Thursday, October 26, 2017

SMOKIN’ DUST®: A SPICE FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT

SIMPLE FLAVOR INFUSION!

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 stock piles 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 stove top 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 put into the equipment rather than focusing on the ingredients to the foods being cooked.

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 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, apple wood 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, hand held food smoking, stove top smoking, or even traditional LP and charcoal grilling.  And get ready to experience the world through flavor aroma!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE!

Alder wood for a light smoke wood flavor

As we highlight another hardwood from our offerings, we need to start by pointing out that we are referring to Eastern Alder not the better known Western Alder or Red Alder of the west coast.  Eastern Alder is part of the Birch family, with the scientific name of Alnus but the common names for the varieties found in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania regions of Eastern Alder (Smooth Alder), White Alder, Red Alder.

Alder is a relatively soft hardwood of medium density.  It is most commonly used with fish but I think I need to stress here that really any cooking hardwood can be used with any food item at the discretion of the cook.  Many factors play in to how a hardwood reveals itself during the cooking event: rub ingredients, brine ingredients, quality of the meat/poultry/fish, freshness of the food item, style of cooking (over the coals, in the coals, indirect heat, etc.) and most importantly, oxygen flow which feeds the combustion of the wood.   Alder provides a neutral coloring to the outer skin of foods which is why it is a favorite for fish.  Would this be a first choice for say a steak or other beef item?  No, but I certainly like to use it for lots of other things like fruit, vegetables, cheese dishes, and of course, fish.

For cooking, you can expect Alder to perform as follows:

Heat Level: Medium – 17.6MBTU

Fuel Efficiency: Fair

Ease of Lighting: Good


When you’re looking for something on the lighter menu of woods, keep Alder in mind, and explore its lighter heat level and versatility for the more delicate items of cooking.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

WOOD GRILLING AVOCADO

Add a great flavor to Avocados by grilling them!

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 fire 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 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.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

PEACHES GO SMOKY FOR A FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

Smoking/grilling with wood is a great way to enhance the flavor of peaches. Add as an ingredient in soup to add a special flavor touch on a hot summer day. Try our recipe!
One of the easiest techniques to do with fruit on a gas or charcoal grill is wood firing peaches.  Take advantage of the season with this fruit by bringing different flavors and textures for great recipe.  Why not start with my recipe for a summer gazpacho that will cool you off during the hot season.  It’s time to take advantage of the summer harvest with fresh peaches and yellow tomatoes for fabulous summer cuisine

Fresh Is Key

Peaches are one of those fruits that performs perfectly on the grill, whether you use charcoal or gas for the actual cooking process.  To start, purchase fresh, in season peaches.  Wash and pat dry.  Then pass a knife through the center until you just hit the peach pit and cut through the flesh in a circular motion.  Remember, the pit will stay in place.   Take your hands and grip each side of the peach turning your hands in opposite directions to open the peach.  This will result in the pit separating from the peach flesh of one half of the peach.  Take a spoon and gentle insert the side around the pit and loosen until the pit is released from the peach flesh.  You now have 2 equal sized peach halves.  You may do as many peaches as you like but know for the gazpacho recipe you will need at least 3-4 good sizes peaches.

Releasing Sweet Smoky Flavor

Once all the peaches are cut in half they are ready for the grill.  I am going to use my charcoal smoker for this recipe but you can easily use a gas grill with wood chunks as well.  Just see our posting on how to add wood chunks to the LP grill.

I’m going to set up an indirect method of cooking the peaches to keep them from getting too soft.  That means my hot coals will be in one half of the grill while I do the actual cooking of the peaches on the half without hot coals.  Keeping the lid on will ensure that the heat is collected in the grilling area for an even cook.

Flavor In No Time At All

I have the benefit of being able to use the SmokinLicious® charwood product which is a blend of charred and uncharred wood. It allows for a lot of smoke vapor. I place my peaches with the skin side down on the grate, keeping all the peach halves on the non-coal side of the grill.  I’ll let them cook for about 10 minutes and then rotate them so the flesh side is on the grate.  Once cook through, I will remove and place them on the skin side to cool.

Seasonal Fresh Ingredients

With the peaches wood fired and ready, it’s time to collect the other ingredients for the gazpacho:
  • 3 cups wood fired peaches
  • 3 medium yellow tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber peeled and chopped – I’m using 3 mini cukes
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon marinade for chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • Reserved chopped peaches, cucumber and yellow tomatoes for topping/garnish
  • You will also need a food processor or blender

Blending Your Way To Fabulous Flavor

Time to bring all the ingredients together starting with the wood fired peaches, yellow tomatoes, yellow pepper, cucumber, sweet onion and garlic.  Process all these items until thoroughly blended.  Now add the lime juice, vinegar, marinade, salt, sugar, and pepper sauce if you are including this.
Time to refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.  You must wait for everything to blend and make the most fabulous gazpacho ever!

With the smoky tang of the wood fired peaches meeting up with the coolness of the tomatoes and cucumber, this gazpacho has just the right amount of tang, kick, and sweet to make this a summer favorite.  Once the soup has chilled, place in serving bowls and top with chopped smoked peach, cucumber, and tomato.  All the fabulous seasonal ingredients the season can offer in one bowl!