Thursday, July 29, 2021


Ember roasted zucchini & Ricotta Galette is a superb recipe to entertain your guests palette
Ember fired zucchini & ricotta galette is a superb recipe to entertain your guests palette

We are going French with a zucchini & ricotta galette that is simply out of this world. With ember fired zucchini we previously cooked on our charcoal grill with straight wood, this is one recipe worth making any time of year. Get 2 zucchini ember cooked and prepare yourself for the ultimate in wood fired flavors featuring summer zucchini!

Gather the Ingredients

For our zucchini & ricotta galette, there are two separate ingredient lists needed; one for the pastry and one for the galette’s filling.

For the pastry:

  • 1-1/4 cups flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup ice water

For the zucchini & ricotta galette filling:

  • 2 ember fired zucchini sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • Ricotta cheese- ½ cup
  • Grated Parmesan- ½ cup
  • Shredded mozzarella- ¼ cup
  • 1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water combined

Don’t Let the Word Pastry Scare You

Pastry is the first step and our recipe is very simple, so no need to get scared by the word “pastry”. For the pastry dough, combine the flour, salt, and then cut in the butter. My technique is to use 2 butter knives to produce even mini chunks of butter.

Mix the sour cream, lemon, and water in a separate bowl, then add to the flour mixture until just combined. Be sure not to overwork the dough. Now refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cheesy, Creamy Goodness

While the dough chills, let’s get the filling ingredients ready that include our ember fired zucchini rounds.

First, we’ll need to combine the olive oil and garlic so we have an infused oil to add to our cheese filling. Next, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses together. Add one teaspoon of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. You can set this mixture aside as you wait on the dough to finish chilling.

Next up, get the rolling pin at the ready, as the dough will be rolled into the galette shape.

Perfect Balance Comes Together

With our dough chilled and then rolled into a 12-inch round, it’s time to start assembling our galette. Place the dough on parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough leaving a 2-inch border. The ember fired zucchini slices are next, which I add in a layered “wheel” formation, followed by a generous drizzle of garlic oil. It’s important that everything stay even for our dough to fold over and hold in all that fabulous filling.

With the cheese filling, ember fired zucchini and garlic oil added, the final ingredient of fresh basil strips is placed on top. Time to fold over the dough to trap all the filling inside the pastry while it cooks. A brushing of egg wash to the pastry will ensure everything gets golden during the 40-minute cook time. Into a 400° oven, setting the timer for 25 minutes to rotate the baking tray. That will guarantee a consistent color to our galette.

So Good, You May Not Want to Share

With the smoky, char flavor of our coal fired zucchini, the creamy filling of 3 cheeses plus basil and garlic oil, it doesn’t get any better than this! Our buttery galette pastry adds that sweet undertone that perfectly balances out the flavors.

Whether you serve this as an appetizer, snack or even a lunch or entrĂ©e, you’ll love how the zucchini becomes the star without tasting overly smoked. Feel free to add a side of marinara sauce for an acid kick.

We would love to hear about your version of this recipe or even learn what you do with coal fired zucchini! Leave a comment, like us, and subscribe, as we bring you recipes, tips, techniques, and science behind wood fired cooking technique.


Thursday, July 22, 2021


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

 Oh, the wonderful, healthy, creamy, flavorful avocado.  With more potassium than a banana and 18 amino acids for daily intake, you can’t go wrong with this single seed fruit.

Did you ever think to grill this fabulous fruit with a little wood to give it even more flavor?  We’ll show you just how easy it is to wood grilling avocado on the gas grill using wood chunks for your smoke infusion.

Making It More Than A Grill

Regardless of the brand of gas grill you have, you can add wood chunks to the grill for wood fired flavor.  My grill has heat shields over the burners so I use that area to add one small wood chunk under the grill grate, directly on the heat shield.  No, you won’t damage your grill, as the wood combusts to ash and basically blows away.

One chunk is all it will take to get great flavor into the avocados.  I keep the burner that the wood chunk is located on set to medium as well as the burner next to that one on medium.  Since I have 4 burners, 2 are on and 2 are off.

Once the grill is to 300° F, this technique will take less than 20 minutes.

Simple Wood Grilling Avocado Preparation

The only preparation needed for the avocados is to cut them in half and remove the seed.  The avocados are placed flesh side down on the grate only on the side with the burners off.  The heat captured within the grill will spread throughout the grilling area and cook the avocado while adding wood smoke vapor.  Note, it’s important that you don’t attempt to move the avocados for at least 10 minutes otherwise you will find the avocado flesh will stick to the grate and you’ll lose much of the fruit’s flesh.  Wait until some of the fat renders and chars making removal so simple.

Prep To Finish In Less Than 20 Minutes

In less than 20 minutes you will have wonderfully wood flavored, charred flesh avocados ready for your favorite recipes.  Think of using this fruit in smoothies, dips, on salads, as a creamy ingredient for sauces – remember, avocado can be used to substitute the amount of butter used in most recipes.  We will take some of our avocado and make a wood fired guacamole first.  Our recipe will post soon so stay tuned and don’t’ forget to send us your pics of wood fired avocado.

Did you get motivated to fire up the grill with wood?  Send us a comment or your avocado fired pics and don’t forget to subscribe.  Bringing  you fun, innovative tips, techniques and recipes on all wood fired methods for foods, beverages, spices, herbs and so much more.


Thursday, July 8, 2021


BBQ Box Smoker should be used as much as your tongs on the gas grill!
BBQ Box Smoker should be used as much as your tongs on the gas grill

  Bert and Tom discuss when the weather is cold use your BBQ box smoker year round! 

We have all been in Tom’s position. We love grilling and smoking but prefer the warmer weather. For those of us in 4 season climates with below zero temperatures in winter and lots of snow, it seems too hard to continuing grilling! But just as Bert remarks, you do not have to give up cooking outdoors just because of the weather.

 Chef Bert grills year round

Year Round Grilling

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

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

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

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

Don’t Let the Cold Stop You!

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

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

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

Easy Clean-Up

The Smoker box

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

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

Tom dreaming on how to keep himself warm while winter grilling

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

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

Have you used a smoker box on a gas grill? Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke, for all live fire cooking methods. That’s SmokinLicious®!


Thursday, July 1, 2021


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

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

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

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

#1 Peppers

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Charred Pepper Dip

#2 Potatoes

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Curry Potatoes

#3 Mushrooms

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Mushroom with Ricotta

#4 Tomatoes

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

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Fire Tomato with Rice

#5 Meatballs

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Smoked Greek-Style Meatballs

#6 Fruit

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Fired Apple Pie

#7 Corn

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob

#8 Simple Meats: Ground, Thin Cuts, Pieces

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

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

#9 Salad Greens and Chicories

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

Favorite SmokinLicious® Recipe: Wood Grilled Romaine Lettuce

#10 Eggs

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

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

What is your favorite bulk grilling or smoking food? Leave us a comment and subscribe to get our latest tips, techniques, recipes and the science behind the fire and smoke, for all live fire cooking methods. That’s SmokinLicious!