Our outdoor kitchen guest blog is authored by Mike Cahill

Our outdoor kitchen guest blog is authored by Mike Cahil

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Mike is part of the Content Marketing team and enjoys applying market insights to provide valuable content on all things real estate. Mike’s dream home would be mid-century modern style near the water.

As days get warmer and summer approaches we’re all looking for more ways to spend time outside. Whether it be biking, running, hiking, or walking we can all agree that being outside is one of the best ways to spend time during the summer. So why not cook outside too? Having an inviting outdoor space that can double as a beautiful kitchen is a great way to be outside and create memories to be cherished for years to come. For that, we reached out to the experts from Yolo to Palm City to provide our readers with a few tips for creating the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen.

Make it your own Outdoor Kitchen

The trend of outdoor design is experiencing a dramatic shift today. Landscape designers are moving away from traditional masonry-built structures to waterproof cabinets equipped with storage, trash receptacles and even vegetable and herb potting areas providing a whole new experience. Moya Living and Urban Bonfire offer two creative and functional products that bring color and extreme functionality into the design and provide the structure with every ability to create the perfect outdoor kitchen. Whether the homeowner desires a smoker from Kalamazoo, a pizza oven from Lynx, or Versa Powder Cooker from Alfresco, the options are endless in the design creation. Outdoor kitchen design now takes front and center focus when planning a remodeled home and now is simply an extension from the indoor to the outdoor so that every space of the home is utilized. – Annette Reeves

Find a proper grill

The focus of any outdoor kitchen is the grill. At Chicago Outdoor Living we believe a grill’s value shouldn’t be based solely on price. Features such as design, quality of materials, and functionality, combined with price, play an important role in choosing the grill that is right for you. It is also important to be aware of the manufacturer’s warranty. Chicago Outdoor Living carries a variety of high-quality grills to fit everyone’s grilling needs and budget – Chicago Outdoor Living

Grilling burgers on the grill

Our Authors image of cooking burgers

Choose complimentary finishes

Leather finish granite countertops are my go-to countertop surface for outdoor kitchens. It looks matte enough to feel like it belongs outdoors but is cleanable and ages well. – Attainable Form

Utilize misting systems

During sweltering summer days that are hot enough to have you fantasizing about moving to Antarctica, it can be difficult to enjoy your outdoor kitchen while you are feeling sweaty and scorched. With our misting systems that cool the air by up to 30 degrees without getting anyone drenched, you’ll be able to elevate your lifestyle and enjoy your outdoor kitchen in comfort all you want. – Advanced Misting Systems

Incorporate patio heaters

Enjoying your outdoor kitchen can be extremely difficult during winter days that are so cold it feels like you could chip a tooth from shivering. With our outdoor patio heaters that emit radiant heat to keep an area warm, you’ll have your own patio encased in a bubble of warmth, allowing you to enjoy your patio and outdoor kitchen while the neighbors are stuck indoors. – Gas Outdoor Patio Heaters

Storage is key in your Outdoor Kitchen

You can never have enough storage outside. The key is drawers: paper plates, utensils, corn on the cob holders, grill grates…. Keep them at your fingertips and you will be much happier. Drawer cabinets have to be fully enclosed to avoid creatures from crawling in for a vacation. – Cowgirl Q

If you love wood-fired flavors to foods cooked outdoors then be sure to consider wood storage when designing your outdoor kitchen. Pizza ovens, ceramic or clay ovens/smokers, traditional smokers and gas/hybrid grills all allow for the addition of charcoal, charwood, and/or hardwood to bring flavor essence to favorite cuts of protein, vegetables and fruit. Include in your design wood storage that allows for good air circulation to the wood as well as storage placed close to the equipment. Mesh bins or small wood crates work well for smaller pieces of wood that can fit on shelving under the counter or design open shelving in metal, stucco or concrete material that allow larger pieces of wood to remain dry, nonreactive and at the ready. – Smokinlicious

Don’t forget about the island

The best way to start creating your own Ultimate outdoor Kitchen is by getting ideas of different types of islands and kitchens. Researching will help you brainstorm an idea of your own (shape, size, color, components, etc). The next step is to find out where your Island will be placed. After finding a perfect fit, take a few measurements to see how the unit will be laid out. Over the years, KoKoMo has created various Outdoor Kitchen models with all kinds of different designs. A good example is our custom sports bar. This unit is fully stocked with all of our most popular components and accessories. This kitchen has a beautiful white-looking stone that covers the base, with a nice steel-looking tile to go with it. We used a large 15×15 aluminum shade cover with two giant TVs to entertain both sides of the island. – KoKoMo Grills

Keep it comfortable

Outdoor kitchens draw people in, whether it’s your guests gathering to offer help or little ones looking for a snack before the big meal. Make everyone comfortable with our thick, high-density cushions. Bonus tip: all our cushions are covered in water-resistant fabric, making rain and spills the least of your worries. And at the end of the party, if you need a special type of cover for your furniture or grill, we’ve got you covered with custom-made covers! – Classic Accessories

Get a personalized rub kit

Whether you’re grilling or smoking, when you’re cooking outdoors, having your own personalized “rub kit” at the ready is critical. A rub kit should include staples like lemon pepper, garlic pepper, and all-purpose seasoning salt. Round out your kit with your favorite rubs for the big four – beef, chicken, pork and seafood. – Savory Spice Shop

Picture of all the fixings being cut for the grill

We love this image from the author!

Consult with a pro for the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

For homeowners who want to build a fully functional outdoor kitchen area in their homes, I always recommend consulting with a designer, in addition to the outdoor kitchen company themselves. One thing I have learned with my experience in the business, is one layout for a kitchen does not necessarily work for every future buyer of the home — so the key is: versatility and simplicity. Most buyers these days are not so focused on decking, they want to see more grass. So artificial grass is a great alternative to decking, plus easy to maintain. Keep your dining area separate, and not built-in, should someone in the future want to change it, or if you entertain and need a different layout for a specific event. – Jenny Okhovat Homes

Originally published on Redfin

More Related reading on smoker More Related reading on Outdoor Kitchen essentials and other design ideas.

More Related reading on smoker More Related reading on Outdoor Kitchen essentials and other design ideas.

Related reading:

-Outdoor kitchen location tips

-Does Outdoor Kitchen Stainless Steel Rust

-6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY OUTDOOR COOKING SEASON

 

 

 

Dr. Smoke- has an Outdoor Kitchen for grilling, smoking and entertainment, follow these great tips from our guest blogger!

Dr. Smoke- has an Outdoor Kitchen for grilling, smoking and entertainment, follow these great tips from our guest blogger!

Our three ways of smoking Boston Butt offer great wood smoke flavor!

Our three ways of smoking Boston Butt offers great wood smoke flavor!

3 METHODS OF SMOKING BOSTON BUTT Click To Tweet

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This certainly is a clear example of how anyone can produce authentic barbecue on the equipment they have even if it’s not a traditional smoker.

3 Methods of Smoking Boston Butt-

It should come as no surprise that majority of grill owners invest in a gas grill for their outdoor cooking with over 80% of these owners investing in multiple accessories for that grill. Often, many of these grill owners will venture to make an additional purchase of a second type of grill like a charcoal or pellet grill/smoker, in order to be able to cook more barbecue or smoked food options.

My intent is to demonstrate to you that you can produce authentic flavors, colors, textures, and aromas of favorite barbecue proteins with a variety of equipment, all outfitted with hardwood for the authentic wood flavoring.

I’ll be taking Boston butt to a traditional gas grill, a kettle charcoal grill, and a convection-style grill to demonstrate just how easy it is to cook this popular animal protein while giving you a bit of education on how these units are different when hardwood is incorporated.

Set Up Similarities and Differences for Smoking Boston Butt

When it comes to setting up the grills for smoking, there are some obvious differences. First, let me name the equipment brands I’ve included and the intended set up of each for cooking and smoking the Boston Butt cuts, all of which approximate 8 lbs.

Our Boston Butt (s) on the Stok Gas Grill with accompanying Smoker boxes
Our Boston Butt (s) on the Stok Gas Grill with accompanying Smoker boxes

The Stôk Quattro 4-Burner Grill:

If you are not familiar with this grill, it is equipped with an insert system to allow you to use a standard grilling grate, a griddle, grill basket, vegetable tray, pizza stone, Dutch oven, Wok, and other inserts that easily pop in and out of the cast iron grates. Despite this feature, you can do traditional smoking using wood chunks without the need for the smoker/infuser insert.

Whenever I smoke on a traditional gas grill, I always set up a two-zone cooking method. This means, on my 4-burner Stôk, I will ignite just two of the burners on one side. You can either place wood chunks directly on the heat shields of the unit or use a metal smoker box. My Boston butt will cook on the unlit side of the grill with a metal smoker box containing 3 wood chunks on the hot side. I’ve also included a second smoker box to make it easier to swap out the first when the wood becomes completed charred. My temperature is 225°F for the actual cooking.

Our Boston Butt on the Orion Cooker with Minuto® wood chips in the inner ring
Our Boston Butt on the Orion Cooker with Minuto® wood chips in the inner ring

Orion Cooker:

This is an outdoor convection unit that uses briquets for the heat and Minuto® Wood Chips placed around the drip/water pan for the wood flavoring. This unit will be the fastest to cook the Boston Butt, with an anticipated timing of 4-1/2 hours total. This is a direct cooking method that uses the radiated heat of the stainless-steel body to trap and circulate the heat for faster cooking time.

There is no ability to replenish the wood chips with this unit due to the high heat level. About 15 lbs. of briquet and 4 ounces of Orion Custom Wood Chips is all that is needed to smoke, plus some water in the water/drip pan for a moist outcome.

Our Boston Butt on the Weber® kettle Grill with double filet wood chunks
Our Boston Butt on the Weber® kettle Grill with double filet wood chunks

Weber® Kettle 22” Charcoal Grill:

Likely one of the most popular charcoal grills, the Weber® kettle provides for the opportunity to cook with charcoal and hardwood. I’ll be setting up my grill using a two-zone method; charcoal/wood on half the fire area and the meat placed on the indirect side.

Due to the length of time Boston butt takes to cook, you likely will need to replenish the charcoal for maintenance of heat level. I prefer to maintain a temperature around 250° F.

For similarities: both the Weber® and the Stôk grill were set up with a two-zone cooking method. Both included use of the SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunk. The length of cooking time between the charcoal unit and the gas unit are very similar, taking close to 10 hours.

For differences: temperature maintenance is easier with the gas and convection units. The charcoal unit requires much more supervision to ensure that the fuel (charcoal) is replenished prior to the temperature of the grill decreasing significantly. You are also able to check on the meat’s coloring and evenness of cooking with the charcoal and gas units while the convection unit is generally left alone until closer to the recommended cooking times. Though you can check on the doneness of the meat at any point with the convection unit, generally there is no need to do anything but wait.

Regarding cooking variations, let’s discuss color, bark formation, moisture of the meat.

Barbecue By All Methods

With all four of the Boston Butt (s) prepared in the same manner – excess fat trimmed to ¼-inch or less, a dry rub applied on all sides, and marinated for 24 hours – this is a fair comparison of how each grilling and smoking method produces the barbecue results commonly looked for.

Bark:

Without question, bark or the outer crust that develops from exposure to a lower temperature, long cook time, and smoke vapor infusion was greatest on the Boston butt cooked on the Weber® Kettle 22” Charcoal Grill. The gas grill produces the least amount of bark which is dominate on the outer edges and top surface.

Color:

The darkest coloring to the bark and the most obvious smoke ring was on the meat cooked on the charcoal grill. The Orion Cooker produced a brown hue to the meat’s exterior while the meat cooked on the gas grill retained a red hue that was indicative of the dry rub color. Charcoal grills will produce a black hued coloring due to two combustible materials: charcoal or charred wood and hardwood.

Moisture:

The meat that produced the greatest amount of rendered juice was from the charcoal cooking method. Second, the convection grill method followed by the gas grill. However, the greatest internal moisture level was obtained from the indirect cooking method on the gas grill, followed by the charcoal method and lastly the convection method.

Final Notes:

What we’ve set out to accomplish with this multi cook segment is to prove that no matter what equipment you have, you can produce authentic flavor, aroma and texture to Boston butt. This can be invaluable for those times when you may not have a lot of time to supervise the smoker or grill but still want authentic barbecue. Or, when you must make a lot of meat meaning you must use all the equipment options you have available.

All four Boston Butt (s) one done on charcoal with the Weber, another in the Orion with wood chips and two on the gas grill with wood chunks- the coloring is not much different!
All four Boston Butt (s) one done on charcoal with the Weber, another in the Orion with wood chips and two on the gas grill with wood chunks- the coloring is not much different!

From a taste perspective, our sampling group indicated that the strongest smoked flavor was from the charcoal unit, followed by the convection grill and lastly, the gas grill. Keep this information in mind when you’re cooking for others, as boldness of the smoke flavor can be controlled not only by the amount of time exposed to the smoke vapor, but also with the equipment used for the cooking and the amount and type of hardwood used in the process.

This certainly is a clear example of how anyone can produce authentic barbecue on the equipment they have even if it’s not a traditional smoker.

Making you an informed consumer through valuable articles like this one. Leave us a comment and follow us or subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® Products used in these techniques:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Minuto®

More related reading on how Smokinlicious® reduces the risks of Microbial bacteria in our wood products
More related reading on smoking Boston Butt & other Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More blogs you may enjoy:

-Charwood Grilled Salmon Fillets for a Hint of Smoky Flavor

-GRILLED LAMB

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!

-ROSEMARY INFUSED SMOKED BEEF SHANKS FROM THE GRILL

Dr. Smoke- We used three different methods for smoking Boston Butt! All turned out fabulous & tasty!

Dr. Smoke- We used three different methods for smoking Boston Butt! All turned out fabulous & tasty!

The Tasty Charms of Smoked Pears- Dr. Smoke

The Tasty Charms of Smoked Pears- Dr. Smoke

 

SMOKED PEARS PERFECTION!Listen to the audio of this blog

 

Pears, pears, everywhere! Why not try your hand with this easy method for smoked pears Depending on where you’re located, you’ll have at least a few varieties of pears to select from. Rather than just enjoy these as a raw fruit, try something truly unique that will give them a kiss of wood flavoring?

Stovetop smoking is so easy and a great way to still enjoy wood-fired flavorings during the winter months, when you may not want to venture out to the grill or smoker. I’ll be highlighting Bosc pears in today’s technique. To do this technique you will need:

 

Pears cut in half

Pears cut in half

PREPARING THE SMOKED PEARS

When I purchased my Bosc pears, I made sure that they were firm to the touch so that I would have some longevity to their use in recipes for a while. Carefully, wash each pear and then pat dry with a paper towel. I then slice each pear in half, removing the stem tip. This will give me a flat surface to smoke and cook my pears since I am using a stovetop grill pan with my process. That will allow me to form some great grill marks on the pears while they cook. The benefit to using halves of pear is I can feature larger pear cuts in a salad or dessert, highlighting the golden smoked color.

Once the pears are halved and the stems removed, I will core out the seeds and hard seed membrane with a small paring knife. Once that step is complete, I start the heat under my stovetop smoking pan.

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BBQ Box Smoker should be used as much as your tongs on the gas grill!

BBQ Box Smoker should be used as much as your tongs on the gas grill!

Learn how to use the BBQ box smoker Click To Tweet

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Bert and Tom discuss when the weather is cold use your BBQ box smoker year round!

We have all been in Tom’s position. We love grilling and smoking but prefer the warmer weather. For those of us in 4 season climates with below zero temperatures in winter and lots of snow, it seems too hard to continuing grilling! But just as Bert remarks, you do not have to give up cooking outdoors just because of the weather.

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Collage of Smoked Chestnuts go on a Stovetop Smoker

Collage of Smoked Chestnuts go on a Stovetop Smoker

SMOKED CHESTNUTS ON A STOVETOP SMOKER!

Depending on where your located, chestnuts may only be available for a short period each year, usually around the holidays. Mostly pan roasted in the oven, why not do something unique with this prized fruit and smoke them! In addition to the chestnuts, you’ll need a stovetop smoker, purchased or you can make your own with tools likely in your kitchen. You can see our writing on the “The Kitchen Find” which will guide you on what is needed.

You will also need:

  • Minuto® Chips Size #6 from SmokinLicious®
  • a cutting board and knife
  • about 2 hours of time. Be sure you also have a hood vent where you will be using the stovetop smoker in order to maintain a smoke-free kitchen.

You will find chestnuts available prepackaged or in bulk when in season. Although the packaged product will include a directive to cut an X in the flat surface of each nut, I grew up in a household where we always cut off the stem side. This is the small, dark cap side to the chestnut. The chestnut has a cap and a pointed end giving it a bloated teardrop look. I have found that when smoking, I get better control of the smoke infusion with a fresh cut to one end. Keep in mind, not all the chestnuts purchased will likely be viable as often mold will take hold of some of the chestnuts which you won’t see until you cut into them. As the chestnuts age, they can develop a fuzzy mold on the outside which will tell you not to waste your time cutting that one open! Simply discard!

Generally, chestnuts have a flat side and a rounded side.

To prepare them:

  • lay the chestnut on the cutting board with the flat side down. Place your knife blade over the small dark cap, and slice off in one motion. This will reveal the chestnut meat inside which will have a yellow-white hue. Once the cap is off, you’ll be able to tell if any mold has set in as it will have a marked gray/black appearance. If any mold is noted, discard the chestnut as it won’t cook tender. If the majority is free of mold, go ahead and keep it for the smoking/cooking process.Triming the chestnuts

 

To do stovetop smoking, there are 4 parts needed:

  • a pan to hold the heat and wood chips
  • a drip pan to prevent rendered fat and juices from entering the wood. Generally, you only need the drip pan when you actually have a food item that will produce juices or fat drippings.
  • a grill pan
  • a lid.

Note: Smoked chestnuts will not produce any drippings though they do have a percentage of water that will be released as steam into the lid of the pan. Just be sure when you open the lid that you keep any collected water from dripping back into the cooking grate.

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Smokey Hungarian Peppers on our kettle Grill!

Smokey Hungarian Peppers on our kettle Grill!

Let's Do Smokey Hungarian Peppers on the Kettle Grill! Click To Tweet

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I love growing Hungarian wax peppers in my garden and then harvesting for recipes and freezing for future recipes. Hungarian wax pepper come in different levels of heat depending on the variety chosen. Mine are a hot variety but work perfectly for mixing with other creamy flavors to produce some great condiments and sauces. I will introduce you to two versions of my Smoked Hungarian Pepper Spread in our recipe blog which will post soon.

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To our blog kiwifruit gets smoky

A SPICE FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT: SMOKIN’ DUST®

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

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

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

Wood is an ingredient

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

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

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

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

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

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-TASTE IS AROMA!

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

-KIWIFRUIT GETS SMOKY

Our products used in this Blog:

Flavored Smokin’ Dust

Smokinlicious® Grande Sapore-larger smoker wood chips are crushed to preserve the great moisture level to be released during the cooking process.

Smokinlicious® Grande Sapore-larger smoker wood chips or woood nuggets are crushed to preserve the great moisture level to be released during the cooking process.

A MESSAGE FROM DR. SMOKE on WOOD NUGGETS:

I want to thank everyone for their feedback and comments regarding “One Size Does Not Fit Everything!” There are so many smokers/grills on the market today, and we’ve always felt that one wood chip size does not fit every piece of equipment! Is the description “wafer”, nuggets, or chip size?? Users of the various equipment always seem to be trying to fit either an oversized piece or an undersized into unit to make it work! Just like when a recipe calls for a Tablespoon, you don’t add a cup. It’s the same concept with wood smoke flavoring of food!

So, after much research and work in the test kitchen, we, at SmokinLicious® will be welcoming new equipment at our facility to manufacture a variety of wood chip sizes. Our packages will begin to distinguish the following new concepts:

  • Wood Species
  • Sizing of the product
  • Fines Fraction
  • Bark Particles
  • Wetness (moisture) level
  • Ash level

Although we have been providing this customization to our wholesale customers for some time, we feel the time is right to make this information available to our internet/home user customers!

The first scheduled product will be the “SmokinLicious® “Wood Nuggets.” This product will consist of wood pieces approximately 30-35 mm by 15 mm, a perfect size when you want to add something other than a “double filet” chunk to the process but need something more than a small chip in order to avoid flare ups over hot coals. The Wood Nugget will have plenty of substance to produce excellent smoke vapor, the most vital element for infusing wood smoke flavor in foods.

This will allow the backyard barbecuer the means to set up the fire with a base hardwood for smoking and add something at the end to match- just like what commercial smokehouses do! Use your base hickory and add cherry nuggets to provide some great red hue to the end product!

At SmokinLicious®, we are constantly refining products and techniques for food smoking, grilling, ember fire and oven cooking. We will have a classification of products anticipated to be completed by the end of this year. We will introduce this array of wood cooking and smoking products over the internet by Spring 2015! As always, we welcome your comments and feedback!

Bon Bar B Que,

Dr. Smoke- Our nuggets is a cross-over cooking & smoking wood product.

Dr. Smoke- Our wood Nuggets offer the same superb Smokinlicious® flavor quality when your smoker or grill needs something bigger than chips but less that chunks.

For more related reading on this subject, check out these articles-

For more reading on cooking and smoking wood, check out these article:

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Cooking Wood

Facts to Know Before Purchasing Cooking Wood

The Smokinlicious® Wood Guide

 

During stay at home or Quarantine doesn't mean you should place your taste buds on hold!

During stay at home or Quarantine doesn’t mean you should place your taste buds on hold!

Listen to the audio of this blog

Stay at Home

You’ve committed to a stay-cation. Lists of games to play, tasks to complete, books to read, and movies and shows to see have been compiled. Now its time to give some thought to the food that will sustain you during this time.

Don’t compromise taste because your afraid to make too much work out of cooking. Using the grill is a super easy way to keep your foods and meals highly flavorful. Let’s give you some ideas that will provide options for everyone to feel satisfied and pleasantly full.

The Breakdown

I think the easiest way to view meal preparation when you focus on the grill as your primary method of cooking is to breakdown foods by categories.

Fruits:

This group of food can make some of the best grilled items. Already sweet in flavor, grilling them produces more vibrant flavor as the heat caramelizes the natural sugars and produces a char to the outside of the fruit. When selecting fruits for the grill, be sure they are ripe but not over-ripened to where they present as soft, or they will have tendency to break apart on the grill. Keep the pieces of fruit large when placing on the grill to maintain as much cell structure as possible. Brush the fruit pieces lightly with a high heat oil like coconut, avocado, or grape seed. The key is to leave the pieces untouched for at least 3 minutes before flipping to get great char and flavor infusion. Perfect fruits for the grill: banana, avocado, apple, mango, peach, papaya, pineapple, peach, pear, plum, grapes, cranberry, eggplant, kiwi, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, tomato.

Vegetables:

You likely are already aware of popular vegetables to grill like corn on the cob, peppers, and onions, but there are so many more that pair perfectly with the grill. In fact, I would go as far as saying ANY vegetable is appropriate for the grill, you just need to control those that should be exposed to direct heat versus indirect. The easy method of determining heat level is the thicker the skin on the veggie, the more tolerant to direct heat. All vegetables can cook on the grill in less than 10 minutes so time really isn’t a factor. Always remember to avoid moving the vegetables on the grill until they have cooked for at least 3-4 minutes. For preparation to the vegetables, most require just quartering or slicing in half, with some going on whole like tomatoes and smaller mushrooms. Basting with high heat tolerant oils is also recommended.

Nuts and Seeds:

These are foods that react with a super boost in flavor when exposed to the heat of a grill and flavor of wood on the grill. Any seed or nut can be grilled by using a disposable foil pan or griddle pan designed for grilling. These items take about 15-20 minutes and should be stirred every 5-8 minutes to prevent scorching.

Baked Items:

Anything you normally would bake in an oven can be done on the grill. This includes cookies, cakes, breads, pies, tarts, and pastry. Just remember, like vegetables, these items can be a bit more fragile. Using a two-zone cooking set up on the grill – baked item placed on the unlit side of the grill while the heat is on the opposite side – produces a radiant heat that will cook the item evenly and without any direct hot spots. I will say that baked items tend to do best on a LP/Gas grill versus charcoal unit.

Animal Proteins:

Of course, animal proteins are well known as a grilled food item. My recommendation here is to marinate items with either wet or dry rubs for 8 hours to ensure great moisture in the finished product.

As a final note, grilled foods store very well and don’t lose any of their flavor when refrigerated. Plus, it’s easy to grill a variety of items at the same time. Any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner – can be done exclusively on a grill. For those that love even more char flavoring, think about adding wood chunks either in a smoking box or directly on grates or heat shields. You can learn more about this technique for the gas grill here.

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

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks- Single & Double Filet

Charwood

More related reading on more to do during this staycation year see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading on more to do during stay at home time see our smoking & Grilling tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More blogs you might enjoy!

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

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

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

-HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

Dr. Smoke-

Dr. Smoke-Don’t put your taste buds on hold during this stay at home or Quarantine year!

Bagged boxed or canned foods can be cooked on any grill

Any grill, yes gas grill,bagged boxed or canned foods can be cooked!

Listen to the audio of this blog

Bagged Boxed or Canned

If you have one or more grills at your home then likely, without even knowing it, you have prepped for emergency situations. I’ve been encouraged to see while social distancing is in place, people are reaching out to their grills to cook family meals. It is simply fabulous!

Don’t limit the use of this cooking equipment to the traditional items like animal proteins and thick-skinned vegetables like peppers, onions, and corn. Embrace the concept that nearly anything can be cooked on the grill.

Bagged Food Items

Common bagged food items that are considered perfect for storing as emergency food rations include: rice, dried pasta, dried beans, oats, quinoa, trail mix, dried fruits, candy, snack foods like chips and cookies, cornmeal, granola, and more.

Any of these items can be used in food preparation on the grill as long as you have cookware that can tolerate the heat of the grill or even use disposable foil pans or aluminum foil that you can mold into your own cookware.

Starting with common items like rice, dried pasta and beans, and quinoa, these items can be cooked in water or broth using cookware placed directly on the grill grate. Generally, direct heat works for these items, since you need to reach a boil and then simmer these items for a relatively long period before they are tender. Trail mix, oats and dried fruits work great as breakfast items to cook with milk or milk substitutes, again using a saucepan directly on the grill. Snack foods, candy, trail mix and more work well for making desserts on the grill. Cookie crumbs work for making tart and pie shells, crushed chips for crusting animal proteins, and candy for those special treats that may just include some type of chocolate candy and prepared phyllo dough sheets, which I always keep available in my freezer for spur of the moment needs.

Boxed Food Items

Although some of the items listed above such as dried pasta, rice, and beans also come in box packaging, I want to address some of the other boxed foods that you may not think of cooking on the grill. As life has become busier, many food manufacturing companies maximized the need for ready meals by providing meal prep in a box that just may need the addition of a protein or liquid to bring the meal alive. Don’ forget to use the grill for these items. For example, macaroni and cheese often comes in a box with the packaged ingredients that only require the addition of milk. Here’s where you can take these items and step the up. Cook the boxed item in a saucepan on the grill while also grilling some meat or poultry that can be added to the boxed item for more nutritional value. Knorr® is another company that makes many main entrées in a packet or box that can easily be cooked and modified on the grill. Other options to cook on the grill: Stove Top Stuffing, Chef Boyardee Pizza Maker, Near East rice blends, Hamburger Helper, Miracle Noodle packets, and more.

Canned Food Items

Without question, this is a large concentration of foods that are packaged in cans. When you can cook these items on the grill with a bit of wood for added flavor, you’ll bring this from an ordinary food to something with greater flavor depth. Dinty Moore stews, Chef Boyardee pasta and meat items, Hormel items like tamales and hash, Campbell’s soups, and even some upscale items like Duck Confit are available in cans and ready for the pot located on the grill.

Final Tips

We often have considered the grill as a “summer” or “good weather” item only to be used when we feel like it. Turn your thinking around and start to view the grill as a true extension of the kitchen that should be used frequently. If you’ve never considered owning a charcoal grill, bring one in as the ultimate prepper item. You will no longer be dependent on propane or gas to operate it, just charcoal or other plant based combustible material. That type of grill could truly save you in a pinch. Or, consider doing a safe set up of an outdoor self-made grill, which just requires some fire-safe material like stone, brick, sand, or metal. Use a grill grate you already have or high heat cookware to do the cooking by hot coals and fire.

I always recommend you keep an inventory of disposable foil pans around for outdoor cooking as well. This is an easy method of cooking foods without breaking out a ton of pots and pans that will require cleaning. Although I still like to clean some of my foil pans for re-use, know you always have the option to use and discard. This is particularly helpful when utilities may be down.

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

SmokinLicious® Products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

More related reading cooking Canned, boxed or bagged foods on a grill along with other tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

More related reading cooking bagged boxed or canned foods on a grill along with other tips and technique see our directory on previous blogs!

Additional reading

-CUTS OF MEAT THAT GRILL & SMOKE WELL & PROVIDE MORE THAN ONE MEAL

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

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

-THE SMOKER WATER PAN EXPLAINED!

 

Dr. Smoke-

Dr. Smoke-Bagged boxed or canned foods can be made interestingly flavorful on any grill

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

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

Try this Spatchock Smoked Turkey Click To Tweet

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Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

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

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

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

Does Fresh Make a Difference?

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

#freshturkey

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

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

Flatten and Rub for a Perfect Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

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

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

#spatchock

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

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

#spatchocking

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

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

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

#twozonecooking #woodchunks#smokerbox

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

Ready in No Time

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

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

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

#spatchcocksmokedturkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SmokinLicious® Products used in this technique:

Our hand split double filet smoker wood chunks

#woodchunks

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

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

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

More blog topics you might enjoy:

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

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

-THE NOT-SO-SMOKEY SMOKED TURKEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

Let's stop the dry smoked meats effect with our 9 easy steps!

Let’s stop the dry smoked meats effect with our 9 easy steps!

WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY?? Click To Tweet

 

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

What went wrong?

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

(more…)

Our Grill drawing for breaking out on your staycation

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

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The Grill

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

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

The Many Grilling Options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SmokinLicious® Products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

 

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

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

Related reading:

 

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

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

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

Dr. Smoke-

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

The Water Pan in Smoker explained for grilling and smoking techniquies

The Water Pan in Smoker explained for grilling and smoking techniques!

THE WATER PAN IN SMOKER EXPLAINED FOR GRILLING & SMOKING Click To Tweet

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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 water pan in smoker, see our links for related readings

More Related reading on water pan in smoker, see our links for related readings

Additional reading

-PREVENTING DRY BBQ IN YOUR SMOKER

-CAN HARDWOOD BE TOO DRY FOR COOKING?

-TURNING YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-TURN YOUR LP/GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER

www.barbecue-smoker-recipes.com

Dr. Smoke- The water pan in smoker explained is essential for moist results in grilling and smoking.

Dr. Smoke- The water pan in smoker explained is essential for moist results in grilling and smoking.

Our Readers Are Asking…

What does water pan do in a smoker?

A water pan induces moisture directly into your smoker as an ally for the indirect dispersion of heat. Never use your water pan as a drip pan. Remember- drip pans = a collection unit for residual or run off grease from the cooking process; a water pan = water for moisturizing foods.

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