These finished apples get smoky are a wonderful fall treat!

These finished smokey baked apples are a wonderful fall treat! Easy to do on the gas grill with a two-zone cooking method with wood chunks.

SEASONAL SMOKEY BAKED APPLES WITH SWEET STUFFING

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Listen to the smokey baked apples blog!

The apples we bought at the Farmers Market

Apple season is here and I’ve found some beauties to make a simple but super sweet and flavorful recipe.    And of course, I’m taking it to the grill to let the apple get a kiss of smoke while tenderizing.  With so many varieties of apples available, you can pick your favorite and use this filling for the perfect stuffed apple.

In my home state of New York, there are over 25 varieties of apples.  Since these can be cold stored, they are available year-round but there is nothing like the fresh harvest.  In fact, controlled atmosphere storage was pioneered in New York State.

Whether served as the dessert or a sweet side dish is up to you but either way, you’re going to love the ease of making this dish and consuming all its seasonal goodness.  Pick your favorite variety of apple and get ready to stuff them with goodness everyone is going to love!  Smokey baked apples done on the grill, cleanup is a breeze!

Apple Preparation

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

 

I’ll be using my gas grill for this recipe so I start by lighting only half the burners on my grill which I’ve added a smoker box that contains 3 hardwood chunks.  This will provide for the great smoke flavor to the apples.  While the grill heats up to about 375°F, I prepare the Macintosh apples.  First, wash and pat dry the apples.  You can use an apple corer to remove the core but note you do not want to produce a clean hole through the entire apple.  We want to produce an opening for adding the stuffing but we don’t want it to run out of the apples.  I like to use a small, sharp knife, cut into the apple stem end about ¾-inch from the stem making a circle.  Remove the core membrane and seeds leaving a firm base to the apple for filling.

Tasting Notes: Although I’ve selected Macintosh apples to know any variety will do.  Just note, if the apples are significantly larger, you will need to make an additional filling.

Sweet Stuffing

our sweet stuffing in the mixing bowl

With our apples cored, it’s time to make the sweet filling before heading to the grill.  First, know I like to use a disposable foil pan to make clean up a breeze.  In that pan, I place a roasting rack so the apples will be exposed to radiant heat all the way around the apple.  I’m making ten stuffed apple but I will give you the ingredients needed for making eight apples.

Place 1 stick of softened butter in a bowl.  Add 1 cup of light brown sugar, ½ cup chopped pecans, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.  I prefer to mix this with my hand to ensure good distribution of the ingredients.  Taking a small amount of the mixed filling, I form a log shape and insert into the apple opening, pressing down to make sure this is filled to the top of the apple.  Once all the apples are filled, I head to the grill with my pan.

 

Tasting Notes: The stuffing for this apple recipe can be easily modified.  Feel free to swap the pecan for another nut like walnut, hazelnut or almond.  For spices, consider adding ginger, allspice, and clove either in addition to or in place of the cinnamon.

No Fuss Grilling

Our Smoker box with wood chunks for smokey flavor

Once at the grill, I check to ensure my wood chunks are smoking well.  I place my pan of prepared apples on the unlit side of the grill and pour enough water into the pan to coat the bottom by about 1-inch.  This will allow moisture into the cooking area to get the apples very tender in a short amount of time.  I usually check the apples after 45 minutes and rotate the pan if needed.  When the apples are tender and the filling browned, these are ready and can be removed from the grill-#grilledapples.

Tasting Notes:  Note that if you elect to use a charcoal grill the smoke infusion produced will be stronger.  You are encouraged to still use a two-zone set up on the charcoal grill to keep the sugars from burning.

 

Serve ‘Em Up

Once the apples are tender and the filling browned, it’s time to remove the apples and prepare to serve them.  There are many options for an accompaniment to the apples.  Today, I’m using a vanilla bean ice cream that I’ve sliced into wedges.  Certainly, the apples can be served with whipped topping, another flavor of ice cream, a vanilla custard or pudding, or even a slice of hard or rind cheese.    These are best if served warm.  Don’t forget, if any filling is left, add to a pureed squash for another great recipe.  That’s why I always make extra!

our finished smokey stuffed apple!

our finished smokey stuffed apple!

SmokinLicious® Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to winter squash and other grilling/smoking techniques- #wintersquash

For more reading related to smokey #stuffedapples and another grilling/smoking techniques

Related reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-STRAWBERRY SEMIFREDDO GETS SMOKY

Dr. Smoke-Seasonal Apple cake with a special smoky twist!

Dr. Smoke-Seasonal smokey baked apples with wood chunks on the gas 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!

BEST GINGERBREAD MEETS THE GRILL

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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.

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

#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 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.

Our Batter ready for the baking pan

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:

 

 

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.

 

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Hope you tried our best gingerbread recipe! If you like more grilling, smoking or ember cooking recipes go to our blogs!

Hope you tried our best #gingerbread recipe! If you like more grilling, smoking or ember cooking recipes go to our blogs!

Additional reading:

-CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-RICH PUMPKIN BUTTER YOU’LL CRAVE!

Dr. Smoke-Our Best Gingerbread Recipe! Try on the grill this holiday season

Dr. Smoke-Our Best Gingerbread Recipe! Try on the grill this holiday season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Rich Pumpkin Butter has a slight hint of smokiness!

Our Rich Pumpkin Butter has a slight hint of smokiness!

RICH PUMPKIN BUTTER YOU’LL CRAVE!

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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

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.

Our finished pumpkin butter ready for rolls!

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.

 

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Enjoyed our Pumpkin Butter blog read other great recipe and tip ideas from our culinary crew!

Enjoyed our Pumpkin Butter blog read other great recipe and tip ideas from our culinary crew! #smokedpumpkin

Related recipes:

-WOOD GRILLING WINTER SQUASH WITH CUMIN & HARDWOOD

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

 

 

Dr. Smoke- Our Pumpkin Butter recipe is a keeper!

Dr. Smoke- Our Pumpkin Butter recipe is a keeper!

Our winter squash sliced and seasoned with Cumin and ready for the grill!

Our winter squash sliced and seasoned with Cumin and ready for the grill!

WOOD GRILLING WINTER SQUASH WITH CUMIN & HARDWOOD

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Full of color, flavor and packed with nutrients, winter squash makes for exceptional seasonal dishes, whether soups, casseroles, or desserts.  Harvested in the approaching Fall, they are available all winter long due to their firm shells.  With varieties such as sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup, and red kuri, sweetness level is always present.

Naturally low in fat and calories, yet rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, you can’t go wrong with any variety you select.

Today, I’ve elected to make cumin squash on the grill using confetti squash, so called due to the beautiful multi-skin coloring.  Note, you may substitute any rounded winter squash available near you for this recipe.

Two-Zone Cooking

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

To allow for slow roasting on the grill, I recommend a two-zone cooking set up.  Lite half the burners on your gas grill – if an odd number of burners, decide how many you need for the cooking temperature. The lit burners should be set to medium to obtain a cooking temperature of about 375°F.  Add wood chunks to the lit burner side either directly on the heat shields or in a smoker box.  My smoker box accommodates three double filet wood chunks easily.  The prepared squash will go on the unlit side of the grill.

Tasting Notes: Your choice of hardwood will determine the boldness of the smoke infusion.  I find that the skin of the squash will take most of the smoke vapor so really any hardwood or combination of hardwoods will do.  Be sure to keep extra pieces in case you need to replace halfway through the roasting process.

Seasoning the Squash

Our mixture of seasoning and spices.

To start our recipe, first wash and dry off your squash.  Then cut in half and remove the seeds.  Slice the squash into 1-inch slices and place in a high heat tolerant pan.  Once sliced, prepare to toast 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown.  If you’re able to locate cumin seeds, toast 1-1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds with the browned sesame seeds.  Transfer the seeds to a bowl and allow to cool.

Now prepare the squash seasoning by combining 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  If you didn’t have cumin seeds, then include 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin.  Drizzle 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the squash slices and sprinkle with squash seasoning.  Toss to coat all the way around the slices.

Grill-Roasting with Wood

With the grill preheated, the wood chunks smoking, and the temperature gauge reading close to 375°F, I place the trays of prepared squash on the grill grates and close the lid.  I allow this to roast for 30 minutes, then I return to the grill, check the wood chunks and add more wood if needed.  Briefly toss the squash to ensure even cooking and close the lid again.

Our pan of squash roasting on the gas grill

Once tender and bronze in color, I remove the squash from the grill and plate to a serving platter.  Total cooking time is about one hour though this is dependent on the thickness of your slices and quantity of squash you’ve added to the pan. Remember, the rind of squash is loaded with nutritional value as well and will be very tender so there is no need to discard it. Consume the entire slice.

Roasting winter squash on the grill with wood is the perfect way to usher in the cooler weather and enjoy all this great flavor.

Tasting Notes:  You can serve this as is or feel free to process the slices into a puree for use in soups or as a filler to pasta or even desserts.  There are many options with grill roasted winter squash.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

For more reading related to winter squash and other grilling/smoking techniques- #wintersquash

For more reading related to winter squash and other grilling/smoking techniques- #wintersquash

Related reading:

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-Smoked Squash & Kale Soup

-EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT & FETA TARTS

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor to winter squash with cumin & wood flavoring!

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor to winter squash with cumin & wood flavoring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished- WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD

The finished- WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD

 

A WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD

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listen to- A WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD

Taking a page from Chef Alice Waters, we are making our version of the baked goat cheese salad by wood baking the goat cheese rounds on the grill using a two-zone cooking method and wood chunks for smoky flavor.  Then making garlic crostini for the croutons on the charcoal grill to serve alongside this fabulous salad dish.   A recipe that can be a salad course or an entrée on its own, we also give you an easy way to make this into an appetizer.  Purchase 12 ounces of quality goat cheese in log form and let’s get grilling.

Goat Cheese

Marinate to Start

This dish requires at least 8 hours of marinade time though I like to do mine overnight.   It’s the marinade of oil and fresh herbs that give the goat cheese great flavor.  Cut the goat cheese log into ½-inch rounds.  In the bottom of a glass dish, sprinkle chopped fresh herbs of your choice; today I’m using oregano but most any fresh herb will do.  Place the goat cheese rounds into the dish and pour over a ¼ cup of olive oil.  Turn the cheese rounds over to coat both sides.  Place fresh herb sprigs over the top of the rounds, cover with wrap and marinate in the refrigerator.

Fresh herbs

Tasting Notes: Other fresh herbs work great with this recipe but note that stronger herbs like thyme and rosemary likely don’t need the layers of chopped herbs at the bottom of the dish.  Simply lay the fresh herb springs on top of the goat cheese rounds and marinate in the refrigerator.

Grilling with Wood Chunks

Trays of goat cheese on the grill!

Once the goat cheese has marinated, it’s time to coat it in a mixture of ½ cup plain breadcrumbs and two teaspoons dried herb of your choice.  I’ll be using oregano but other good options include thyme, basil, marjoram, rosemary.  Once coated on both sides, place the cheese rounds on a lightly greased shallow pan.  I’m using mini sheet pans as they work well on the grill, even for a two-zone cooking method.

As this is a cheese dish it is important that a two-zone cooking method is used which means the cheese will be going on the unlit side of the grill.  I’m using a smoker box with three hardwood chunks to provide the smoke flavor to the cheese, with the box placed on the hot side of the grill.  Total time to cook will be about 20 minutes.  You’ll know the cheese rounds are ready once browned and bubbly.

While the cheese is on the grill, prepare the vinaigrette by combining ¼ cup red wine vinegar, salt, and fresh ground pepper.  Whisk in ½ cup of olive oil and set aside.

Greens and Garlic Crostini

Crostini with garlic butter

To go with the goat cheese rounds and salad vinaigrette, I’m making garlic crostini on the charcoal grill.  Using ½-inch slices of a day-old baguette, brush both sides of each slice with melted butter.  Place on a high heat tolerant sheet over hot coals only, no active flames.  Allow the slices to brown and slightly char before turning over.  Once browned on both sides, remove from the grill and brush with the cut side of a garlic clove.  I cut these crostini slices in half at the diagonal to go with the salad.

Tasting Notes:  An assortment of fresh greens can be used for the salad though I like to use a combination of bitters with more savory greens.

Assembling to Enjoy

With all the components made its time to assemble our salad.  Start by mixing the vinaigrette with the greens.  I like to place the garlic crostini on the outside of the salad and the wood-baked cheese rounds in the center of the greens.  This is best served while the cheese is warm.  Here’s another suggestion: this can make for the perfect appetizer if you cut each round in half so they fit on a garlic crostini.  For that recipe, prepare the same but place a few leaves of salad on the garlic crostini and top with a wood baked goat cheese half round.  There you have it!  A super easy salad or appetizer with that signature wood flavor that takes Chef Waters’ recipe to a new level.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks: Double & Single Filet

Related recipes:

-FIRE ROASTED PEPPER MAKE THE PERFECT SALAD

-THE EASY METHOD TO COLD SMOKED CHEESE

-RASPBERRIES GO TO THE GRILL– FOR THE ULTIMATE MINI TART APPETIZER

-SMOKED CHEESE & BACON QUICHE FEATURING COLD SMOKED CHEESES

Dr. Smoke- try this-WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD on your next party!

Dr. Smoke- try this-WOOD GRILLED VERSION OF CHEF WATERS’ GOAT CHEESE SALAD on your next party!

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

The classic Chocolate War Cake Baked on the Grill

CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

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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.

simple ingredients for this recipes

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.

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

The Chocolate Batter mixed and ready for baking

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.

With 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

With 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.

grilling two zone with wood chunks

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.

 

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-AVOCADO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Dr. Smoke Baked on the Grill the classic Chocolate War Cake is a real keeper of a recipe!

Dr. Smoke Baked on the Grill, the classic Chocolate War Cake is a real keeper of a recipe!

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

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

ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

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Listen to 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 ingredients

 

 

With 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 c

lose 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

Once 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.

close up of the finished loaves on the grill

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!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Related reading:

-CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

 

Dr. Smoke great dessert recipe- our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

Dr. Smoke great dessert recipe- our ZUCCHINI BREAD & CAKE ON THE GRILL

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

 

MUSHROOM TAPENADE ON THE WOOD GRILL

listen to the audio of this blog posting

Listen to how we did Mushroom Tapenade on the grill!

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

Fresh Mushrooms are a must for Tapenade

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.

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

Although 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.

Mixing the ingredients

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.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-MUSHROOMS GO SMOKY-WOOD FIRED

-STUFFED MUSHROOM APPETIZER FEATURING SMOKED ARTICHOKE HEART

-SPICY-CHAR HUMMUS

Dr. Smoke this recipe Mushroom tapenade is a keeper! try it!

Dr. Smoke this recipe Mushroom tapenade is a keeper! try it!

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!

ROSEMARY INFUSED SMOKED BEEF SHANKS FROM THE GRILL

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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 flavoring

It 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!

SmokinLicious products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks

Related reading:

-SMOKED BONE BROTH FOR HEALTH & FLAVOR

-OVER THE TOP GRILLED & SMOKED BEEF SHANKS

-SMOKED BEEF SHORT RIBS

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!

Dr. Smoke recommends that you should try the Rosemary infused smoked Beef Shanks! Simply Delicious

Dr. Smoke recommends that you should try the Rosemary infused smoked Beef Shanks! Simply Delicious

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!

SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

listen to the audio of this blog posting

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.

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!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Related recipes:

-FRESH CORN ON THE COB- GRILLED

-NO, IT’S NOT SLAW JUST SMOKED CABBAGE!

-SMOKED MAPLE SYRUP MARINADE

Dr. Smoke you must try this recipe SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

Dr. Smoke, you must try this recipe SPICY BUTTER FOR SMOKY GRILLED CORN

 

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