Grilling our Spam® on a chimney starter for a quick preparation for Asian sliders- yes we used Spam®

Grilling our Spam® on a chimney starter for a quick preparation for Asian sliders- yes we used Spam®

Cooking Spam® on a chimney starter Click To Tweet

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Although Spam® may not be your go to meat choice, there are a lot of recipes that have been created around this canned meat.  With 6 primary ingredients – pork with ham, potato starch, water, salt, sugar and sodium nitrate – Spam® was key to feeding our troops during WWII and retained some popularity since its introduction in 1937.  Although this is a high sodium food item, it can offer some easy meal prep and is super easy to smoke.  In fact, due to the small size of the servings, I’m going to show you how to grill-smoke this using my chimney starter only and a grill rack.  Then I’ll take these charry slices and make an Asian Inspired Spam® Slider.  Go select your favorite variety of Spam® and let’s get this smoked in no time!

Spam® is removed from the can, then thickly sliced for the grilling of Spam® on the chimney starter

#spam

Plain or with a Little Marinade Boost

Although you may love Spam® plain, I prefer to marinate it a bit for additional flavor.  Today’s marinade is a mix of liquid aminos, rice vinegar, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, curry paste, fresh ginger, chopped garlic, and coconut sweet chili sauce.  I cut the Spam® into 7 equal slices.  Starting with about ¼ cup of liquid aminos, I add 1 tablespoon each of fresh grated ginger, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, chopped garlic, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon Thai curry paste, and 3 tablespoons coconut sweet chili sauce.  Mix well then place the cut Spam® slices in a storage bag, pour in the marinade, and seal the bag.  Allow this to marinate for about an hour in the refrigerator, then remove to go to the chimney starter for grill-smoking.

Tasting Notes: There are 15 varieties of Spam® available including flavors like teriyaki, hot & spicy, Portuguese sausage, garlic.  Keep this in mind when you go to add marinades or sauces. 

All our marinade mixed and ready for the Spam® slices to be added

#Marinade

It’s All About Flavor

You’ll need to wait until about 20 minutes before your marinating Spam® is finished prior to lighting your chimney starter.  Only fill the chimney about ½ way as the grilling of the meat is quite fast.  Once the chimney burns down to hot coals, add either 1-2 wood chunk pieces of your favorite hardwood or a handful of hardwood chips.  Then place a roasting rack on the chimney and add your marinated Spam® slices.  Allow to cook for just a few minutes then turn.  You should see the sides of the slices crisp which will signal that they are ready to turn.  Another couple of minutes, and theses slices are ready.

Tasting Notes: Keep in mind that chimney starters come in various sizes.  Some hold 4 lbs. and others up to 8 lbs. of charcoal.  You generally only need 4-5 lbs. of charcoal for this quick cook recipe.  Remember, if using briquets, they will burn hotter so you may have to reduce the cooking time on each side of the Spam®.

Your Slider Design

For my Asian Inspired Sliders, I use a small roll, cut in half.  To the bottom, a slather on a layer of Dijon or similar mustard.  On goes one charred slice of Spam®, followed by a dollop of coleslaw.  To the top of the roll, I squeeze some additional coconut sweet chili sauce.  There you have it!  I have no doubt that you can make this with star ingredients that fit your taste and style.  Perhaps a big slice of fresh red onion or sliced pickle, or maybe kimchi.  The possibilities are endless. I do love Spam® when crisping and char are added from something as simple as a chimney starter half filled with hardwood charcoal or briquets and flavored with wood chunks or chips.  Keep this in mind for emergency food storage as Spam® can be a survivalist best friend!

Our finished Spam®on a chimney starter is on the bun and condiments added. Ready for the fold!

#spamslider

What would be your Spam® slider toppings?  Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on all platforms.  Providing tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the flame and fire to improve your skills with wood-fired cooking! That’s SmokinLicious®!

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SmokinLicious® Products for this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double or Single Filet

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®, Minuto®, & Piccolo®

For more reading related to Grilling on a chimney starter, try our other recipes or Tips and Techniques blog!

For more reading related to Grilling on a chimney starter, try our other recipes or Tips and Techniques blog!

More recipes to try!

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKED GRILLED CHEESE LIKE NO OTHER!

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

Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke Yes we grilled Spam® on a chimney starter and produce delicious Asian sliders!

Flank steak pinwheels- all the ingredients are mixed with the flank steak wrapped and tied for grilling.

Flank steak pinwheels- all the ingredients are mixed with the flank steak wrapped and tied for grilling.

Flank Steak Pinwheels with Ember Roasted Asparagus

Great recipe idea with the use of Ember cooked Asparagus and Flank Steak.  While the pinwheels can be cooked on the Charcoal/LP-Gas grill or even in the oven!

View the video tutorial:

Ingredients:

  •         Ember cooked Asparagus (see our previous blog)
  •         2-3 lbs of Flank Steak
  •        4 oz of Spinach leaves
  •         Olive Oil or Pesto
  •         4 oz of Mozzarella cheese
  •          Pepper and Sea Salt for taste

If grilling on Charcoal or LP/Gas grill use “Double” Filet wood Chunks to add some additional flavour!

Preparing the Flank Steak

The idea is to pound out the flank steak with a meat mallet to help tenderize it.  I like to coat my flank steak with olive oil, fresh ground pepper and kosher salt and place in plastic wrap to marinate for at least 6 hours but I prefer to marinate overnight.  Once marinated, I can begin to assemble with the other ingredients.

Assembling the Flank Steak Pinwheels

Lay out the flank steak and place the spinach leaves overlapping them as you go.  Now take the halved asparagus stalks and layer them next.  Last, load on the mozzarella cheese and then season with salt and pepper.  Remember, if the mozzarella is not fresh, it will have some salt to it so be careful when adding additional salt. Now, staring on the long end of the steak, begin rolling inward, tucking in the filling as you go.  Once completely rolled, take 6-inch lengths of pre-cut meat twine and tie around the rolled flank steak about every 2-inches.  These sections will become the individual serving sizes.  Cut the steak between the twine ties and lay each cut piece of steak on a baking sheet.

Cooking the Pinwheels

Cook the pinwheels on a baking sheet or pan for approximately 30 minutes.  Flank steak will render a lot of juice so you may want to use a roasting rack in the pan.  Once the mozzarella cheese becomes golden brown, you’ll be ready to remove from the oven.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes then serve.

Serve!

This is just one combination of flavors that work well with the flank steak and ember roasted asparagus.  Other winning combinations include artichoke heart, roasted red peppers, kale, even quinoa if you want to add a grain texture.

Our fully cooked plate of three Flank Steak Pinwheels with Cheese and Roasted Asparagus

Bon Appetit!

Flank steak pinwheels with ember roasted asparagus – just one of the wonderful ways to use fresh asparagus this season.

The Culinary Crew wants you to know …

… that because of its trending popularity and versatility in many recipes, you may have difficulty finding flank steak from time to time at the grocery store or even at your butcher’s.  Flank steak is revered because it is low in fat and very flavorful.  Don’t fret if it isn’t readily available to you, there are substitutes!  Thinly sliced tri tip sirloin or even chuck roasts will offer much the same delight to your taste buds!

Bon Bar B Q

Dr Smoke and the Culinary Team

 

SmokinLicious Products for this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

For more reading related to

For more reading related to Flank Steak Pinwheels, try these recipes

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-Crostini with Smoked Asparagus

-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS WITH A HEALTHY CHOICE

-SMOKED AVOCADO LOAF FROM OUR AVOCADO RECIPES

Our Smoked Bone Broth starts with Great Beef bones trimmed on the gas grill

Our Smoked Bone Broth starts with Great Beef bones trimmed on the gas grill

SMOKED BONE BROTH FOR HEALTH & FLAVOR Click To Tweet

Summary:

Smoked beef bones by using cooking wood chunks over the grill heat shields or gas grill diffusers are easy!  The smoke flavor and slow simmer root vegetables are building flavor profiles for this unique smoked bone broth recipe. Simmering food with aromatic vegetables sometimes lacks taste that smoking wood chunks add. Read how easy it is!

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Know up front, that making broth from bones has been in our human history for a very long time.  It’s not new but I will say that over the past several years, it has gained in popularity for its health benefits and ability to cleanse the body.

Here’s what has been reported to improve when you consume bone broth: ease joint pain, reduce or prevent degenerative joint disease, promote hair and nail growth, enrich the blood, aid in digestion, build muscle, boost the immune system, and improve memory.

Bone broth is all about depth of flavor.  I am going to dig deeper into the flavor option and smoke the bones rather than roast them to bring an umami-type flavor to my broth.  Warning: you will need about 12-14 hours for the entire process so be sure to plan for this timing.

Grill Set Up

The gas grill I’m using is equipped with 4 burners and heat shields over those burners.  I’ll be preheating my grill using all 4 burners then shutting off the two burners on the left side and reduce the heat level to medium-low on the right side.  I add two wood chunks to the heat shields on the lit side of the grill.  Then on to my bones on the left side grill grate, where the burners are turned off.  These will stay on the grill for about 3 hours, with one turning of the bones at the halfway point.  Then off the grill and into a stock pot go my smoked bones for the start of the broth.

Simmering We Go

Our Smoked beef bones in the pot simmering with vegetables!

The extra depth of the smoke flavor will be gently revealed in our broth and does not overpower or obsolete the benefits of the broth.  To start the broth process, place the bones in the pot and fill the stockpot with cold, clean water.  Be sure the water is about four inches above the bones.  Allow the bones and water to come to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  The bones should simmer for a least 6 hours.  During that time, you can check and skim off any impurities from the top with a spoon.  While they are simmering you can prepare the vegetables, herbs, and spices that will be added to the mix.

Mirepoix and More

Now it’s time to add even more nutritional value to our broth.  Start by selecting the aromatic vegetables for your mirepoix.  I’ve taken leeks, carrot, celery, Napa cabbage, and a few broccoli stems.  To this, I’ve also included about 8 cloves of garlic, thyme, basil leaves, and a ¼ cup cider vinegar.  Place everything in the pot and stir to mix and submerge.  Cover the pot and allow this to simmer for about 8 hours.  Enjoy the great smell that will fill your home!

Strain and Portion

Straining out the cooked vegetables leave a clear brothYou’ve been smelling this awesome bone broth for nearly 14 hours so now it’s time to strain it and prepare to portion it out for future use.

If you’ve used a large stockpot, you may need a couple of additional pots for the straining as the contents get heavy to pour.  Once the clear broth is extracted with all the great nutritional value intact, remove the strainer and feel free to compost your vegetable/herb mixture.  Allow the broth to cool and skim off any settled fat from the top layer.  Then portion out the broth and get ready to enjoy its health benefits anytime.

This can be consumed as it for maximum detox benefit, in soups, or to make sauces – any way you can use broth.  I’m starting off by making a bowl of pho with sprouts, soba noodles, mushrooms, spring onion, and of course, my piping hot, flavorful, smoked bone broth.

Serving our smoked Bone Broth for a very satisfying meal!

Stater Ingredients for Bone Broth

  • 6-8 lbs. of beef bones
  • 1 lb. celery
  • 2 lbs. onion
  • 1 lb. carrot
  • 4-6 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • ¼ bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

Read the 10 Health Benefits of Bone Broth by Cognitune Click To Tweet

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks: Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-10 Health Benefits of Bone Broth -by Cognitune Smarter Health

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!
-SMOKED BEEF SHORT RIBS
Dr. Smoke-make great smoked beef broth with our simple techniques.

Dr. Smoke-make great smoked bone broth with our simple techniques.

Our Finished Smoked Beef Riblets with Soy Housin marinade!

Our Finished Smoked Beef Riblets with Soy Housin marinade!

Smoked Beef Riblets with Soy-hoisin marinade Click To Tweet

Listen to our blog Smoked beef Riblets

One of my favorite cuts of beef to smoke and grill is the beef flank riblet.  This is a cut of beef short rib known as flanken. In the flanken style of short rib, this thin cut, which is about 1/2-inch thick, goes across the bones so that each slice contains a few pieces of bone rather than between the bones as is done in traditional short ribs.

This is a popular way to cut the short ribs if you’re going for a Korean barbecue which we are kind of doing with our marinade that has Asian influences.  I recommend doing about 4 pounds of flanken style short rib though today I’m doing 8 lbs. which means I’m doubling the recipe.  The best part is these ribs don’t take very long to smoke on the grill.

I use a two-zone cooking method that allows this to be a low stress smoking method.  Ask your butcher for a beef flanken rib cut and let’s fire up the grill or smoker for our version of soy and hoisin marinated beef riblets.

It’s All About the Marinade

What I like about these ribs is the butcher does all the work.  They come ready to be marinated – no additional trimming to get them the same size as a good butcher will already know to do that for even cooking time.

our Hoisin Marinade

#Marinade

To make these flanken ribs taste super tender and flavorful, we need to make a marinade that will stay on the ribs for 24 hours.

First, I ready freezer storage bags for the marinating, placing roughly 8 ribs per bag.  You want the marinade to get all around the ribs.   For the marinade combine:

 

 

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Pour equal amounts of the marinade into each storage bag, expel the extra air from the bags, seal, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Tasting Notes: This is a basic marinade that has Asian flavors.  It is not spicy so if you do want a bit more heat, think about adding an Asian garlic-chili sauce.  Just reduce the minced garlic to 1 tablespoon and add 2 tablespoons of garlic-chili  sauce or an amount to heat level you want.

Two-Zone Grill Smoking

When you set up a grill or smoker with a two-zone cooking method, you can assure that foods won’t get too smoky or dry out.  While preparing the riblets on the cooking racks, I pre-heat the grill to 350°F by turning on only half the burners.  On those burners, I place a smoker box with oak single filet wood chunks directly on the burner shields.

our two zone cooking set up with our chunks of wood

#twozonecooking

I’m going to use a sheet pan set with roasting racks for the rib cooking as these ribs will have a lot of juice from the marinade that I don’t want leaching into the grill area.  This is a way to avoid have lots of grease in the drip catch and grease collection unit of your grill.

I place the ribs on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.  I’ll let these go about 12 minutes before flipping over.  Another 8-10 minutes and these are done.  Replenish the wood chunks as needed to keep the smoke flavor going.   I’m doing 8 lbs. of ribs so this will be about 5 cooking rotations total.

Tasting Notes: You certainly can cook these directly on the grill grates if you don’t mind a bit of clean up to the grates when your done and the need to empty the dripping collection pan.  Also, charcoal grilling of these ribs is just easy by using the two-zone cooking set up on that grill as well.

Ready in a Flash-Smoked Beef Riblets!

You can gauge the cooking time by looking for browning on the outside of the ribs.  When one side has browned, turn over and allow the other side to color.  Remove the finished ribs to a platter and add some chopped fresh green onion and white sesame seeds.  These are ready to go!

Our finished Smoked Beef Riblets

#beefriblets

If needed to make ahead of time, simply reheat the ribs in a low temperature oven – I like 275°F – in a foil covered pan but add the onion and sesame seeds only when ready to serve.  Whether for summer entertaining, party planning, hors d’oeuvre party, or just to bring back the flavors of outdoor cooking, this is the perfect rib done in a flash!

What’s your favorite beef flanken rib 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 in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

For more reading related to Smoked Beef Riblets try these recipes

For more reading related to Smoked Beef Riblets try these recipes

Even more recipes to try!

ROSEMARY INFUSED SMOKED BEEF SHANKS FROM THE GRILL

-OVER THE TOP GRILLED & SMOKED BEEF SHANKS

SALT-FREE DRY RUBBED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

WOOD FIRED LEG OF LAMB

 

Dr. Smoke- These smoked beef Riblets are a perfect party favorite

Dr. Smoke- These smoked beef Riblets are a perfect party favorite

 

 

Our Finished Greek Style Smoked Meatballs done on a Kettle Grill!

Our Finished Greek Style Smoked Meatballs done on a Kettle Grill!

 

Greek Style Smoked Meatballs on the Kettle Grill! Click To Tweet

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Although I love Italian-style meatballs with traditional red sauce as a sandwich, I’m going to change up the flavors by making a Greek version.  Then I’ll smoke my meatballs on the charcoal grill using charwood, which is a partially charred hardwood from SmokinLicious® that still retains a core of uncarbonized material to release wood flavorings.

My Greek-style meatball will feature feta cheese, oregano, and parsley, and will be finished with a Greek-yogurt cucumber sauce.  I’ll swap traditional sub-style bread for a pita pocket that will make this the perfect meatball sandwich that’s lighter on the belly but not light on flavor and satisfaction

Tasting Notes: Feel free to use any type of equipment for the cooking and smoking of the meatballs.  Just remember to use wood for added flavor to the finished meatball product.

It Starts with Quality Meatball Ingredients

our mixture of ingredients before we make into the meatballs

#greekmeatballs

Obviously, meatballs start with the meat.  We’ll be using ground chuck for this recipe.  Taking two pounds of ground chuck, I add one cup of crumbled feta cheese.  To that, I add two tablespoons fresh oregano, two tablespoon fresh chopped flat leaf parsley, ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1 large beaten egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  Mix all the ingredients well until evenly combined.  This recipe will make approximately 32 meatballs that are 1-inch in diameter.

Lighting the Grill

our Greek Style meatballs cooking on the grill over charwood

#charwood

As with all our recipes, you can elect the type of equipment you want to do the actual smoking and cooking on as well as the charcoal and hardwood choices.  Today, I’ll be using my Weber kettle as this is an ideal grate size for my sheet pan.

After mixing and forming the meatballs, I’ve placed them on a foil lined sheet pan over direct heat.  There is no need to turn these meatballs as due to their small size, they will crust all the way around on their own.  In 20-30 minutes, these will have reached 160° F and be ready for eating.  For the record, my intake vent is open half way and the outtake is wide open.

Tasting Notes: Keep in mind, when you use any type of metal pan with direct heat and wood product on a grill, some level of creosote will develop on the bottom of the pan.  I’ve found that if I spray a small quantity of oven cleaner on these areas while the pan is still hot, in 5 minutes I can simply wipe away with a wet cloth or sponge.

Greek-Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce

making our yogurt Cucumber Sauce for the sandwich

#yogurtcucumbersauce

When eating Italian meatball sandwiches, the sauce is traditionally red tomato.  For Greeks, it is a light, tangy cucumber-Greek yogurt sauce that accompanies the meatball.   Here’s our rendition of this sauce.

Start with one cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated.    Be sure to squeeze the extra water from the grated cucumber so the sauce does not become watery.  Add 1-1/2 cups of whole milk Greek yogurt, followed by three tablespoons fresh, chopped mint, one tablespoon fresh, chopped dill, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, one tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.  This will make about 1 cup of sauce.

Make a Pita to Your Liking!

our completed sandwich with greak style smoked meatballs and yogurt cucumber sauce

#greekmeatball pita

Now comes the fun!  Assembling our Greek-Style Meatball Pita!

I’m using whole wheat pita but any blend of grain can be used.  I start by adding shredded lettuce to each pita pocket half.  I prefer a bit of moisture both at the base of the pita as well as on top of the final ingredient.  I add a tablespoon or so of the yogurt-cucumber sauce to the shredded lettuce, then top with sliced red onion and tomato slices.  Next, in go the smoked meatballs.  I prefer to slice the meatballs in half to make eating the pita easier since each bite will be quite substantial.  After adding about three meatballs worth of meat, another dollop of sauce goes on top and we’re ready to eat!

Obviously, this is a recipe to make your own with the type of fillings you love.  That may include more spice from jalapeno or banana peppers, or more saltiness from black or green olives.  Change up the lettuce leaves to kale or spinach.  The options are limitless but the flavors will always be fresh and balanced.

What are your favorite pita or sandwich fillers?  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® used in this recipe:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to smoking on the kettle grill!

For more reading related to smoking on the kettle grill!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

-GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

-ROSEMARY INFUSED SMOKED BEEF SHANKS FROM THE GRILL

-Smoked Snow Peas With Cucumber Salad

Dr. Smoke- try our Greek Style smoked meatballs with Pita Bread- this will be a hit for your family!

Dr. Smoke- try our Greek Style smoked meatballs with Pita Bread- this will be a hit for your family!

This avacado recipe features melted cheese stuffed avacado inside Turkey, wrapped with Zucchini strips.!

This Avocado recipe features melted cheese stuffed avocado inside Turkey, wrapped with Zucchini strips.!

This Avocado Recipe is double stuffed for Yummy Flavor! Click To Tweet

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I love taking a basic recipe and being able to offer variations to that recipe which allows the cook to customize for those being served.  That’s why I refer to this recipe as the Versatile Smoked Avocado Loaf since you will have options in the ground meat or poultry used to surround the cheese filled avocado as well as the cheese and outer covering to the loaf.  This is referred to as a meat wrapped, stuffed avocado recipe.

I’ll walk you through my version which uses Jalapeno cheese, ground turkey, and zucchini ribbons all with whole avocado.  We’ll be smoking these mini loaves of goodness on the charcoal grill using a two-zone cooking set up.  Use my ingredients or customize for your own taste.  Either way – let’s get started.

simple ingredients, avacado, ground Turkey, jalapeno cheese and a zucchini

#meatwrappedavocado recipe

Avocado & Meat Prep

The ingredients I’m using today include 2 lbs. of ground turkey, 4 whole avocado, 1 medium zucchini, and 4 ounces of Jalapeno cheese.  To start, I make zucchini ribbons using a vegetable peeler on the length of the zucchini.  I wrap the zucchini ribbons in a paper towel as zucchini is loaded with water requiring this to dry out a bit before wrapping around our finished loaves.  Time to prep the avocados.

Start by cutting around the circumference of the avocado from stem top to bottom using a sharp paring knife.  Don’t cut into the avocado meat just into the hard, green skin.  Then twist the halves in opposite directions to separate the two halves.  One half will hold the pit of the avocado.  You can easily remove that by hitting the pit with the blade of a sharp knife then pull up which will remove the whole pit in one swipe.  Remove the skin on both halves of the avocado, leaving the avocado meat intact.

Our avacado split in half

#stuffedavocado

Avocado recipe Tasting Notes: Other options for wrapping the loaves include ribbons made of beets, carrot, leek, or eggplant.  You can also wrap these in bacon strips if you don’t mind additional fat and sodium levels.

Assembling the Loaves

With the avocados pitted and skinned, it’s time to stuff them with our jalapeno cheese.  Cut a cube of cheese that will fit perfectly into the pit hole of one half of the avocado.  Place the matching half of the avocado on top to make the avocado whole again.  Now it’s time to season the ground turkey.  Taking about 2 lbs. of ground turkey I add 2 tablespoons of Chinese Five Spice which is a premixed combination of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger.  I also add 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, and fresh ground pepper.  Mix together well as this seasoned meat will become the wrapping around the avocados.

With the avocados filled with cheese and the ground meat seasoned, it’s now time to wrap the avocado in the meat.  I’ll be making four avocado loaves so I divide the meat into four parts.  Flattening the meat into pancake size, I place one filled avocado in the center of the meat and begin to wrap the meat around the avocado, pressing to fill any holes.  You want the meat to cover the entire avocado in an equal thickness.  Once wrapped, it’s time to apply the zucchini ribbons around the meat.  I’m using zucchini as it has a high water content which will result in extra attraction of the smoke vapor to the finished loaf.  smoke vapor seeks out moisture! Click To Tweet  Simply lay the zucchini ribbons one at a time around the meat loaf, overlapping as you go.

turkey wrapped avacado, now applying the zucchini outter wrap to hold everything together for grilling

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:

Avocado and cheese go together so well which gives you so many options for the cheese filling.  There is no limit to the type of cheese you can use just know block cheese rather than shredded or a spread is best.  When it comes to the ground meat, feel free to use any type you prefer: beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, veal.  You can also use a ground fish but may find you need to add a binder like panko bread crumbs to keep it from falling off the avocado.

 Two-Zone Charcoal Smoking

grill demonstrating our two zone charcoal grill set up with wood chunks

#twozonecooking

While I’ve been preparing the meat wrapped stuffed avocados, I’ve had my charcoal grill lit using a two-zone cooking method.  Since there isn’t a lot of meat on each of these loaves, I don’t need direct heat to cook.  I’ve placed my hot coals on one side of the grill and added about four SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunks.  On the unlit side of the grill, I’ve placed a disposable pan to act as a drip pan under the grill grate.  I place my four turkey avocado loaves on the unlit side of the grill grate and allow them to cook for about 45 minutes.  At that time marker, I brush the loaves with a sweet chili sauce and allow to cook for about 15 additional minutes.

After cooking for nearly an hour on a charcoal grill set up with a two-zone cooking method, these turkey wrapped stuffed avocado loaves are perfectly smoked and flavored.  Each loaf can easily feed two or one hearty eater!  With the creaminess of the avocado, the heat of the melted jalapeno cheese, the spiced turkey meat, plus subtle flavors of the zucchini and chili sauce, this is the perfect smoked protein that can be cooked quickly. Click To Tweet There are so many variations that can be done to this stuffed avocado which truly can make this your own creation!

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:  

Any equipment can be used for this recipe to add the smoke flavoring.  Just know, you need to use a two-zone cooking method for charcoal grilling, gas grill cooking with wood, or electric smoking.  If using a portable grill, try to grill over hot coals over rather than direct flame.  If using a stove top smoker or plancha, you’ll obviously cook direct method.  And of course, you can always make this recipe without the added flavor of smoke in the traditional oven.

our finished avacado stuffed turkey loaf!

#stuffedavocado wrap

 

 

 

What’s your favorite ingredients for this meat wrapped, stuffed avocado?  Leave us a comment and subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor.  That’s SmokinLicious®.

 

SmokinLicious® products for this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

For more reading related to

For more reading related to- avocado recipe and other grilling techniques

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-AVOCADO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

-SUCCULENT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

-EMBER FIRED FRESH ZUCCHINI

Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke- This avocado recipe features a cheese stuffed avocado wrapped in Turkey! YUM

 

 

Our gorgeous color on our Grilled Prime Rib with wood on the gas Grill- Yum!

Our gorgeous color on our Grilled Prime Rib with wood on the gas Grill- Yum!

GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

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#smokinlicious

Yes, prime rib is expensive and likely the reason so many are fearful to take this cut of beef to the grill.  I’m going to take away that fear and show you just how your grill will respect this cut and produce the tender, buttery, crusty outside roast you want.

Although there are different opinions on whether to make a roast with the ribs intact or removed, I am someone who prefers to cook with the ribs in.  I’ll give you tips on doing a boneless version as well if that is your preference.

For now, purchase an 8 lb. or 3 rib roast, get your favorite wood chunks, and get ready to fire up your gas grill using a two-zone cooking method for a prime rib roast you won’t soon forget.

Meat Preparation

Trim off the excess fat and season with Salt! Let site overnight to season

#gasgrill

For the most part, my butcher has done most of the trimming.  I will just remove any remaining fat and ensure all the silver skin is gone.  You should see meat all the way around the roast. In the end, I’ve removed about a pound of additional fat.

At this point, I want to add salt to the meat to reduce the amount of water before cooking and tenderize the inner fibers.  For every pound of meat, I sprinkle a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt.  This is called dry brining and will require that the meat be refrigerated for 24 hours after the salt is applied.  I simply salt and wrap the meat in plastic wrap to prevent liquid from leaking, and place in the refrigerator.  Or, you can salt and place in a non-reactive container and leave uncovered.

Char Crust Rub

While the meat is tenderizing with the dry brine, we want to prepare a char crust to be rubbed all over the outside of the roast just before it goes on the grill.  Combine 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder, and 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish.  I combine all my ingredients with a mortar and pestle.  If it is a bit too thick, just mix in a little water so more of a paste is formed.  Apply the char rub just before cooking and you’re ready to good.

Tasting Notes:

Feel free to incorporate different herbs and spices in the char crust rub.  Some considerations include: thyme, cinnamon, chili powder, clove, ginger, even cocoa powder.

Smoking on the Gas Grill

two zone cooking with the smoker box on the right over the heat and rib roast on the left

#twozonecooking

I really enjoy cooking a prime cut of beef roast on the gas grill as the two-zone set up makes this low stress.  I prepare my LP/Gas grill by first placing a disposable foil pan under the grill grate on the side I plan to cook on.  This will be my water/drip pan.  I add about ½” of hot water to the pan and place my metal smoker box containing three SmokinLicious® wood chunks on the side I plan to cook on, right under the grill grate.  Now I lite only the burners under the smoker box.  I set these burners to medium heat to start.    Just before I’m ready to grill, I check the temperature readout and adjust my heat setting until I hit my target temperature of 225°F.

Time to add the char crusted rubbed roast to the unlit side of the grill, directly above the drip/water pan.  I insert a thermometer and close the lid.  Basically, for the next couple of hours I just need to monitor that the temperature holds to 225°F and that the water pan has enough water in it.  Only as I get closer to 110°F internal temperature of the meat, do I start to babysit the grill.  This is when I like to brush a bit of butter on the outside of the meat.  It produces great color to the crust.

At 115°F internal temperature, I remove the water/drip pan, meat string ties, and the meat thermometer.  I’m now going to finish the cooking to 130°F internal temperature by direct searing the roast on all sides.  As soon as it reaches or approaches that internal temperature, I immediately get the meat off the grill and serve.

Oue finished roast showing great color and a wood flavoring for and add delite!

#primerib

Tasting Notes:

We all have a guest who insists they want their meat cook further.  If that is the case, you can add a slice directly to the grill for just a minute or two, turning constantly, to give them what they want.  Yes, you will have someone who wants the meat at 145°F or possibly above.

And don’t forget to save the bones to make our smoked beef broth.

Tasting Notes:

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.

For those looking for a boneless version of this roast, feel free to request a boneless roast from your butcher, or you can remove the bones yourself and cook separately on the grill for tasty riblets.  Essentially, the preparation is still the same as is the overall cooking temperature and finished meat temperature.

What’s your favorite preparation for prime rib?   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 recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to Grilled prime rib and other gas grill techniques

For more reading related to Grilled prime rib and other gas grill techniques

Related recipes:

-WOOD FIRED LEG OF LAMB

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

Dr. Smoke- Try Grilled Prime Rib on the grill and add some Wood chunks for a nice flavor!

Dr. Smoke- Try Grilled Prime Rib on the grill and add some Wood chunks for a nice flavor!

Our Finished grilled Lamb resting before slicing!

GRILLED LAMB THE “NEW” HOLIDAY MEAT

listen to this pod cast

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how lamb has slowly been gaining greater popularity in North America.  Normally associated with Easter, I’ve had many followers indicate that they love to cook lamb in the summer on the grill as well as for holidays like Thanksgiving (yes, there are some that don’t do a turkey or add this protein to the dinner) and Christmas.

My intention today is to provide some guidance on the cuts of lamb, which work best for wood-fired cooking methods, and provide some flavor pairing suggestions to consider for your recipes.  Know that my definition of lamb is a young sheep of fewer than 12 months of age.

Primal Cuts

There are eight basic cuts of lamb: neck, shoulder, breast, ribs, loin, leg, foreshank, and shank.  Immediately, I want you to understand that there is much less meat harvested from a lamb than on some other common animals.  The reason is that lamb tends to be quite fatty and the fat is not something consumable like the current rage with pork.  Once a lamb is harvested, trimmed of its fat, had non-edible parts removed, there is about 40% of its weight remaining in viable meat.  Thus, lamb can be very expensive.

Let’s look at each of the cuts and provide some insight into the best methods of cooking each.

Neck:  Then neck contains some of the most marbled meat of the lamb making it ideal for longer cooking methods.  Because of the fattiness of the cut, it is best to marinate it for about 4 hours prior to cooking.  This is a cut that is generally sliced, marinated, and then cooked casserole-style.  This can be done on a grill set up with a two-zone cooking method to allow the wood to be added to the hot side of the grill which can infuse the contents of the casserole if left uncovered.  This cut also works well when ground to produce lamb burgers and sausage.

Shoulder: This is by far one of the most flavorful cuts, is less expensive as it contains more connective tissue and bone producing a tougher cut and can be cooked a variety of ways.  This section can produce bone-in and boneless roasts, shoulder chops, and stew meat.  It is ideal for a slow and low method of cooking which includes traditional smoking.  As such, preparations can include brining, dry and wet rub, and marinating.

Foreshank and Shank: As the name implies, the foreshank is attached to the front legs of the lamb while the shank is connected to the rear legs.  These cuts are ideally braised and presented as individual servings.  Again, these can be done like the neck cut in a casserole on the grill with wood for flavoring.

Rib: Containing what is called the rack and crown, this is the section of the lamb that would be the equivalent to prime rib roast of beef.  It is the most expensive cut and is ideal on the grill.  Always use a two-zone cooking set up to prevent overcooking of the outside.  Chops can also be produced from this cut but note that they cook quickly.  I prefer to still use a two-zone cooking setup so I can move the chops from direct heat to indirect as needed.

Loin: This muscle of the lamb is the most tender and resembles miniature versions of T-bone steak.  It can also be cut into the tenderloin and top loin chops, which is the filet mignon of lamb.  Don’t think you can roast that tenderloin, however, as the size is too small for this method but it works perfectly when grilled.

Leg: Unlike other animals, the leg of lamb is very tender and versatile, producing boneless roasts, sirloin steaks, and kabob meat.  This cut can be butterflied if deboned and grilled or left whole for grilled lamb.

Breast: This tends to be a small cut that you can use bone-in or deboned.  If bone-in, treat like a rack of ribs and plan to slow cook.  The ideal is on the grill after marinating overnight.  A temperature of 225°F is recommended and again, using a two-zone cooking method will keep this moist if you include a water pan.  There are many recipes for stuffed lamb breast as well that a roasting method can be used.  Certainly, grilling two-zone method will make these moist, tender and flavorful.

Flavor Pairings

One characteristic of lamb is its ability to stand up to other strong flavors whether in spice or herb form.  Here are the top flavor pairings for lamb:

Almond: incorporate into a stuffing with rice

Anchovy: cuts slits into a leg or shoulder and insert drained anchovy into each cavity

Anise: a perfect addition to a casserole for infusion to the meat

Apricot: preferably used dry this is perfect with cinnamon, cumin, coriander

Cabbage: add potatoes and let it simmer with the meat

Cherry: adding onions, saffron, almonds, pomegranate, feta, mint, parsley, pistachio

Cumin: add chili and put on the grill

Eggplant: perfect if done kabob style over the hot coals

Goat Cheese: add spinach or kale and this is the perfect pairing for lamb burgers

Mint: likely the most well-known pairing which reduces the funkier undertones of the meat

Peas: add butter, onion, and tomato

Saffron: use this spice in rice to accompany the meat

With all these great flavor pairings, lamb should continue to grow in popularity and maybe will surpass one of our more common animal protein choices.

Do you have a favorite cut and preparation of grilled lamb?  Share your thoughts and photos.  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:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

More Related reading on other meats for the two-zone cooking method beyond grilled lamb, #lamb and other food items to prepare

More Related reading on other meats for the two-zone cooking method beyond grilled lamb, #lamb and other food items to prepare

Additional reading:

-WOOD FIRED LEG OF LAMB

-GIVE ME THAT BEEF BRISKET!

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

Dr. Smoke- Grilled Lamb can be served around the Holidays! Depending on the cut of meat you choose will raise the level of formality!

Dr. Smoke- Grilled Lamb can be served around the Holidays! Depending on the cut of meat you choose will raise the level of formality!

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

listen to the audio of this blog posting

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

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

listen to the audio of this blog posting

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

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