Thursday, March 31, 2022


Our finished Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with a healthy Choice
Our finished Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with a healthy Choice

One of the favorite Spring vegetables that certainly don’t have a long fresh season around my area, asparagus is know for its fiber and its diuretic quality since it is 93% water.  Although it certainly is a star vegetable to grill, I’m taking it to the healthy side and preparing a wrapped asparagus without all the fat, sodium, and calories of bacon or prosciutto wrapped.

This is a super flavorful twist of carrot and puff pastry that is perfect for a dipping sauce.  Fresh asparagus comes to life when we wood-fire it on the gas grill with wood chunks for added flavor.  When done, you’ll never miss the bacon as this is a meaty, satisfying take on the wrapped asparagus theme.  Now, get your bunch of fresh asparagus and learn this healthier version of wrapped asparagus wood-fired!

Asparagus Wrapped- Vegetable Prep

our two main vegetables fresh asparagus and ripe carrot

First, start this recipe by trimming the ends of one bunch of asparagus.  Peel and end trim 3 medium size carrots.  Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, produce thin peels of carrot, figuring about 2 peels per asparagus spear.  Add water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Blanch the carrot peels in the water for about 30 seconds just to soften.  This will make for an easier time of wrapping the carrots around the asparagus spear.  Remove the carrot peels to a colander then place on paper towels to remove excess water.

With the vegetables prepared, it’s time to work on the puff pastry.  After thawing two sheets of puff pastry according to package directions, place one sheet on a cutting surface and cut ½-inch strips of pastry.  After that, take one egg and one teaspoon of water and beat together to produce egg wash.  This will be used to hold the ends of the puff pastry to the asparagus spear.

Asparagus Wrapped- Asparagus Twists add color

Starting at the asparagus tip, begin wrapping one strip of puff pastry around the asparagus spear securing the ends in place with a bit of egg wash to the underside of the pastry.  Each spear will take just one puff pastry strip.  Be gentle with the pastry as the warm temperature of your hands will cause the pastry to begin stretching.  If you should have any excess, simply trim the end off.

wrapping our Asparagus with carrot peel in preparation for the grill

With the puff pastry strip in place on the asparagus spear, time to add the pre-blanched carrot peel.  Each spear will take about two carrot peels, depending on the length.  Starting on the tip end of the asparagus, begin wrapping the carrot peel in the space left by the pastry.  Fold the carrot end under the pastry when you reach the ends.  Once all the spears are wrapped in pastry and carrot, brush the entire spear with egg wash.  Next, gently sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the surface of the stalk, then sprinkle with white sesame seeds.  Lay on a foil lined sheet pan in preparation for the grill.

Tasting Notes: Other options for wrapping the asparagus spears include using a purple carrot either in place of or in addition to the traditional orange to give more visual appeal.  Also, you can use zucchini or sweet potato peels too.

Asparagus Wrapped- Two-Zone Grill Smoking

two zone cooking method with smoker box on on side and cooking on the other

 With all the asparagus spears wrapped in carrot and puff pastry and topped with parmesan, egg wash, and white sesame seed, these spears are now ready for the grill.  I’ve preheated my gas grill to 400° F using only two of the four burners.  On those hot burners, I’ve placed a metal smoker box that holds three double filet wood chunks.  My sheet pans of prepared asparagus spears are placed on the unlit side of the grill.  Close up the lid and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed by the amount of smoke you’ll see from the grill’s vents.  That’s just the wood doing is part to flavor the spears.  After 20 minutes, check and rotate the trays to produce an even coloring to the puff pastry.  It will be 20-30 minutes total cook time depending on the thickness of your asparagus, to make these tender and golden brown.  Once done, remove from the grill and immediately remove the finished spears to a serving platter.


Asparagus Wrapped- Optional Dipping Sauce

Adding a hint of lemon juice to our dipping sauce

Although the smoked asparagus spears are great on their own, I’ll be giving this option of a dipping sauce.  While the wrapped asparagus spears are on the grill, add ½ cup mayonnaise to a bowl.  To the mayo add 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.  If you’d like a spicy kick to the sauce, add a ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes.  Stir well and refrigerator until ready to serve with the wrapped asparagus.

Although wrapping our asparagus spears takes a bit of time, the work is worth it when you taste these flavorful twists.  Perfectly cooked asparagus, sweetness of carrot peel, the airy quality of the puff pastry and the slight crunch of sesame seeds.  Pair them with our simple dipping sauce made from mayonnaise, fresh chives, and lemon juice for the perfect appetizer or side dish.  Ultimately, the only problem is it’s hard to stop eating these spears of flavor.  Grilling asparagus using a two-zone cooking method makes them quick with no need to stand over the grill.  Take advantage of asparagus season and give this easy recipe a try on your favorite grill.

Chef Bert explains to Tom the two basic methods of grilling: direct and indirect cooking.

What’s your favorite asparagus recipe?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.


Thursday, March 24, 2022


Perhaps the risks associated with dirty, moldy, contaminated wood are too high to ignore anymore.

Recently, I received a very interesting question regarding the safety of ingesting foods and beverages that have been exposed to smoke vapor using hand-held food smokers. Specifically, the question consisted of whether you need to be 18 years of age for items that have been infused with smoke using these gadgets.

The breville handheld smoker

This got me thinking:

  • does the word “smoke” automatically give off the bad vibe response?
  • why do people only inquire about the smoke without needing to know more about the plant source that produces that smoke?

There is a lot of data out there on carcinogenic effect to high heat grilled foods like burgers, chicken, and steaks, even data on hot smoking foods at lower temperatures. Really, what it all boils down to is, if you grill meats to the point where you blacken them, that increases the risk for the carcinogens. Even if you cook to the blacken state, eating these foods in moderation will halt any real risk over an average person’s lifetime.

So why the question on legality to consume smoked foods and beverages?

If you understand that the tobacco industry had to start putting warning labels on tobacco packaging back in 1966, and smokeless tobacco products in 2010, then you comprehend that smoke vapor does contain toxins. Everything regarding the level of toxicity with cooking is related to the type of food, method of cooking, cooking temperature, and length of cooking time.

Let’s examine those parameters from the handheld food smoking perspective.

You are not cooking the food by this method, merely infusing it with the smoke flavonoids, so there is no temperature (cold smoking technique). You are not exposing the food to smoke vapor for hours – it really comes down to minutes. Most importantly, you are not directly attempting to inhale the smoke vapor into your lungs. Yes, if your standing near the container that is holding the cold smoke when you open it, you will have some exposure but not like the person that takes a drag directly from a tobacco product or is chewing on a tobacco product!

Like anything else in our world, there are risks to everything we do, experience, sense, taste, explore, desire. Hot smoking is another name for roasting just at a lower temperature and usually with cheaper cuts of meat.

SmokinLicious® Double Filet wood chunks are clean and bark free wood pieces that will provide a tasty tinge of smoke to all of your favorite ingredients.
SmokinLicious® Double Filet wood chunks

What should never be compromised is the plant material – the wood – that is used to extract these flavors.

I believe it is time to start asking more questions about the hardwood products being used for the smoking process rather than focusing on the process itself.


Thursday, March 17, 2022

Mermelada de tocino ahumado

mermelada de tocino ahumado
mermelada de tocino ahumado

Haciendo el tocino

Comience con 1-1/2 libras de tocino ahumado, preferiblemente su propio tocino ahumado, y córtelo transversalmente en trozos de 1 pulgada. Coloque las piezas de tocino ahumado cortados en una sartén grande, colocada a fuego medio-alto. Cocine, revolviendo ocasionalmente, hasta que la grasa derrite y el tocino esté ligeramente dorado (casi 20 minutos). Con una espumadera, transfiera el tocino cocido a toallas de papel para vaciar. Vierta todas las cucharadas de grasa de la sartén excepto 1 cucharada y agregue 2 cebollas amarillas medianas que hayan sido cortado en cubos pequeños y 3 dientes de ajo que hayan sido peladas y destrozadas. Cocine la cebolla y el ajo hasta que estén translúcidos, por unos 6 minutos. Agregue 1/2 taza de vinagre de manzana, 1/2 taza de azúcar moreno repleto, 1/4 de taza de jarabe de arce puro y 3/4 de taza de café preparado. Lleve a punto de ebullición, revolviendo y raspando los lados de la sartén. Agregue el tocino ahumado y revuelva para combinar.

Cocinando para perfección

Aquí está el paso que asegura una consistencia similar a un atasco. Es hora de transferir la mezcla a una olla de cocción lenta de 6 cuartos y cocinar en alto, sin tapa, hasta que el líquido se vuelva jarabe. Esto tomará alrededor de 3-1/2 a 4 horas. Si no tiene una olla de cocción lenta, puede cocinarla en el horno hasta que se alcance la consistencia con una temperatura de 300 oF. Una vez lista, transfiera la mezcla a un procesador de alimentos y pulse hasta que se pique en picado grueso. Dejar enfriar, luego refrigerar en recipientes herméticos durante un máximo de 4 semanas.

No se olvide, además de hacer un gran aperitivo para los huéspedes, este es un súper anfitrión o regalo de vacaciones. ¡Simplemente agregue su pan favorito, baguette, incluso panqueques, y disfrute!

¿Cuál es su receta favorita con tocino ahumado casero? Déjanos un comentario para opinar y suscríbelo para obtener todas nuestras publicaciones sobre consejos, técnicas y recetas. Aportando innovación a la cocina a fuego de madera con recetas, técnicas y la ciencia detrás del fuego, el humo y el sabor. Eso es SmokinLicious®.


Thursday, March 10, 2022


Chef Burt and Tom visit the butcher for weekend supply of large cuts of meat that grill & smoke well!
Chef Burt and Tom visit the butcher for weekend supply of large cuts of meat that grill & smoke well!

For many who have been spending additional time with family, new levels of communication and closeness have resulted, that simply put, want to be continued. Given that nicer weather also contributes to family time scheduling, I thought I would cover how you can maximize time to spend with family rather than be cooking inside. Or, worse yet, forfeiting money on takeout food purchases.

Time to cover the cuts of meats that are not only ideal for grilling and smoking but will produce enough meat to provide for more than one meal. I will also make my recommendations on hardwoods to use for optimal flavor balance.

Cuts of Meat that Grill & Smoke Well:

beef image Beef



Chuck Roast: Cut from the beef shoulder just above the short rib, chuck roast becomes increasingly tender when roasted on the grill using a two-zone cooking method. You may know chuck roast as the cut of meat used when you want to do a one-pot-meal. This concept can easily be done on the grill or smoker as well, by placing the meat and favorite vegetables in the same cooking pan or on a sheet pan. By placing the food pan on the unlit side of the grill, you can treat this just like using an oven.

Rib-Eye Roast: Also known as prime rib roast, rib roast, and standing rib roast, this is one of the more tender cuts of beef and on the higher price end. This roast cut is situated under the front end of the backbone. Often the best means of cooking this meat is with seasoning and a bit of herb. Be sure to visit our previous article on wood-fired cooking prime rib for specific tips

Eye of Round Roast: This cut of beef is the typical one that grocery delis produce their roast beef from. This is an inexpensive cut from the rump and hind legs of the cow and is perfect for a slow grilling/smoking method.

Bottom Round Roast: Also known as Rump Roast, this too is an inexpensive cut that is ideal for slower cooking on the grill or smoker.

Brisket: Derived from the lower front of the cow, near the front legs, brisket is from a muscle that bears 60 percent of the animal’s weight making it ideal for low temperature cooking.

Beef Ribs: Do not confuse these ribs with the meaty quality of pork ribs, as there tends to not be quite as much. However, they are still delicious and worth grilling. I prefer to have the butcher cut the length of ribs I want when it comes to the short rib variety, as you don’t have to purchase small cuts.

Flank Steak: One of my favorites for marinating and then grilling two-zone method.

Hardwood Recommendations for Beef: A combination of hardwoods is best so selecting 2 or 3 from these tried and true hardwoods: Beech, Hickory, Red oak, Sugar Maple, White Oak, Cherry.

Chef Burt and Tom discussing how large cuts of meat are cheaper and provide more value to their budget

pig or pork image


Pork Loin Roast: Containing just a small amount of fat, the loin roast comes from the area between the shoulder and the start of the leg and usually are sold between 2-5 pounds. This is a perfect cut for the grill, though you may be told to cook it direct fire method, I still prefer to set up a two-zone cooking method.

Pork Shoulder/Butt: From the front of the pig behind the neck, shoulder/butt cuts are full of fat that work very well for long, lower temperature cooking. Generally, this cut is cooked on the grill or smoker using a temperature of about 225°F and takes 8-10 hours depending on the size, which range from 6-14 pounds.

Baby Back Ribs: A very tender rib cut that comes from the pork loin off the back of the pig. This is the most popular pork rib cut for the grill.

Spare Ribs: These ribs are cut from the belly of the pig. Most popular cut is St. Louis style.

Country Style Ribs: These ribs are derived from the end of the loin closest to the rump. The meat can dry out quick so marinating is highly recommended.

Picnic Ham: As the lower portion of the shoulder, it can be tough and fatty if not subjected to a slow, lower temperature cooking method. Do this right, with a simple rub then glazing the last hour or so, and you will have a result that is tender and juicy for many meals.

Hardwood Recommendations for Pork: Pork allows for greater variation in hardwood flavors. Using alone or combination, perfect woods include: Ash, Beech, Hickory, Sugar Maple, White Oak, and Cherry.

Chef Burt and Tom arrive home from the butcher just in time to meet Fed Ex delivering there wood from Smokinlicious® Culinary wood products.

Chef Burt and Tom arrive home from the butcher just in time to meet Fed Ex delivering there wood from Smokinlicious® Culinary wood products.

Chicken and Turkey


poultry image


Breast: This portion of the chicken or turkey can easily become dry if cooked over direct fire. That is why I recommend you always cook on the cold side of the grill. If you prefer a char flavoring, you can move the pieces to the direct fire side for just a few minutes to finish them off, especially if you are glazing or saucing.

Leg Quarters and Drumsticks: As with the breast meat, although these pieces will stay tender and juicier over a direct fire, I still prefer to cook in the cold side of the grill. This ensures even cooking as the darker meat of poultry does take longer to cook then white.

Whole Chicken and Turkey: Although you certainly can cook these on a rotisserie, I prefer to spatchcock them which includes removal of the backbone and flatten the meat for more even cooking. You can find our method for spatchcocking chicken here:

Hardwood Recommendations for Poultry: I particularly lean toward using two or three hardwood combinations for poultry in order to balance the lighter meat flavor with wood. Here are some great combinations to consider: #1 ash, maple, cherry #2 hickory, maple, cherry #3 maple & cherry #4 white oak & cherry. Experiment and find your perfect balance.

As you see, two-zone cooking is the best method to ensure you don’t have to be tied to the grill for hours at a time and instead, can continue to do more with family. Larger cuts of meat will not only save you money but extend your animal protein supply for multi meals. Oh, and don’t forget, live fire cooked meats freeze well and the smoked component preserve them for even longer use dates.

What cut of meat is your favorite for the grill or smoker? 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, March 3, 2022


The Difference Between Crushed or Diced Wood Chips
Crushed or Diced wood chips

You see the options all the time.  Crushed or diced tomatoes?  Every chef knows when and why you choose one over the other. Did you know the same concept is true for wood chips?

At SmokinLicious®, the only true cooking wood Company, we produce our wood chips in the same manner as tomato processors! We crush the wood for our Grande Sapore® chips – these pieces produce a unique flavor because of their shape just like crushed tomatoes give a deeper flavor to recipes!  These chips are meant to last and work with other ingredients for full flavor balance. We also offer our “diced” option of predetermined wood slices to produce our Minuto® and Piccolo® chips for smoldering on heat plates, cast iron, and flavor bars.  Just as diced tomatoes give a fresh-from-the-garden taste, diced wood chips likewise produce a different, often more intense fresh wood flavoring.

SmokinLicious® only manufacturers cooking woods.  That is our primary and only business.  We know hardwoods for cooking, all types of wood-fired methods.  And we know wood flavoring – how to get the best clean flavors from the select hardwoods ideal for cooking!

See for yourself why we are a superior product with a superior outcome.  Enjoy the benefits of the knowledge of our flavorists and get the options you are looking for.  Made the SmokinLicious® way!

Our Culinary Team wants you know

… that the crushing and dicing method of our making of culinary wood chips is strikingly similar in concept to how grapes are processed in the phases of wine making?  For example, the Ripasso method of Italian wine production starts out with crushed, partially dried grapes and proceeds on to fermentation with the leftover skins.  Both Ripasso produced wine and our crushed or diced wood chips offer distinctive flavor, body and personality in a class of their own!

Our process is very similar to making wine from grapes