This simple to prepare dish with our Woodsy flavored Broccoli Pesto sauce

This simple to prepare dish with our Woodsy flavored Broccoli Pesto sauce

Woodsy Broccoli Pesto from the Grill! Click To Tweet

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I purchased several heads of broccoli recently and decided to smoke them using one of my favorite short cut methods for smoke vapor infusion.  My Nordic Ware Kettle Stove Top Smoker allows me to get the flavor level I like in about 20 minutes using only my stove for fuel.

Once I have my broccoli smoked, I’m going to produce a smoked broccoli pesto that is perfect for so many foods and purposes.  This is super easy and doesn’t take a lot of time to make and it keeps well in the refrigerator.

Easy Smoking Technique

Here are the steps I used for smoking in the Nordic Ware unit but you can adapt these to pretty much any stovetop unit.

our stove top smoked broccoli

#smokedbroccoli

I’ve placed the unit on the largest burner of my stove top, added about ¼ cup of Minuto® Wood Chips #4 from SmokinLicious® in the base pan, topped with the drip pan, and then added the food tray with the broccoli cut into florets.  Total time to smoke and tenderize the broccoli will be about 20 minutes.  Usually a medium-high heat setting generates about 275°F of heat for the cooking process just target to be in the 275-300°F range.  With the broccoli smoked, it’s time to make the pesto.  In addition to the smoked broccoli, there are 6 additional ingredients: salt, pepper, basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and grated Parmesan cheese.

Tasting Notes: You can use any method of smoking the broccoli based on the equipment you have available but if you do want to try a stove top method without having to purchase a ready-made unit, try our method using a standard 2-quart stockpot.

A Quick Process to Pesto

Pesto ingredients

#pesto

Pesto is one of those items that is simple to make but so many people will buy ready-made from the store.  You’ll get a much fresher taste quality when you produce your own.

Start by getting a large capacity food processor with a standard blade.  Place the smoked broccoli florets in the processor bowl, followed by a ¼ cup grated parmesan, ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice from ½  a lemon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  Process all the ingredients until smooth.  You likely will need to add a bit more olive oil to reach the right consistency for your taste.  Remember, this is going to produce about 2 cups of pesto so start with a lighter amount of oil as this ingredient can be added later when you decide how you’re planning to use the pesto.  For me, I’ll be starting with a simple pesto noodle that I intended to add some sliced pork to.

Tasting Notes: Each food processor is different so start on pulse and then work to maintain the motor on for a smooth result.  Feel free to drizzle additional olive oil into the mixture while the processor is running, just do so in drips rather than a stream amount.

Think Endless Uses

There are so many uses for our smoked broccoli pesto!  I’ll be adding ¼ of my 2-cup pesto production to some hot egg noodles that will act as a bed to lay some Asian marinated pork in.

Here are some other uses to consider: use in rice, pastas that have ridges for the pesto to cling to, on a sandwich, or use as a topping for chicken, fish, and pork.  I’m sure you’ll come up with other great uses as well.  The batch you make from the single head of broccoli will last for about 7-10 days if stored in the refrigerator.  If you can store in glass, it will likely last longer.  With broccoli readily available most of the year, this is a treat to be enjoyed anytime!

finished mixed Broccoli Pesto

#smokinlicious #pesto

What’s your favorite pesto 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®.

SmokinLicious® products used for this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to Pesto beyond Broccoli Pesto visit these pages!

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-CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP!

-TORTELLINI GETS A SMOKY MATE

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

Dr. Smoke- When searching for a different pest don't forget about Broccoli Pesto but add a Woodsy twist from the grill!

Dr. Smoke- When searching for a different pest don’t forget about Broccoli Pesto but add a Woodsy twist from the grill!

Barbecue Sauces come in many different size, shapes and colors, our primer can assist you in understanding their use ages.

Barbecue Sauces come in many different size, shapes and colors, our primer can assist you in understanding their use ages.

BARBECUE SAUCE BROKEN DOWN

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Barbecue is a cooking method that includes smoke vapor for flavoring.  This is my pure definition.  I won’t go into the controversy over whether grilling is part of barbecue or not.  Just know that some type of plant material must combust to produce smoke that produces flavor to what is being cooked.

The resulting food whether an animal protein or some other item,  can be finished with various methods.  By far, the most popular finish is with a sauce, more commonly known as barbecue sauce.

Let’s dive into what comprises a sauce used for barbecue and how regions are influenced by the ingredients chosen for the sauce.

I’m Talking Sauce Not Mop!

For those that aren’t familiar with the difference, we are talking only about sauces today and not mops.  A mop is a thinner liquid that is applied while meats are cooking to keep the protein moist during the cooking process.  These are commonly used for open pit barbecue and grilling and are applied while the meat is raw all the way through the cooking process.  Like a marinade, once a mop is used for a cooking event, any leftovers need to be discarded to prevent cross contamination of bacteria.  The tool used to apply the mop looks like a miniature floor mop.

Sauce is a glazing liquid that is much thicker than a mop and usually contains ingredients that provide a balance of sweet, salty, savory, and spicy.  Generally, a sauce is either applied near the end of the cooking or left as a side to be applied by the guest enjoying the barbecue meats.

There are a lot of variations to a sauce which are generally based on regional ingredients and cuisine.

Carolina Sauces

The Carolina states revolve around mustard and vinegar-based sauces.  Since pork ribs, whole hog, and pork butt dominate in these regions, the acidity of these ingredients blends perfectly to bring the meats to perfection.

South Carolina: the sauce is yellow, sweet with a tartness commonly found in central South Carolina to the coast of Charleston.  The sweetness comes from cane or standard sugar and the tartness from standard yellow mustard paired with a little dried mustard powder.

The western portion of South Carolina tends to lean toward ketchup-based sauces while northwest you’ll find tomato sauce added.

North Carolina: Although commonly associated with North Carolina, vinegar-based sauces are really a central to eastern North Carolina preference.  These locations often use the vinegar sauce as both a mop and sauce, starting with naked meat; no rub.  Commonly white distilled vinegar is the choice rather than the apple cider variety and this is paired with a little sugar, salt, red pepper flakes or crushed Chipotle, black pepper and hot sauce.

The western portion of the state is more prone to a tomato-based sauce or “dip” as it is called.  Like their eastern counterparts, they apply this as a mop and sauce to naked meat.  Ingredients generally include distilled white vinegar, ketchup, sugar, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and a bit of juice, usually apple.

Alabama White

Used for chicken, this is a mayonnaise-based sauce that has no sweetness at all.  Other ingredients include apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, apple juice, garlic powder, horseradish, dry mustard, cayenne pepper.

Kansas City Red

This is likely what most of the sauces sold in grocery stores can be compared to.  It is very thick, very sweet, and ketchup or tomato based.  Its common ingredients include onion, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, chili powder, spicy mustard, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, and ketchup.

Texas Style

 With beef being king in the state of Texas, their sauce also tends to serve as a mop as well.  This sauce tends to be very dark and similar in consistency to gravy.  Due to their proximity to the Mexican border, chiles are common in the sauce.  As beef takes a long cooking time, this sauce/mop penetrates deep into the meat making it seem less like a sauce.

Kentucky Black

Known to include vinegar and Worcestershire, this is often referred to as Western Kentucky-Style Barbecue Sauce.  It is quite thin due to the amount of water added with only a little bit of ketchup and seasonings that include paprika, dry mustard, onion and garlic powder, and red pepper.

Memphis Style

When in Memphis, learn how to order your ribs.  They serve them two ways – dry and wet.  Dry is just that – dry rubbed only.  Wet will give you a saucy rib.  Oh, yes, Memphis is all about ribs.

The sauce tends to be a balance of sweet and spicy as they use both vinegar and ketchup in most recipes.  Other ingredients include: onion, garlic, Worcestershire, butter, molasses, mustard, paprika, brown sugar, oregano, thyme.

Keep in mind, most natives only like dry ribs but are known to indulge in sauce on their pulled pork and chicken.

Other Finds

Certainly, you will find other sauces available during your travels in North America.  Some will be soy sauce based like Hawaiians use while others are fruit rich.  I love smoking various fruits while in season and then using their rendered juices in a sauce.  Strawberry, raspberry, peach, and cherry work great for this purpose.

To me, a sauce should compliment the protein your serving and not cover it up.  It should not be the only flavor you taste.  If you can’t decipher the meat under the sauce, then the balance of ingredients is not there.

If you step into the arena of sauce making, here’s some additional information to keep in mind.  Always include some level of vinegar, salt, sugar and spice as these have preservative properties that will allow your sauce to stay fresh for a while.  Use glass jars for storing your sauce and try to get the sauce in the jars while still hot.  Get them to the refrigerator quickly after jarring.

Unopened sauce will last many months while open jars should be used within a month.

Keep in mind that when cooking with hardwood as in traditional hot smoking, it is the ingredients, cut of meat, age of the wood that all factor in to how the wood flavonoids reveal themselves.  Don’t let anyone tell you that a fruitwood will always produce a sweet flavor to smoked meats.  That is for you to determine through the additional ingredients you use in the meat’s preparation.

SmokinLicious® products related to this blog:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to barbecue Sauce broken down and other grilling tips

For more reading related to barbecue Sauce #bbqsauce broken down and other grilling tips

Additional reading:

-SALT-FREE DRY RUBBED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

-SMOKED STRAWBERRY MARINADE

-SMOKED MAPLE SYRUP MARINADE

Dr. Smoke- Barbecue sauce broken down, we hope this is helpful in understanding the sauces you use

Dr. Smoke- Barbecue sauce broken down, we hope this is helpful in understanding the sauces you use

COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE begins by cooking the leeks over a bed of hot ember coals!

COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE begins by cooking the leeks over a bed of hot ember coals!

COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE

Listen to our COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE blog

Listen to our COAL-FIRED LEEKS TERRINE blog

Considered one of the healthiest foods, leeks join onion and garlic as part of the allium vegetable family.  This seasonal delight is commonly used as a soup but I have something else in mind.  I’ll be putting these directly on the hot coals and charring them for tenderness and flavor.  Then I’ll be layering them in a terrine that includes goat cheese and crème Fraiche.  I’ll also provide a dip alternative using the same ingredients to give you two options for these great flavors.  Get shopping and pick out about 5 lbs. of vibrant green leeks, and let’s make an appetizer.

The Small Coal Bed

our cooking bed of coals

#hotcoals

One of the benefits of having a cooking wood company is when we produce our charwood product, I can have the micro pieces saved for my cooking use.  By using these smaller pieces, it allows my fire to reduce faster to the hot coal stage.  I’m using a Weber kettle for this coal method and include a fine mesh screen on the charcoal grate to prevent the micro pieces from falling through.

I place a Firestarter on the screen, then place my chimney starter over the top.  I fill the chimney with my micro charwood pieces and light the base where the Firestarter is.  Leave this alone until the coals gray over and are hot.  Then pour in an even layer in the charcoal area to be ready for the leeks.

Tasting Notes: I recommend for the best char taste to the leeks that you use hardwood charcoal and not briquets.  This will allow you to break apart charcoal pieces easier and get an even coal bed.

Quick Leek Preparation

Leeks are one of those vegetables that are simple to prepare for cooking.  First thing, if you’ve purchased with the root ends intact, remove those roots.  Even if the roots are removed, still trim the root end to remove the hardened, dried end.  Then cut off the dark green tops.  Remember to save these parts to flavor soup stock! Wash the leeks to remove trapped dirt and pat dry.  Once dry, cut each leek lengthwise in half.  Now get a sheet pan and we’ll finish getting the leeks ready for the coals.

With the leeks cleaned and trimmed, it’s time to spread them out on a sheet pan and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Taking the pan to the grill, place the leeks on the hot coals trying not to overlap any.  Let them cook for about 10 minutes before turning to char the other side.  Be sure to move around any leeks that are lighter in char color than the others.  Total time on the coals will be about 20 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool briefly.

Terrine Filling

The layering of the leeks in the pan and goat chees filling

#leeks

With the leeks charred and tenderized, it’s time to make the terrine filling.  Start by combining 4 ounces of softened goat cheese, 4 ounces of crème Fraiche, 1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.    Mix these ingredients together well.   Line a standard 9×5 loaf pan with plastic wrap so that about 4-inches of wrap overhang the ends of the pan.  This will allow for ease in releasing our terrine once it is set.

With the leeks, goat cheese mixture, and loaf pan ready, it’s time to assemble the terrine.  Start by adding leeks to the bottom of the loaf pan in a single layer.  Then add a layer of the goat cheese mixture.  Repeat until the pan is filled, being sure to start and end with a leek layer.  Fold the plastic wrap over the finished terrine and place a piece of cardboard cut to size on the covered terrine.  Apply canned goods to weigh down the terrine and refrigerate overnight.

Tasting Notes: If you prefer to not make a terrine, you can still use this basic recipe to make molded leek topping.  Simply chop the charred leeks into small pieces and add directly to the goat cheese mixture.  Combine well and then mold in small bowls, still refrigerating overnight.

After spending the night in the refrigerator, the coal-fired leek terrine is ready to be un-molded.  Start by unwrapping the terrine and inverting it onto a serving platter.  I like to cut 1-inch slices while the terrine is still firm.  Be sure to use a sharp, serrated knife to get through all the leek layers.  Then allow softening somewhat before serving with your selections of suitable accompaniments.  I am using a hearty pumpernickel bread as well as a crusty Italian bread.  Other good choices are radicchio leaves, water crackers, petite bread, and mini pepper halves.  This is an easy means of giving your guests a unique appetizer that is healthy too.

Do you have a favorite leek recipe?  Tell us in a comment.   Bringing innovation to wood-fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this blog:

Charwood

For more reading related to grilling other items besides #cauliflowerrice with tomato!

For more reading related to grilling other items besides #cauliflowerrice with tomato!

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-SMOKED FAVA BEANS MAKE THE PERFECT DIP OR CONDIMENT

-A SAVORY TAKE ON THE PANCAKE FROM SMOKINLICIOUS®

-STUFFED MUSHROOM APPETIZER FEATURING SMOKED ARTICHOKE HEART

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor when you fire roast Cauliflower rice!

Dr. Smoke-add great flavor when you fire roast Cauliflower rice!

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!

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

Try our Mushroom tapenade on the grill with Peppers

 

MUSHROOM TAPENADE ON THE WOOD GRILL

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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!

Dry Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks after being "kissed" with smoke from the smoker box with Double filet wood chunks!

Dry Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks after being “kissed” with smoke from the smoker box with Double filet wood chunks!

SALT-FREE DRY RUBBED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

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You’ve likely heard about limiting your ingestion of chicken skin which can add unnecessary calories and saturated fat.  On the flip-side, chicken skin also adds to the overall flavor and moisture of chicken.  Here’s the thing: if you limit the amount of chicken skin you ingest, it contains a good amount of unsaturated fat that can be heart healthy, which you may not be benefiting from.

I’m going to give you a dry rub recipe that is salt-free to add in the healthy aspect of this recipe and includes some fat to the skin that will add flavor but also render off.  Purchase chicken drumsticks and prepare the gas grill for this easy technique and super flavorful chicken you’ll want to be sure to make extras of.

Grill Set Up

Double filet wood chunks in the smoker box ready to delicaly flavor our chicken drumsticks

Double Filet Wood Chunks

Before starting the rub recipe, get the gas grill preheated by turning on only half the grills’ burners.  That will be the side that we will add the wood chunks to while the side that remains off will be where the food will be placed.  For the wood chunks, you can either place them directly on the heat shields, on the hot grill grate, or in a smoker box.  Yes, that smoker box that you see advertised for wood chips is going to hold double filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious®.

Salt-Free Dry Rub

I’m balancing my salt-free dry rub flavor by incorporating a variety of ingredients:

  • Whole allspice
  • Ancho Chile pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Curry powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • Fresh ground pepper

I always like to use a mortar and pestle when I make a rub as I usually have whole pods or seeds that need to be reduced.  Once the rub is reduced to powder, I apply it to the drumsticks.

mortise with all our great dry rub ingredients mixed and ready to apply to the chicken drumsticks

Salt-free Dry Rub

These I lay on a roasting rack placed in a disposable foil pan.  This will allow the chicken to render without causing a mess to the grill and allow the smoke vapor produced by the wood chunks to rotate around the chicken.

 

A Little Fat Will Do

After the drumsticks are lined up on the roasting rack, I add a sprinkling of almond oil and 8 tablespoons of butter.  These two items will allow the skin to crisp slightly.  They also provide the moisture on the outside to attract the smoke vapor.  If you want to skip this step, just keep a spray bottle of tepid water ready and you can moisten the chicken skin with a calorie-free alternative.

 

Make a Lot!

After cooking for about 35 minutes, flip each drumstick on the rack and check your wood.  It will likely be black as the wood combusts and renders the flavonoids in the lignin that produce the great flavor.  Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook an additional 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 165°F.  Be sure to make extra so you have a great go-to protein to feed you throughout the week.

The cooking dry ribbed Chicken Drumsticks on the gas grill

 

What are your favorite ingredients to add to a dry rub?  Leave us a comment and subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor, that’s SmokinLicious®.

 

 

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Additional reading:

-CORNISH GAME HEN MEETS SMOKE IN THE ORION COOKER

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

-SALT FREE SPICE RUBS- HEALTHY CHOICES

-SALT CHOICES: HOW MUCH AND WHAT KIND?

 

Dr. Smoke you must try this recipe dry rubbed chicken Drumsticks

Dr. Smoke, you must try this recipe dry rubbed chicken Drumsticks

Our smoked strawberries work perfectly to make a smoked strawberry marinade for our pork or any other meat!

Our smoked strawberries work perfectly to make a smoked strawberry marinade for our pork or any other meat!

 

SMOKED STRAWBERRY MARINADE

Summary:

Smoking on a Gas Grill or Charcoal Grill and using smoking wood chunks brings out the power of strawberries for this special smoked strawberry marinade. Smoked fruit by using Single filet® and a mild hardwood species like ash, alder, maple or cherry will have you adding this to your smoked strawberries marinade recipes.

listen to the audio of this blog posting

If you’re like me, you love strawberries for the incredible juice they contain.  One of my favorite ways to capture the essence of that juice is to smoke the strawberries on a grill.  Not only do you end up with phenomenal smoked strawberries but the juice the grilling/smoking process renders is a must-have ingredient for so many recipes.  I took a batch of the smoked juices and made a fabulous marinade for fish, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, and goat.

The Simple Grilling Method

Whether you elect to use a standard gas grill or a charcoal grill, you’ll want to use wood chunks from SmokinLicious® to bring clean smoke flavors to the strawberries.  You can visit our previous articles on smoking on a gas or charcoal grill in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique.

For me, I’m using a gas grill equipped with single filet wood chunks.  I prefer to use more mild hardwoods when smoking fruits like Ash, Alder, Cherry, and Maple.

Strawberries on the gas grill with the double filet on the lite burner

Strawberries on the gas grill with the double filet on the lite burner

I simply lay out my fresh strawberries on a sheet pan or disposable foil tray after cleaning and trimming the stems.  I place the pan on the unlit side of my grill using a medium heat setting on the burners that are on the opposite side.  It will take less than 30 minutes to bring the strawberries to the smoky side.  After the strawberries are tenderly smoked and the juices have rendered, I carefully remove the tray and all the strawberries to cool slightly.  I then transfer the juice to a bowl to be used in my marinade.

The Smoked Strawberry Marinade Recipe

This marinade is so simple yet really packs great flavor.  Of course, the longer you marinate your protein, the better the outcome.  For one cup of marinade you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of smoked strawberry juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons blueberry balsamic vinegar or similar fruity flavor
  • ¼ cup Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Select your protein: I recommend chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, or goat.  Place the protein in the bowl and coat completely with marinade.  Place the marinated protein in a resealable food storage bag, pouring the remaining marinade into the bag, and seal tightly.  Refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight

Our pork roast and smoked strawberry marinade

Our pork roast and smoked strawberry marinade

Now you can choose the cooking method to bring all the flavors together.  Grill, oven roasting or even smoking.  Once you’ve selected your cooking method, remove the marinated meat from the bag and cook until done.  Remember, the marinade has been used on raw meat so you cannot reuse it as it will contain some bacteria.

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Additional reading:

-SMOKED MAPLE SYRUP MARINADE

-STRAWBERRIES GET SMOKY FOR AN AQUA FRESCA COCKTAIL

-SMOKED STRAWBERRIES WITH HAND HELD SMOKER

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke flavor! Bring out the smoky flavor in the strawberries when you use as a marinade!

 

Smoke trapped in the bottle infusing the Smoked Maple Syrup Marinade

Smoke trapped in the bottle infusing the Smoked Maple Syrup Marinade

  SMOKED MAPLE SYRUP MARINADE

PERFECT FOR YOUR FAVORITE PROTEIN

SUMMARY:

Using the Gourmia™ Mini Smoker with Minuto® cooking wood chips, we infused wood smoke flavor into Maple Syrup for a smoked maple syrup! Use this smoked maple syrup marinade, as glaze recipes for pork roasts or boneless pork roast. Add to your marinade recipes, maple syrup glaze recipes, and handheld food smokers.

listen to the audio of this blog posting

 

A point that I regularly try to drive home is that when it comes to smoking foods and ingredients, it doesn’t have to be the traditional items thought of.  A great example of this is our Dijon Maple Marinade recipe that is especially good with pork.

When you don’t want to smoke the actual protein, think about smoking another ingredient that will be married to the pork.  For me, that was the maple syrup I use in my marinade recipe.  I’ll review for you the cold smoking technique for this and then provide my recipe for this great marinade that can be used on fish, chicken, turkey, pork, and goat.

The Simple Cold Smoke Method

I’m sure you’ve read or seen some type of information for cold smoking cocktails, cheese, salt, and spices.  This technique is easiest when you use one of the many types of handheld food smokers on the market today.

For my method of smoking maple syrup, I’ve selected the Gourmia® Mini Smoker which works best with a very clean, dust-free micro wood chip to produce the smoke for infusion.  This is easily available from SmokinLicious®, offering a variety of sizing to fit your need in 8 hardwood species.  I’ll be using the Minuto® Wood Chip Size #8 for this smoking infusion.

I’ve found the easiest method of smoking and maintaining the maple syrup, is to use a glass container like a wine bottle.  Just be sure that the container is completely clean and dry.

I place about one cup of maple syrup in the glass bottle.  Taking the tubing of the Gourmia® Mini Smoker, I place the end in the glass bottle.  Taking just a finger size pinch or two of the wood chips, I place in the handheld food smoker’s chip bowl and then ignite the wood chips with a lighter while turning the unit’s fan on.  Once the smoke is generated, I turn the unit’s van off and allow the bottle to fill with smoke.  Save a cork as you can use it to plug the bottle allowing for maximum infusion of the smoke.  Be sure to rotate the bottle to allow for the smoke to travel completely within the maple syrup.

Look at how nicely the glaze colors our pork roast- the maple syrup adds a nice sweet touch

The Smoked Maple Syrup Marinade Recipe

Once the maple syrup has been smoked, it’s time to collect the other ingredients and make our marinade.  Using equal parts smoked NYS maple syrup Grade A and Dijon mustard, I add 3 tablespoons of lime juice and fresh ground pepper and whisk until just combined.  Taking a storage bag, I place a 4 lb. boneless pork roast inside, then pour in my Smoked Maple Syrup-Dijon Marinade.  Sealing the bag, I place the bag in the refrigerator for a least 4 hours though I prefer to marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Place the marinated roast in a roasting pan with rack.  This will take about 75 minutes to reach 145° F internal temperature.  About halfway through the cooking process, I rotate the cooking pan and spoon some of the pan juices back over the roast.  That will give it a beautiful bronze finish.  Remove from the oven and cut into ½” slices.  The Aroma-taste of pure maple joy with a smoky kick!

Bringing you great recipes for all types of food ingredients to grill, ember cook, hot smoke, and cold smoke.  We welcome your suggestions on foods you want to see smoked or charred so leave us a comment.  Don’t forget to subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor.

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

Additional reading:

-NOT JUST ANY MAPLE SYRUP!

-SALT FREE SPICE RUBS- HEALTHY CHOICES

-BBQ SHRIMP INSTANT GRATIFICATION!

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke -Dazzle the taste buds of your friends with this smoked maple syrup marinade recipe