Zucchini is a great vegetable to not only grill but ember cook. It has the density to hold up over the high heat. Add a distinct char taste to this abundant vegetable either as a side dish or an ingredient by making ember fired fresh zucchini.

Zucchini is a great vegetable to not only grill but ember cook. It has the density to hold up over the high heat. Add a distinct char taste to this abundant vegetable either as a side dish or an ingredient by making ember fired fresh zucchini.

EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI

How to cook your zucchini on hot coals.

Listen to the audio of this blog

 

I love thick-skinned vegetables that come in season during Summer.  They are the perfect items to light a fire and make some hot coals to ember fire flavor into them.

We’re getting ready to coal roast one of my favorite vegetables – zucchini!  This is so simple to do and produces an extraordinary flavor for zucchini to be eaten on its own or to be used in your favorite recipe.  Clean out the fire pit, charcoal grill or outdoor fireplace and prepare to roast “ember fired fresh zucchini” directly on the hot coals.

Building A Small Fire

Starting the fire to burn down the wood into coalsKnow this from the start – You do not need a large fire!  A small fire is best to accomplish your cooking in about an hour’s time.  For my fire, I am using ten SmokinLicious Single Filet Wood Chunks in Ash with a couple of pieces of chardwood that were left over from a previous cook.   Why Ash hardwood?  Because it is hands down, the best hardwood to produce an even bed of coals which is what you want when you coal roast.

I stack the wood so there is quite a bit of air space between the pieces.  This ensures I have good oxygen flow to produce combustion quickly. My technique is to stand the wood pieces on their end and make a circle. I try to have a couple of pieces in the center kind of tipped on to each other.  Remember, you want to produce hot embers quickly so it only requires a little wood and a lot of oxygen to burn things down.  I light my wood using a small butane torch. Leave the torch in place until I’m sure the wood has ignited.  I keep the lid off my charcoal grill so I can push the combustion process through completion and get those ash covered, hot embers.

Red Means Hot

Red Hot coals is the goal before adding the zucchiniYou will know when the coals or embers are ready for cooking when you have uniform coals and they are glowing red from the bottom and gray on top.  I keep a couple of larger coals banked to the side to maintain heat and for reserved hot coals. Just in case I need to rake more to the cooking side.  I like to nestle a high heat metal cooking rack on the hot coals and then place my whole zucchini on the rack.  This allows for little ash to accumulate on the skin.  Remember, those coals are very hot so the zucchini will take less than 20 minutes to tenderize and char.

 

Turn For Full Char

Zucchini on the grilling rack over the hot fire coalsWith the zucchini and coal rack in place, I give the embers about 8 minutes to char and cook the first side of the zucchini.  After that time, I gently turn the zucchini so that each side gets an even char.  Once the first 8 minutes are done, there will be less time needed for each of the other sides as the zucchini will hold heat.  I’ve added one additional wood piece to my banked fire just to be sure I have enough heat in the coal area.  I will not put the lid on the unit during the entire cooking process as this is open fire cooking.  My total coal cooking time is approximately 16 minutes.

 

Perfection In Smoke & Char on Ember Fired Fresh Zucchini

Dr. Smoke's clock for the cooking time requiredAfter placing my ember fired fresh zucchini on hot coals for about 16 minutes total, turning several times to get an even char, this spectacular vegetable is ready for eating.  You will see, there is very little coal bed left following this technique so remember, if you are cooking more than a couple of zucchini, you will need a larger coal bed.

For those of you thinking that the black, charred skin will be bitter and not appealing to eat, think again.  Most of the char will rub right off but the flavor will be infused throughout the ember fired fresh zucchini.  I’ve sliced mine about ¼-inch thick as I plan to make a galette of ricotta, garlic oil, and basil.

Check in soon for our post on that recipe.  Did you love this wood-fired technique?  Leave a comment and subscribe as we continue to bring you new ideas, tips, techniques and recipes for all things wood-fired, smoked, and charred!

You may also enjoy reading:

-Top 10 Vegetables to Cook in Hot Embers

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

-SUCCULENT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

-Ember cooked Sweet Peppers

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Charwood

 

Our old Hibachi Grill after the spring cleaning

Our Old Hibachi Grill after the spring cleaning

DOING THE HIBACHI GRILL WAY!

Everyone starts their grilling career on this convenient, inexpensive, small piece of equipment.  But do we do it correctly?  Let’s review the basics.

First, this is for grilling over an open fire; it needs high heat to cook.  It has a low (height) fire pan and generally no hood or lid.  Great high heat cooker/grill – not a smoker.

Lesson #1: plan what you cook properly!

Now, let’s review how to set up the fire. The region that gave the hibachi its popularity is the Far East which has access to a type of charcoal called “bichiton”.  This is a very dense, heavy charcoal made from oak that is direct fired to a high carbonization level.  This charcoal produces an extremely high heat; 3-4 times the heat level of an American charcoal!

Can’t locate “bichiton” charcoal or don’t want the expense if you find it?  Well, you can use SmokinLious® products to get close to the results.  Let’s begin with charcoal – North America produces lump charcoal pieces that are too large for the small Hibachi. So take 2-3 pieces(depending on size), put them in a small paper bag (lunch bag size) and press with your hands to break them into smaller “thumb” size pieces (or you can use a meat mallet).  Then pour into the firebox.   If the firebox is not full –repeat until you fill it.  If you don’t have a small torch available, put some paper under the charcoal, then ignite.  Or, you can place the original charcoal pieces in small paper bags, then break the pieces apart, and place the bag in the firebox for lighting.

Once the charcoal burns down (gray in color), start adding Grande Sapore® wood chips as this will provide for immediate heat and eventually, some flavoring to the food.  Once the charcoal/chip combo’s flames settle down, you can begin cooking!  Remember, hibachis are traditionally used for thin meats so adjust your cook time to what you’re cooking.

What I like about hibachi cooking is the ease of adding more wood chips when more fuel is needed!

Once you master the fire set up, you will enjoy some wonderful food and some really fun cooking the Hibachi way.  Think Korean BBQ!  Yum!

 

Bon-Bar-B-Q! (be sure to check our Pinterest feature on the Hibachi cleaning before you discard one that is rusty!)

Dr. Smoke- I love the Hibachi Grill for not just direct grilling, but as a side grill for ember roasting vegetables.

Dr. Smoke- I love the Hibachi Grill for not just direct grilling, but as a side grill for ember roasting vegetables.

 

 

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flipboard, Google+, Reddit, Medium, Blogger, BuzzFeed