The SmokinLicious® culinary crew's two-zone cooking method set up to smoke Fava Beans on the Gas grill with Wood chunks!

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

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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

 smoker box and single filet wood chunks

 

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

setting up the smoker box on the grill

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.

Cook Anything!

Smoking Tomatoes on the gas grill with the two-zone cooking method

 

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.

SmokinLicious products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on #twozonecooking method and other food items to prepare

Additional reading:

-EASY GRILL ROASTED TOMATOES

-ODE TO THE GRILLED FAVA BEAN

-WOOD ROASTED ONIONS TO DIE FOR!

 

 

Dr. Smoke- The two-zone cooking method on the gas grill is a great time saver for the busy Chef trying to prepare other parts of the meal menu!

Dr. Smoke- The two-zone cooking method on the gas grill is a great time saver for the busy Chef trying to prepare other parts of the meal menu!

Our finished wood roasted onions!

Our finished wood roasted onions!

WOOD ROASTED ONIONS TO DIE FOR!

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One vegetable that is available throughout the year is the onion.  Although you’re likely accustomed to using this in recipes as an added natural flavor when you wood-fire the onion, something magical happens to its cell structure that turns these into the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth gems that you’ll want to use in even more recipes.

Onions are high in vitamin C, can aid in weight loss, and have reduced certain cancer risks, especially those associated with the digestive tract.

Our onion assortment, White, Sweet and Shallots

 

 

 

 

Whether you elect to do the standard yellow onion, the sweet red onion, or shallots, you will love how smoke vapor works to bring out the best in any variety.

Preparing for the Grill

Before preparing the onions for the grill, let’s get the grill started by lighting the burners on only half the grill.  This is referred to as two zone cooking.  On the lit burner side, I place 2 wood chunks – I’m using the Single Filet size from SmokinLicious® – directly on the heat shields of my hot burners.  This will provide the wood flavoring to the onions.  My burners are set to medium-low which usually produces a cooking temperature of about 300°F.  Simply adjust your burner setting to reach this temperature.

For the onions, I simply cut the tops of, slice in half and remove the skins.  I place the halves cut side down in a roasting pan and add about ¼ cup of oil to the pan.   With my pan ready, I place it on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.  In about 75 minutes, these will slightly charred, tender, and juicy.

Tasting Notes:  Although I used avocado oil since you are not grilling over direct heat, you can use other oils such as olive, almond, walnut, grapeseed, coconut, sesame, canola, etc.  Remember, some varieties of onion are considered herbs so doing an assortment of types will give you an abundance of flavors.

The Longer the Wood Roast the More Flavor

Onions on the grill with wood chunk over the flavor bar

You’ll find as these onions cook and absorb both the smoke vapor and oil, the scales of the onions will separate and caramelize.  The results are tender, juicy and flavorful with a hint of woodsy from the charred edges.

I decided to make a simple sauce of butter, cheese, parsley, and pepper for my onion mix and served these alongside a pork steak, also cooked on the grill with a two-zone method.

The best part is onions are available year-round so I can do this method even in the dead of winter, as remember, the gas grill still functions even in the cold!  For those who like to freeze produce, this freezes very well so grill a lot keep them so they’re ready for the winter days you don’t feel like lighting the grill.   Just think what an onion soup will taste like when you wood-fire the onions first!

Finished wood roasted onions ready for serving

Tasting Notes:  If using a charcoal grill, still use a two-zone cooking set up meaning charcoal on only one side of the grill.  Be sure you only cook with hot coals, no flames.  This type of grilling can have more challenges to steady temperature so make sure you check the onion pan more frequently.

 

 

 

Smokinlicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

 

 

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on wood smoking, grilling or ember cooking!

 

Additional reading:

-EASY GRILL ROASTED TOMATOES

-Roasted/Toasted Onions over Embers

-GRILLED PEACHES FOR THE PERFECT SALAD

 

Dr. Smoke- Wood roasted onions will add a superb flavor to these vegatebles

Dr. Smoke- Wood roasted onions will add a superb flavor to these vegetables

Our Forest Fresh Hardwood is a perfect fit for any Ceramic and Kamado Grill

Our Forest Fresh Hardwood is a perfect fit for any Ceramic and Kamado Grill

CERAMIC AND KAMADO GRILL: THE WOOD MASTER’S GUIDE

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Listen to all the products available for the Ceramic & Kamado Grill!

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 culinary wood product match.  We refer to our guide affectionately as Match Your Cooker.

In this article, we are covering our recommendations for ceramic and komado style grilling equipment; these are grills that are made from ceramic, clay, terracotta or crushed lava rock that allow the grill to reach extremely high temperatures – usually at or above 750°F!  They are also capable of using charcoal and wood either independently or in combination.

As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates on this listing.  We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed to ensure it is added to the list (email drsmoke@smokinlicious.com).

For now, we introduce you to our wood master’s guide to SmokinLicious® culinary woods for ceramic and komado grills.

Single Filet Wood Chunks

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Single Filet Wood Chunks as the charcoal area allows for larger wood pieces:

Big Green Egg models: 2XL, XLarge

Char-Griller Akorn model: ceramic kamado

Grill Dome® models: XL

Kamado Joe Big Joe™ 24”

Komodo Kamado® 32” Big Bad

Louisiana Grills K24

Primo Ceramic Grills models: Jack Daniel’s Edition Oval XL 400, Primo Oval XL 400

Double Filet Wood Chunks

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks to maximize oxygen flow:

Bayou Classic Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Big Green Egg models: Large, Medium, Small

Blaze 20-inch Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill*

Broil King® Keg models: Keg™ 5000, Keg™ 2000

Cal Flame® Kamado Smoker Grill

Caliber Pro Stainless Steel Kamado Grill*

Char-Griller Akorn: models: Kamado and Kamado Jr.

Char-Broil Kamander® Charcoal Grill

Coyote Asado Ceramic Grill

Gourmet Guru Grill Ceramic Kamado

Grill Dome® models: XL, Large, Small

Hanover® 19-in. Ceramic Kamado Grill

Kamado Joe models: Classic II™ 18”, Big Joe™ 24”, Stand-Alone™, Joe Jr.™

Komodo Kamado® models: 32” Big Bad, 23” Ultimate, 21” Supreme, 19” Hi-Cap Tall, 19” Hi-Cap Table Top, 16” Hi-Cap Table Top

Louisiana Grills models: K13, K18, K22, K24

Monolith Grills BBQ Guru Edition models: Classic, Le Chef

Pit Boss Grills models: K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill, K24 Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Primo Ceramic Grills models: Primo Oval LG 300, Primo Oval JR 200, Primo Kamado All-In-One

Vision™ Grills models: XL

Grande Sapore® Wood Chips

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® Wood Chips for those who prefer a wood chip product rather than chunks:

Bayou Classic Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Big Green Egg models: MiniMax, Mini

Blaze 20-inch Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill*

Broil King® Keg models: Keg™ 5000, Keg™ 2000

Cal Flame® Kamado Smoker Grill

Caliber Pro Stainless Steel Kamado Grill*

Char-Griller Akorn: models: Kamado and Kamado Jr.

Char-Broil Kamander® Charcoal Grill

Coyote Asado Ceramic Grill

Gourmet Guru Grill Ceramic Kamado

Grill Dome® models: XL, Large, Small

Hanover® 19-in. Ceramic Kamado Grill

Kamado Joe models: Classic II™ 18”, Big Joe™ 24”, Stand-Alone™, Joe Jr.™

Komodo Kamado® models: 32” Big Bad, 23” Ultimate, 21” Supreme, 19” Hi-Cap Tall, 19” Hi-Cap Table Top, 16” Hi-Cap Table Top

Louisiana Grills models: K13, K18, K22, K24

Monolith Grills BBQ Guru Edition models: Classic, Le Chef

Pit Boss Grills models: K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill, K24 Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Primo Ceramic Grills models: Primo Oval LG 300, Primo Oval JR 200, Primo Kamado All-In-One

Saffire Grill and Smoker**

Vision™ Grills models: XL

Minuto® Wood Chips

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips:

Saffire Grill and Smoker

We hope you view this guide as a helpful resource for selecting the perfect culinary wood for your equipment.  As always, our Wood Guide Team is ready to answer your additional questions and further assist you with the perfect grilling and smoking experience!

* Although considered a komado grill, this brand is not made with any ceramic, clay, terracotta, or crushed stone.

** This brand is only designed for use with wood chips and includes a patented smokin’ chip feeder.

SmokinLicioius® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore® & Minuto®

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Related reading:

-WOOD BURNING PIZZA OVENS: THE WOOD MASTER’S GUIDE

-TOP TOOLS TO OWN FOR CHARCOAL GRILLING

-THE WATER PAN EXPLAINED FOR GRILLING & SMOKING

Dr. Smoke produces great products for all Ceramic & Kamado Grill units!

Dr. Smoke produces great products for all Ceramic & Kamado Grill units!

 

Smokinlicious teams top tools needed for gas grilling

Smokinlicious® teams top tools needed for gas grilling

 

TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING

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There is no question that LP/Gas grills have changed tremendously over the past 10 years and now include some features standard that for many years, were options.  Then there is the development of dual or multi-fuel options on a grill so you can have one unit that performs as a gas grill, charcoal grill, wood grill, and even electric or pellet grill, all in one unit.

Today, I’m focusing on the standard LP/Gas grill, independent of any other fuel source.  This guide will focus on the basic tools that will provide for a better grilling experience and make you more efficient at the grill.

Tool #1

I’m starting with a grill brush since most of us have the habit of thinking about cleaning off the grill grates when we start the grill for cooking, not when we finish.  This tool is to ensure clean up the residual food bits and grease left from your previous grilled foods.

Now I’m aware of the controversy over the use of metal bristles but most of these brushes are made well.  Simple inspection of the brush bristles each time you use it will allow you to identify if the bristles have come loose and have the potential to be transported to your foods.  I prefer a brush with metal bristles, with a long handle to keep my arm away from the heat, as often you want to clean the grill when it’s hot.  Remember, most of these brushes are under $10 so think about purchasing one a couple times per season to ensure the bristles stay put.

Tool #2

There are times when the grill grates and lid will become super coated in grease and pieces of food.  You’ll need to break out the cleaning agents to ensure these surfaces are ready to go for the next grilling event.  Two of my favorites are CLR BBQ Grill Cleaner and Mr. Clean MagicEraser.  As a non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable product, CLR BBQ Grill Cleaner is not something you have to leave on for hours at a time.  It quickly breaks through the issues and allows you to wipe clean to an almost new state.  Keep in mind, the CLR brand also makes a stainless steel cleaner for the outside as well.

Tool #3

Long-handled tongs.  Your standard tong length for the traditional kitchen just won’t work at the grill, as you need to keep some arm distance from the hot grill surfaces.  I like the 20-inch length with silicone grips as well as silicone tips, as silicone can tolerate extremely high heat.  If you grill multiple food items at the same time, think about purchasing tongs with different colored tips and/or handles as that will ensure use of one color for a specific food so there’s no transfer of flavors.

Tool #4

Like the tongs, a must have is long-handled spatula for those food items that need to be flipped.  I prefer one that is made of solid steel and has a bit of a beveling to the edge.  Again, the longer the handle the better for keeping away from high heat.

Tool #5

An easy to read, digital thermometer.  It is a must when you grill or smoke.  Look for one that has a longer probe for when your grilling larger roasts and thicker cuts of meats and poultry.  Be sure the readout is easy to see and if you grill a lot at night, get one that has a back-lite to see more clearly.  If you cook a lot of different animal proteins at the same time, try to have a thermometer dedicated to each food so you don’t cross-contaminate while bacteria may still be an issue.  There are assorted colors available making it easy to dedicate one to red meat, pork, poultry, and fish.   Most of the digital thermometers on the market today are under $18 with even more under $10.

Tool #6

 If you’ve always been a person that cooks directly on the grill grates and only does the standard fare – hamburgers, sausage, chicken, perhaps ribs – you need to get out of that rut and learn to do more with your grill.  Start by investing in one piece of quality cast iron.  Able to withstand intense heat, cast iron can take you from the average griller to someone with skill.  Now, you can enjoy recipes normally done on the indoor stove outside in the fresh air, with your cast iron skillet.  Remember, there’s a whole line of cast iron cookware so as you expand your skills, you can add to your outdoor cookware.

Tool #7

Although I am a fan of the standard steam table disposable foil pan, any size, shape foil pan will do.  These are perfect for use as a drip pan to prevent render juices from spiking flames and as water pans for a two-zone cooking set up.  I won’t deny, that I also use these to cook in especially fragile items like fruit and specific vegetables.  You certainly can invest in a grill pan but clean up becomes a snap with the disposable pan.

Tool #8

Although the smoker box was originally intended for use with wood chips on the grill, I always use small wood chunks in mine.  I prefer a box made from high-grade stainless steel and one that has a hinged lid.  My smoker box holds three Double Filet Wood Chunks from SmokinLicious® perfectly and provides for extended smoke vapor as compared with wood chips.  Used directly on the grill grate or set under the grill grate on the heat shield, it produces smoke for hours.  Although you can place wood chunks directly on the heat shields, as I’m known to do myself sometimes, they will become permanently marked from the wood ash and eventually need replacing.  The smoker box allows you to avoid this.

There you have it!  My TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING for better results and help in extending the life of your investment!

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

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

-TOP TOOLS TO OWN FOR CHARCOAL GRILLING

-TOP 10 TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY

-WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??

Dr. Smoke loves Maple trees for cooking! The sweetness of this wood is terrific for Chicken!

Dr. Smoke- tools make the chef learn the top tools needed for gas grilling

GRILLED PEACHES

Our Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition with sweet onion, Tomatoes, and fresh herbs!

Our Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition with sweet onion, Tomatoes, and fresh herbs!

 FOR THE PERFECT SALAD ADDITION

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If you’ve been a follower of our recipes and techniques for a while, then you’re aware of our preference to grill, smoke, coal cook, and ember fire in-season produce.  Peaches are no exception!

I’ve got my two quarts of fresh peaches and a plan to grill these on the charcoal grill using charwood coals.  Then I’ll use my luscious smoked peaches in a salad that features two additional seasonal ingredients – tomato and shallots.

Get your chimney starter of charwood or charcoal and meet me at the grill for this quick technique and recipe featuring peaches.

Fire Up the Grill!

Fire up the charwood with a good quality chimney starter!

Firing up the STOK kettle grill!

Whenever you use the charcoal grill, it’s always best to get it lit about 30 minutes ahead of cooking.  I’m using a kettle-style grill made by Stôk that has a removable center grate for an assortment of inserts.  I won’t be using any inserts for this cook as my peaches will stay in a disposable foil pan for easy cooking and removal.

Start by placing charcoal or charwood in a chimney starter.  Place a Firestarter in the charcoal area of the grill and place the filled chimney starter over the starter.  Lite the Firestarter and allow to remain in place until all the charwood has ignited and started to reduce to hot coals.  While that’s burning, let’s prepare the peaches.  Be sure you have a couple of wood chunks available to add to the coals when we are ready to grill.  I like to use the single filet wood chunk size from SmokinLicious®.

Tasting Notes: there are differences in charcoal so be sure to use a natural charcoal or charwood product rather than briquets as briquets will produce more heat than you need.

Perfect Peach Bites

With our charcoal grill going, it’s time to start on the peaches.  There are a few ways to remove the skin from peaches including placing them in hot water for a few minutes then removing and placing in a bowl of ice water.  The skins will just peel off.  I’m an old school so I use a sharp paring knife and just remove the skin.

Once the skin is removed, it’s time to cut the peach into bite-size pieces.  You can easily cut around the pit and cut those slices into pieces.  Place all the pieces in a foil pan in an even layer.

Tasting Notes: Try to purchase peaches that have some firmness to them if you don’t plan to grill them right away.  The peaches should have no bruising and have a slight give when touched.  Too soft and those peaches won’t hold their shape when exposed to the grill’s heat.

 

Single Filet wood chunks under the grilling grate

Smoking Process

With the peaches prepared, time to take them to the grill.  Pour the chimney of hot coals into the grill’s charcoal area and add the wood chunks.  Add the pan of prepared peaches and placed the lid on the grill.  Be sure the outtake vent on the lid is ½ way open.  The intake vent at the charcoal area should be ¼ way open.  Now allow smoking for 15 minutes prior to checking.  Remember, we want to add smoke without reducing the peaches to a puree.

Tasting Notes:  Since peaches contain 89% water, they take in the smoke vapor extremely well.  Keep that in mind when you select both the charcoal and wood.  Remember, oak based charcoal tends to burn hot and has a stronger undertone to fruit.

Final Salad Prep- Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition!

While the peaches are absorbing all that great smoke flavor, return to the kitchen and prepare the remaining ingredients for our salad.  You’ll need:

  • 1 lb. tomatoes cut into 1/2’” pieces; or if using cherry or grape tomato, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for final drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • fresh mint leaves torn
  • salt and pepper

the ingredients in the serving bowl and ready to add the dressing

I start by slicing my tomatoes in half, then add a teaspoon of salt to them while sitting in a colander so I can render some of the water.  While the tomatoes sit, I start slicing the shallot into thin strips.   At this point, you’ll want to check the peaches.  They should be close to or ready to remove from the grill.  I like to place them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool them down for the salad.  While that’s happening, let’s prepare the vinaigrette.

I prefer to mix all the vinaigrette ingredients in a measuring cup so I can easily pour it to the salad right before serving, to keep the tomato and peach from getting too soggy.  Start with the extra virgin olive oil and add the rice vinegar.   Next, the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and fresh pepper.  Whisk it all together and set aside while you combine the salad ingredients.

Tasting Notes: you can substitute cider vinegar for the rice vinegar and any color of tomato will do though I lean toward the reds and purples to give a color contrast from the orange peach.

Smoked peaches go into the serving bowl first, following by the tomatoes, and shallots.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad within an hour of serving and top with the torn mint leaves.  A perfect balance of sweet, tart, smoky, and refreshing.  An easy method and recipe you can have in 60 minutes.  I love peaches so try our grilled peaches for the perfect salad addition for your next dish to pass!  You will tantalize the guest taste buds!

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Charwood

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

-WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON BECOMES A STAR

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

Dr. Smoke add some mint, onions and tomatoes to Grilled Peaches for a perfect salad addition!

Dr. Smoke add some mint, onions, and tomatoes to Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition!

Our take on the Top Tools to Own for Charcoal Grilling

Our take on the Top Tools to Own for Charcoal Grilling – some may surprise you!

TOP TOOLS TO OWN FOR CHARCOAL GRILLING

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When I get the chance to visit a brick-and-mortar barbecue specialty store, I am always amazed at the number of accessory items currently offered for grilling and smoking.  The options are staggering!  I certainly can see why an individual might end up purchasing too many items, thinking that it’s a necessity when it comes to the grill or smoker.

My intent is to guide you on the bare basics tools that are needed when you own a charcoal grill.  Of course, I may slip in there a couple of “next in line” purchases that may not be necessities but sure come in handy.  Let’s get started!

Tool #1

Chimney Starter: Honestly, I don’t know a safer, easier method of lighting the fuel for your grill than with a chimney starter.  Are they pretty much the same?  Pretty much but here’s my recommendations on what to look for: one that is made of plain steel meaning no paint; one that has a heat-safe handle that is placed far enough away from the chimney body to prevent you from receiving burns and includes a heat shield;  large enough to hold enough charcoal for the size of your grill; well vented at the base to get things hot within 15 minutes.

We demonstrate a lite chimney starter!

Chimney Starters are a must to have a Charcoal grill!

Tool #2

We just talked about the chimney starter which emits very high-heat so this next item is going to keep you fire safe.  High-temperature resistant gloves.  Personally, I use welding gloves as I appreciate that I can purchase a longer length glove, plus, these gloves tend to have great flexibility to them since most are made from cow leather.   Best of all, they last forever!

insulated long sleved gloves protect from heat and burns

Tool #3

Long-handled tongs.  Your standard tong length for the traditional kitchen just won’t work at the grill, as you need to keep some arm distance from those hot coals.  I like the 20-inch length with silicone grips as well as silicone tips as silicone can tolerate extremely high heat.

The long handle tonges are great for putting and turning food on the grill

Tool #4

Like the tongs, a must have is long-handled spatula for those food items that need to be flipped.  I prefer one that is made of solid steel and has a bit of a beveling to the edge.  Again, the longer the handle to better for keeping away from intense heat.  Of course, you’ll be wearing your high-temperature resistant gloves as well!

Spatula with long handle to turn the food on the grill

Tool #5

Even if you don’t grill every day you’re still going to need a good brush to clean up the residual food bits and grease.  There’s been a lot of controversy over the use of metal bristles but most of these brushes are made well.  You simply forget that like your toothbrush, they need to be replaced periodically before the bristles start to come loose and have the potential to be transported to your foods.  I prefer a brush with metal bristles, with a long handle to keep my arm away from the heat, as often you want to clean the grill when it’s still hot.  Remember, most of these brushes are under $10 so think about purchasing one a couple times per season to ensure the bristles stay put.

Wire brush to clean the grates of residual food.

Tool #6

An easy to read, digital thermometer.  It is a must when you grill or smoke.  Look for one that has a longer probe for when your grilling larger roasts and thicker cuts of meats and poultry.  Be sure the readout is easy to see and if you grill a lot at night, get one that has a backlight to see more clearly.  If you cook a lot of different animal proteins at the same time, try to have a thermometer dedicated to each food so you don’t cross-contaminate while bacteria may still be an issue.  Most of the digital thermometers on the market today are under $18 with even more under $10.

Probe thermometer

Other Recommended Tools:

These are additional items I love to have on hand to use with my charcoal grilling and smoking.

Aluminum disposible pans are grillers best friendThe Disposable Foil Pan: Perfect to use as a water pan, cooking pan with a roasting rack insert, grease collection pan, and warming pan.

 

 

 

Wire mesh to hold the coals from falling thru the larger grates. especially for ember cooking.

Fine Wire Mesh: Cut to size to fit my charcoal area, I prefer to use fine wire mesh when I want to ensure I can retain every small hot coal for my cooking.  This works particularly well when you plan to ember cook foods like peppers, onions, eggplant, and garlic.

 

 

Brick for ember cooking- heat retention and separation for delicate foods such as fish!

Fire Brick:  I use one or two fire bricks to set up my two-zone cooking area.  The bricks also work great for positioning a pan on to allow for elevation in the cooking area.

 

There you have it!  My top choices for the tools that will bring ease to your charcoal grilling and smoking.  Just remember to include some clean, bark-free hardwood on the charcoal for an even better flavor to your foods.

There you have it our take on the Top Tools to own for Charcoal Grilling!

SmokinLicious® Products Used in this Blog:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-THE WATER PAN EXPLAINED FOR GRILLING & SMOKING

-HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-TEMPERATURE CONTROL IS ALL IN THE AIR FLOW

Dr. Smoke the tools make the Chef- hope you enjoyed our Top tools to own for Charcoal Grilling!

Dr. Smoke the tools make the Chef- hope you enjoyed our Top tools to own for Charcoal Grilling!

Temperature control is all in the air flow with our offset smoker showing the flow of air and where the air is controlled

Your Temperature control is all in the air flow for smoking and grilling with equipment!

TEMPERATURE CONTROL IS ALL IN THE AIR FLOW

Listen to the audio of this blog

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

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.

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!

SmokinLicious® Products Used in this Blog:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Related reading:

-WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??

-THE WATER PAN EXPLAINED FOR GRILLING & SMOKING

-WHY WON’T MY WOOD CHIPS SMOKE??

-WHY CHAR-WOOD IS THE BETTER OPTION OVER CHARCOAL

Dr. Smoke for best results in your grilling and smoking enjoyment follow temperature is in the air flow principles and enjoy great results!

Dr. Smoke for best results in your grilling and smoking enjoyment follow temperature control is all in the air flow principles and enjoy great results!

 

Fresh Fava Beans with Butter ready to become Grilled Fava Bean with a smoky flare!

Fresh Fava Beans with Butter ready to become Grilled Fava Bean with a smoky flare!

ODE TO THE GRILLED FAVA BEAN

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I love when the ideal weather comes around when at the same time there are so many options for fresh produce either at the Farmer’s Market or local grocery store.  I tend to lean toward my grill and smoker for most of my cooking when the weather turns hot and steamy.

Beans are one of those vegetables that are spectacular on the grill but they get even better when you add a few wood chunks.  I’ll show you how to prepare Fava Beans for the grill and give you my easy, fool-proof technique for incorporating wood chunks for flavor.

Grill Set Up

Before preparing the Fava beans, get the gas grill heated by turning on only half the grills’ burners which will be the side that radiates out the heat and holds the smoker box.  For the smoker box, I’m using a stainless-steel model that has a hinged lid.  I place 3 double filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious® in the box in a combination of woods.   I’m using hickory, white oak and sugar maple to give me a great smoke balance to the beans.  This will ensure I don’t overpower with the smoke vapor.  By placing the smoker box with chunks on the grill grate as it preheats, it will be smoking by the time you have the beans ready.

 Simple Bean Prep

There is little to do with the Fava beans before they go on the grill.  Wash them to start to make sure all the dirt and debris is removed.  Pat dry with a paper towel and then move them to the cutting board.  Remove any leaves and cut just the stem end to remove the stem.  Place in a disposable foil pan, spread out evenly, and add roughly 6 tablespoons of butter to the beans, as well as salt and fresh ground pepper.  That’s it.  Leave the bean pods intact as they are going to act like a miniature steamer to cook the beans and ensure they don’t become over smoked.

The Grill Act

With the grill heated and the wood chunks smoking in the smoker box, place the pan of beans on the unlit side of the grill and close the cover.  Check that your grill temperature steadies out at about 375°F.  If lower, simply increase the heat setting on the active burners.  Too high, decrease the heat setting.  Leave the beans untouched for about 30 minutes.  Return to the grill, stir the beans and check the wood chunks.  If the chunks are still emitting smoke, close the grill lid and leave for an additional 10 minutes or so, or until fork tender.  Remove the pan from the grill and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Buttery, Smoky Finish

finished Fava beans with the smoky appearance to the outside podsAfter the beans have cooled enough to be handled, take each pod and push the beans out one end into a bowl.  You may keep the empty pods to use for making broth or for puree in a sauce or smoothie.  These Fava beans are now ready for you to enjoy as is or use in your favorite recipe.   Now, I’m taking my Fava beans and making a dip with goat cheese, lemon and tarragon.

 

 

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-STEPPING UP RADISH SALAD WITH A WOOD-FIRED FLARE

-WOOD GRILLING AVOCADO

-INFUSING WOOD SMOKE INTO BRUSSELS SPROUTS

You Can take your fresh Fava Beans and put them on the Grill with wood chunks to do a "Grilled Fava Beans" for your favorite dip or condiment!

You Can take your fresh Fava Beans and put them on the Grill with wood chunks to do a “Grilled Fava Bean” for your favorite dip or condiment!

Grilling our Smoked Beef Shanks on the Gas grill with Double filet wood chunks in our smoker box!

Grilling our Smoked Beef Shanks on the Gas grill with Double filet wood chunks in our smoker box!

OVER THE TOP GRILLED & SMOKED BEEF SHANKS

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I’m going to make a confession.  I rarely select steak to grill anymore.  The reason – there are just too many other options that I simply prefer.  Like beef riblets, short ribs, and shank.  Oh, the bone-in shank!  That is my favorite.

I’m going to give you a wet rub recipe and a grilling technique you can do on the grill of your choice, though I’ll be picking the easy gas grill.  Get to the butcher and select some premium bone-in beef shanks then visit SmokinLicious® online for some wood chunks.  Then get ready for the best grilled & smoked beef shanks you’ve ever had!

our wet rub mixture in the mortise ready for application

Wet Rub

I tend to lean toward some Asian-inspired ingredients for my rubs, especially those that are a wet rub.  While working on the rub, be sure you’ve started your grill so it will be ready to go when the meat is rubbed.  Remember, we are using a two-zone set up for the grill so burners lit only on one side of the gas grill with the wood chunks placed on the heat shield or in a smoker box placed over the lit burners like I’ve done.  Or, for the charcoal/wood grill, hot coals banked to one side of the grill.

For this wet rub, you’ll need equal parts of the following ingredients:

  • Ground ginger
  • Whole allspice – about 30
  • Garlic powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sesame oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Honey

Start by combining the dry ingredients, followed by the wet and combine with mortar and pestle until a paste is made.  Then coat the beef shanks on both sides and the edges with the wet rub.  Our wet rub applied to raw beef shanks before the grillI line a disposable foil pan with a roasting rack, then place the shanks on the rack.

 

 

 

Tasting Notes: don’t be afraid to use a store-bought rub and simply add oil and/or garlic/spice pastes.  There is nothing off limits when it comes to producing a rub.

Smoking

our cooked beef shanks

Time to open the pre-heated grill and start the cooking of the shanks.  The wood chunks should be smoking well at this point so add the shank pan to the unlit side of the grill.  Leave untouched for at least 40 minutes.  Return to check the internal temperature.  Flip the shanks and rotate the foil pan.  Leave until the meat registers 140-145° F.

Tasting Notes: select the hardwood you like or use a combination of hardwoods like I did with my shanks – maple, hickory and white oak.

Serve It Up

When done, I simply slice against the grain for beautiful, flavorful beef that has a controlled infusion of smoke.  Here’s a tip: be sure you enjoy the marrow in the bones!  It is very rich so if you elect not to eat it when the meat is done, use it with onions and shallots to make a confit, or use it with a rich pasta dish to make the flavor of the richness even more stunning.  Or, combine the marrow with an acidic dish like an arugula salad with lemon and capers.  And don’t forget to save the bones to make our smoked beef broth.  Two zone cooking makes it so easy to control the smoke infusion and produce perfection in any item grilled.

What’s your favorite beef cut to grill and smoke?   Bringing innovation to wood-fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-SMOKED BEEF SHORT RIBS

-WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!

OVER THE TOP GRILLED & SMOKED BEEF SHANKS ON THE GAS GRILL

OVER THE TOP GRILLED & SMOKED BEEF SHANKS ON THE GAS GRILL IS A MUST TRY

The Water Pan explained for grilling and smoking techniques!

The Water Pan explained for grilling and smoking techniques!

 

THE WATER PAN EXPLAINED FOR GRILLING & SMOKING

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If you’ve purchased a smoker, you’re likely familiar with the term “water pan”.  If, however, you’re more of an LP/Gas Grill person, than this term is likely one that escapes your knowledge.

Water pans are a means of introducing valuable moisture into the cooking environment which has immense value when grilling and smoking.  Let me explain each of the pros of learning and using a water pan for your outdoor cooking, no matter the type of equipment you’re cooking on.

Water Pan Pro #1

Temperature control.  This is the ultimate need when you grill or smoker, especially when you smoke.  Maintaining a stable temperature that you’ve predetermined.  When the day is scorching hot and the equipment is made of metal, you will experience a challenge with temperature control.  Introduce a water pan, and your battle can be won.

A water pan goes above the heat source.  If using a charcoal grill or charcoal/wood smoker, this pan would be placed above the coal area.  Have an electric unit and you’ll find the pan over the electric heating element.  If you want to introduce a water pan on an LP/Gas Grill, this would be placed over the lit burners.  Many vertical smokers come with a water pan.

Water Pan Pro #2

Water cannot go above the boiling point which is 212°F.  Additionally, evaporative cooling also takes place as the water is exposed to heat.

Water Pan Pro #3

A water pan can become the number one tool when doing direct heat cooking over an open flame.  Why?  It acts as a repellent for the flame giving your foods a chance to survive without becoming a blackened, dried out, former piece of food.

Water Pan Pro #4

Are you having trouble with hot spots in your equipment?  Well, a water pan will even them out.   Now, the temperature you desire can essentially be locked in just by using a water pan.

Water Pan Pro #5

Humidity that develops from the use of a water pan keeps the surface of the meat moist, which in turn, attracts smoke vapor, which in turn, produces great flavor.  The water vapor mixes with the combustible gases which are emitted from the burning material and add to the overall flavor.  Yes, water is a passageway to all things flavorful!

What Goes in the Water Pan

It’s called a water pan for a reason.  It is designed to hold water, specifically hot water to keep the cooker from wasting energy on heating cold water put in the pan.  Here’s a tip when you fill the water pan: use a teapot to fill the pan while it’s in place so you don’t take the chance of spilling hot water on surfaces or you.  Remember, water evaporates while other liquids don’t evaporate.

Don’t Make the Water Pan a Drip Pan

Here’s the thing with a drip pan.  Due to its location directly over the heat source, when used on vertical units it often serves double duty as a drip pan.  Don’t do that!  Here’s why.  The rendered fat drippings can produce an oil slick on the surface of the water which will prevent water evaporation.

Make Cleaning a Snap

Here’s a couple of tips when using a water pan.  If your unit comes with a water pan, line it in aluminum foil which will allow you to simply pull the foil off and preserve the condition of the original pan.

If you’re using a unit that has no water pan but want to introduce one, simply purchase a disposable foil pan.  You will want to purchase one that is compatible in size to the unit your using, that will fit comfortably over the heat source, and that can hold enough water to prevent you from having to make refill trips every 15 minutes.

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks- Single & Double Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading

www.barbecue-smoker-recipes.com

-WHAT WOOD TO USE FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

-CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY FOR COOKING?

-HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

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

Dr. Smoke- The Water Pan explained is essential for moist results in grilling and smoking

Dr. Smoke- The Water Pan explained is essential for moist results in grilling and smoking

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

TOP 10 TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY

Listen to the audio of this blog

We all love the time of year when we can abandon the indoor kitchen and head out to the grill for open air breathing, relaxing, and some great food.  For those of you who are new to outdoor grilling or who may need a refresher, we are giving you our top TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY so there’s no chance your summer grilling season is remembered for another reason.

Tip #1

You probably wondered why about 15 years ago, outdoor kitchens became all the rage.  The real purpose in having an area designated for outdoor cooking took hold when people realized these structures were highly durable and allowed for measures to be in place to ensure rogue hot coals from charcoal fires or excessive heat from gas grills didn’t ignite the surrounding structures like the house and garage.  If you can’t afford a full outdoor kitchen layout, at least follow some of the basic ideas: set the cooking area a distance away from any building and preferably on a fire-proof surface like concrete, that is safely away from trees and grass.

Tip #2

Keep your grill clean.  Whether it’s propane, natural gas, electric or charcoal, all grills need periodic cleaning to keep them performing optimally as well as to prevent those surprise grease fires.  Any grill can have a grease fire!  Clean the drip pan, grease pan, lid, walls and grilling grates.  In addition to the safety need, this will give you the longest life out of the grills parts.   If you grill a lot in a single season, then clean the equipment more than just at the start and end of the season.

Tip #3

Don’t use lighter fluid.   This is a chemical designed to give quick life to briquets, charcoal, and wood.  Don’t use it!  It adds a prominent chemical taste to your foods and can result in a fire that goes wild.  Learn what a chimney starter is, buy one, and use it.  It is the safest and easiest method of lighting a fire for a charcoal/wood grill.

Tip #4

Take note of the clothing you choose to wear when you know you’re going to be in control of the grill.  No dangling sleeves, strings, or flammable materials should be near the grill.  Aprons are a great way to keep clean as well as to keep flowing clothing under control.   Just be sure the ties to said apron don’t become a fire starter.

Tip #5

Outdoor cooking is an adult activity.  Don’t assign a youngster to watch the grill.  Grease fires account for most of the damaging fires resulting from grilling.  Plus, it is so easy for youngsters to receive burns from brushing or directly touching the hot grill surfaces.   Animals, too, should be kept away.

Tip #6

Always prepare for catastrophic events!  That means keep a fire extinguisher handy, sand, or baking soda at the ready.  Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water.  Remember, when using a fire extinguisher, spray ahead of the fire and then move toward it.

Tip #7

Understand how your grill works.  With multi-fuel options in one piece of equipment, you need to know how to close vents, valves to gas, and output drafts.  Firing up the grill and having something uncontrollable occur is not the time to learn what those knobs, slides, and dials are for.

Tip #8

If nuts, bolts, or screws loosen up, take the time to secure them back in place, especially if they are on lids, wheels, or fuel areas.  Grills need to be sturdy to withstand the constant opening and closing of the lid.   Protect the surface the grill is on by investing in a grill mat that is fire retardant.  Not only can it prevent the start of a fire, but it will protect your deck or patio material from needing replacement.

Tip #9

When lighting a gas grill, be sure to keep the lid open.  Lighting when the lid is down can result in the gas pooling and exploding.  This will result in the lid becoming a weapon of its own when it is blown off the grill!

Tip #10

Never move a grill indoors including to a garage!  I know.  Space is always an issue when you entertain and a grill can take a lot of that valuable space.  But there is no way around the fact that these pieces of equipment require outdoor air to prevent accumulation of volatile gases that can make you and everyone around ill or worse.  Plus, these units radiate a lot of heat and that heat can spread quickly to other surfaces like the garage door, walls, siding, canopies, lawn chairs – you name it.  Always maintain a 3- foot barrier around the grill including above it to ensure no issues.

Have you experienced a disaster while grilling?  Tell us what safety tip you wish you had known about before disaster struck.  Get tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the flame and fire to improve your skills with wood-fired cooking! Follow our TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY for a wonderful safe grilling season!

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON

-WHY WON’T MY WOOD CHIPS SMOKE??

-WHAT WOOD TO USE FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

-HOW MUCH WOOD TO ADD WHEN SMOKING

 

The top Ten TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY we hope will make your grilling season safe and tasteful!

The top Ten TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY we hope will make your grilling season safe and tasteful!

Outdoor kitchen location tips

Wonderful article on Outdoor kitchen location tips

Wonderful article on Outdoor kitchen location tips

Guest Blog – Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor Kitchen Location Tips

by Phil Zaleon

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.

Are you ready to build your dream luxury outdoor kitchen?

 

Call Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens on 203-871-3804 today to get started!

Related Reading:

-Electric Smoker Guy-HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ELECTRIC SMOKER

-Does Outdoor Kitchen Stainless Steel Rust

Dr. Smoke- things you should consider on Outdoor kitchen location tips

Dr. Smoke- things you should consider on Outdoor kitchen location tips

Charcoal Grilled Asparagus

Our asparagus after seasoning and ready to become Charcoal grilled Asparagus!

Our asparagus after seasoning and ready to become Charcoal grilled Asparagus!

Guest Blogger

By Chef C. V. Calle Guest Chef in Residence, SmokinLicious Kitchens

By Chef C. V. Calle Guest Chef in Residence, SmokinLicious Kitchens

 

Listen to the audio of this blog

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

Procedure:

Asparagus on the charcoal grill

  1. Wash and break off the tough bottom two inches of each asparagus spear
  2. Toss with EVOO and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
  3. Place asparagus on a hot grill top
  4. 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
  5. Remove from grill, add salt and pepper to taste and you are ready to go
  6. Optional plating technique: top with fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese and drizzle with a high-quality balsamic glaze

Charcoal grilled Asparagus with Parmesan Reggiano cheese

 

 

 

Chef’s Recommendation:

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).

Purchase products:

Charwood

Additional reading:

-WHY CHAR-WOOD IS THE BETTER OPTION OVER CHARCOAL

-EMBER FIRED ASPARAGUS ON THE HIBACHI

-Flank Steak Pinwheels with Ember Roasted Asparagus

-Crostini with Smoked Asparagus

Thank you, Chef Calle, for this Charcoal Grilled Asparagus recipe- It was yummy!

Thank you, Chef Calle, for this Charcoal Grilled Asparagus recipe- It was yummy!

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!

Listen to the audio of this blog

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!

Purchase products:

Charwood

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!

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