temperature.
Chef’s Tip:  Do not use salmon that is past its prime, thinking that the smoke will disguise the slightly off flavor of the fish.  Only use the best salmon available.

While the fish is marinating, begin preparations for the actual grilling by first firing up SmokinLicious® all natural Charwood using a hollowed chimney starter.  Never use charcoal lighter fluid!  Or Charwood, charcoal briquettes, pretreated with petroleum-based starting fluid.  In addition to ruining your salmon with a foul aftertaste, it’s safer not to consume the residue or remnants from petrochemical fire starter liquids.

After your embers have taken on a medium to high heat condition (grayish color), place them directly in the center of the grill’s heating chamber.  Put the grill grate on over the fired embers and clean it by using either a halved onion or lemon like you would use a sponge but, do it quickly and in short strokes to avoid getting fingers or hands burned.

Smoking the Salmon

Next, position small amounts of the smoking chips (a few large handfuls, I’m using SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore) around the outer fringes of the main concentration of burning Charwood.  This allows the wood chips to take on two roles- 1) indirectly contributing to the cooking process, and; 2) producing a burst of smoky vapor that flavors the fillets.

Salmon on a two zone grill absorbing all the great smoke flavor

A minute or two after you’ve positioned the smoking wood chips and reattached the grate, place the salmon fillets, skin side down on the grate, directly over the medium embers and cover.  Grill and smoke the salmon for about 4 to 6 minutes, uncover and gently turn the fillets over, cover and grill and smoke the skinless side for no longer than 2 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Chef’s Tip:  Be careful not to overcook.  You can gauge the finish of the fillets be being able to flake them with a fork.

When done, remove the skin by gently peeling away with a fork or just serve skin side down.  For a nice finishing touch, brush with a bit more, high-quality EVOO, season with freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.  Feel free to garnish with fresh dill, fennel edible flowers or lemon.  Hope you enjoyed Chef Calle’s recipe Charwood Grilled Salmon Fillets for a Hint of Smoky Flavor!

Bon Appetit

final plating with all the decorations!

Purchase products:

Charwood

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Related reading:

-Charcoal Grilled Asparagus using Charwood

-WHY CHAR-WOOD IS THE BETTER OPTION OVER CHARCOAL

-THE ULTIMATE WOOD-FIRED CLAMS CASINO

-SNAPPER GETS WRAPPED IN CORN HUSK & COAL FIRED

 

Awesome technique by Chef Calle- so you can do-Charwood Grilled Salmon Fillets for a Hint of Smoky Flavor

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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Our coals showing their hot embers and ready for direct ember coal cooking!

Our coals showing their hot embers and ready for direct ember coal cooking!

THAT EMBER GLOW DIRECT EMBER COAL COOKING!

So what exactly is an ember and why is it suddenly gaining attention as a method of cooking?  Well, first, it’s most certainly not a new cooking concept.  Cooking over a fire and hot coals have been around for thousands of years.  Recently, some Chefs and well-known restaurants have taken to returning to this method of cooking because they know where great flavor can come from and they know how to manage the heat from hot coals.

An ember is a glowing, hot coal made of greatly heated wood, coal or other carbon-based material that remain after a fire.  The heat radiated from hot embers can be as hot as the fire which created them.  You can see this first hand, by placing new wood pieces on hot embers and watching a full fire develop.  An ember is usually formed when a fire has only partially burnt a piece of fuel and there is still usable chemical energy in that piece of fuel.  It continues to stay hot and does not lose its thermal energy quickly because combustion is still happening at a low level. The small yellow, orange, and red lights are often seen among the embers are actually combustions. There just is not enough combustion happening at one time to create a flame.   Once the embers are completely ‘burned through’, they are not carbon as is commonly believed (carbon burns, and is not normally left behind), but rather various other oxidized minerals like calcium and phosphorus. At that point, they are commonly called ashes.  But why cook on the embers versus over a live fire?  Because embers radiate a more constant form of heat, as opposed to an open fire which is constantly changing along with the heat it radiates (think water trapped within the wood and you’ll understand why there is heat fluctuation).

Ember cooking techniques include placing thickly skinned food items directly into the embers (i.e. garlic, onion, peppers, eggplant, steaks, etc.), placing a cast iron skillet into the embers that can hold any food items from vegetables, meats, poultry, fish – really anything.  The results produced from this method are super moist, super flavorful, and the aromas are exceptional.

Peppers being cooked over embers

Sweet Peppers over direct ember coals cooking

Dr. Smoke- You don't need a flashy grill, a simple fireplace with enough room, just like Asado, you can do your direct ember coal cooking

Dr. Smoke- You don’t need a flashy grill, a simple fireplace with enough room, just like Asado, you can do your direct ember coal cooking

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (Smokinhow-to-download-instagram-video_thumb800licious) and Twitter (@DrSmokeSmokin) as we highlight some of our ember cooking techniques, especially as we enter Farmers Market season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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