Thursday, June 20, 2019

ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

The finished slices of our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL
The finished slices of our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

I love making traditional baking items on the grill especially when wood is added for a kick of flavor that can make some normal recipes totally unique.  That’s how I feel about this recipe for zucchini-coconut-lime bread/cake.  It has to have two names as I’m giving you two finishes so you have something more savory like a bread and something sweet like a dessert.  Don’t ignore large, fresh zucchini that you see in your garden or farmer’s market or even the local store.  Pick up a beauty and come to the grill with me for this great two loaf recipe.

 

Two Bowls & One Grill

There’s minimal preparation that needs to be done for this bread/cake combination.  One thing I love about zucchini bread/cake is there’s nothing complicated about it.

two batter pans on the grill for baking
To start, head out to the grill and light the burners on only half the grill.  On the lit side, place wood chunks directly on the heat shields or burner covers.  This will produce that fantastic wood vapor that is going to super flavor our bread/cake.  I’ve set my burners to medium which should bring them to 325°F, the perfect temperature to bring these two loaves to the finish.  For the loaf pans, simply spray with non-stick cooking spray or butter generously.  Now, let’s get the batter made.

Tasting Notes: If you’re leery about putting wood pieces directly on your heat shields than you can use a metal smoker box to hold the wood.  Try to get one that will still fit between your grill grate and the heat shield, otherwise, you’ll have to put the box on the grill grate which will take longer to heat up and start the wood smoking.

 

The Double Duty Batter

To start our batter, get a large bowl to combine the dry ingredients first.  Add 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut.   Combine well and set aside.  Next, we’ll prepare the wet ingredients.

In a medium bowl combine 2 cups of raw, unpeeled, grated zucchini, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, ¾ cup oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2 teaspoons lime zest.  This batter will be quite thick.  Here’s a trick with the zucchini: be sure once you grate the zucchini you place it between paper towels and remove the excess water.  If you leave the excess moisture, the batter will become watery and affect how the bread/cake rises.



Mixing the ingredientsWith the dry and wet ingredients made, it’s time to combine them.  Place the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well by hand.  Divide the batter in half and pour into the prepared loaf pans.  Place the filled loaf pans on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.  This batter will take 75 minutes to cook so I check the cake about ½ way through and rotate the pans.  I also make sure the wood chunks are still producing smoke.  If not, I add new wood.  Once cooked, I remove the pans from the grill and cool on wire racks.

Tasting Notes: Whenever you bake on the grill, it is important to use a two-zone cooking method rather than direct heat cooking.  This will reduce the risk of burning the batter or producing off flavors, especially if you use a charcoal grill.  This recipe can be altered to fit your taste.  If you don’t like coconut but still want something sweet, feel free to swap out the cup of coconut for chocolate or butterscotch chips. 

 

When a Bread Becomes Cake

close up of the finished loaves on the grillOnce cooled, I remove the loaves from the pans and place on a serving platter.  I take 1/3 cup of flaked coconut and toast in the oven or on the grill until lightly browned.  Time to make a glaze that will sweeten up this loaf some more, turning one loaf into a cake.


For the glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of lime juice.   Using a fork, I drizzle the glaze over the loaf in a rapid side-to-side motion.  While the glaze is still wet, I sprinkle on the toasted coconut and additional lime zest.  That’s it!  Now you can sample both loaves and decide which is your favorite.  As a bread or a sweet cake.

Tasting Notes:  If you prefer a lemon flavor you can swap out the lime juice for lemon and the lime zest for lemon zest.  Orange works well too!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

“MATCH YOUR COOKER” – CERAMIC AND KAMADO GRILL: THE WOOD MASTER’S GUIDE

Our Forest Fresh Hardwood is a perfect fit for any Ceramic and Kamado Grill
Our Forest Fresh Hardwood is a perfect fit for any Ceramic and Kamado Grill

For those that have followed us for years, you know we are proud that almost from the start of our Company, we were committed to providing a guide for equipment to culinary wood product match.  We refer to our guide affectionately as Match Your Cooker.

In this article, we are covering our recommendations for ceramic and komado style grilling equipment; these are grills that are made from ceramic, clay, terracotta or crushed lava rock that allow the grill to reach extremely high temperatures – usually at or above 750°F!  They are also capable of using charcoal and wood either independently or in combination.

As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates on this listing.  We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed to ensure it is added to the list (email drsmoke@smokinlicious.com).

For now, we introduce you to our wood master’s guide to SmokinLicious® culinary woods for ceramic and komado grills.

 

Single Filet Wood Chunks

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Single Filet Wood Chunks as the charcoal area allows for larger wood pieces:

Big Green Egg models: 2XL, XLarge

Char-Griller Akorn model: ceramic kamado

Grill Dome® models: XL

Kamado Joe Big Joe™ 24”

Komodo Kamado® 32” Big Bad

Louisiana Grills K24

Primo Ceramic Grills models: Jack Daniel’s Edition Oval XL 400, Primo Oval XL 400

 

Double Filet Wood Chunks

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks to maximize oxygen flow:

Bayou Classic Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Big Green Egg models: Large, Medium, Small

Blaze 20-inch Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill*

Broil King® Keg models: Keg™ 5000, Keg™ 2000

Cal Flame® Kamado Smoker Grill

Caliber Pro Stainless Steel Kamado Grill*

Char-Griller Akorn: models: Kamado and Kamado Jr.

Char-Broil Kamander® Charcoal Grill

Coyote Asado Ceramic Grill

Gourmet Guru Grill Ceramic Kamado

Grill Dome® models: XL, Large, Small

Hanover® 19-in. Ceramic Kamado Grill

Kamado Joe models: Classic II™ 18”, Big Joe™ 24”, Stand-Alone™, Joe Jr.™

Komodo Kamado® models: 32” Big Bad, 23” Ultimate, 21” Supreme, 19” Hi-Cap Tall, 19” Hi-Cap Table Top, 16” Hi-Cap Table Top

Louisiana Grills models: K13, K18, K22, K24

Monolith Grills BBQ Guru Edition models: Classic, Le Chef

Pit Boss Grills models: K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill, K24 Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Primo Ceramic Grills models: Primo Oval LG 300, Primo Oval JR 200, Primo Kamado All-In-One

Vision™ Grills models: XL

 

Grande Sapore® Wood Chips

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® Wood Chips for those who prefer a wood chip product rather than chunks:

Bayou Classic Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Big Green Egg models: MiniMax, Mini

Blaze 20-inch Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill*

Broil King® Keg models: Keg™ 5000, Keg™ 2000

Cal Flame® Kamado Smoker Grill

Caliber Pro Stainless Steel Kamado Grill*

Char-Griller Akorn: models: Kamado and Kamado Jr.

Char-Broil Kamander® Charcoal Grill

Coyote Asado Ceramic Grill

Gourmet Guru Grill Ceramic Kamado

Grill Dome® models: XL, Large, Small

Hanover® 19-in. Ceramic Kamado Grill

Kamado Joe models: Classic II™ 18”, Big Joe™ 24”, Stand-Alone™, Joe Jr.™

Komodo Kamado® models: 32” Big Bad, 23” Ultimate, 21” Supreme, 19” Hi-Cap Tall, 19” Hi-Cap Table Top, 16” Hi-Cap Table Top

Louisiana Grills models: K13, K18, K22, K24

Monolith Grills BBQ Guru Edition models: Classic, Le Chef

Pit Boss Grills models: K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill, K24 Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Primo Ceramic Grills models: Primo Oval LG 300, Primo Oval JR 200, Primo Kamado All-In-One

Saffire Grill and Smoker**

Vision™ Grills models: XL

 

Minuto® Wood Chips

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips:

Saffire Grill and Smoker


We hope you view this guide as a helpful resource for selecting the perfect culinary wood for your equipment.  As always, our Wood Guide Team is ready to answer your additional questions and further assist you with the perfect grilling and smoking experience!

 * Although considered a komado grill, this brand is not made with any ceramic, clay, terracotta, or crushed stone.

** This brand is only designed for use with wood chips and includes a patented smokin’ chip feeder.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

MUSHROOM TAPENADE ON THE WOOD GRILL

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers
Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

I’m the type of person who likes to put their own spin on a traditional recipe and make it my own. I’m also one to take liberties with traditional ingredients in that recipe.  That’s why I found a great way to use all those peppers I have growing in my vegetable garden in a recipe take on the traditional tapenade.

I’m using a combination of Hungarian and cubanelle peppers in this great topping that will include portabella mushrooms as well.

Grab some of your favorite peppers and learn how easy it is to make great recipes on the gas grill with hardwood for another flavor level.

 

Where to Start


Normally, tapenade is made with very precise cuts to the olives, usually a fine dice.  I’m not going to be as precise with my cuts but will be doing a dice on the peppers and a rough chop on the portabella mushrooms.  Before getting the main vegetables started for the tapenade, I want to heat up the grill so my wood chunks will already be smoking.  I turn the burners on medium for one half of the grill only.  On that side, I place a metal smoker box that has a couple of hardwood chunks, directly on my heat shield of a hot burner.  Close the lid and let the grill get to 325°F.
Fresh Mushrooms are a must for Tapenade
Meanwhile, I’ve picked some fabulous sweet and hot peppers from my garden and purchased some great looking portabella mushrooms to be the main component of my tapenade.  I carefully remove the seeds and membranes from about ten peppers and dice fine.  I coarse chop the mushrooms and add this to a pan.   Then I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil, I’m using avocado oil, on the vegetables and one stick of melted butter to the pan.  I season with a little salt and fresh ground pepper and mix.  This pan will go on the unlit side of the grill.  Close the lid and allow to wood grill for 45 minutes.

Tasting Notes: Since I’m taking liberties with what can go in a tapenade, feel free to experiment with other vegetables you may have available like eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, etc.

 

Tapenade Sauce

Mixing the ingredientsAlthough tapenades are usually oil based, I’m making mine with more of a creamy undertone to balance the hot pepper flavor.  I start by placing 1 cup of ricotta cheese in a bowl.  I add about ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar – I’m using a tangerine flavor.  Then in go my fresh herbs – rosemary, tarragon, and oregano.  Mix together and prepare to add to the grilled and wood smoked vegetables after they’ve cooked for about 45 minutes.


With the sauce constructed, it’s time to add it to the buttery wood-fired vegetables.  Place the sauce in the pan of vegetables and mix it well.  Let this cook on the grill for another 15 minutes.  The creaminess of the ricotta will counter the spicy peppers to make this a refreshing topping.  Obviously, this basic recipe can be used with a variety of vegetables.  Simply alter the sauce ingredients to balance what your vegetable focus is.  I prefer this tapenade version on crostini for an appetizer, directly on animal proteins whether beef, turkey, chicken, pork or game.  It also works extremely well on an animal protein sandwich such as brisket and pork shoulder.  And, on pasta – well, let’s just say, make a lot!  This is just another example of how easy the two-zone method using wood for flavor is on just about any food.

Tasting Notes:  If you prefer not to use a cheese in the sauce, you can make this with Greek yogurt.  I recommend you add about 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or another thickener to bring the consistency in line with a cheese-type sauce.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

WOOD BURNING PIZZA OVENS: THE WOOD MASTER’S GUIDE

The Wood Burning Pizza Oven with our Ash Wood glowing with great flavor
We specialize in products for Wood Burning Pizza Ovens!

For those that have followed us for years, you know we are proud that almost from the start of our Company, we were committed to providing a guide for equipment to cooking wood product match.  We refer to our guide affectionately as Match Your Cooker”.

In this article, we are covering our recommendations for Pizza Ovens, whether made of ceramic, clay, brick, steel or any combination, that are wood burning or a combination of wood burning and gas.

As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates on this listing.  We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed to ensure it is added to the list.

For now, we introduce you to our Wood Master’s Guide to SmokinLicious® culinary woods for Pizza Oven.

Smokinlicious Full cut log 

Barrel Smoker Logs


The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Barrel Smoker Log/ Full Cut Log which are only designed for the largest pizza oven’s cooking area.  These logs would also be suitable with the commercial-grade wood-burning pizza ovens:

Braza Brick Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Forno Bravo: Primavera 60 Outdoor Oven, Napoli Commercial Pizza Oven

Forno Classico: The Colosso, Fiamma Square

Mugnaini: Medio 110, Prima 120

 

¼ Cut Wood Barrel Logs


Our Quarter cut logThe following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Barrel Smoker Log ¼ Cut Wood Log which we also call Pizza Legno:

Alfa Pizza 5 Minuti

American Barbecue Systems model: “The Judge”, “The Smokehouse 6042”

Authentic Pizza Ovens: Portable Maximus Oven, Traditional Brick Famosi Wood Fire Oven,  Traditional Brick Lisboa Wood Fire Oven, Stone Domed Pizza Oven, Traditional Brick Pizziaoli Wood Fire Oven, Traditional Brick Braza Wood Fire Oven

Bella Outdoor Living: Medio Wood Burning Pizza Oven

Bull Outdoor Products: X-Large Outdoor Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Large Pizza Oven

Californo: Garzoni Pizza Oven, Verona Pizza Oven

Chicago Brick Oven: Wood Burning Pizza Oven Kit CBO-500, CBO-700, CBO-1000; Americano Chicago Counter Top Brick Oven; Mobile Wood Burning Pizza Oven

Deeco: Aztec Allure Pizza Oven

Dome Ovens: Tudor Model Pizza Oven, Model Pizza Oven

Earthstone 90-PA Wood Fired Oven

EcoQue Wood Burning Pizza Oven and Smoker

Fontana Forni: The Small-Est Outdoor Oven, Toscano Margherita Outdoor Oven

Fornetto: Wood Fire Oven and Smoker built-in or freestanding

Forno Bravo: Primavera 60 Outdoor Oven, Bella Grande C36, Bella Ultra C40, Giardino Outdoor Pizza Oven Kit, Casa Home Pizza Oven Kit, Premio Home Pizza Oven Kit, Artigiano Italian Brick Pizza Oven, Andiamo Pizza Oven, Vesuvio Tiled Pizza Oven, Napolino Tiled Pizza Oven, Toscano

Forno Classico: Napoli, Cupola, Square, The Colosso, Fiamma Square

Forno Venetzia: Pronto 500 Outdoor Pizza Oven, Pronto 300 Outdoor Pizza Oven, Pronto 200 Counter Top Wood Burning Oven, Torino 500 Pizza Oven, Torino 200 Pizza Oven, Bellagio 300 Pizza Oven, Bellagio 500 Pizza Oven, Bellagio 200 Counter Top Wood Burning Oven

Gardeco: Pizzaro Pizza Oven

ilFornino: F-Series Mini Professional Stainless Steel Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Platinum Series Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Piccolino Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Professional Plus Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Professional Series Wood Burning Pizza Oven, Elite Plus Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Grand G-Series Wood Burning Pizza Oven

LaToscana: Forno Easy Pizza Oven

Mugnaini: Medio 110 Barrel Outdoor Oven, Masonry Oven Kits Piccolo 80/Medio 100/Medio 110/Prima 100/Prima 120/Piccolo 60

NXR Professional Ranges: Burning Wood Dome Pizza Oven

Pizza Party Pizzone

Preto Beleza Wood Fired Oven

Prime Portable Pizza Oven

Renato PR/310 Outdoor Oven

Ravenna: Talavera Tile Pizza Oven, Rustic Liso Pizza Oven

Rustic Natural Cedar Furniture: Rustic Wood Fired Oven, Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Sunjoy: Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Valhinos Natural Wood Burning Oven

Wood Stone: Bistro Home Ovens 3030/4836/4343/4355, Mountain Home Ovens Mt. Chuckanut 4’ & Mt. Adams 5’

photo of our Charwood


Charwood


Our Charwood product is a partially charred hardwood that still has the core of the specific hardwood’s flavoring intact.  In other words, the outside is carbonized while retaining a hardwood core.  For those ovens that specify using an anthracite coal only which is a hard, mineral coal, charwood would not be an alternative.  Also, any residential oven that requires gas assist, should not use charwood.

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Charwood:

Authentic Pizza Ovens

Braza

Chicago Brick Oven

ilFornino

Mugnaini

Pit Boss Charcoal Pizza Oven

Wood Stone: Coal Fired Pizza Ovens

Double Filet Wood Chunk

The following equipment/models would be suitable for the Double Filet Wood Chunk:

Uuni Pro (Ooni Pro)





We hope you view this guide as a helpful resource for selecting the perfect culinary wood for your wood-fired oven.  As always, our Wood Guide Team is ready to answer your additional questions and further assist you for the perfect wood-fired experience!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

The classic Chocolate War Cake baked on the Grill- cut in pieces
The classic Chocolate War Cake Baked on the Grill

I’m going to show you how easy it is to cook a cake on the gas grill using wood chunks for added flavor.  I simply love how chocolate reacts to smoke vapor and this chocolate recipe of mine is simply outstanding for the grill.

The gas grill was originally intended to provide for a quick cook method but I view this as an extension of the indoor kitchen as the grill really is an oven.  I’m going to turn my grill into a wood-burning oven by incorporating a smoker box that I’ve added cherry wood chunks too.


Why is this referred to as a “war” cake?  During World War I and II, eggs, butter, and milk were rationed.  Although I am including one egg in this recipe, I still consider this a variation of the “war” cake.  You certainly can make any variation you find as there are lots of options available online.
simple ingredients for this recipes
Let’s gather our simple ingredients, heat up the grill, and make perfection in a chocolate cake!

 

Two-Zone Cooking

If you follow my gas grill recipes, then you know I am a fan of the two-zone cooking method.  By lighting the burners on only half the grill and placing the food on the unlit side, I can guarantee controlled temperature that allows me to walk away like I do with my indoor oven.

I start by adding two cherry wood chunks to a metal smoker box.  I place this box under the grill grate, directly on a burner heat shield.  Next, I turn those burners on to medium and allow the grill to warm up while I make my cake batter.

 

The Unusual Batter


First, I butter an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside (you can use the non-stick cooking spray if you prefer).  I start with the dry ingredients: 1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon table salt.  Whisk all this together in a large bowl and set aside.

The Chocolate Batter mixed and ready for bakingWith the dry ingredients prepared, it’s time to start on the wet.  In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 2 ounces high quality, bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine.  Pour over the chocolates 1 cup of hot coffee, whisking to aid melting.  Allow cooling then whisk in 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Tasting Notes: Whenever you bake on the grill, it is important to use a two-zone cooking method rather than direct heat cooking.  This will reduce the risk of burning the batter or producing off flavors, especially if you use a charcoal grill.

 

Grilling the Cake

grilling two zone with wood chunksWith the beautiful chocolate batter finished, it’s time to pour this into the prepared dish.  Note you can use disposable pans or glass, ceramic – any high heat pan works just fine.

I check the cake about ½ way through the 35-minute cooking time.  If I see that there is some uneven cooking occurring, I simply rotate the pan and position where there are no cold spots.  An infrared thermometer will help locate any cold/hot spots.


After grilling until firm to the touch or, you can do the toothpick test – insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, the cake is done – I remove the pan from the grill and let cool for 2 hours untouched.  After the cooling time, I invert the cake onto a cutting board.  At this point, you can sift some powdered sugar over the top of the cake or serve with a side of whipped cream.  Any way you serve this, it is going to be loved, with the serving plate cleaned quickly.  Baked on the Grill is fun!

Tasting Notes:  This cake can also be served with some additional fruit flavoring pairings like cherries, figs, raspberry, pear, and strawberryYou still will maintain a 350°F grilling temperature.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

USEFUL COOKWARE OPTIONS FOR YOUR GRILL

logo and grill introducing our USEFUL COOKWARE OPTIONS FOR YOUR GRILL
Enjoy our USEFUL COOKWARE OPTIONS FOR YOUR GRILL

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

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

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

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!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

ROSEMARY INFUSED SMOKED BEEF SHANKS FROM THE GRILL


Look how juicy our Rosemary infused Smoked Beef Shanks are after we removed them from the grill!
Look how juicy our Rosemary infused Smoked Beef Shanks are after we removed them from the grill!

I’m back with another recipe for beef shanks that takes advantage of seasonal herbs with a simple smoking technique that can be done on your gas or charcoal grill.  I’ve been busy in the kitchen with another seasonal harvest so I’m going to cook my beef shanks on the gas grill using my favorite two-zone cooking method that allows me to step away from the grill.  Of course, I want some wood flavoring in these shanks so I’ll be using cherry wood chunks in a standard metal smoking box.

 

Simple Seasoning


Rosemary on top of the Beef Shanks for flavoringIt is considered one of the ideal flavor pairings for beef: rosemary.  Similar to sage, it contains more pine and floral notes and is sweeter than other herbs.  You will find many varieties that have some variation to the traditional rosemary flavor.  Here are some of the characteristic flavors: lemon-pine, clove and nutmeg, and even a smoky character in a variety called Sissinghurst Blue.

Beef is predominately a salty flavor with some sweetness.  If the animal is grass-fed than the flavor of the meat will be much fuller.

I’ve placed a grill rack in a disposable foil pan, added some rosemary sprigs from my garden to the rack and then applied a drizzle of avocado oil, salt, and pepper to the shanks on one side, laying the seasoned side on the rack.  Then I repeat the oil, salt, and pepper on the exposed side and apply some rosemary sprigs on top.  That’s it!  These are now ready for the grill.

Tasting Notes:  

Other seasonal herbs that are perfect for using in place of rosemary include: mint, parsley, dill.  Although I used avocado oil, since you are not grilling over direct heat, you can use other oils such as olive, almond, walnut, grapeseed, coconut, sesame, etc.

 

Smoking on the Gas Grill

 

I prepare my LP/Gas grill by lighting only half the burners.  I set these burners to medium heat to start.  Next, I place my metal smoker box containing two SmokinLicious® wild cherry wood chunks on the hot burners, right under the grill grate.  Allow this to heat up and start smoking.  The radiant heat capture in the grill will cook my beef shanks without them having to be exposed to the direct heat.  Perfect way for me to be able to walk away from the grill.  When I’m ready to grill, I check the temperature readout to try to hit between 300-325°F for cooking, as to me, this is the heat level that tenderizes my beef shanks to where I like them.  If the temperature reads higher, I just turn down the burners slightly.  Below, just a tweak up.

beef Shanks with the Bone Marrow ready for the stock pot

I leave the beef shanks untouched for about 35 to 40 minutes at which time, I may need to swap out the charred wood pieces for some fresh in the smoker box.  That’s when I give the beef a turnover.  Just one turn is all you will need.  I like to pull my beef off the grill at about 135°F so that when I get it to the table, it will be at a perfect medium-rare.   I also prefer to slice the beef off the bone and serve the marrow bone with some toasted bread – which can be done on the grill as well – that I’ve merely rubbed with some fresh garlic clove or smoked tomato.  So simple yet so unforgettable in flavor.  The season’s best beef shank and rosemary infused in less than 75 minutes.

 

Tasting Notes:

Don’t forget to save the bones to make our smoked beef broth.

If using a charcoal grill, still use a two-zone cooking set up meaning charcoal on only one side of the grill.  Be sure you only cook with hot coals, no flames.  Slow cooking these Rosemary infused smoked Beef Shanks will reward your guest and yourself with a wonderful meal!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING

Smokinlicious teams top tools needed for gas grilling
Smokinlicious® teams top tools needed for gas grilling

There is no question that LP/Gas grills have changed tremendously over the past 10 years and now include some features standard that for many years, were options.  Then there is the development of dual or multi-fuel options on a grill so you can have one unit that performs as a gas grill, charcoal grill, wood grill, and even electric or pellet grill, all in one unit.

Today, I’m focusing on the standard LP/Gas grill, independent of any other fuel source.  This guide will focus on the basic tools that will provide for a better grilling experience and make you more efficient at the grill.

Tool #1

I’m starting with a grill brush since most of us have the habit of thinking about cleaning off the grill grates when we start the grill for cooking, not when we finish.  This tool is to ensure clean up the residual food bits and grease left from your previous grilled foods.

Now I’m aware of the controversy over the use of metal bristles but most of these brushes are made well.  Simple inspection of the brush bristles each time you use it will allow you to identify if the bristles have come loose and have the potential to be transported to your foods.  I prefer a brush with metal bristles, with a long handle to keep my arm away from the heat, as often you want to clean the grill when it’s hot.  Remember, most of these brushes are under $10 so think about purchasing one a couple times per season to ensure the bristles stay put.

Tool #2

There are times when the grill grates and lid will become super coated in grease and pieces of food. 
You’ll need to break out the cleaning agents to ensure these surfaces are ready to go for the next grilling event.  Two of my favorites are CLR BBQ Grill Cleaner and Mr. Clean MagicEraser.  As a non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable product, CLR BBQ Grill Cleaner is not something you have to leave on for hours at a time.  It quickly breaks through the issues and allows you to wipe clean to an almost new state.  Keep in mind, the CLR brand also makes a stainless steel cleaner for the outside as well.

Tool #3

Long-handled tongs.  Your standard tong length for the traditional kitchen just won’t work at the grill, as you need to keep some arm distance from the hot grill surfaces.  I like the 20-inch length with silicone grips as well as silicone tips, as silicone can tolerate extremely high heat.  If you grill multiple food items at the same time, think about purchasing tongs with different colored tips and/or handles as that will ensure use of one color for a specific food so there’s no transfer of flavors.

Tool #4

Like the tongs, a must have is long-handled spatula for those food items that need to be flipped.  I prefer one that is made of solid steel and has a bit of a beveling to the edge.  Again, the longer the handle the better for keeping away from high heat.

Tool #5

An easy to read, digital thermometer.  It is a must when you grill or smoke.  Look for one that has a longer probe for when your grilling larger roasts and thicker cuts of meats and poultry.  Be sure the readout is easy to see and if you grill a lot at night, get one that has a back-lite to see more clearly.  If you cook a lot of different animal proteins at the same time, try to have a thermometer dedicated to each food so you don’t cross-contaminate while bacteria may still be an issue.  There are assorted colors available making it easy to dedicate one to red meat, pork, poultry, and fish.   Most of the digital thermometers on the market today are under $18 with even more under $10.

Tool #6

 If you’ve always been a person that cooks directly on the grill grates and only does the standard fare – hamburgers, sausage, chicken, perhaps ribs – you need to get out of that rut and learn to do more with your grill.  Start by investing in one piece of quality cast iron.  Able to withstand intense heat, cast iron can take you from the average griller to someone with skill.  Now, you can enjoy recipes normally done on the indoor stove outside in the fresh air, with your cast iron skillet.  Remember, there’s a whole line of cast iron cookware so as you expand your skills, you can add to your outdoor cookware.

Tool #7

Although I am a fan of the standard steam table disposable foil pan, any size, shape foil pan will do.  These are perfect for use as a drip pan to prevent render juices from spiking flames and as water pans for a two-zone cooking set up.  I won’t deny, that I also use these to cook in especially fragile items like fruit and specific vegetables.  You certainly can invest in a grill pan but clean up becomes a snap with the disposable pan.

Tool #8

Although the smoker box was originally intended for use with wood chips on the grill, I always use small wood chunks in mine.  I prefer a box made from high-grade stainless steel and one that has a hinged lid.  My smoker box holds three Double Filet Wood Chunks from SmokinLicious® perfectly and provides for extended smoke vapor as compared with wood chips.  Used directly on the grill grate or set under the grill grate on the heat shield, it produces smoke for hours.  Although you can place wood chunks directly on the heat shields, as I’m known to do myself sometimes, they will become permanently marked from the wood ash and eventually need replacing.  The smoker box allows you to avoid this.

There you have it!  My TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING for better results and help in extending the life of your investment!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

The serving picture of our SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN- try this!
The serving picture of our SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN- Try This!

Corn is one of those vegetables that has an extended season to allow you to do all kinds of recipes and techniques.  Given that there are times when you frankly don’t have a lot of time to stand over a grill to do whole ears of corn, I’m giving you an easy technique to add smoke flavor using a handheld food smoker.  Then, I’ll give you a recipe for a spicy butter to coat the corn in to bring out the best in this seasonal vegetable.  I’ll also provide some flavor pairings that work great for other butter topping recipes.  Go visit your favorite corn seller and pick up some fresh corn.

 

Corn Prep


I’ve purchased 6 ears of corn and have boiled them in water until tender, which is the most traditional way of cooking corn.  I allow them to cool enough to handle, then using a sharp knife, I stand the ear of corn on its wide end and cut the kernels from the cob into a disposable foil pan.  If you cook the corn and then refrigerate it prior to removing the kernels, know that the kernels will not come off individually but as one long strand.   Don’t worry about reducing these strands as when we add the butter topping, it will break down the kernels.  Next, I’ll be taking the fresh kernels to the smoke using the Breville-PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro Smoke Infuser which is a cold smoke application anyone can do!

 

Cold Smoke Infusion


smoke infusing the corn If you’re familiar with The Smoking Gun™ note that the version I’m using was a collaboration between Breville and PolyScience, the originator of the concept, and designed specifically for commercial use.  It is manufactured from heavier materials and can stand independently while you work the smoke vapor production.

I’ve gathered together my pan of previously cooked corn kernels, the handheld food smoke infuser, SmokinLicious® Minuto® wood chips in size #8, a lighter, a plastic food bag, and a cable tie.  After sliding my corn pan into the plastic bag, I place a pinch or two of the wood chips in the unit’s bowl, extend the smoking tube into the plastic bag, Then pinch off the end of the bag around the tube, and lite the chips.

Tasting Notes: You may select any hardwood microchip for the smoking but do note that this infuser produces a lot of smoke vapor.  I tend to recommend using light to medium boldness levels of hardwood: Ash, Maple, Cherry.

After placing the corn pan in the plastic bag and lighting the chips with the handheld food infuser, I synch the bag’s end tightly around the tubing.   This allows me to trap all the smoke vapor in the bag and surround the corn.  Once filled – the bag will expand – I turn off the smoker, remove the tubing, and attach a cable tie to the bag’s end.  I prefer to wait until the smoke vapor has dissipated from the bag.  That’s when I cut the tie and remove the corn tray from the bag.  Time to take this to the kitchen and make a spicy butter for the fresh, smoked corn.

 

Spicy Butter and More Recipes


Time to share my recipe for a spicy butter that works perfectly with the sweetness of the corn.

adding the spicy butter to the smoky corn First, melt 1-1/2 sticks of butter over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, 2 tablespoons Chipotle Chili pepper, 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce.  Whisk together, then remove from heat.  This will be poured directly over the smoked corn and reheated until warmed through.  Serve immediately.

There are so many options for corn that it depends if you want a spicy flavor, sweet, savory, or citrus.  In addition to the spicy butter recipe I provided, here are some other flavor combinations that work just as well:

Truffle Butter: garlic, butter, truffle oil, salt & pepper

Sundried Tomato Butter: butter, chopped sundried tomato, basil, parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan

Siracha Butter: beer, siracha, butter, garlic powder, cilantro, salt, pepper, and oil

No matter what combination you prefer, adding another flavor level through smoke vapor will make this corn season one to remember and enjoy our SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

GRILLED PEACHES FOR THE PERFECT SALAD ADDITION

Our Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition with sweet onion, Tomatoes, and fresh herbs!
Our Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition with sweet onion, Tomatoes, and fresh herbs!

If you’ve been a follower of our recipes and techniques for a while, then you’re aware of our preference to grill, smoke, coal cook, and ember fire in-season produce.  Peaches are no exception!

I’ve got my two quarts of fresh peaches and a plan to grill these on the charcoal grill using charwood coals.  Then I’ll use my luscious smoked peaches in a salad that features two additional seasonal ingredients – tomato and shallots.

Get your chimney starter of charwood or charcoal and meet me at the grill for this quick technique and recipe featuring peaches.

 

Fire Up the Grill!

Whenever you use the charcoal grill, it’s always best to get it lit about 30 minutes ahead of cooking.  I’m using a kettle-style grill made by Stôk that has a removable center grate for an assortment of inserts.  I won’t be using any inserts for this cook as my peaches will stay in a disposable foil pan for easy cooking and removal.

Start by placing charcoal or charwood in a chimney starter.  Place a Fire starter in the charcoal area of the grill and place the filled chimney starter over the starter.  Lite the Fire starter and allow to remain in place until all the charwood has ignited and started to reduce to hot coals.  While that’s burning, let’s prepare the peaches.  Be sure you have a couple of wood chunks available to add to the coals when we are ready to grill.  I like to use the single filet wood chunk size from SmokinLicious®.

Tasting Notes: there are differences in charcoal so be sure to use a natural charcoal or charwood product rather than briquets as briquets will produce more heat than you need.

 

Perfect Peach Bites

With our charcoal grill going, it’s time to start on the peaches.  There are a few ways to remove the skin from peaches including placing them in hot water for a few minutes then removing and placing in a bowl of ice water.  The skins will just peel off.  I’m an old school so I use a sharp paring knife and just remove the skin.
dicing the peachs in preparation for the smoker
Once the skin is removed, it’s time to cut the peach into bite-size pieces.  You can easily cut around the pit and cut those slices into pieces.  Place all the pieces in a foil pan in an even layer.

Tasting Notes: Try to purchase peaches that have some firmness to them if you don’t plan to grill them right away.  The peaches should have no bruising and have a slight give when touched.  Too soft and those peaches won’t hold their shape when exposed to the grill’s heat.

 

Smoking Process

With the peaches prepared, time to take them to the grill.  Pour the chimney of hot coals into the grill’s charcoal area and add the wood chunks.  Add the pan of prepared peaches and placed the lid on the grill.  Be sure the outtake vent on the lid is ½ way open.  The intake vent at the charcoal area should be ¼ way open.  Now allow smoking for 15 minutes prior to checking.  Remember, we want to add smoke without reducing the peaches to a puree.

Tasting Notes:  Since peaches contain 89% water, they take in the smoke vapor extremely well.  Keep that in mind when you select both the charcoal and wood.  Remember, oak based charcoal tends to burn hot and has a stronger undertone to fruit.


 

Final Salad Prep- Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition!

While the peaches are absorbing all that great smoke flavor, return to the kitchen and prepare the remaining ingredients for our salad.
ingredients table

You’ll need:
  • 1 lb. tomatoes cut into 1/2’” pieces; or if using cherry or grape tomato, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for final drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • fresh mint leaves torn
  • salt and pepper
I start by slicing my tomatoes in half, then add a teaspoon of salt to them while sitting in a colander so I can render some of the water.

the ingredients in the serving bowl and ready to add the dressing
While the tomatoes sit, I start slicing the shallot into thin strips.   At this point, you’ll want to check the peaches.  They should be close to or ready to remove from the grill.  I like to place them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool them down for the salad.  While that’s happening, let’s prepare the vinaigrette.

I prefer to mix all the vinaigrette ingredients in a measuring cup so I can easily pour it to the salad right before serving, to keep the tomato and peach from getting too soggy.  Start with the extra virgin olive oil and add the rice vinegar.   Next, the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and fresh pepper.  Whisk it all together and set aside while you combine the salad ingredients.

Tasting Notes: you can substitute cider vinegar for the rice vinegar and any color of tomato will do though I lean toward the reds and purples to give a color contrast from the orange peach.

Smoked peaches go into the serving bowl first, following by the tomatoes, and shallots.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad within an hour of serving and top with the torn mint leaves.  A perfect balance of sweet, tart, smoky, and refreshing.  An easy method and recipe you can have in 60 minutes.  I love peaches so try our grilled peaches for the perfect salad addition for your next dish to pass!  You will tantalize the guest taste buds!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

We are showing peaches on the grill for our peaches wood fired recipe along with the finished smoky peach gazpacho in a bowl.
Smoky peaches wood fired is a great way to enhance this fruit. Add as an ingredient in soup for a special flavor touch especially on a hot summer day.

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 peaches wood fired
  • 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 peaches wood fired 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!

We hope you’ll try your hand at this recipe.  We’d love to see your photos of your version of the recipe.  Leave a comment and subscribe.  Keep following us as we bring you innovative tips, techniques, and recipes on working with wood for cooking, grilling & smoking.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

PAN COOK ZUCCHINI ON THE GRILL WITH WOOD FLAVOR

Try our pan cook zucchini on the gas grill with wood chunks for a flavoring twist


I’ve got a one pan dish that is easy to construct with the best part being you can do the entire recipe on your LP/Gas grill.

Grab your prized zucchini and get to the grill and I’ll show you how easy this technique and recipe are for a great meal.

 

Zucchini Prep


Preparing the zucchini is very simple for this recipe as we want all the nutritional value of the skin as well.  After washing, patting dry, and trimming off the ends, cut 1-inch thick rounds and then cut each round into smaller pieces.  For the smaller rounds, you should get 4 pieces and the larger 9.  Place all the cut zucchini pieces into a disposable foil pan.  There’s no need to spray the pan or add any liquid as zucchini has a 95% water content and when cooked, produces 6 oz. of water per every cup.  This will naturally steam away while in our grill pan while tenderizing the zucchini for our dish.  Plus, the high-water level will attract the smoke vapor for great flavor.
Diced zucchini in a disposable pan ready for the two zone cooking method
The grill set up is the easiest part.  Simply lite the burners on only half the grill.  Place wood chunks either directly on the heat shields located under the grill grate or in a smoker box placed on top of the grill grate of the lit burners.  Allow to heat up for about 10 minutes.  Then place the pan of cut zucchini on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.

Tasting Notes: You do have an option to slice your zucchini lengthwise into quarters and grill directly on the grate.  Know this will produce stronger wood flavoring to the finished product and you will still need to cut the zucchini down into bite-size pieces.

 

Ragout Ingredients

Although ragout in Italian traditional means a sauce made from root vegetables and fruits, I felt it was a suitable term for our tomato-jalapeno based sauce.  In addition to your zucchini, you’ll need the following ingredients:
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups pasta sauce
  • Basil- 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 10 oz. tortellini
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese
After the zucchini has cooked for about 30 minutes, add the diced tomato and jalapeno.  Let that cook for 15 minutes and then add the pasta sauce, basil, oregano, parsley and garlic powder.

Tasting Notes: This can be a spicy dish so if you only like a mild kick add ¾ cup of ricotta cheese when the pasta sauce and herbs are added.

 

Finale

All this made in one pan!
all our spices added to the panThe final step to our grilled zucchini with tomato pepper ragout is to add the tortellini.  You may wonder how tortellini will cook without any water.  Essentially, you only need a little liquid with heat to produce enough steam to cook the tortellini.  The best part is you won’t have any pasta that is soggy and unable to hold its form.

After adding about 10 ounces of tortellini – mine happens to be filled with spinach – the ¼ cup of shaved asiago and parmesan cheese are added.  Everything is mixed well and left on the grill until the tortellini are tender.  That’s it!  Everything completely made on the grill and absorbing the great wood flavor from our SmokinLicious® chunks.  This is a great starter recipe that you can easily modify to fit your taste.

Now you need to try to Pan Cook Zucchini on the gas grill with wood!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

TOP TOOLS TO OWN FOR CHARCOAL GRILLING

Our take on the Top Tools to Own for Charcoal Grilling
Our take on the Top Tools to Own for Charcoal Grilling – some may surprise you!

When I get the chance to visit a brick-and-mortar barbecue specialty store, I am always amazed at the number of accessory items currently offered for grilling and smoking.  The options are staggering!  I certainly can see why an individual might end up purchasing too many items, thinking that it’s a necessity when it comes to the grill or smoker.

My intent is to guide you on the bare basics tools that are needed when you own a charcoal grill.  Of course, I may slip in there a couple of “next in line” purchases that may not be necessities but sure come in handy.  Let’s get started!

 

Tool #1

We demonstrate a lite chimney starter!Chimney Starter: Honestly, I don’t know a safer, easier method of lighting the fuel for your grill than with a chimney starter.  Are they pretty much the same?  Pretty much but here’s my recommendations on what to look for: one that is made of plain steel meaning no paint; one that has a heat-safe handle that is placed far enough away from the chimney body to prevent you from receiving burns and includes a heat shield;  large enough to hold enough charcoal for the size of your grill; well vented at the base to get things hot within 15 minutes.

 

 

Tool #2

insulated long sleved gloves protect from heat and burnsWe just talked about the chimney starter which emits very high-heat so this next item is going to keep you fire safe.  High-temperature resistant gloves.  Personally, I use welding gloves as I appreciate that I can purchase a longer length glove, plus, these gloves tend to have great flexibility to them since most are made from cow leather.   Best of all, they last forever!

 

Tool #3

The long handle tonges are great for putting and turning food on the grillLong-handled tongs.  Your standard tong length for the traditional kitchen just won’t work at the grill, as you need to keep some arm distance from those hot coals.  I like the 20-inch length with silicone grips as well as silicone tips as silicone can tolerate extremely high heat.

 

 

 

Tool #4

Spatula with long handle to turn the food on the grillLike the tongs, a must have is long-handled spatula for those food items that need to be flipped.  I prefer one that is made of solid steel and has a bit of a beveling to the edge.  Again, the longer the handle to better for keeping away from intense heat.  Of course, you’ll be wearing your high-temperature resistant gloves as well!

 

Tool #5

Wire brush to clean the grates of residual food.Even if you don’t grill every day you’re still going to need a good brush to clean up the residual food bits and grease.  There’s been a lot of controversy over the use of metal bristles but most of these brushes are made well.  You simply forget that like your toothbrush, they need to be replaced periodically before the bristles start to come loose and have the potential to be transported to your foods.  I prefer a brush with metal bristles, with a long handle to keep my arm away from the heat, as often you want to clean the grill when it’s still hot.  Remember, most of these brushes are under $10 so think about purchasing one a couple times per season to ensure the bristles stay put.

 

Tool #6

Probe thermometerAn easy to read, digital thermometer.  It is a must when you grill or smoke.  Look for one that has a longer probe for when your grilling larger roasts and thicker cuts of meats and poultry.  Be sure the readout is easy to see and if you grill a lot at night, get one that has a backlight to see more clearly.  If you cook a lot of different animal proteins at the same time, try to have a thermometer dedicated to each food so you don’t cross-contaminate while bacteria may still be an issue.  Most of the digital thermometers on the market today are under $18 with even more under $10.

 

Other Recommended Tools:

These are additional items I love to have on hand to use with my charcoal grilling and smoking.

Aluminum disposible pans are grillers best friendThe Disposable Foil Pan: Perfect to use as a water pan, cooking pan with a roasting rack insert, grease collection pan, and warming pan.




Wire mesh to hold the coals from falling thru the larger grates. especially for ember cooking.Fine Wire Mesh: Cut to size to fit my charcoal area, I prefer to use fine wire mesh when I want to ensure I can retain every small hot coal for my cooking.  This works particularly well when you plan to ember cook foods like peppers, onions, eggplant, and garlic.



Brick for ember cooking- heat retention and separation for delicate foods such as fish!Fire Brick:  I use one or two fire bricks to set up my two-zone cooking area.  The bricks also work great for positioning a pan on to allow for elevation in the cooking area.



There you have it!  My top choices for the tools that will bring ease to your charcoal grilling and smoking.  Just remember to include some clean, bark-free hardwood on the charcoal for an even better flavor to your foods.

There you have it our take on the Top Tools to own for Charcoal Grilling!