The Three ways we smoked-wood flavored our Boston Butts!
The Three ways we smoked-wood flavored our Boston Butts!

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.

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

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 to cook our Boston Butts for a party! All turned out tasty!
Dr. Smoke- We used three different methods to cook our Boston Butts for a party! All turned out tasty!

Our preparation of smoked herbs, from picking, smoking and grinding to make smoked herb dust. Adding great flavor to dishes.

Our preparation of smoked herbs, from picking, smoking and grinding to make smoked herb dust. Adding great flavor to dishes.

SMOKED HERBS FLAVORS WITH SMOKED HERB DUST

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Don’t make the mistake of thinking fresh herbs are to be used in dishes as, well, fresh only.  Although you may have dried your fresh herb harvest before, we are bringing another alternative to you.

We hot smoke the fresh herbs on the grill then turn them into a dust for use in all types of dishes.  The smoking process will bring a depth of flavor that you’ve likely never experienced before.  Go to the herb garden and pick your favorite varieties and let’s get making smoked herb dust!

 Smoke Vapor Infusion

Fresh herbs on the grill using a grilling cage

One thing about this smoked herb technique is you can do the smoke infusion by a variety of equipment methods.

For those with a gas grill, add wood chunks either directly to the heat shields on one side of the grill or add wood chunks to a metal smoker box that can be placed on the heat shields or the grill grate.  For charcoal grill owners, light your charcoal and allow to reduce to hot coals only.  Add a piece or two of hardwood chunks or a handful of hardwood chips to the hot coals.  If possible, push the hot coals to one side of the grill.  For both grill types, you want to use a two-zone cooking method so the herbs don’t catch fire.

For those that don’t own grilling equipment or who simply don’t want to bother lighting up the grill, you can use a handheld food smoker.  Simply place micro wood chips in the bowl of the unit, place the herbs in a storage bag with the tubing of the smoker unit, cinch the end of the bag around the tubing, and light the chips.  I like to leave the smoke in the bag for maximum smoke vapor infusion.

I used both my gas grill and charcoal grill for the smoke process by placing my herbs in a vegetable basket and grilling with the herbs on the unlit side of the grill.    Within the first 5 minutes, you’ll see how the herbs lose moisture and begin the drying stage.

Tasting Notes: I find the handheld food smoker will produce the boldest smoke flavor to the herbs.  The intensity of flavor rated from lightest to boldest based on equipment would be a gas grill, electric smoker, pellet smoker, charcoal grill, handheld food smoker. 

Grinding Process

smoked herbs in the food processor for reduction into smoked herbs dust

Once the herbs have charred and dried, it’s time to remove them from the grill and bring them to the food processor.  I have a mini processor that only has two settings: chop and grind.  I prefer to use this appliance to bring the smoked herbs to dust level but a spice grinder works just as well.

First, remove all the herb leaves from the stems and place a small quantity in the food processor bowl. You can remove the leaves by placing the entire herb sprig in a colander and pressing the leaves through to parchment paper.  Secure the lid and grind until you get as fine a dust as the appliance will allow.  Both the appliance and the herb will determine how fine the herb dust will get.  As you will see, basil dust becomes finer than oregano.  This technique will work for just about any herb you can grow or locate at the market.  Store the herb dust in glass or metal jars for up to a year.

Tasting Notes: Smoked herbs are much stronger in flavor than the standard dried herb.  Adjust the amount used in recipes as needed.  It is often best to start with less, taste, and then add more as needed.

So Many Uses

finished herb bottles of smoked Basil and Smoked oregano

Experimentation is key when it comes to #herbdust.  Most often, herbs will be applied to meats and poultry, perhaps rice and pasta dishes, but there are so many more foods that are good pairings for herb dust.  Let’s take parsley as an example.  Commonly used with fish and beef, parsley is a great pairing for sweet items as well.  This includes banana and cream.  It’s important that you look beyond the traditional side dishes and entrees and explore the sweet side of what herbs can offer.  By doing so, you’re sure to find endless combinations that will tickle your palate and give you more pleasing menu experiences.

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Minuto & Piccolo

 

More Related reading on smoked herbs and other great grillable flavoring ideas

More Related reading on smoked #herbs and other great grillable flavoring idea

 

Additional reading:

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

-STOVE TOP SMOKED CHIVES

-PAN COOK ZUCCHINI ON THE GRILL WITH WOOD FLAVOR

Dr. Smoke- Our process to prepare the smoked herbs is easily done on our gas grill with our double or single filet wood chunks!

Dr. Smoke- Our process to prepare the smoked herbs is easily done on our gas grill with our double or single filet wood chunks!

We are cooking on a chimney starter with a grill pan to nicely char our head of Cauliflower for this recipe!

We are cooking on a chimney starter with a grill pan to nicely char our head of Cauliflower for this recipe!

COAL FIRE CAULIFLOWER BY COOKING ON A CHIMNEY STARTER

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A cousin to broccoli, #cauliflower is one of those vegetables that can be eaten raw or cooked and converted to so many different textures.  Best yet, cauliflower is one of those super cancer-fighting foods as it contains sulforaphane known to kill cancer stem cells.

I’ll be taking my head of cauliflower and introducing it to hot coals, first, direct heat using a #chimneystarter for the actual cooking and then directly on the hot coals to give it the perfect “meat” char.  No matter what color you enjoy – white, yellow, purple – grab a head and get your chimney starter ready, as I show you how to use a chimney starter as an actual grill.

Why a Chimney Starter

All our hot embers accumulated in the Chimney starter provides an excellent heat source for cooking

There are times when you really don’t need to fire up a full charcoal area of coals on the charcoal grill.  I have the perfect solution when you’re doing just a small quantity of a food, like our head of cauliflower.  Use your chimney starter

To start, I place a mesh screen on the charcoal grill grate to help retain the small, hot coals for cooking.  I have a collection of micro charcoal pieces that work perfectly for this type of cooking.

After lighting a Firestarter, I place the charcoal filled chimney starter on top of the Firestarter and allow the coals to burn down to hot embers.  Hot embers are what I will be using to cook my fresh cauliflower, first, directly on the chimney starter, then on the mesh screen once I dump the hot embers from the chimney starter.

Prep and Cook

Pouring the butter over the cauliflower resting on our grill plan

Cauliflower is so simple to prepare for chimney starter coal cooking.  Just remove the thick stem and the green leaves, then cut in half.  I’ll be placing a griddle pan directly over the chimney starter for the start of the cooking.  I first drizzle a couple of tablespoons of a high heat tolerant oil over the cauliflower (I’m using avocado oil).  Allow that to cook while you melt butter which will be poured over the cauliflower.   I melt the butter directly on the grill while the cauliflower is cooking.  Allow this to char the cauliflower on the griddle for about 12 minutes.  We just want enough tenderness to allow the direct coal cooking to provide the flavor.

Embers Give Char Flavor

nicely charred Cauliflower ready for our recipe!

After the cauliflower has produced some tenderness while direct cooking over the chimney starter, it’s time to remove the griddle pan and dump the hot coals onto the mesh.  You’ll see I’ve placed a large wood chunk just off the hot coals to produce some additional wood-fired flavor.  Now in goes the cauliflower steaks.  I position them right on the hot coals.  Don’t turn or disturb these pieces for a least 8 minutes at which time, flip the cauliflower to char the other side.  This is what produces the fabulous “meaty” char taste and why cauliflower is done on the grill is often referred to as a cauliflower steak.

If you will use the cauliflower in a recipe, then cooking about 12 minutes on the coals will be enough.  If enjoying as is, then cook slightly longer and enjoy.  This truly is the easiest method of cooking a single head of cauliflower for a true char flavor.  Which I will be taking to a cauliflower rice recipe that’s coming up!

Have you ever cooked directly on a chimney starter?  Leave us a comment to share.  Bringing innovation to wood-fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on Grilling ideas beyond cooking on a #chimneystarter !

Related reading:

-Cauliflower roasted on LP/Gas Grill over wood chunks

-EMBER COOKED SWEET PEPPERS

-Grilling/Roasting Broccoli on the Grill

-EMBER COOKING/ROASTING GARLIC IN AN IRON SKILLET

Dr. Smoke- Only need to char up a head of Cauliflower, do your cooking on a chimney starter instead of lighting the grill!

Dr. Smoke- Only need to char up a head of Cauliflower, do your cooking on a chimney starter instead of lighting the grill!

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!

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!

 

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

Listen to the audio of this blog

 

 

 

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

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!

Our suggestive tips to avoid WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY

Our suggestive tips to avoid WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY

WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??

Summary:

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

Listen to the audio of this blog

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.

Tip #1: Own a Good Meat Thermometer

There is no way around it!  You need to own a good meat thermometer.  That is truly the only way to know when meats are done before you keep them on the grill or smoker too long.  There is no one internal temperature that is good for all meats either!  Don’t think because you cook chicken until 160°F that this is the ideal temperature for beef, lamb, fish, pork, and sausage.

Tip #2: Know Ideal Food Temperatures

It is vital that you know when to pull the meat off a grill or smoker.  All chicken and turkey need to cook until 160°F (71°C).  Ham, sausage and hot dogs should have a minimum temperature of 140°F (60°C).  Pork including ribs and shoulder need to register 145°F (63°C) while pork steak, chops, roasts can have a range based on doneness preference: 120-130°F (49-54°C) for rare, 130-135°F (54-57°C) for medium-rare/medium, 145-155°F (63-68°C) for medium-well, and 155°F (68°C) and above for well-done.  Beef, lamb, and venison range 120-130°F (49-54°C) for rare, 130-145°F (54-63°C) for medium, 145-155°F (63-68°C) for medium-well, and over 155°F (68°C) for well-done.

Tip #3: Flip, Flip, Flip

When you grill over high heat, it becomes vital that you learn to flip more often.  The results will be better flavor, better color to the food, even doneness and a quicker cooking time.  The flip ensures that only even heat levels get in instead of too high which results in a burnt, charred mess.

Tip #4: Moist Burgers Every Time

Burgers can become extremely dry due to the higher heat level they are cooked over.  To keep as much moisture into the meat, here are a couple of tricks.  The first is to add 1-2 tablespoons of either mayo or Greek yogurt to your ground meat or turkey.  Mix well then form into your burgers. I sometimes like to mix in ricotta cheese!  Or you can add an herb-butter patty to the center of the burger to add moisture.  Be sure to follow Tip #3 with burgers!

Tip #5: Consider Marinating

Although you can now purchase cuts of meat in most stores pre-marinated, I beg you to do this step yourself to control the additives and preservatives that are commonly found in the prepackaged items.  Marinating cuts of meats, especially thinner cuts, produces great flavors and can make for a moister experience as the liquid finds the cracks and crevices on the meat.  It helps to make small slices in the cut of meat to help with the marinade absorption.  There really is no need to marinate overnight though you can do that.  Just know that a couple of hours for meat in a marinade is enough to produce a great outcome.  Plus, marinated foods reduced the unhealthy chemical compounds that can form when you use a hot grilling technique.

Tip #6: Considering Brining

A brine is a wet, salty, slightly sweet mixture that you soak your meat in.  The salt and sugar react with the protein in meats to help retain moisture.  It’s like having a protective moisture-shield around the meat.

Tip #7: Use an Indirect Method of Cooking

An indirect or two-zone cooking method refers to using one side of your equipment for heat while the other side is used for the actual food placement.  By keeping the lid on the grill or smoker, you will retain the heat and radiate it throughout the grill.  If you want to produce a crust on your food, you can easily move it to the direct fireside for a few minutes to accomplish that.  On a gas grill, you would lite the burners on only one side of the grill.  On a charcoal grill or smoker, you would place and lite the charcoal on just one side of the charcoal area.

Tip #8: Foil Wrap

Aluminum foil, the heavy-duty kind, works wonders at keeping foods moist.  By adding 1-2 ounces of liquid to the foil with the meat placed inside and any other ingredients you want to incorporate flavors from, you allow steam to be produced inside the packet and keep everything super moist.   Just be sure you crimp the foil tightly around the food so nothing escapes.

Tip #9: Extend the Cooking Time

If you’re able to plan out your outdoor cooking event, then consider doing a combination of a two-zone cooking method with lower level temperature cooking.  Any time you can cook at a lower temperature for a longer time, you allow the collagen in meat to breakdown producing a gelatin that releases great flavor.  The two-zone cooking method will allow the meat to receive heat in every direction at an even level.

There you have it!  Some concrete tips to ensure you can produce tender and juicy results on your grill or smoker and won’t say Why is My Barbecue Meat Dry!

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

 

Dr. Smoke- slow and low will prevent your guest saying Our suggestive tips to avoid WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY

Dr. Smoke- slow and low will prevent your guest saying Our suggestive tips to avoid WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY

We do a summer favorite WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON!

We do a summer favorite WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON!

WOOD FIRED GRILLED WATERMELON BECOMES A STAR

Summary:

Learn how to do wood fired Grilled Watermelon by using your gas grilling techniques, charcoal grilling techniques, wood grilling delicate fruits and other gas grilling tips and tricks. Wood flavors add to grilled watermelon taste for a spicy grilled watermelon desserts. Add to your grilled watermelon recipes!

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You may have seen segments on grilling watermelon before which show slices of watermelon on a standard gas grill.  Although I agree that the heat generated from the grill will produce a sweet outcome, there is no comparison to doing a grilling technique that incorporates wood for added flavor.

In this segment, I’ll show you how to grill watermelon on a grill of your choice with wood chunks for the unique combination of sweet and char flavors that only comes from grilling with wood.

Easy Prep

I think this is by far, the easiest preparation for the grill.  All you need is a watermelon of your choosing and a grill; gas, electric or charcoal.  Just 2-3 wood chunks from SmokinLicious® and about 20 minutes once you have a lit grill, and this method of bringing flavor to the standard watermelon will be complete.

As watermelon contains a lot of water, it is essential that you work with a medium heat setting on your gas grill and hot coals with a moderate flame for the charcoal grill.  If using a gas grill, be sure to set up the wood chunks on just one side of the grill and allow the chunks to smolder first so there is plenty of smoke vapor.  Since watermelon grills in no time at all, you want to have enough smoke vapor produced to give a great tasty outcome for both a gas grill or charcoal grill method.  Electric smokers are self-contained allowing for simple dialing in about 15 minutes worth of smoking time.

our slices ready to be wood fired!

For the watermelon, cut lengthwise in half and cut each half into individual slices about 1-1/2 to 2” thick.  Or, you can remove all the rind and grill just the watermelon meat.  Keep fire safe tongs at the ready so you can turn the watermelon slices just once as they evaporate some water and sweeten up.  DO NOT leave the grill!  This fruit requires a careful watch so stay put and you’ll have every piece cooked to perfection.

So Many Uses

You’ll see how the watermelon darkens in color, get bits of char coloring to the skin, and is less water soluble.  That’s the perfect outcome.  Now it’s time to think about how to use your wood flavored melon.

Our finished wood fired grilled watermelon

First, you can enjoy it as is.  When I serve this naked, I just give one additional flavor such as fresh, chopped mint.   But if you’re looking for a lunch or lite dinner entrée, think salad by including some baby arugula, goat cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  For a spicy version, sprinkle the wedges with red pepper flakes, a bit of granulated sugar, and lime zest.  Wood fired watermelon also works great with other summer favorites like grape and cherry tomato, pepper slices, sugar snow peas, and cucumber.  No matter how you choose to serve it, grilled watermelon with wood flavoring is going to top your list of grilled favorites.

 

 

Proving that there’s more to wood-fired cooking than just animal proteins, SmokinLicious® brings you great ideas for recipes featuring a wood-fired ingredient.  Bringing you tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

-Smoked Snow Peas With Cucumber Salad

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke- Wood fired grilled watermelon is my favorite summertime dessert!

Showing the technique on how to add wood chips over charcoal with wood to enhance the flavor of any meat, fish, or vegetable being cooked

Adding grill wood chips to charcoal with wood brings added flavor to any cooking category

HOW TO USE CHARCOAL WITH WOOD IN COOKING

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Listen to our blog regarding charcoal with wood

The questions are quite frequent: “Since (the equipment) uses lump charcoal, do you need to add wood for smoke flavor?” “Do wood chips or chunks work best if they are needed or desired?”  “Generally, how much lump charcoal does equipment use for 10 hours of smoke?”

Learn What To Do

The intent today is to give you a comfort with cooking fuel woods.  That includes charwood, charcoal, smoking wood chunks, and charcoal wood chips in all shapes and sizes.  Know that all these products are made from wood – hardwood to be specific since you never want to cook with any other type.  But, differences do exist between products.

Product Differences

Although the products listed above have their beginnings as hardwood trees, there are some noted differences between the products.

Charcoals: Yes, charcoal starts out as wood but not all charcoals are created equally.  There are 2 distinct types of charcoal: briquettes and lump hardwood.  The key difference?

Briquettes are not pure charcoal but rather a combination of charcoal, coal, the starch used as a binder, sawdust, and sodium nitrate for ease of lighting.  And, yes, that means they are not a “natural, organic” product.  In fact, some brands are manufactured with lighter fluid as an ingredient.

Lump hardwood charcoal is 100% hardwood that is sourced from flooring, building material, sawmill, and furniture manufacturers as a scrap wood or bye product.  With the use of these materials, a great deal of variation in the size of the charcoal is generated which translates to variation in carbonization of the wood.  Often, there is more carbon ash in this type of charcoal but as a 100% wood product, it is viewed as a “natural” product.  Keep in mind, many lump hardwood charcoals cannot be sold as a single wood type charcoal due to the production from scrap and bye product woods, so “mixed” hardwood is the general product.

Charcoals do not produce smoke or flavor.  They are intended strictly for heat with the output level dependent on the brand.

Charwood: Often described as possessing the consistency of briquettes and the organic benefits of lump charcoal, charwood is a term reserved for those products that have a higher carbonization level which makes them much more efficient as a fuel source.

Smoking Wood Chunks & Smoking Wood Chips: These are pure hardwood that can be used for both heat and flavor.  The difficulty? Moisture.  All hardwood contains water and, depending on the level, ease of lighting and the ability to burn or combust will vary.  This is the primary reason why most people do not use only wood when cooking but a combination of charcoal and wood.  The bigger reason?  Wood is the flavor producer!

So now that you know charcoal is for heat and hardwood is for flavor, how do you use both together for perfection in outdoor cooking?

If you have a piece of equipment that can use both charcoal and wood, you’re on your way to an absolutely fantastic flavor.

Tips For Combining Charcoal with Wood

  • When adding both charcoal and hardwood, be sure to include a water pan to the equipment as humidity increases the smoky flavoring, helps to tenderize meat by breaking down collagen, and can give a better meat yield Click To Tweet
  • A little wood goes a long way in terms of flavor so put only a few pieces to start – you can always add more
  • If you intended to cook for a long time, say a muscle meat like pork shoulder, then it’s important to have unlit charcoal within the equipment so that the few pounds of lit charcoal will gradually ignite the unlit and maintain the cooking temperature
  • Just like the unlit charcoal, you can place wood pieces (just a few now) along the unlit charcoal path so the flavor is also time released
  • If meat/poultry juice will drip directly into the charcoal area (you have no drip pan in place) then note that this will stimulate smoke vapor off the hot coals as drippings contain sugars, proteins, oils and the ingredients used directly on the food item, meaning you may not need to use as much wood for smoky flavors
  • The choice of smoking wood chunks or charcoal wood chips is total up to the cook – chunks will combust longer than charcoal chips but if you’re looking for faster combustion for smoke vapor, chips can fit that need
  • Select a hardwood with a moisture level of 20-25% for maximum flavor infusion
  • Amount of coals needed for the heat/temperature is dependent on the brand of charcoal, method of cooking, and equipment. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 lbs. available for a full day cook

Now you’re armed with the basics on cooking fuels and why a combination of products often is the best choice!

As always, we’d love to start a conversation so leave a comment.

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

For related reading:

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

-HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

-HOW MUCH WOOD TO ADD WHEN SMOKING

Purchase Products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Charwood

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Dr. Smoke "A grill is just a grill until you add SmokinLicious® smoking wood chips for charcoal with wood."

Dr. Smoke “A grill is just a grill until you add SmokinLicious® smoking wood chips for charcoal with wood.”

Savory Smoky-Grilled Potatoes

Savory Smoky-Grilled Potato (es)

SMOKY-GRILLED POTATO: OUR #1 CROP GETS A NEW FLAVOR TAKE

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As the #1 crop in the world, available all year, potatoes are a favorite for a variety of reasons.  Get the nutritional benefit of this abundant vegetable by adding flavor in a different way – cooking it over charcoal and hardwood!

Ingredients:

Simple Preparation For a Simple Vegetable

I’m using small red and white potatoes.  You’ll need a knife and cutting board, as I like to cut these small potatoes in half to allow for maximum wood fire flavoring.  I’m going to use a vegetable grill pan but you can use any heat safe pan whether foil, glass, heat-safe ceramic, or cast iron.  Cut each potato in half, and place in the grill pan.

Seasoning and Oil Bring Out the Best

Just 3 simple ingredients are needed before the pan is placed on the grill.  Drizzle three tablespoons of oil over the halved potatoes, then add coarse salt and fresh pepper.  The oil can be grapeseed, walnut, almond, vegetable, or canola, anything you have and prefer.  Mix well to ensure each potato is coated, then let rest to allow the seasonings to penetrate before adding to the hot grill.

Charcoal Grill Set Up

Time to get the grill ready.  I’ll be using a combination of charcoal and wood – charcoal as the fuel for heat and wood chunks and chips for flavor.  Keeping my intake vents open on the kettle grill, I start a chimney full of charcoal.  Just one chimney will be needed for the actual cooking.  I lay a small line of unlit coals down both the right and left side of the charcoal grate to keep my temperature stable through the cook.  I pour the hot coals in the middle then add two Sugar Maple wood chunks and a handful of Wild Cherry Grande Sapore® wood chips on top of the hot coals.  On goes the food grate and then my vegetable pan of halved seasoned potatoes.

The depth of Flavor Through Smoke

Once the wood is set up and the food grate is on, the pan of potatoes is added.  Put the grill cover on and adjust the lid outtake vent to 1/3 open position.  Now, adjust the lower intake vent to the ½ open position.    Let the potatoes cook for about 25 minutes prior to stirring.  You’ll see the golden hue from the maple and cherry smoke vapor.  Be sure to rotate the potatoes on the bottom to the top so that there is even color and flavor to each piece.  The total cook time will be close to an hour but each grill and charcoal will perform differently so be sure to watch closely after the first 35 minutes.  Remove when the potatoes can be pierced easily with a toothpick or knife tip.

Full Flavor With All the Nutrition Intact

With all the nutritional value still intake, these golden, smoky potatoes are ready to eat as is or you can include them in your favorite potato recipes.  I’ll be giving a smoky edge to my interpretation of a potato curry in our next recipe feature.  Take advantage of this popular comfort vegetable and the ease of using a charcoal/wood grill for cooking and give your meals a memorable flavor enhancement.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our feature so start the conversation with a comment!

Dr. Smoke try this smoky-grilled potato technique!

Dr. Smoke try this smoky-grilled potato technique!

 

Related Reading

-HOW TO USE CHARCOAL WITH WOOD IN COOKING

-HOW TO TURN YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL INTO A SMOKER

Smoked cheesy potatoes- what a wonderful twist!

SMOKED CHEESY POTATOES- WHAT A WONDERFUL TWIST

 

 

 

SmokinLicious® Products in this blog:

 

 

 

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

 

 

 

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

 

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