Thursday, August 29, 2019

WHY TWO-ZONE COOKING METHOD LET’S YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE GRILL

The SmokinLicious® culinary crew's two-zone cooking method set up to smoke Fava Beans on the Gas grill with Wood chunks!
The SmokinLicious® culinary crew’s two-zone cooking method set up to smoke Fava Beans on the Gas grill with Wood chunks!

We all know that the key to easy and successful outdoor cooking is to control the temperature.  I also believe that outdoor cooking should not hold you hostage at the grill.  That’s why everyone should learn the two-zone cooking method for grilling.

Let’s cover what type of cooking you can do by this method, why it’s so successful, and how to set up the zones.


Why Two-Zone is Best

 smoker box and single filet wood chunksTwo-zone cooking can be done on any type of grill no matter the fuel source.  What is two-zone cooking?  Using the fuel source on only half the grill while the other half holds the food.  Although you may use the unlit side of the grill for most of the cooking, you have the benefit of finishing crispy skins of items or quick cooking thinner cuts of meats on the direct heat side.

Two-zone cooking is also called direct and indirect cooking.  The indirect side uses indirect convection heat to cook the food which means the heat generated by the lit side radiates into the material of the equipment and produces heat (convection heat) on the unlit side.  The direct side produces the heat within the unit and can be used when quick cooking is needed or when a food that has been cooked on the indirect side needs crisping, additional coloring, or some char.


Set Up a Two-Zone

setting up the smoker box on the grillThe primary reason you want to set up two-zone cooking is most of the grill cooking does not require direct heat.  When you consistently cook foods, especially meats, over direct heat, you easily can have dried, stiff, flavorless results.  This is due to the components of meat reacting at different temperatures that with direct cooking occur too fast to react.

I will tell you that you need a grilling area that is large enough to establish two zones.  I judge the space needed with a rectangular, disposable foil pan.  If the pan can fit on half the grill area without issue, then you have plenty of room for a two-zone setup.   When using a gas grill, this means lighting the burners on one half of the grill.  If you don’t have an even number of burners, then decide how many are to be turned on and how many left off.   With a charcoal grill, placing the hot coals on only half the charcoal area.  On an electric unit, if you can manipulate the heating element, isolate the element to one side of the unit.  The temperature that works ideally for two-zone cooking is 225°F.  Of course, I always add wood chunks to give a smoky flavor to the foods.  Remember, the hardwood goes on the direct side of the grill or lit burner or hot coals.

Note that you can also use a water pan using two zones.  This can be placed on either side of the grill depending on when you need the direct heat side.  Keep in mind, when doing meats, it’s great to place a pan under the meat with vegetables (onions, potatoes, celery, peppers, etc.) and a small amount of liquid that can collect the meat renderings.  You can also place pans of beans to catch those drippings.  Anything is fair game.

For those times when you don’t want to add any additional foods, you can simply lay a thin foil pan under the grill grate of the indirect side or a sheet of foil.  That will collect any fat drippings.


Cook Anything!

Smoking Tomatoes on the gas grill with the two-zone cooking methodSince radiant heat is what you are cooking with when foods are placed on the indirect side, you can cook anything.  I love doing tarts and cakes via this method, especially during the hot months when you don’t want to lite your indoor oven.  In fact, those are the times that I cook an entire meal using a two-zone setup.

You can also cook multiple items using both direct and indirect heat.  A long cooking meat goes on the indirect side, is cooked to temperature and held there, while a side dish is cooked on direct heat.  Don’t forget, if the cookware you use is high heat tolerant, you can use cookware as well.  This is how I can make cakes, tarts, and bread on the grill.  You need to view this equipment like an oven as that is essentially what it is!


Use Like an Oven & Walk Away

I’m going, to be honest.  Although it’s true that you can produce more moist foods using a two-zone method the real reason I love this method of cooking is I can walk away from the grill.  This is particularly true when using a gas grill which holds the temperature steady, which for me, is 250°F for long cook meats and regular baking temperatures for all my cookies, cakes, tarts, bread.  Remember, charcoal grills will still require you to refuel so the temperature can fluctuate more if you’re not careful.  Keeping an extra chimney starter of charcoal going will solve that issue.

As a final note, even though two-zone cooking allows you more time away from the grill, you still need a good digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the food.  Invest in an easy read one and you’ll really enjoy this new way of grilling and smoking.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

BEST GINGERBREAD MEETS THE GRILL

We served our Best Gingerbread from the Grill as a dessert! The grilled smoky flavor was too good for a Gingerbread house!
We served our Best Gingerbread from the Grill as a dessert! The grilled smoky flavor was too Tasty for a Gingerbread house!

Gingerbread is one of those terms that are generic in the definition for a broad category, in this case, something made from ginger, cinnamon, clove, and a sweetener like molasses and sugar.  Although “bread” is in the name it can produce great cakes, cookies, bars, and of course, bread.

One of the reasons gingerbread is ideal for cooking on the grill is because it contains bold flavors of spices and molasses.  I’ll be taking a traditional recipe for gingerbread and introducing the cooking to the grill that I’m equipping with wood chunks for a unique wood flavoring.

You’re going to love the dense, flavorful result that is the perfect recipe to keep on hand for those unexpected and expected guests.

#Two-Zone Cooking

 

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking methodIf 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 as I do with my indoor oven.

I start by preheating my grill by lighting the burners on just one side.  I want a cooking temperature of 325°F so I’ll set the dials to low.  On the lit side, I also add a metal smoker box that contains 3 wood chunks.  By the time my batter is mixed, the wood chunks will be smoking for the cooking of the gingerbread.

Quick Batter

 

First, I butter and flour an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside (you can use the non-stick cooking spray if you prefer).  There is only one mixing bowl needed for this recipe to combine the following ingredients and beat until combined well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed:

    Our Batter ready for the baking pan
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon crème Fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
Once mixed, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and get ready to put it on the grill.

Tasting Notes: My non-traditional ingredient is the addition of the crème Fraiche.  I use this only when making a cake or loaf as if used for cookie batter, this would be too thin.  Remember, there are many variations to a gingerbread recipe.  Bolder flavors can be produced through the addition of ground clove and nutmeg.  For sweeter versions, adding honey or condensed milk.  Remember, molasses was used in baking centuries ago as a means of saving money due to the high cost of sugar.

Gingerbread Grilling


Our Batter on the grill cooking and absorbing smoke
With the batter poured, we are ready to wood grill the cake.  Place the prepared pan on the unlit side of the grill, making sure that the grill’s temperature is close to 325°F.  Now you can walk away for about 35 minutes.   Return at that point to simply rotate the cake pan and ensure the cake is cooking evenly.  If the wood chunks are completely black, you may want to add a couple of more.  Total grill-baking time will be 50-55 minutes.  Remove from the grill and cool the cake on a wire rack.  Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.

Tasting Notes:  I prefer to serve this version of gingerbread with butterscotch sauce and whipped topping but other choices include melted semi-sweet chocolate, orange sauce, and even a cream cheese frosting.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

“MATCH YOUR COOKER” – SMOKERS LIST-OUR WOOD MASTERS GUIDE

Our drawing of the typical offset smoker, which come in a variety of sizes! Study our Smokers list
Our drawing of the typical offset smokers, which come in a variety of sizes! Study our Smokers list

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 smoker equipment; these are cookers that are dedicated for use as a smoker, usually hot smoking at that.  As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates.  We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed so we can add this to our listing.

For now, we introduce you to our wood master’s guide to SmokinLicious® cooking woods for specific smokers.

 

Barrel Smoker Logs


The following Smokers list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Barrel Smoker Log/ Full Cut Log:

BBQ Pits By Klose model: Commercial Indoor & Outdoor Pits; Mobile Cookers and Catering Rigs

Bubba Grills models: T3 Steam, 250 Gallon R, 250 Gallon Ribbox, 500 Gallon R, Hog/Shoulder Box, Custom Grills
Smokinlicious Full cut log 
Cookers and Grills.com model: Mobile Units, Hog Cookers, Pig Roasters

Horizon Smokers model: Trailer Smokers

Jambo Pits model: J-3 and J-5 Models

Kingfisher Kooker’s model: Commercial Rotisserie Cookers, Commercial Grill

Lang BBQ Smokers model: Competitive and Commercial Smokers

M Grills model: M1, M36, M48

Meadow Creek® BBQ model: Barbecue Smoker and Barbecue Smoker Trailer

Myron Mixon Smokers models: H2O Water Smoker, Gravity Feeds, H2O Rotisserie Water Smoker, Trailers

Ole Hickory Pits model: Convecture™ Tri Ovens

Peoria Cookers model: Mobile Units

Southern Pride BBQ Pits & Smokers model: Gas and Mobile Smokers

 

¼ Cut Wood Logs


The following Smokers list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® ¼ Cut Wood Log:

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

Image of our quarter cut logBackwoods Smoker: “The Gladiator”

BBQ Pits By Klose: Combination Smokers and Grills

Karubecue model KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit

Lang BBQ Smokers model: Competitive and Commercial Smokers

Ole Hickory Pits model: Convecture™ Tri Ovens

Pitmaker model: BBQ Edge Smoker

The Good-One Smokers model: The Pitboss

Tucker Cooker Co.

 

Unfileted Wood Blocks


The following Smoker list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Unfileted Wood Block:


BBQ Pits By Klose: Combination Smokers and Grills

Big Poppa® Smokers models: cabinet smokers

image of the SmokinLicious® Block!Bubba Grills models: Super Cooker, Deck Grills, Custom Grills

Cookers and Grills.com model: Mobile Units, Hog Cookers, Pig Roasters, Backyard Chef & Patio Smoker Grills

Meadow Creek® BBQ

Pitmaker model: Hitman 48, Short Sniper, Long Rifle Sniper, Magnum Sniper Smoker

The Good-One Smokers model: The Open Range, The Heritage, The Marshall, The Pitboss

Tucker Cooker Co.

Yoder Smokers

 

Single Filet Wood Chunks


The following Smokers list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Single Filet Wood Chunks:
SmokinLicious® Single Filet wood chunk 

American Barbecue Systems model: “All Star”, “The Pit-Boss”, “The Bar-Be-Cube”

Backwoods Smoker model: “Party”, “G2 Party”, “The Fatboy”, “G2 Fatboy”, “The Pro Junior”, “The Piglet”, “Piglet Plus”, “The Competition Hog”, “The Pro-Competition Hog”, “The Whole Hog”

Big Poppa® Smokers models: all drum smokers

Bubba Grills models: Deck Grills


Char-Broil model: Highland Offset Smoker, Longhorn Offset Smoker, Longhorn Reverse Flow
Offset Smoker

Cookers and Grills.com model: Charcoal/Wood Smoker Grills

Pitmaker models: Hitman 20×32, Custom Smokers

Smoke Hollow Charcoal/Gas Grill

Stump’s Smoker models: The Baby, The XL Baby, The Junior, The Classic, The Stretch, The Monster, Platinum 4, Platinum 6, Reverse Flow models

The Good-One Smokers model: The Patio Jr.

 

Double Filet Wood Chunks


The following Smokers list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Double Filet Wood Chunks:


American Barbecue Systems model: “All Star”, “The Pit-Boss”, “The Bar-Be-Cube”

Backwoods Smoker model: “Chubby 3400”, “Chubby”, “G2 Chubby”

Best Choice Products model: 43” Outdoor Vertical Smoker

Brinkman models: Trailmaster 57” Vertical Smoker, Roadmaster, All-In-One Gas & Charcoal
Smoker, Grill & Fryer, Smoke ‘N Pit

Broil King model: Smoke Offset, Smoke Grill, Smoke Vertical


SmokinLicious® Double Filet Wood Chunk
Cabela’s 7 in 1 Cooker/Smoker

Char-Broil model: Vertical Charcoal, American Gourmet Offset Smokers, Offset Smokers, Bullet
Smokers, Silver Smoker

Char-Griller Grills & Smokers models: Smokin’ Champ™ 1624 Charcoal Grill, Smokin’ Outlaw
3724 Charcoal Grill, Smokin’ Pro™ E1224, Competition Pro™ 8125 Charcoal Grill, Texas Trio

Cookshack model: SmartSmoker Commercial Smoker & Smoker Oven, Smokette Electric Smokers,
SuperSmoker Electric Smoker, AmeriQue Electric Smoker

Cuisinart model: COS-244 Vertical 36” Propane Smoker, COS-118 Vertical 18” Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo models: DG01176BDC-D Off-Set Smoker, DGX7080BDC-D 36” Vertical Smoker, Signature Series Vertical Smoker, DGX376BCS-D Compact Charcoal Bullet Smoker

Masterbuilt models:  7 in 1 Smoker and Grill, Dual Fuel Smoker

Master Forge Charcoal Smoker/Griller

Meco (Americana) Charcoal Combo Water Smoker

Pitmaker model: BBQ Safe Smoker

Red Box Smoker

Smokin-It®

Southern Country Models: 2 in 1 Water Smoker and Charcoal Grill, 5025 Stainless Steel Charcoal Water Smoker

Stump’s Smoker models: The Mini Stumpster, The Stumpster

Texas Pit Crafters models: PM 500S BI, PM 500U BI, PM 500 U S/S BI, PM 535U BI Smoker, PM 550S BI, PM 550 Smoker with Enclosed Front Load Firebox, PM 550 Upright Smoker/Pit with Enclosed Firebox

 

Grande Sapore® Wood Chips


SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® wood chipsThe following Smokers list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® Wood Chips:


Alto-Shaam model: Smoker Ovens

Broil King model: Smoke Offset, Smoke Grill, Smoke Vertical

Camp Chef model: Smoke Vault Smoker

Char-Broil model: Vertical Electric & Propane

Dyna-Glo model: DGU732BDE-D 30″ Digital Electric Smoker

Napoleon model: Apollo AS200K, Apollo AS300K

Pit Barrel®: any model

 

Minuto® Wood Chips


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


Alto-Shaam model: Smoker Ovens

Bastra

Camp Chef model: Smoke Vault Smoker
Char-Broil model: Vertical Electric Smokers, Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, Analog Electric

Smoker, Simple Smoker

Dyna-Glo model: DGU732BDE-D 30″ Digital Electric Smoker

Fessmann
SmokinLicious® Minuto® wood chips 
Hakka Electric Stainless Steel BBQ Smoker

Kerres

Koch Smokehouse

Landmann model: 26” Smoky Mountain Electric Smoker

Smoke Hollow model: 44” Two Door Propane Gas Smoker, 38” Propane Gas Smoker

Smokehouse Products model: Little Chief Front Load Smoker

SmokinTex model: 1100 Pro Series Electric Smoker

 

Piccolo® Wood Chips


The following Smoker list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Piccolo® Wood Chips:


AFOS    

Alto-Shaam model: Smoker Ovens
SmokinLicious® Piccolo® wood chips 
Arcos

Camp Chef model: Smoke Vault Smoker

Jugema

Koch Smokehouse

Lambda

Maurer-Atmos

Ness

Schroter

Spomasz Wroclaw

Vemag

Voss

 

Smokin’ Dust®


Our smokin Dust products The following Smokers list equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Smokin’ Dust®

Alto-Shaam model: Smoker Ovens

Thursday, August 1, 2019

RICH PUMPKIN BUTTER YOU’LL CRAVE!

Our Rich Pumpkin Butter has a slight hint of smokiness!
Our Rich Pumpkin Butter has a slight hint of smokiness!

I’ve been pumpkin picking!  I found a sweet pumpkin that will be perfect for making a pumpkin butter that will have a wood flavoring due to my grill roasting method on the gas grill.  When you make pumpkin butter, it’s crucial that you select a variety of pumpkin that is designed to be cooked.  My choice was a variety of “cow” pumpkin, known for its super sweet flesh and great creaminess for cooking.

Our two pumpkins for the grill
Pumpkin is packed with nutritional value including a high level of Vitamin A and C, antioxidants, folate, and has a low caloric level.   And, yes, they are rich in fiber.

Get to the pumpkin patch and find one or two sweet gems to bring to the grill for a wood fired sensation that makes for great pumpkin butter.

Quick Preparation

I’ll be using my gas grill for this recipe which means two-zone cooking which is really the only way I grill.  I need to start by lighting only half the burners on my grill which I’ve added a smoker box to that has three double filet hardwood chunks from SmokinLicious®.  This will provide for the great smoke flavor to the pumpkin flesh.

Our two pumpkins on the grill with the smoker box on the heated burners
While the grill heats up to about 300°F, I prepare the pumpkins.  First, wash and pat dry the pumpkins.  With a small, sharp knife, cut into the pumpkin about 1-inch from the stem making a circle.  Remove the stem top and scoop out the seeds.  You can reserve the seeds to bake or grill, including placing the seeds in a pan on the upper rack while the pumpkins wood roast.  Once the pumpkins are clean, drizzle about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the pumpkin flesh and the stem top.  Place the pumpkins in a heat tolerant pan.  You can grill roast with the stem tops in place or laid in the pan as separate pieces.  I’ll be putting my stem tops back on the pumpkins.  Now the grill should be pre-heated for wood roasting.

Tasting Notes: Other varieties of sweet pumpkin to consider include will usually be labeled sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins.  However, other names to be on the lookout for include: Baby Pam, Baby Bear, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, Lumina, Cinderella, Winter Luxury, and Fairytale.

Dark and Sweet


nicely roasted pumpkin for our butter Once the pumpkins have been cleaned and seeded, it’s time to get them roasting on the grill with hardwood for added flavor.  I simply place my pan with the pumpkins on the unlit side of the grill, while my smoker box of wood chunks is placed directly on the heat shields of my lit burners. 

Next, I let the pumpkins roast at 300°F for 50 minutes without disturbing them.  I do a check of the wood chunk pieces after 35 minutes and replenish if they have carbonized or turned black completely, as that means they are no longer producing flavonoids.

Once I can insert a knife point into the pumpkin flesh without resistance, I know the pumpkins are ready.  You’ll see that they become a deep bronzy-brown coloring on the outside while the flesh becomes deep orange.  I remove the pumpkins from the grill and allow to cool until I can handle them.  Then I scrap all the flesh from the skins into a blender.

Creamy Pumpkin Butter

Our finished pumpkin butter ready for rolls!Although this is called a “butter” it technically is a fruit spread that is used like a butter on breads, pancakes, and crackers.  To make the butter, add ¼ cup of apple cider to the pumpkin flesh in the blender and blend until a thick paste is formed.  To that, add 1/3 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves.  Process until smooth.  Since I’ve wood roasted two pumpkins, I’m doubling the recipe ingredients.

Transfer the blended pumpkin mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to reduce by 1/3 and turn dark in color.  Total time should be 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.


I usually refrigerate my pumpkin butter at this point or even divide into individual jars for gifting or just to simplify the quantity put out on the table.  Today, I’m serving this pumpkin butter with some hot yeast rolls but there are plenty of other uses.  Think about folding it into whipped cream for a mousse-like dessert, use it as an additive to a sauce or soup, or even make your own yogurt flavor by adding to plain yogurt.  The best part, you can use different varieties of pumpkin to produce different flavors.

Tasting Notes:  One benefit of winter squashes is that there are many flavors that you can add.   Although I’ve gone traditional by incorporating cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove, you can also consider using turmeric, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, Chinese Five Spice, sage, and even vanilla bean paste.  Experiment and you’ll find a flavor blend that is perfect.