Thursday, July 22, 2021

WOOD GRILLING AVOCADO

Our nicely grill marked avocado halves look yummy after we did our wood grilling avocado technique explained in this blog.
Wood grilling avocado is a fun way to add different flavor to this wonderful fruit.

 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 it is to wood grilling avocado on the gas grill using wood chunks for your smoke infusion.

Making It More Than A Grill

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 Wood Grilling Avocado Preparation

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.

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.

 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

BBQ BOX SMOKER LET’S YOU GRILL ALL YEAR


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

  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.

 Chef Bert grills year round

Year Round Grilling

Grilling equipment manufacturers are always competing with charcoal grill and smoker manufacturers. That’s why many gas grills have an integrated wood chip drawer to imply that barbecue is possible. If you ever tried these, you likely were disappointed in finding that the intensity of flavor could not compare to charcoal equipment.

At the same time, there was an understanding that not everyone could afford a model of grill that included a built-in smoker box or tray. Thus, the birth of the smoker box. A small, removable, and relatively inexpensive accessory that could be used on any gas grill. Like Bert said, with a smoker box, you can grill-smoke anything!

But no one ever discussed what should go in the smoker box. The assumption was use a wood chip but you will learn, a wood chunk brings benefits to outdoor cooking never experienced before with the smoker box.

On the gas grill the two zone method, heat and smoker box on one and food on the opposite

Don’t Let the Cold Stop You!

Bert knows when it comes to outdoor cooking in cold weather, you need a means of reducing the number of times you have to add wood. This is the number one reason to use chunks in a smoker box rather than chips.

With most boxes easily fitting 3 wood chunks, you won’t need to replenish the wood for shorter cook items. Longer cooks will require just a few additional chunks to get the job done.

Gas grills in generally hold a temperature better and don’t react to outdoor ambient temperatures the way charcoal units do. You may need to make some adjustment on the heat level knob to reach your desired temperature but the unit should hold that temperature for the duration of the cooking time.

Easy Clean-Up

The Smoker box

Smoker boxes are made of metal or cast iron giving them durability. Clean up is a breeze as the wood will combust and turn to ash that is trapped in the box. Just dump into a heat safe container and you are all set!

Plus, the metal of the box helps to hold and radiate heat keeping the chunks smoldering for a long time.

Tom dreaming on how to keep himself warm while winter grilling

We don’t think Tom will be lucky enough to find a smoker box that will fit in his pocket but there are a variety of sizes, materials and lid options that should fit any need.

Don’t stop the grilling season when the leaves start to fall. Enjoy flavorful wood-fired foods all year with your new smoker box accessory and premium wood chunks!

Have you used a smoker box on a gas grill? 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®!

 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

TOP 10 FOODS TO BULK GRILL WHILE WORKING FROM HOME

Maria's top 10 foods to bulk grill!
Maria’s top 10 foods to bulk grill!

It is obvious that a return to a “normal” work environment is not likely soon. You may be one of the blessed who has decided you do not want to return to an office but rather continue the joys and challenges of working, educating, entertainment and sleeping from home.

To manage all these needs, meal planning needs to be addressed to allow for more family time. Rather than discuss animal proteins as we have previously done, the focus will be on other food categories that provide for endless options at mealtime.

Time to bring in our top 10 foods to get on the grill or smoker for fabulous flavor to your meals!

#1 Peppers

Do not purchase fire roasted peppers in the store! They are so easy to make using any type of grill you own and any pepper you prefer. By grilling in bulk, these can be added to meals like grilled sausage topped with peppers and onions, whipped into a fire roasted pepper tapenade for snacks or appetizers, bring an elevation to a salad, or as an addition to Dutch oven meals (think chili, goulash, mac and cheese).

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Charred Pepper Dip

#2 Potatoes

This group also includes sweet potato as they are just as fantastic on the grill. Whether you grill whole with the skin on, sliced or cubed, potato is a versatile vegetable that can work for any meal. Include them in an egg-based dish or make them into their own main course. Do not forget, they can be mashed as well for the ultimate smokey mashed potato. This is a bargain item as you get so many potatoes in a single bag with the finished product freezing well.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Curry Potatoes

#3 Mushrooms

Fungi are one of my favorite items to infuse wood flavor to on the grill! There are so many varieties with each providing a variation in texture and flavor. Large mushrooms are perfect as a meat substitute. Like other items, they easily can be frozen to allow for quick meal preparation. One of my favorite uses is in sauces for meats, pasta, grains and vegetables. These also make a great pizza and bread topping.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Mushroom with Ricotta

#4 Tomatoes

Although I am listing fruit in #6, know that tomato would also be included in this category. A separate listing is offered for the simple reason there are many varieties of tomatoes that surpass your average fruit.

Cherry tomatoes done whole on the grill, plum tomato diced and grilled in a pan make the perfect base for saucing, and hearty beefsteak tomato for pronounced tomato flavoring.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Fire Tomato with Rice

#5 Meatballs

Meatballs are one of those foods that just work perfectly for storing and using as needed. Weather you hand make your own, or you purchase premade from the store, go bulk and you will not be sorry. When grilling, leave the sauces and glazes for when you make a meal. Just do simple grilling and/or smoking to the meatballs, store in bags or containers for up to one week in the refrigerator or in freezer bags for even longer use. Be sure when freezing, you do in so in numbers that are workable for feeding your family.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Greek-Style Meatballs

#6 Fruit

There are so many fruits that can be cooked on the grill and used in recipes. My favorites when in season: strawberries, apples, bananas, and peaches. All freeze well when placed on a sheet pan first and flash frozen, then transferred to freezer bags for future use. Although dessert certainly comes to mind first with fruit – think pie, cake and tarts – they certainly can be used to boost up the flavor of sauces or even used in a stuffing for a protein like stuff pork chops or chicken breast. Though it is hard to pick a favorite recipe featuring smoked fruit, I suggest this one:

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Fired Apple Pie

#7 Corn

Grilled/smoked corn is a treat I wait the whole year for since our corn season here in New York state is so short. By grilling the corn on the cob, kernels can easily be removed and used in a variety of recipes. Think salsa, succotash, creamed smoked corn and so much more. Plus, I always freeze smoked kernels for use all year long.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob

#8 Simple Meats: Ground, Thin Cuts, Pieces

One of the reasons thinner and ground cuts of meat and poultry are popular to stock for a week of cooking is,they cook fast and heat up easily. By doing batch cooking, you can use items like grilled chicken pieces in an assortment of meals: tacos, casseroles, rice dishes or served as is with suitable sides. Often you can purchase bulk packages of thin cut assorted pork chops or chicken pieces for low pricing that provide more than one meal. This is where those “family pack” meat items are a true value.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Beef Riblets with Soy Hoisin Sauce

#9 Salad Greens and Chicories

We all know salad greens are healthy for you but eating traditional salads can get boring to the taste buds. That is where the grill can work magic on lettuce greens bringing out a char quality that gives a hearty flavor to your salad. Although hearty greens work best, I have success with more fragile greens by grilling on a sheet pan. Just remember, salad greens and chicories should not be left unattended for any length of time as the cook that quickly.

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Grilled Romaine Lettuce

#10 Eggs

Making egg dishes on the grill or smoker is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to enjoy eggs. The options for making frittata, casseroles, puffs, and so much more are endless! Essentially, any ingredients you crave can go with eggs: seafood, meats, poultry, mushrooms, spinach, kale, parsnip, carrot, celery, corn. Anything! By keeping a dozen eggs in the pantry, you will always have a meal ready to go.

Keep in mind, simple scrambled or sheet pan eggs give a work week of meals and easy start.

What is your favorite bulk grilling or smoking food? 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!

 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

GRILLING MEALS WHEN HOME WORKING

Grilling meals while home working provides hands free cooking and healthy choices!
Grilling meals while home working provides hands free cooking and healthy choices!

It has been months since the new normal occurred. You thought working from home would be brief but it is now clear this situation has no end. Reality has set in that you are working, educating, entertaining, eating and sleeping from home.

One benefit is you no longer are commuting. For those that use mass transit like a subway, bus line or rail line to get to work now find they have more time to devote to family and meals. For those that have had to drive to work now have freedom to cruise online recipes and those old cookbooks. This is your opportunity to make the most of those meals while not making cooking a chore.

Grilling Flavors that Bring Them to the Table

Families love to gather for a grilled meal. There is something about the smell of the grill and the taste of grilled foods that make a meal feel special. That feeling can continue any season of the year when you plan meals or portions of meals prepared on a grill or smoker.

Here is where you can get creative. Any recipe you find can usually be done on the grill. You read that correctly! Whether it is a dessert, side dish, main protein – it really makes no difference. The grill or smoker is an extension of the inside kitchen just with more flavor. Cookware can go on a grill or smoker too. Use that Dutch oven, the Pyrex dish, and sheet pans. They are perfect for the grill.

Large Proteins Mean More Than One Meal

You might be intimidated by that large pork shoulder or whole chicken but these are perfect proteins to invest the time in grilling/smoking while you work. The easiest means of cooking outdoors is to use indirect heat on a gas grill and hot coals (no flames) on a charcoal grill. This allows you to dial in the perfect roasting/grilling temperature so the equipment works just like your oven.

Best part – all the leftovers can be used for additional meals cutting down on the cooking even more. This is the way to serve healthy, filling meals to your family and be ready to sit down to dinner at a reasonable time.

Start with pulled pork or chicken sandwiches and then use the leftovers for tacos or burritos, baked eggs, noodles with vegetables, and so much more.

Don’t forget, if you use a large enough sheet pan or foil pan, when you grill the meat, you can add all types of seasonal vegetables to cook right along with the meat in the same pan! Leeks, onions, fennel, cubes squash, peppers, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, all work well for roasting with meat. Just add 1 to 1-1/2 hours before the meat is done or add from the start and remove when cooked.

Savings Abound Now You Are Home Working

Not only will you save on the time spent cooking but you’ll also save money. Larger cuts of meats often have lower price points. Some discount stores also bundle two whole chickens for a discount price per pound or two pork loins or beef roasts. Do a good assessment of the meat bins and find the best deals your family likes to eat.

What a great time to pass on cooking techniques and knowledge to those younger members of your family or those that never had an opportunity to learn.

What have you been grilling and/or smoking since working from home? 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.

 

Friday, June 18, 2021

How To Keep A Bundt Cake From Sticking To The Pan

Discusses How to keep a Bundt cake from Sticking
Discussing How to keep a Bundt cake from Sticking

 Introducing to you Peggy Hatfield, the Bella Cupcake Couture’s resident dessert couturier, and baker. Peggy became passionate about baking when she was 9 years old. She served freshly- baked treats in her small town in Alabama for 28 years before her home bakery and cafĂ© was closed. But with the Bella Cupcake Couture website, she was able to share her expert reviews on the best baking tools, equipment, accessories, and the latest trends, including the know-how of baking. Bella Cupcake Couture is pleased to present to you the expert baker’s how-to guides, expert tips, and hacks for baking and dessert making.

While there are other techniques in cooking, baking is considered one of the most critical types. Baking requires precision and dedication to the entire process. If you forgot one or add too many ingredients, you can ruin the entire dish. Also, cooking a baked item for longer than the required time will also result in a big problem. That is why, in baking, you need to have lots of patience to succeed with your product.

Making A Cake

At some point, people tend to become excited when removing a just baked cake, forgetting to be more careful after the baking process is complete. The last part of the baking, which is removing your cake from the pan, requires the same level of care as was used in mixing the batter. This article provides the key tips in keeping a bundt cake from sticking to your pan.

Prevent Bundt Cake Sticking

The more careful you are in the cooking part, the more cautious you need to be removing your cake from the pan. It is frustrating when you spend your time, effort, and money , then all of a sudden, your cake decides to remain stuck in your pan, ruining your efforts.

Hey! Don’t worry because here are the effective ways to prevent your bundt cake from sticking.

For more pro baking guides and DIY tips, check out Bella Cupcake Couture at www.bellacupcakecouture.com!

Use a Simple and Nonstick Heavy Bundt Cake Pan

This step is one of the highly recommended ways on how you can prevent a cake from sticking. If you are wondering about its efficiency, you can look for reviews online to have an idea on the brand of bundt cake pan with the best value and rating for your purchase.

To maintain the pan’s efficiency, you should put extra care into cleaning it. Avoid using strong dish washing liquid and abrasive sponges because these can cause damage to the pan’s coating. The most efficient way to take care of your nonstick pan is to wash with mild soap, dry it with a soft towel, and avoid using any metal cooking tools or abrasive brushes.

Use Grease

Take note that using just any grease can also affect the quality of your nonstick pan. Nonstick cooking sprays contain chemicals that can degrade your pan’s nonstick coating. Butter may affect the quality of your cake due to the milk properties which can bind your cake to the pan. One of the highly recommended types of grease that proves best for baking is melted shortening.

Loosen the Edges of the Cake

You cannot and should not forcefully remove your cake from a pan. You need to slowly and carefully loosen the edges and let the cake sit for 5 minutes before turning it upside down on a cooling rack. The use of a plastic spatula is a must to avoid scratching your nonstick pan and cutting into your cake.

Get Your Cake Upside Down

Once the pan is upside down on a cooling rack, let it sit for another five minutes before lifting from the cake completely.

Final Notes

Removing the cake from your baking pan is critical to the final result. Following our simple steps above will ensure a perfect bundt cake. Making the investment in high-quality baking equipment adds insurance for the best product results. If it happens that your cake still sticks in your pan, don’t give up! Try and try again until you flawlessly achieve the perfection of your cake.

 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

WATER PAN FOR SMOKER

Chef Bert brings Water Pan for Smoker to neighbor Tom!
Chef Bert brings Water Pan for Smoker to neighbor Tom!

 Neighbor Tom has his Chicken too dry almost a rock

Poor Tom! He, like many other grill and smoker enthusiasts out there, never learned the value of a water pan. By providing moisture to the grilling area, you can avoid drying out your meats and poultry and never have someone mistake your food for a rock!

Moist Environment = Smoke Attraction

Tom's frustration of always cooking dry BBQ

Water pans are a means of introducing valuable moisture into the cooking environment which has immense value when grilling and smoking.

Tom doesn’t realize that a water pan actually aides in attracting the smoke vapor to the food since smoke sticks to moist surfaces. Just remember to use water in the pan and not other liquids such as juice or alcohol. Here is a tip when you fill the water pan: use a teapot to fill the pan while it is in place so you don’t take the chance of spilling hot water on surfaces or you. Remember, water evaporates while other liquids do not which is the main reason to only use water.

Tom thinking there has to bring moisture to his cooking

Say Good-bye to Over Cooked Foods!

Tom hits on two benefits of the water pan: regulating temperature and producing humidity. But if you like to do direct cooking, the water pan can act as a repellent for the flame giving your foods a chance to survive without becoming a blackened, dried out, former piece of food.

Make Your Own Water Pan

Chef Bert presents the water pan for smoker to his neighbor

Bert knows a water pan often is included when smoking equipment is purchased, but you can easily make your own for a grill or smoker using a disposable foil pan. Just find one that fits comfortably in your equipment. For those with a vertical style unit, be sure to use a separate drip pan from the water pan. Otherwise, oil from the drippings will mix with the water and prevent evaporation needed for a moist environment.

Do you prefer a disposable water pan or a metal one? 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®!

 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

WOOD CHIPS BY AIR PROCESS

Smokinlicious® collects wood chips by Air

Over the past several months, you have learned how your own hands can play host to transmitting the virus known as COVID-19. Once transmitted, the virus can potentially live on surfaces for up to several days.

Of course, there are factors that determine how attracted the virus is to the surface. Porous surfaces like those of cardboard and wood are not very attractive to the virus. It prefers smooth surfaces.

But there is still so much we do not know. SmokinLicious® continues to prioritize limiting human contact with our product manufacture and packaging. Our position is, we do not know enough to stop being diligent in our efforts.

Time to revisit our cartoon friends! Tom and Bert recently discussed the SmokinLicious® air collection process for wood chips.

Why Air Collected Packaging is Better!

Chef Bert and Tom visiting our production facility

Tom asks a great question, as often, we do not think about the wood we cook with. How is it bulk stored, what has it been exposed to, how much dust is in the product? Remember, dust slows combustion and can cause equipment failures. This is the main reason why SmokinLicious® designed a process for screening our wood chips to eliminate as much dust as possible. That is just step #2 in the process after producing the chips from larger pieces of wood.

Dedicated Air Piping

depiction of our vaccum system and air piping system for packaging

Step #3 in the process is explained by Bert as piping that is used to fill customer orders. At SmokinLicious®, each chip size is segregated into storage totes by size and wood species. When a customer order is filled, clean air piping is introduced to the specific storage tote. The product is then collected and dispensed into the finished packaging using this air collection method. A couple key benefits to this hands-free approach is dust-free collection and no crushing of the chips by human hands, ensuring the product you pay for is not reduced to crumbs!

No Contact

Tom celebrating

Bert is quick to emphasis that no human contact is made with the product during packaging. He also stresses that the air packaging greatly improves the air quality for the worker since this is a contained system. No dust is launched into the air!

No dust for the customer who will scoop out product at home and no dust for the workers packaging the products. With respiratory status key to staying healthy, SmokinLicious® makes the effort to keep our workers breathing clean air.

Do you appreciate the extra steps SmokinLicious® is taking with packaging? 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®!