Friday, November 9, 2018

SNAPPER GETS WRAPPED IN CORN HUSK & COAL FIRED

Snapper Gets Wrapped in Corn Husk and is now ready to rest on our bed of coals to get roasted!
Snapper Gets Wrapped in Corn Husk and is now ready to rest on our bed of coals to get roasted!



When fresh fish comes in season, whether you catch it yourself or find your perfect catch at the seafood market or store, there is no better way to release the flavor than on the charcoal grill.  I found some splendid snapper fillets that I plan to marinate, wrap in a corn husk, and cook on the coals of my charcoal grill.  Let’s get started!

The Perfect Marinade


Fish does not require a lot of marination time so know in the time it takes the fish to absorb the marinade’s great flavors, you can set up the charcoal grill.  I like to lite the chimney starters while I make the marinade.  For that, you’ll need:
    The final blended ingredients for this tasty marinade!
  • 6 white fish fillets (tilapia, branzino, snapper)
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallion
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 pieces of soaked corn husks
Mix together the scallion, minced garlic, oil, lime juice, paprika, curry powder, salt and black pepper.  Place the fish in a baking dish or in a sealable storage bag and top with the marinade mixture.  Marinate the fish in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.

Wrapping the Snapper

It’s time to take our marinated fish and encase it in the corn husk.  If you have fish fillets that will fit in a single corn husk, then one will do.  However, if you are doing larger pieces of fish, usually over a few ounces in weight, you will need to place 2 corn husks on a work surface overlapping the husks.  Place one piece of fish on a pre-soaked corn husk wrapping the husk around the fish.  Tie the ends of the husk with meat twine noting that most of the fish is enclosed in the corn husk.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of fish.  You’ll see that what has been made is a steam packet for the fish.  The corn husk is strong enough to allow the extra marinade to stay within the husk and simply tenderize the fish.

Grill Setup


The grill has the Smokinlicious Smoker Wood Chunks around the brick and the snapper wrapped in corn husk on the grillI’m using a kettle grill with a wire mesh placed in the charcoal area to retain more of my hot coals.  Since I started the chimney starters while preparing the marinade, I pour these into the charcoal area that also holds some unlit charcoal.  On top of the hot coals, I place a couple of wood chunks which will add great flavor.   I’ve also included a foil-covered brick to act as a heat conductor and retention device.  This is a two-zone setup.  I’ll keep the hot coals and wood going on one side of the brick and place my corn husked fish on the other side of the brick.  In less than 20 minutes, these will be ready to go, fully cooked, and full of moisture.

Coal Fired to Perfection

Our finished Snapper wrapped in corn husk opened to show this wonderful method of cooking fishKnow that when you coal or ember cook foods, the temperature even from these small embers is high.  The grill will average between 300-350° F for the cooking.  There is no need to turn the corn husks, just simply monitor to ensure they don’t catch fire.  A spray bottle of water on hand is helpful at this stage.  In the end, the char flavor will penetrate the husk and produce the most fantastic flavor to the fish.  Simply cut the ties from the corn husk ends and enjoy the fish with your favorite sides.  There is nothing like natural fire cooking for fish.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

WHY WE WON’T SELL PRODUCT ON AMAZON ®

Our shopping cart full of products ready to be shipped to customers by FedEx. Shipping is included in our price which is why we won’t sell product on amazon
Our shopping cart full of products ready to be shipped to customers by FedEx. Shipping is included in our price which is why we won’t sell product on Amazon.

I won’t deny that I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to wanting more out of every 24 hours I can get.  This is the main reason why I am an internet shopper.  I rarely frequent an actual retail store aside from a wholesale club to purchase office supplies and the occasional trip to the grocery store.

I also won’t deny that I am an avid Amazon.com shopper!  Just about everything you can think of, I have purchased: clothes, specialty paint, make-up, kitchen supplies, food products, small appliances, area rugs – like I said, just about every category they offer.

So why aren’t SmokinLicious® products offered for sale on Amazon.com?

“Negative” Feedback Services

Today, there is literally a service for anything and everything.  That includes services to pay individuals to post negative reviews on a seller’s product and services.  Let me be clear.  SmokinLicious® certainly has had negative issues arise from time to time in the past 13 years.  When they occur, we have our own procedure in place for remedying the situation which often results in great appreciation from the customer and a brand loyalty relationship developing.  However, when negative feedback occurs when selling on Amazon.com, it can take a little as .0008% reported issues of the total products sold to kick you out as a seller!  Kicking you out means you’ve lost all the inventory costs you started out with as Amazon.com ties up your account.

Open Market for Copy Cats

As anyone who has been in business for themselves can attest to, you spend months working on verbiage for your products, photo imagery for a gallery, and unique header descriptors to bring attention and get you sales.  The last thing you want is someone stealing your work and posting to a seller’s listing on Amazon.com.  That can and has happened!  When it does, you are obligated to show proof of ownership of all content if you want to bring issue against an Amazon.com seller.

Worse yet, the other seller may be allowed to continue to sell a product that looks exactly like yours but maybe lesser quality in similar packaging!  Plus, it is easy for your photo to be high-jacked and replaced with another image to cause high percentages of returns.  Remember, there is a return option that states the item “does not match description,” allowing the buyer to make the return easily while you get a demerit from Amazon.com.

Sinking Price Margin

By far this is the number one issue for my brand to use Amazon.com.  For a good majority of shoppers on this site, they are price driven in their choices.  Imagine SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® wood chips going against the company that sweeps wood shavings off the floor from their flooring or cabinet making business, placing them in a cheap plastic bag, and slapping a simple label over the bag.  That company can afford to list the price at $3.99 a bag when they have no extra costs involved for the material, just the cheap packaging.  We are not in the market to compete on price.  We are in the market to compete on quality and purity of product.  That’s it!

For the brand SmokinLicious®, we are all about quality, safety, legitimacy, and value!  Our goal is to enable anyone around the globe who enjoys wood-fired cooking to do without having to think about the cleanliness and type of wood.  We’ve selected the safest hardwoods to cook with, stripped them of all the impure bark, reduced the wood to just heartwood so you have the fillet of the tree and dialed in the moisture so you have success at the grill, smoker or plancha every time.  You’ll find us online 24/7 to fill your needs in North America, the UK, and soon, in South Africa and New Zealand.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

FIRE ROASTED PEPPER MAKE THE PERFECT SALAD

Our fire Roasted Pepper make the perfect Salad with these white beans!
Our fire Roasted Pepper make the perfect Salad with these white beans!



If you are a follower or subscriber of ours, then you’ve likely seen our recommendations for charring peppers on the hot coals using an open pit, fireplace, charcoal grill or even gas grill.  It’s so easy yet gives such a flavorful outcome to use in all types of recipes.

I’m giving you a salad recipe that is hearty enough to be a salad entrée or the perfect side for your favorite protein.

Gather Simple Ingredients


Simple ingredients make this wonder salad

I truly believe anyone can do both the charred pepper technique and make this salad without any difficulty.  Here are the ingredients you’ll need to bring the salad to life:

  • 6 charred peppers, skinned, seeded, and quartered
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup packed spicy baby greens like arugula or watercress

In addition to the ingredients, you’ll need salt, pepper, a bowl, and whisk.

Vinaigrette Is Key


Making the VinaigretteYou’ll want to get any larger pepper slices cut down into thinner slices.  Once the peppers are evenly sized, it’s time to season them with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Do this by laying them out on a platter.  Taking a small bowl, it’s time to make the vinaigrette. Start putting the anchovies, garlic, vinegar, oil, and parsley in the bowl and whisk together.  Add the beans and toss to coat with the vinaigrette.  Season the mixture with salt and fresh ground pepper.  You can taste and adjust the vinegar and seasonings until it fits your taste.  Now prepare the serving dish to assemble the salad.

Simple Layers of Flavor

With the peppers charred and vinaigrette made, it’s time to assemble the salad.  Start by laying out the peppers on a platter or serving dish.  Spoon the bean mixture over the top of the peppers and top with spicy greens like baby arugula or watercress.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  That’s it!
our finished pepper and bean salad
This is a perfect side with a great steak, ribs, chicken or fish.  It’s hearty enough to use as a main entrée as well for those looking for a healthier meal.  It’s especially refreshing during the warmer seasons.  Remember, char extra peppers and freeze them so you can pull them out for this fabulous recipe any time of the year.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??

Our suggestive tips to avoid WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY
The best way to keep meat moist while smoking is to follow the recommended cooking temperatures for meats!


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.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

SMOKED BONE BROTH FOR HEALTH & FLAVOR

Our Smoked Bone Broth starts with Great Beef bones trimmed on the gas grill
Our Smoked Bone Broth starts with Great Beef bones trimmed on the gas grill


Know up front, that making broth from bones has been in our human history for a very long time.  It’s not new but I will say that over the past several years, it has gained in popularity for its health benefits and ability to cleanse the body.

Here’s what has been reported to improve when you consume bone broth: ease joint pain, reduce or prevent degenerative joint disease, promote hair and nail growth, enrich the blood, aid in digestion, build muscle, boost the immune system, and improve memory.

Bone broth is all about depth of flavor.  I am going to dig deeper into the flavor option and smoke the bones rather than roast them to bring an umami-type flavor to my broth.  Warning: you will need about 12-14 hours for the entire process so be sure to plan for this timing.

 

Grill Set Up

The gas grill I’m using is equipped with 4 burners and heat shields over those burners.  I’ll be preheating my grill using all 4 burners then shutting off the two burners on the left side and reduce the heat level to medium-low on the right side.  I add two wood chunks to the heat shields on the lit side of the grill.  Then on to my bones on the left side grill grate, where the burners are turned off.  These will stay on the grill for about 3 hours, with one turning of the bones at the halfway point.  Then off the grill and into a stock pot go my smoked bones for the start of the broth.

 

Simmering We Go

Our Smoked beef bones in the pot simmering with vegetables!
The extra depth of the smoke flavor will be gently revealed in our broth and does not overpower or obsolete the benefits of the broth.  To start the broth process, place the bones in the pot and fill the stockpot with cold, clean water.  Be sure the water is about four inches above the bones.  Allow the bones and water to come to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  The bones should simmer for a least 6 hours.  During that time, you can check and skim off any impurities from the top with a spoon.  While they are simmering you can prepare the vegetables, herbs, and spices that will be added to the mix.

 

Mirepoix and More

Now it’s time to add even more nutritional value to our broth.  Start by selecting the aromatic vegetables for your mirepoix.  I’ve taken leeks, carrot, celery, Napa cabbage, and a few broccoli stems.  To this, I’ve also included about 8 cloves of garlic, thyme, basil leaves, and a ¼ cup cider vinegar.  Place everything in the pot and stir to mix and submerge.  Cover the pot and allow this to simmer for about 8 hours.  Enjoy the great smell that will fill your home!

 

Strain and Portion

You’ve been smelling this awesome bone broth for nearly 14 hours so now it’s time to strain it and prepare to portion it out for future use.
Straining out the cooked vegetables leave a clear broth
If you’ve used a large stockpot, you may need a couple of additional pots for the straining as the contents get heavy to pour.  Once the clear broth is extracted with all the great nutritional value intact, remove the strainer and feel free to compost your vegetable/herb mixture.  Allow the broth to cool and skim off any settled fat from the top layer.  Then portion out the broth and get ready to enjoy its health benefits anytime.

This can be consumed as it for maximum detox benefit, in soups, or to make sauces – any way you can use broth.  I’m starting off by making a bowl of pho with sprouts, soba noodles, mushrooms, spring onion, and of course, my piping hot, flavorful, smoked bone broth.

Serving our smoked Bone Broth for a very satisfying meal!Stater Ingredients for Bone Broth

  • 6-8 lbs. of beef bones
  • 1 lb. celery
  • 2 lbs. onion
  • 1 lb. carrot
  • 4-6 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • ¼ bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

Thursday, October 4, 2018

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT – APPLIES TO WOOD COOKING

"You are what you eatII" saying is more true today than it was years ago!
“You are what you eat” saying is truer today than it was years ago!



We’ve all heard it, likely from our mothers.  You are what you eat.  If you truly understand the meaning of the statement, you know that we extract necessary nutrients from the foods we ingest to energize and stabilize our bodies.  The nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, and hormones.  Every day we lose cells which is why the foods we consume are so vital to our body’s health.

Like Any Other Food Choice

If you’ve been a follower of my writings then you are aware of the stress I put on recognizing the wood used to cook foods is just as important an ingredient as the cut of meat, choice of spices, quality of oil, etc.  There has been a lot of focus on the origin of food and how important it is to source locally both as a means of supporting local business and to control what you’re putting in your body. 

From our perspective, you want to know that the wood used for cooking is sourced close to the growing area.   This ensures that there is knowledge about how the wood is processed before it gets to you and it assures the freshest product.

Minimal Processing

Just as with the clean food concept which focuses on minimally processed foods and as direct from nature as possible, SmokinLicious® holds to the same approach.  Sourcing wood from forest regions (direct from nature) that are in close proximity to our manufacturing facility, provides us with the unique advantage to process into the various cooking products the hardwoods harvested that meet our strict criteria: 100% bark-free (we don’t allow any bark-on product to cross our threshold), 100% heartwood (no outer cores of the tree cross our threshold), harvested hardwood that is less than 6 months of age (ensures this is still a “green” product), chemical-free (no pesticide or growth enhancement techniques employed), and in raw state to allow us to process it into a suitable cooking wood size.

The Risks

If you love foods that are cooked with wood, then you should know a few specifics to keep you on the path to health and long life.

Hardwoods only!

  • Softwoods or coniferous woods should never be used for cooking as they have elevated sap levels and more air in their cell structure. This causes them to burn fast, produce lots of sparks, and unpleasant flavors that are not ideal for flavoring foods. These include pine, redwood, cedar, fir, spruce, hemlock, larch, cypress.

Toxicity Risks:

  • There are many known toxicities in certain species of wood with softwoods containing the highest risk. Other woods have the potential to cause sickness and in some cases death if a person’s system is already compromised. Most of the risks are associated with the cooking process rather than the ingestion of the actual wood-fired food. But know that if a balance of the wood-tar creosote is not found, then the ingestible risks of the food heighten.  One of the best means of obtaining a balance is by starting with hardwoods that are considered safe for cooking, are clean, are bark-free, and derive from the inner cores rather than outer of the wood, where more impurities lurk.

Cooking Technique Influence Risk:

  • At some point, I’m sure you’ve read about heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are the chemicals that form when meats, poultry, and fish are cooked using higher temperature methods like grilling. Why does this pose a health risk?  Because these chemicals cause changes in DNA and when you change DNA and they are metabolized by specific enzymes in the body, you can increase the risk of cancer associated with these compounds.  There is no definitive link between HCA and PAH exposure from cooked meats and cancer in humans.  There is no way to differentiate between other exposures to the chemicals from the food exposure.
HCAs are found to only be associated with meat cooked at high temperatures. While PAHs can be found in other smoked foods.  Remember, PAHs are also in cigarette smoke and fumes from car exhaust.  A recommendation is to remove any charred portions of meat, continuously turning meat over the high heat source, and avoiding direct exposure of meat to the open flame to reduce exposure.  Here’s a tip that can also reduce the risk of forming HCAs – marinate your foods for at least 10 minutes.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

SMOKED STRAWBERRY MARINADE

Our smoked strawberries work perfectly to make a smoked strawberry marinade for our pork or any other meat!
Our smoked strawberries work perfectly to make a smoked strawberry marinade for our pork or any other meat!



If you’re like me, you love strawberries for the incredible juice they contain.  One of my favorite ways to capture the essence of that juice is to smoke the strawberries on a grill.  Not only do you end up with phenomenal smoked strawberries but the juice the grilling/smoking process renders is a must-have ingredient for so many recipes.  I took a batch of the smoked juices and made a fabulous marinade for fish, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, and goat.

 

The Simple Grilling Method

Strawberries on the gas grill with the double filet on the lite burnerWhether you elect to use a standard gas grill or a charcoal grill, you’ll want to use wood chunks from SmokinLicious® to bring clean smoke flavors to the strawberries.  You can visit our previous articles on smoking on a gas or charcoal grill in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique.

For me, I’m using a gas grill equipped with single filet wood chunks.  I prefer to use more mild hardwoods when smoking fruits like Ash, Alder, Cherry, and Maple.
 
I simply lay out my fresh strawberries on a sheet pan or disposable foil tray after cleaning and trimming the stems.  I place the pan on the unlit side of my grill using a medium heat setting on the burners that are on the opposite side.  It will take less than 30 minutes to bring the strawberries to the smoky side.  After the strawberries are tenderly smoked and the juices have rendered, I carefully remove the tray and all the strawberries to cool slightly.  I then transfer the juice to a bowl to be used in my marinade.

 

The Smoked Strawberry Marinade Recipe

This marinade is so simple yet really packs great flavor.  Of course, the longer you marinate your protein, the better the outcome.  For one cup of marinade you’ll need:
  • 1 cup of smoked strawberry juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons blueberry balsamic vinegar or similar fruity flavor
  • ¼ cup Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Select your protein: I recommend chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, or goat.  Place the protein in the bowl and coat completely with marinade.  Place the marinated protein in a resealable food storage bag, pouring the remaining marinade into the bag, and seal tightly.  Refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight


Our pork roast and smoked strawberry marinade
Now you can choose the cooking method to bring all the flavors together.  Grill, oven roasting or even smoking.  Once you’ve selected your cooking method, remove the marinated meat from the bag and cook until done.  Remember, the marinade has been used on raw meat so you cannot reuse it as it will contain some bacteria.