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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Tom did pay attention to our tips on how to store wood chips!

Tom did pay attention to our tips on how to store wood chips!

How to store wood chips Click To Tweet

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It is one of our top questions. Wood storage. Where to store wood, how to store wood, temperature ideal for storing wood, shelf life of stored wood. If you are an avid follower of our readings, you are likely familiar with our two cartoon characters, Tom and Bert. Thru these characters, SmokinLicious® has been able to guide millions of home grilling and smoking enthusiasts on techniques and tips to make every wood-fired cooking event a success.

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Thinking about using cedar wood for cooking? 6 reasons to don't!

Thinking about using cedar wood for cooking? 6 reasons to don’t!

6 REASONS TO AVOID CEDAR WOOD FOR COOKING

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You love different techniques for cooking and absorb new information like a sponge. In particularly, you love outdoor methods of cooking. One of your favorites is plank cooking on cedar wood. Every time you read a recipe, they all call for use of a cedar plank or other methods to use cedar wood for cooking.

But is cedar really the best choice? More so, is cedar wood for cooking a safe choice?

Let’s examine the top 6 reasons why cedar wood for cooking may not be an ideal choice. Click To Tweet

#1 Softwood Classification Presents a Concern for Using Cedar Wood for Cooking

Cedar wood is not a hardwood. It is a softwood that is from the gymnosperm trees meaning, it is a conifer or cone producing tree. As a rule, softwoods should not be used for cooking as they contain a lot of air and sap which equates to a fast burn and unpleasant flavors. In fact, there are many softwoods that can be toxic if cooked over.

#2 Poor Fire Resistance

During plank cooking, you are using the wood as a vessel to infuse flavor to whatever food is placed on top of the plank. Here’s the concern with cedar – because it is a lower density wood (23 lb./ft³), it has very poor fire resistance. That means, it reaches full combustion much faster than hardwood and will burn as a result. Certainly, that’s not what you’re looking for when you plank cook.

#3 Poreless

Unlike hardwood which contain pores in the cell walls, softwoods like cedar are poreless. They use cell components called tracheids to transport water and nutrients. In addition, the organic compound lignin found in the cell walls, is much lower than in traditional hardwoods used for cooking. Why is this an issue? Lignin is what gives wood fired cooking the distinct flavor and aroma to foods. In using cedar wood for cooking, the average lignin composition is 20%±4 compared to common hardwoods used for wood-fired cooking which average 28%±3.

#4 Plicatic Acid

Cedar contains chemical properties (specifically plicatic acid) that are shown to be a good absorber of odors and moisture. This is one of the key reasons why cedar is a preferred softwood for pest control to keep fleas, ants, mites, moths, and mosquitoes away. When exposed to plicatic acid for lengthy periods of time, a condition known as “cedar asthma” can develop.

Additionally, a regular exposure to the cedar oil found in the wood can result in contact dermatitis or skin irritation, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis.

#5 Animal Toxicity

There are many studies available on how the use of cedar wood chips and shavings have affected animals continually exposed to these products. Most studies show a correlation with liver dysfunction in animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters. In fact, smaller animals, like guinea pigs and hamsters, have a higher incidence of death which may be attributed to plicatic acid exposure. The phenols and aromatic hydrocarbons also have been shown to cause respiratory problems in animals like those listed above.

#6 Not All Cedar Is The Same

Cedar is part of the pine family of trees with native origin in North Africa and Asia. There are no native cedar trees to North America. The red cedar common in the Eastern USA is part of the Juniper family and can be highly toxic if taken internally. Under no circumstances should you ever cook with red cedar from the Eastern states of the USA.

USA cedar trees are referred to as false cedars since there are no native varieties. There are commonly 5 varieties of the false cedars available: Western Red Cedar (common to Southern Alaska, Northern California, and the Rockies), Northern White Cedar (Southeastern Canada, Northeastern quarter of the USA, south into Tennessee, and west into Iowa), Eastern Red (Aromatic) Cedar (Eastern USA), Yellow Cedar (Pacific Northwest from Alaska to British Columbia into Oregon), Spanish Cedar (although Native to South and Central America, it was planted in Florida). Every false cedar has some known health risks with the most common being respiratory due to toxicity of its pollen, oil, or other chemical compound.

Now you’re asking..

“So if there are all these documented health risks, how and why have cedar plank cooking and other methods of cedar wood cooking gain so much popularity?” I suppose the easiest answer is that cedar was used by the earliest settlers in the Pacific Northwest as a means of preserving, storing and cooking the seasonal fish. Think about the limitations of the day: they would be using resources that are available without thought to the items we ponder today like health, future risk, etc. This concept was examined from a different perspective many years later with the desire for flavor, appearance, and functionality.

We often make the mistake of jumping into something full throttle before asking some of the key questions to keep our bodies safe and healthy. Remember, there’s lots of documentation out there stating why you should not cook with softwood yet when it comes to cedar wood cooking, specifically, cedar plank cooking, we don’t seem to carry that issue forward. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why.

We love providing information to our readers and subscribers that is not in the open and letting you weigh the information for your own verdict. All types of questions are welcome and we encourage you to follow and subscribe to our social channels so you don’t miss anything. We look forward to providing you with tips, techniques, recipes, and the science for all things wood-fired cooked.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on this subject

More Related reading on this subject

Additional reading:

-BEYOND PRICING: THE TOP THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING COOKING WOOD

-THE TOP 8 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COOKING & GRILLING WITH WOOD

IS WOOD-TAR CREOSOTE THE ‘MONSTER’ TO WOOD-FIRED COOKING

DrDr. Smoke says "Just because it might be a "fad," cedar wood for cooking may not be good for your health."

Dr. Smoke says “Just because it might be a “fad,” cedar wood for cooking may not be good for your health.”

 

Smoking color is correct when white smoke is present

Smoking color is correct when white smoke is present

In Grilling the smoke means everything! Click To Tweet

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You smell it before you see it! The aroma of foods being cooked outdoors. When those foods involve cooking over wood – hardwood to be specific – well, it is a flavor experience that is in a league of its own.

Recently, our cartoon friends, Tom and Bert, had an exchange about what the color of smoke means.

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These chips are produced to fit the Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven

These wood chips are produced to fit the the Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven

Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven-“Smoke”with Smokinlicious®

We love having the opportunity to work with chefs throughout the world in determining what they desire in a wood-fired flavor for various menu items.

As you can imagine, we get the opportunity to work with a variety of equipment lines that use wood for flavor and coloring. One of our favorite commercial equipment lines is produced by Alto-Shaam® who specialize in food service and retail markets by offering cooking, holding, display, and chill equipment lines.

Part of the Alto-Shaam® cooking offerings is Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven which not only offers convection cooking but smoke infusion as well. This highly efficient oven works with hardwood chips to bring the aroma and taste of wood infusion to all types of meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. In fact, when SmokinLicious® began development of our microchip line, we targeted Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® oven for ideal sizing production to meet the needs of the commercial kitchen. In the end, we found that our smaller Minuto® Wood Chip line offered even greater flavor than traditionally-sized wood chips with little ash residue when used with the Combitherm®.

Here’s the best part: because we manufacture every product, we can offer chefs single species of our filtered specialty wood chip line or we can custom blend to give their menu items greater diversity from others. That includes blending different wood species as well as sizes. Smaller chip particles may be used for more pungent woods while larger sizes of sweet or savory chips are included for a fully balanced wood recipe flavoring based on the overall food ingredients.

Chefs who use the Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® simply love the ease of adding our dust free product to the equipment, dialing in the smoke infusion level they desire, and letting the oven do its magic. The best part is they don’t have to worry about an unclean wood source going into their expensive equipment and causing equipment failure or producing off color and taste to the foods being cooked.

We know we can offer the best flavor in wood combustion by starting with the ideal hardwoods for cooking. The rest can be left to the cook’s imagination. We know the effort it takes for those in the food and beverage industry to commit to a specific piece of equipment. We know the expense involved. What we don’t understand is why the same time and research aren’t spent assessing the wood supply to be used in the oven? Why risk this investment to an unvetted supplier?

If you own an Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Combi Oven or you are in the market for a new piece of equipment, join those who have already experienced the benefits of our exceptional Minuto® wood chip line and get ready to be blown away with the possibilities our products can bring to your kitchen!

Bon Bar B Que!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Pit cooking fire We built by using Smokinlicious ash wood to develop great coals for our ember cooking of Peppers

Build an open pit cooking fire for grilling and ember cooking! Is easier than you may think follow our steps below!

OPEN PIT COOKING- BUILDING THE PERFECT FIRE

SmokinLicious® receives a lot of questions about wood-fired cooking and one of the most repetitive concerns the building of the fire for cooking. We’ve developed this series to address how to build the fire by equipment and technique. For Part I, we cover the open pit cooking fire.

Get Organized- Open Pit Cooking

The first step is to know where you will build the fire. Are you planning on using an outdoor fireplace, a fire pit, or will you construct a temporary fire location?

When using an existing fireplace located outdoors, you must ensure that the firebox is clean of previous ash and wood. The same is true for a open pit cooking fire pit. If you will set up a temporary location for the fire, consider what you will use for materials to secure the area. It is never recommended to use your patio, paved driveway or lawn because a hot fire is sure to damage them or, at the very least, mar their appearance (thin charcoal black coating the surface). Using large stones, interlocking bricks, or a metal fire ring work great at securing the area to contain your fire.

Once you’ve decided on the location, you’ll need to collect some supplies to make the cooking safe and fun.

▪ material to contain the fire like stones, bricks or a cast iron/wrought iron ring. You can use an outdoor fireplace or open pit cooking fire pit whether permanent or portable

▪ water, shovel, dirt, and/or fire extinguisher to deal with potential fire spread or wayward embers

▪Smokinlicious® smoking wood chips for quick lighting

picture of Smokinlicious Double filet wood chunks make a perfect source for developing the perfect cooking firesmall twigs or small pieces of hardwood to create a tepee around the wood chips (we like our Smokinlicious® smoking double or single filet chunks)

▪ larger hardwood pieces to create a 2nd tepee around the first (Smokinlicious®1/4 cut logs work great for that)

▪ rolled newspaper or fire starters

▪ have additional hardwood for producing more coals for cooking as needed

▪ a coal rake, fireplace tongs for moving and relocating wood pieces, spray bottle of water to tame flames near food, instant read thermometer (you can also use a traditional wrought-iron log holder to make the fire – the hot coals will fall through and then you rake them to the cooking side)

The Perfect Fire for Open Pit Cooking

Always take note of the day’s temperature, wind conditions/direction, and conditions of your wood (dry or wet, fresh cut or aged) before you start. You want to be sure you set up and start the fire where the wind direction won’t cause smoke to enter house windows or the dining area. Keep those locations upwind.

stack the wood into a teepee shape to maintain the flame and burning processIn your fire safe area, pile up a few handfuls of hardwood chips (you can use newspaper but I like to try to stay with wood in its natural state). Make a small tepee around the wood chips using small wood pieces (our single filet wood chunks work great) or twigs. Make a second tepee of larger wood pieces around the first one. You’ll see that you’re graduating from small wood pieces to larger as you build but you’re also ensuring good oxygen pockets to help feed the fire to the next level. This is what ensures even combustion and even coals. Now, light the wood chips at the center and allow everything to ignite. Don’t add any additional wood until you see the outside wood ablaze.

Fire for Fuel, Coals for Open Pit Cooking

The purpose of your shovel other than as protector of wayward fire, is to take those hot coals and move them to the cooking area. Remember, the fire area is not where you are going to cook. That location is nearby but not with the flames. You should never cook over direct flame as it will overcarbonize the foods and result in bitter tastes.

Ideally, you want to cook over coals that have a white colored ash over them. Now, here’s how to determine temperature of those coals: hold your hand over the coals the distance your foods will be. If you can only hold your hand for a count of 2 seconds before you need to pull it away, that is high heat. 3-4 seconds is medium-high, 5-6 seconds is medium and 7-8 seconds is low heat.

Bring on the Food!

We have burnt down the ash single fillet into a bed of hot coals. Ash wood is a perfect coaling wood to useOnce your coals are at the perfect temperature for the foods you want to cook, it’s all about cooking! Remember, you can set up different heat areas to cook different foods. That’s what makes the experience with wood cooking, specifically with coals, so exhilarating.

We hope this article was full information you didn’t know. Leave us a comment and subscribe so you don’t miss anything concerning wood fired cooking, flavors, and the science behind the fire.

More Related reading on "What Wood for Smoking" and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

More Related reading on “What Wood for Smoking” and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

Interested in reading more? Try:

-Top 10 Vegetables to Cook in Hot Embers

-THE TOP 8 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COOKING & GRILLING WITH WOOD

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Smoker Logs

Dr Smoke- "Spending time on fire preparation for open pit cooking will enhance your cooking results."

Dr Smoke- “Spending time on fire preparation for open pit cooking will enhance your cooking results.”

This is our discussion on salt choices and why you should add salt to food

Adding salt choices has a purpose and why

SALT CHOICES- HOW MUCH AND WHAT KIND?

This article was born from a question which was recently forwarded to SmokinLicious® to answer. “Why salt choices are necessary in food despite adding different ingredients even for sweet dish need(ing) salt”.

I realized just how important salt is to the style of cooking known as barbecue.

Salt Choices- Why the Need to Salt?

Our salt box is a great storage unit for any saltSalt is a mineral found in crystalline form that is used as a seasoning for food. Simply put, salt brings out the flavor or natural essence of food. Salt choices draw out the natural juices in raw meat and dissolves with the liquid forming a brine that gets reabsorbed by the meat. This results in the meat’s ability to hold on to more of its own natural juices during cooking.

Salt Choices- Types

Over the past 5 years, salt choices have become a very hot commodity in the food industry. There are hundreds of kinds of salts but for simplicity sake, I will discuss those that are commonly found in grocery and food specialty stores.

These are our four salt types that we discuss in our blogTable Salt:

Decades ago, this was simply known as iodized salt. This is the most refined salt that is known to have a metallic taste due to the grinding process and high-heat process to produce it. It is almost pure sodium chloride and has the highest per-granule sodium content of all salts. When used in cooking, the cook generally will use too much due to this refined grind size. I recommend you never cook with standard table salt.

Sea Salt:

This salt type is made by the evaporation of seawater which results in the retainment of natural micronutrients. Unlike table salt which uses a high-heat process, sea salt provides minerals of iodine, magnesium, calcium, potassium and bromide. There are many different grind levels in sea salt and each of those, affect the taste, color, and mouthfeel of the salt itself.

Kosher Salt:

Known for its ability to distribute evenly on the surface of food, kosher salt is harvested by mining dried up ocean and sea beds. It has a much coarser grind than table salt, which is considered flaky (For cooks, it is reliable, consistent, inexpensive, and pure).

Finishing Salt:

Just as the name implies, this type of salt is used only when a dish is finished, for instance, sliced tomato with mozzarella and basil, grilled to perfection steak, and even watermelon. Therefore, it is considered a very light tasting salt.

Tamari and Soy Sauce:

I am including tamari and soy sauce as these are very common substitutes for salts in sauces used for barbecue. Sometimes, soy sauce is used in addition to salt or garlic and onion salt for these items, making them much higher in overall sodium content. On average tamari has 700mg sodium per serving while soy sauce comes in at a whopping 1000mg per serving.

Salt Choices in Relation to BBQ Rubs & Seasonings

Hopefully, you’ve learned how to read an ingredient list on any label. The first ingredients listed make up the largest amount of the contents, while the last few ingredients make up the least. I looked at five (5) popular BBQ rubs and seasonings sold on Amazon.com to see what ingredients made up the bulk of these items and where salt rated on the ingredient list. Here are my findings:

McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning coarse salt, spices, garlic

17th Street Magic Dust All-Purpose Seasoning & Rub salt, sugar, dextrose

Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub – brown sugar, sugar, salt

Stubb’s Beef Spice Rub sea salt, spices, cane sugar

John Wayne Rubs salt, garlic, sugar

As you can see, salt is a primary ingredient of commercially marketed rubs/seasonings for barbecue. Therefore, I always recommend that you give some consideration to making your own rub or seasoning. When produced in large quantity, you can keep these in the refrigerator for up to a month in an air tight container. Best of all, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you can control the level of sodium in your meal.

We hope you found this article informative and valuable. We’d love your comments! Don’t forget to subscribe to and follow us so you don’t miss a thing. We’ll continue to bring you tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind all things wood-fired!

More Related reading on "What Wood for Smoking" and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

More Related reading on “What Wood for Smoking” and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

Related reading:

-10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD SMOKE

-SMOKING FOODS IN FOIL: PROS & CONS

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

Purchase products:

Smoking Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Wood Chips- Minuto® and Piccolo®

Dr Smoke- "Making the right salt choices. This is the hardest part of cooking- too little or too much are both bad."

Dr Smoke- “Making the right salt choices. This is the hardest part of cooking- too little or too much are both bad.”

Chef Bert and Tom combining hardwoods for smoking flavors

Chef Bert and Tom combining hardwoods for smoking flavors

Learning how to combine Hardwood species to change their smokey flavoring Click To Tweet

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There is misinformation out there that you may have been victim to. When cooking with hardwood, you may have been under the impression that only certain woods can be used with certain foods. For instance, hickory is reserved only for pork shoulder and brisket. Cherry for chicken, etc.

But that is hardly the truth.

Hardwood used for cooking must be viewed as another ingredient. As a key ingredient, it needs to be balanced with the food item and other ingredients used in preparation before grilling and smoking.

The intent today is to provide a guide on combinations of hardwood that work well for specific foods. Essentially, the ingredients of a rub, glaze, sauce or marinade will dictate what hardwoods will maximize all the flavors to become a finished masterpiece.

Hardwood Selection as a Compatible Ingredient

The goal when using hardwood is balance of the flavor outcome. You never want the hardwood to produce an ashy or burnt flavor. The essence of the wood should simply add to the beautiful flavor outcome for a memorable eating experience.

Here is SmokinLicious® rating on boldness of flavor for the hardwoods we offer:

When I design wood recipes for specific foods, I like to think about balancing out a medium or bolder flavor with one that is lighter. For lighter fare items like vegetables and fish, two wood combinations are generally used while longer cooked animal proteins can tolerate three hardwoods well.

In the chart that follows, reference is provided to various foods that benefit from exposure to the specified hardwoods. Use the color blocks indicated under each food group to guide you on combinations. Find the same color blocks in that group, and you have the balanced combination of hardwood. For instance, under Fruit, there are two red squares for an alder and cherry combination. Under the Fish column, there are 3 options: Alder and Maple represented by the pink square, Beech and Cherry represented by the orange square, and Ash and Maple represented by the gray square. These combinations are balanced by the essence they produce in the smoke vapor. Just use equal parts of each wood and remember, always start with a small quantity of hardwood as it does not take much to produce great flavor.

TIP: if you are using a spicy rub, default to combinations that includes mild to moderate flavor intensity. Using sweet ingredients, include a bolder hardwood flavor.

Our Guide

Experiment to find your favorite combinations of hardwood and soon you’ll have your own personal, detailed guide!

Do you have a favorite combination of hardwood? 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!

Products discussed in this Blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

 

More Related reading on this subject- More Related reading on this subject of cooking & Grilling with wood

More Related reading on combining wood species and sizes to change their smoke profile and more!

Related Reading:

-COOKING WOOD WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

-WHAT WOOD TO USE FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

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

Dr. Dr. Smoke- Combining hardwoods by mixing different species and sizes increases your smoking results!

Dr. Smoke- Combining hardwoods by mixing different species and sizes increases your smoking results!

 

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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logo and grill introducing our COOKWARE THE GRILL

Enjoy our COOKWARE FOR THE GRILL

COOKWARE FOR THE GRILL-THAT WORKS!

Top 5 cookware accessories for your grill Click To Tweet

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If you’ve followed my writings for some time now, you’ve likely learned that I believe outdoor equipment is the same if not better than the traditional indoor options. You literally can make anything on the outdoor equipment that you make inside your home.

Knowing this, I have received many questions regarding the type of cookware that I use when grilling and/or smoking on said equipment. Today, I’m going to discuss the preferred cookware materials and the potential issues that can arise if you use a material that is not considered ideal for high heat temperatures.

Material #1: Cast Iron- Cookware for the Grill

This is my first choice and many other cooks, and the only material I use when I coal cook with cookware. Why? It is durable, it is relatively inexpensive, it is unbelievable at heat retention, and you can cook almost anything in it. Literally, it never wears out!

Downside? It is a material that needs to be maintained meaning oiled consistently. It is heavy!

Material #2: Carbon Steel- Cookware for the Grill

Carbon steel is a beast at retaining heat and it can be used on any cooking surface. Although lighter in weight than cast iron it is still heavier than stainless steel. Similar in many attributes to cast iron, it also requires frequent seasoning and the base of the pan will become discolored from the high heat exposure. Plus, it is not dishwasher safe so you need to love this material and be willing to put some work into maintaining it. If you’re lucky enough to find a piece you love, you will make magic in it whether near or in the fire.

Material #3: Stainless Steel Combo

I’m sure every one of us owns at least one piece of stainless steel. This is a very attractive piece of cookware from the aesthetic view. However, on its own, stainless steel is not the best heat conductor. This is the main reason why it often is combined with another material to improve its heat retention properties and keep it light in weight. Suitable pairs you’ll find for stainless steel include copper and aluminum. All three of these materials on their own, are not ideal. Cooper and aluminum heat very quickly which means they can burn very quickly as well, while stainless steel on its own can take forever to heat up. But combine copper and aluminum or aluminum and steel and you have an ideal heat conductor and safe high heat material. Rule of thumb: never use aluminum and copper cookware on their own for high heat cooking.

Material #5: Enameled Cast Iron- Cookware for the Grill

Know as the “pretty” cookware, enameled cast iron is cast iron at the heart-and-soul but with beautiful ceramic enamel outside surfaces. It has fabulous heat conductivity and retention but it is not non-stick which can cause some issues. I find it works really well when I use more of a two-zone cooking set up rather than direct coal or heat cooking.

Material #5: Non-Stick

Teflon is a non-stick, promoted material, that should be avoided. It has no ability to be used for high heat and in fact, excessive heat can melt this material. Also, Teflon is documented to flakes off after extended use, moving these flakes into your foods. At higher temperatures, the material produces toxic fumes that have been proven to be a health risk.

What Are High Heat Levels?

Now we know what materials are optimal for high heat cooking but what are the actual temperatures that can be handled?

Cast iron and stainless-steel combos can tolerate 1500°F, with stainless steel excelling to 2200°F. Although copper has a melting point of 1984°F and aluminum at 1221°F, cast iron, and steel materials in cookware still perform the best.

Now you have the education behind your choice of cookware. My last piece of advice is to always think about how you plan to use the cookware. If you love to nestle in the coals or be as close to the flame as you can, the items that may not look as pretty are likely the best choice. Take our tips in this blog USEFUL COOKWARE OPTIONS FOR YOUR GRILL and expand you cooking/Grilling skills and techniques!

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chunks: Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on Cookware for the Grill

More Related reading on Cookware for the Grill

Related reading:

-TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING

-TOP TOOLS TO OWN FOR CHARCOAL GRILLING

Dr. Smoke- I hope you enjoyed this blog- Cookware for the Grill!

Dr. Smoke- I hope you enjoyed this blog- Cookware for the Grill!

-THE WOMAN’S GUIDE TO ‘MAN’-ING THE GRILL

Our top 12 Grilling Mistakes!

Our top 12 Grilling Mistakes!

Did you do one of these top 12 grilling mistakes this Year? Click To Tweet

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As a billion-dollar business, selling grills is likely not going away any time soon. In fact, sales are gaining strength thanks to COVID-19 which forced many to find ways to keep cooking and eating interesting while forced to stay out of restaurants.

When asked, most people say they grill or barbeque for flavor. If that is the case, then why are some of the most common practices the ones causing the most variation in the taste of your grilled foods?

Here are the top 12 grilling mistakes you should avoid.

#1 Skipping Preheat of the Grill

It does not matter if you prefer to use a gas grill or a charcoal unit, you need to preheat the grill before adding food. Why? It is the only way to avoid having your foods stick to the grill grate. When you allow the metal to heat to a very hot level, the protein in meats cannot form a bond with the metal grate. Plan about 5 minutes preheat time for charcoal grills and 15 minutes for gas units.

#2 Cooking on an Unclean Grill

Yeah, I know. The grill is located outside so you think it does not need the same care and cleaning as your kitchen equipment indoors. Wrong! Leftover food particles, grease, smoke tar and creosote can build up on various parts of the grill and cause changes in food flavors as well as make the food stick. Plus, a grease trap that has never been emptied can ignite which will ruin your planned grill day! Get in the habit of scraping the grill grate after preheating and lightly scrub the cooled down grill including the lid area, with steel wool and water. The lid likes to hold on to carbonized grease which becomes flaky and falls off onto your foods if left in place.

#3 Not Oiling the Grill Grate

In addition to preheating the grill oiling the grate is key to keeping food from sticking. This needs to be done whether your cooking on gas or charcoal. Using tongs, dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and wipe the preheated, scrubbed cooking grate before adding food.

#4 Using Lighter Fluid

For charcoal grill lovers, stop ruining your foods with lighter fluid. Coals are easier to lite with lighter fluid for one reason only – the chemicals make for quick lighting. They also impart those chemical flavors to your food. Learn to use a chimney starter with either newspaper for lighting or a Firestarter placed at the bottom. And this leads us to …

#5 Not Having Enough Coals

Depending on the size of the chimney starter you purchase, the average weight of charcoal used in one is 3 pounds. If your planning a full day of grilling, that one chimney starter will not be enough. Do not forget to load the charcoal area of the grill with unlit charcoal before the hot coals are added. The hot coals will gradually ignite the unlit and keep the temperature going so you can keep cooking.

#6 Pouring the Coals Too Soon

Once you have the chimney starter lit, leave it alone! Too often, the chimney is poured before the top layer of coals is covered with ash. That means, the coals are a gray color not black. If you do not allow the coals to fully heat, you will not be able to sustain the temperature of the equipment for cooking or worse, the fire could go completely out.

#7 Turning Meat Too Soon

We covered why it is so important to preheat the grill before placing food on the grate. Part of the “non-stick” relates to turning meat. The meat’s surface needs to be hot enough to release from the grate. If you don’t wait long enough, the meat will tear. Wait until you can easily lift the meat before making the turn.

#8 Running Out of Propane

I think just about everyone at one time or another makes the mistake of starting a grilling day and the propane tank runs out! Here is a trick for those who own a tank that has no fuel gauge. Boil one cup of water and pour it down the side of the tank. Feel the metal with your hand. Where you feel warmth on the tank means that area of the tank is empty. Feel coolness, that is the current level of available propane.

#9 Cooking with the Lid Open

Apart from lighting a gas grill, which should always be done with the lid up, you should do cooking with the lid down. Remember, gas grills deliver less heat than charcoal models. Keep the lid down to trap as much heat as possible.

#10 Lifting the Lid During Cooking

Having a hinged lid seems to imply that you are to readily open and close it at a whim. Nothing is further from the truth! Just like your oven, ever time you open the lid on the grill, you allow heat to escape forcing it to work harder to maintain the heat setting. Leave the lid alone!

#11 Using Vents for Proper Airflow

Comparable to the dials on an oven, vents are what control airflow to either boost the heat of the grill, reduce the heat, and extinguish fire/heat. On a charcoal grill, there are vents on the bottom of the charcoal area as well as the top of the lid. The bottom vents draw in oxygen to feed the fire while the top provide for the draft. Balance the two openings and you succeed in reaching regulated temperature, just like setting the dial on your stove. Gas grills also have vents but they are usually fixed and intended to release some gases and heat from the higher BTU burner ratings.

#12 Using Only One Cooking Set Up on the Grill

Grills allow for so much versatility in cooking essentially any food item, whether that is animal protein, fruit, vegetables or even bread and baked items. Do not limit yourself to just one grill set up! If you are one to lite up all the burners on the grill or place your hot coals all throughout the charcoal area of your grill, then you are missing out. Direct fire works for quick cooking methods like burgers and hot dogs, but it is not the best set up for other foods. Learn to use a two-zone set up: heat on only one half of the grill area while food is placed on the unheated side. You will have the benefit of controlled cooking when needed and the option for direct char and searing for finishing items or for quick cook foods on the direct fire side.

Did we miss a grilling mistake? Leave us a comment to let us know. We welcome all types of questions and encourage you to follow and subscribe to our social channels so you don’t miss anything. We look forward to providing you with tips, techniques, recipes, and the science for all things wood-fired cooked.

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Wood Chunks- Single & Double Filet

More Related reading on Grilling mistakes and other good Techniques to follow

More Related reading on Grilling mistakes and other good Techniques

Related reading:

-COOKING WOOD WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

-WHAT WOOD FOR SMOKING: A PRIMER

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

 

 

Dr. Smoke- Our Dozen of top grilling mistakes people make! Avoid these to be king of the Q

Dr. Smoke- Our Dozen of top grilling mistakes people make! Avoid these to be king of the Q

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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

Our nicely grill marked avocado halves look yummy after we did our wood grilled avocado technique explained in this blog.

Wood grilled avocado is a fun way to add different flavor to this wonderful fruit.

WOOD FIRED GRILLED AVOCADO

To our blog kiwifruit gets smoky

Oh, the wonderful, healthy, creamy, flavorful avocado. With more potassium than a banana and 18 amino acids for daily intake, you can’t go wrong with this single seed fruit.

Did you ever think to grill this fabulous fruit with a little wood to give it even more flavor? We’ll show you just how easy grilled avocado can be on the gas grill using wood chunks for your smoke infusion.

Grilled Avocado with a Wood Fired Touch

Regardless of the brand of gas grill you have, you can add wood chunks to the grill for wood fired flavor. My grill has heat shields over the burners so I use that area to add one small wood chunk under the grill grate, directly on the heat shield. No, you won’t damage your grill, as the wood combusts to ash and basically blows away.

One chunk is all it will take to get great flavor into the avocados. I keep the burner that the wood chunk is located on set to medium as well as the burner next to that one on medium. Since I have 4 burners, 2 are on and 2 are off.

Once the grill is to 300° F, this technique will take less than 20 minutes.

Simple Preparation for Wood Fired Grilled Avocado

The only preparation needed for the avocados is to cut them in half and remove the seed. The avocados are placed flesh side down on the grate only on the side with the burners off. The heat captured within the grill will spread throughout the grilling area and cook the avocado while adding wood smoke vapor. Note, it’s important that you don’t attempt to move the avocados for at least 10 minutes otherwise you will find the avocado flesh will stick to the grate and you’ll lose much of the fruit’s flesh. Wait until some of the fat renders and chars making removal so simple.

Grilled Avocado- Prep To Finish In Less Than 20 Minutes

In less than 20 minutes you will have wonderfully wood flavored, charred flesh avocados ready for your favorite recipes. Think of using this fruit in smoothies, dips, on salads, as a creamy ingredient for sauces – remember, avocado can be used to substitute the amount of butter used in most recipes. We will take some of our avocado and make a wood fired guacamole first. Our recipe will post soon so stay tuned and don’t’ forget to send us your pics of wood fired avocado.

Did you get motivated to fire up the grill with wood? Send us a comment or your avocado fired pics and don’t forget to subscribe. Bringing you fun, innovative tips, techniques and recipes on all wood fired methods for foods, beverages, spices, herbs and so much more.

More Related reading on "What Wood for Smoking" and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

More Related reading on “What Wood for Smoking” and other great smoking and grilling tips and techniques

Be sure to check out:

-The Top 10 Vegetables To Cook In Hot Embers

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

-STEPPING UP RADISH SALAD WITH A WOOD-FIRED FLARE

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double and Single Filet

Dr Smoke- "For a great smoky flavor try a wood fired grilled avocado."

Dr Smoke- “For a great smoky flavor try a wood fired grilled avocado.”

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

 

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