Our Grilled Parsnips with added wood smoky flavor taste almost like French Fries!

Our Grilled Parsnips with added wood smoky flavor taste almost like French Fries!

GRILLED PARSNIPS TASTE LIKE FRENCH FRIES Click To Tweet

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Your diet likely doesn’t consistent of many root vegetables and I can guarantee that if you have kids, they may not have tried more than a carrot for a root vegetable.  I’m going to introduce you to parsnips which is one root vegetable that when grilled, takes on a flavor very similar to French fries.

That’s why I’m calling this recipe my Smoked Parsnip Fries with Spicy Honey Glaze.  As easy to prepare as it’s cousin the carrot, parsnips take no time at all to prepare and smoke on the grill.  Go to the market and get yourself about 2 pounds of this lesser used vegetable and let’s convert you from the potato to the parsnip!

Got 5 Minutes?

The parsnips have been clean of the outer skin, washed and sliced to size

#grilledparsnips

Just like carrots, likely the more popular root vegetable, parsnips grow as a tuberous root and can be eaten raw, though most people prefer to cook them.  Once mature, they are harvested and sold in the grocery stores.  I do a simple end trim and peel them with a vegetable peeler.  Next, I cut them into 3-inch lengths and the width of an average potato French fry.  I then toss them with ¼ cup of oil – I’m using avocado oil but you can also use olive, almond, walnut, grape-seed or similar high heat oil – and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Now they’re ready for the grill.

Tasting Notes: When selecting parsnips, it’s important to look for ones that have a smooth surface with no cuts or indentations.  Because they are a root vegetable, it’s important to rinse them well under water before preparing.

 Two-Zone Grill Smoking

Our smoker box is all set on the lite side of the grill and the parsnips on the unlite!

#twozonecooking

The best method of cooking our pre-cut parsnips is on a sheet pan.  This will ensure that the cuts of parsnip get equal browning and tenderization.  Just like roasting in your oven, I’ll be using a higher grill temperature of 400-425° F on my gas grill.  Total cooking time should be roughly 45 minutes to tenderize the parsnips.  For added flavor, I’ve included three double filet wood chunks to a metal smoker box.  These usually have wood chips added to them but I’ve found wood chunks much easier with less mess and no need to refill with more wood.

I’m using a traditional two-zone setup that involves using  ½ the burners of my unit set to a medium-high setting and ½ the burners are left off.  The smoker box will go on the hot side of the grill while our sheet pan of pre-cut parsnips will go on the cold side.  Half way through cooking time I rotate the sheet pan to ensure even browning.  That’s it!

Grilled Parsnips Glaze ‘Em for Added Flavor

While the parsnips are turning golden and tender on the grill, it’s time to start on the glaze.  Begin by melting 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan.  Add two chiles or ¾ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon honey.  Stir the parsnips occasionally until the glaze holds together well.  Set aside and go to the grill and check on the grilled parsnips.  When tender and golden brown, remove from the grill.  The wood chunks will be 100% carbonized.  I’ll like to save these to use in my charcoal grill as a charwood fuel product for a natural charcoal.

pouring the honey sauce over the finished grilled pasnips and ready to serve

#grilledparsnips

With simple trimming and peeling, these grilled parsnips become even more flavorful when wood flavored on the grill.  Two zone cooking makes it easy to step away while the parsnips cook giving you plenty of time to make the great spicy honey glaze to finish off perfectly grilled parsnips.

Remove the parsnips from the grill, place on a serving platter, and drizzle the spicy honey glaze over the parsnips when ready to serve.   Today’s Smoky Grilled Parsnip Fries are going beside a ground chuck burger for more of a traditional taste of burger and fries.

What’s your favorite parsnip 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 Chunks- Double Filet

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Our finished Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with a healthy Choice

Our finished Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with a healthy Choice

WRAPPED ASPARAGUS WITH A HEALTHY CHOICE Click To Tweet

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

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

Vegetable Prep

our two main vegetables fresh asparagus and ripe carrot

#asparagusspears #Carrots

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

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

Asparagus Twists

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

wrapping our Asparagus with carrot peel in preparation for the grill

#puffpastry with #carrotpeel

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

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

Two-Zone Grill Smoking

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

#grillcooking

 

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

Optional Dipping Sauce

Adding a hint of lemon juice to our dipping sauce

#dippingsauce

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

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

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

SmokinLicious Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

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Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke

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

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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!

Our Finished grilled hot cross buns!

Our Finished grilled hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns cooked on the Grill! Click To Tweet

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I know – hot cross buns are traditionally enjoyed during lent and holy Easter weekend.  The basic recipe dates to the 12th century and is known as a sweet dough ball.  Did you know that pretty much any recipe can be made on a grill or smoker, including hot cross buns?

I’m going to take a traditional hot cross bun recipe and make it using the grill with wood chunks for added flavor and the cooking.  Don’t worry that this is a recipe that involves yeast.  You don’t have to know everything about bread making to make this recipe work.  You can add the dried fruit of your choice to customize the flavors as well as selecting the hardwood you like best.

Let’s get started so you can enjoy the SmokinLicious® version of Hot Cross Buns Wood Fired any time of year!

Yeast Makes Dough

our covered yeast and flour mixture wrap to rise

#activedryyeast

These buns start with yeast blooming.  We are using active-dry yeast in our dough which means it must be re-activated in water. Start by pouring water that is between 105° and 155°F into a large bowl and sprinkle 2-1/4 teaspoons of active-dry yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar over the water.  Stir the mixture to dissolve the ingredients and let stand until foamy which will take about 10 minutes.  Then add ½ cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon, 1 cup of warm milk, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ cup of softened butter.  Mix well then add 3 cups of all-purpose flour.  Beat with the paddle attachment of a mixer until smooth and elastic.

After beating the initial dry ingredients, it’s time to add the eggs.  Do this step by adding one egg at a time for a total of 3 eggs.  Once the eggs are mixed in, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup of dried fruit of your choice such as currants, raisins, chopped apricots, and/or candied citrus.  I’m including currants in my dough.  Once mixed well, add 3 cups of additional flour ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough emerges.  Next, it will be time to turn the dough out on a work surface.

Tasting Notes:

These are traditionally a drier sweet dough.  That means you want to use dry fruit items in order to prevent the dough from becoming too moist.  Feel free to expand on the options for the fruit and use combinations that are pleasing to your palate.

Patience Is Key

slicing our dough into smaller amounts

#portioningdough

After adding all the ingredients to our hot cross bun dough, it’s time to turn the dough out and begin to proof also known as rising of the dough.  Start by turning the mixed dough out on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, then form into a circle.  Grease a large bowl and place the rounded dough into the greased bowl, turning the dough once to ensure it is coated with the grease on all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until double in volume.  This will take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Once the dough has proofed and doubled in size, it’s time to punch it down.  This is a step that releases some of the gas bubbles that have formed by the yeast during the rising time.  Once the dough has the gas released, cover it with a bowl on a dry surface and let stand for 10 minutes.  After that time, divide the dough in half and then quarters.  For each quarter, cut into six equal pieces.  Roll each dough portion into a ball and place on a greased sheet pan, spacing 1-1/2 inches apart.  This is a good time to start the grill by lighting only half the burners and placing a smoker box with wood chunks on the hot side.  We’ll be aiming for a grill temperature of 375°F.

Grill-Baking with Hardwood

Our sheet pan of dough on the grill with wood flavor

#gasgrill #woodchunks

With our grill lit using a two-zone cooking method and wood chunks of maple, white oak, and cherry in the smoker box on the hot side of the grill, it’s time to finish off the hot cross bun dough.  After spacing the dough balls on a sheet pan, I allowed them to rise for about 30 minutes.  Using the white of one large egg and a teaspoon of water mixed together, I brush each of the 24 dough balls with the egg wash.  Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each roll no more than ½ inch deep.  Place one sheet pan of rolls on the unlit side of the grill and cook until golden brown which takes about 25-30 minutes.  I like to rotate my sheet pan ½ way through the cooking time for more even coloring to the rolls.  When finished, transfer the grilled rolls to cooling racks.

Tasting Notes:

I’m using a ½ sheet pan for my cooking but note that standard cookie sheets will work well.  If using the ½ sheet pan, your grill area may not be large enough to accommodate the pan while closing the lid completely.  I simply grill with the lid partially open, adjust my temperature control knobs to ensure the 375°F remains stable.

While the buns are cooking on the grill, you can prepare the icing that will go on top of the finish buns.  Start by mixing together 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of milk.  You can adjust the thickness of the finished icing by adding drops of milk if you want it thinner.  Just be sure that when you add this to a pastry bag, you will be able to push it out in a steady stream and don’t find that it pours out on its own.

Tasting Notes:

Here’s my tip for filling a pastry bag. Tip-I like to use the disposable bags for icings. Click To Tweet I simply roll down the bag about half-way to form a cuff.  I place the pointed side of the pastry bag into the opening of a roll of paper towels.  This allows me to scrap every bit of icing from the bowl without worrying about the pastry bag.  I leave the filled pastry bag in the roll until the buns are cool enough for applying the icing.

The Perfect Sweet Dough Treat with a Kick of Wood Flavor

basket of our hot cross buns

#hotcrossbuns

After making our hot cross bun dough from scratch, allowing the dough to proof, then dividing into our individual buns.  We baked these on the gas grill set up two-zone method: a hot side that we added three hardwood chunks to using a smoker box on the grill grate.  The buns were placed on the unlit side of the grill and baked at 375°F for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan just one time.  Once cooled, we added lemon icing crosses to each bun.  We do this by working with twelve buns at a time, lining them up on the sheet pan tightly to each other.  Using the pastry bag of icing, I place a steady stream of icing vertically on each bun, then do the same horizontally for each row, forming a cross.  Allow the icing to set and then serve.

Although hot cross buns are associated with a specific time of the year, SmokinLicious® feels these are a sweet dough treat to be enjoyed any time of the year.  And, they are best when made on outdoor equipment that can include natural hardwood for unbelievable flavor.

Tasting Notes: 

If served warm, you’ll pick up more of the wood smoke flavoring Click To Tweet these buns were exposed to on the grill.  Adding a bit of butter makes them even sweeter!

What’s your favorite dried fruit to add to hot cross buns?  Comment to let us know.   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

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Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke-  the grill is perfect for cooking Hot Cross Buns

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

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Dr. Smoke

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

 

 

Our Hearts of pleasure are filled with great Smoked chocolate! You or your favorite person must try Smoked Chocolate!

Our Hearts of pleasure are filled with great Smoked chocolate! You or your favorite person must try Smoked Chocolate!

Imagine a puffed pastry filled with Smoked Chocolate and Nuts! Click To Tweet

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Sometimes you need a special dessert or treat for that occasion that you want to express your love or appreciation.  An anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, or even as a thank you gesture.  I have the perfect treat that is simple to make and allows you to customize the ingredients to fit the preferences of the recipient.  I’ll give you my version of the Heart Puffs of Pleasure but know too, you can change the shape of this treat to any cookie cutter shape you find adorable to use.  It all starts with adding a bit of smoky flavor to some of the filling ingredients so let’s start there.

DIY Stove Top Smoker

I’m using my DIY stove top smoker technique which uses a standard stock pot and a round roasting rack for the smoking.  You can visit our previous posting on this technique on our Tips & Techniques Blog.

Our stove top smoker is a simple stock pot with wood chips in the bottom and rack on top

#stovetopsmoker

I placed Sugar Maple Minuto® Wood Chips in the base and will smoke 2 of my filling ingredients: milk and dark chocolate and peanut and cashew pieces.  I’m also including shredded coconut in my filling but I’ll just do a light toasting of this in the oven.

Before smoking, I break up the large chocolate bars to allow for easier smoke infusion and place in heat tolerant containers.  The nuts will be smoked first since I’m using a hot smoking technique for them, then I’ll remove the pot from the heat and put the chocolate pieces in to infuse with the remaining smoke vapor.  It’s important that you quickly remove the nut container and reseal the pot in order to keep the smoke vapor generating.  If needed, keep the pot on the burner for a few minutes after the nuts have been removed.  Then take off the heat, allow the pot to cool slightly, then add the chocolate pieces container.

Tasting Notes: Although you can select any ingredients you want for your stuffed puff pastry design, be sure you understand which ingredients are appropriate for hot smoking and which would require cold smoke application.  Remember, items that traditionally melt with heat will melt from any temperature above 80°F.

Cookie Cutter for Easy Design

our heart shaped cookie cutters, you can do any design

#cookiecutter

Here’s the fun part of this treat!  Selecting the design shapes you want to encase your great fillings in.  I’ve decided to do heart shapes in two sizes: a 4-inch and 3-inch heart using cookie cutters.

Using store bought puff pastry sheets, I thaw according to the package directions and then lay one sheet out on a board.  I place my cookie cutters on the pastry sheet spacing accordingly so I end up with four hearts per sheet.  Remember, you will need a top and bottom pastry heart for each treat.  I’m using a total of four pastry sheets which will provide me with three large finished hearts and six smaller.  Simply cutout the heart shapes and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Keep the pastry cold until you are ready to fill them, with a damp cloth placed over the hearts to keep the pastry from drying out.

 

all the goodies inside, smoked chocolate and nuts!

#smokedchocolate #smokednuts #stuffedpuffpastry

Ready to Fill!

With our filling choices smoked, it’s time to start assembling the pastry hearts.  Start by placing three pieces of smoked chocolate on a pastry heart followed by the other fillings.  In my case, that’s a spoonful of smoked nut pieces and toasted coconut.  Place a second pastry heart over the first and pinch the edges together.  I secure the edges in place by using the tines of a small fork which also adds a decorative edge.  Then egg wash your finished pastry heart.  Continue with the other pastry cutouts until complete, noting that the smaller hearts will take just two pieces of smoked chocolate.  Do not allow the fillings to go to the pastry edges.

Once all the puff pastry hearts as filled, sealed, and egg washed, it’s time to place the prepared sheet pans into a 375°F oven.  These will take between 15-18 minutes to become golden brown and “puffed”.  It’s important that you check the bottom of the pastry hearts to ensure they are golden as well so there are no raw dough segments.  Once baked, remove from the oven and place on cooling racks.  These must be cooled completely through before attempting to ice.

 Dessert Means Icing

While the pastry hearts are baking, you can make icing to drizzle over the tops.  Be sure you cool the hearts completely before icing otherwise you’ll end up with a thin, melted icing.

To make the icing, combine powdered sugar with milk or cream.  I take about 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar to 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and mix well.  I like a consistency that is the thickness of gravy so I can control the drizzle on my finished pastry.

For coloring, I like to use gel food colorings which require much less coloring and have a greater variety of colors available.  I decided to use violet, pink, and red though my red was more of a deep pink as I used such a small amount.  When the pastry is completely cool, I use a spoon to drizzle the colored icing over the top of each heart.  Allow to dry for about 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.

finished stuffed pastry will icing added

#puffpastry #mothersday #Valentines_day

Here’s the best part about our puff pastry hearts.  They can hold any fillings you can think of.  Whether sweet, savory, spicy or other, you can make these with all types of ingredients.  And the pastry can be cut into any shape and size. Consider the person you’re making them for, the special event or occasion, and then have fun customizing them.   Even with the stove top smoking components, these can easily be made in under two hours.  Try our technique and create a truly unique and flavorful result that will be appreciated by the recipient!

What’s your favorite filling to use in a stuffed puff pastry?  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 Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to smoked Chocolate and other great recipe ideas!

For more reading related to smoked Chocolate and other great recipe ideas!

More recipes you may like:

-SMOKED RICOTTA-CINNAMON PASTRY HORN

-SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

 

Dr. Smoke-Dr. Smoke- I Love the taste of Smoked Chocolate! Try these puff pleasures for your favorite person or just for yourself!

Dr. Smoke- I Love the taste of Smoked Chocolate! Try these puff pleasures for your favorite person or just for yourself!

 

Our pastry horns in the over baking getting ready to be filled with our Smoked Ricotta Cheese we made in our tips blog

Our pastry horns in the over baking getting ready to be filled with our Smoked Ricotta Cheese we made in our tips blog

CINNAMON PASTRY HORN- SMOKED RICOTTA ON THE STOVE-TOP Click To Tweet

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Have I got a great treat for you!  Featuring smoked ricotta, I’m making a pastry horn filled with the sweetness of cinnamon infused smoked ricotta with a touch of crushed almond and shredded coconut.  I have an easy method of making the puff pastry horns that don’t require purchased molds and helpful hints on filling these light, golden horns of goodness.

Be sure to follow our previous tips posting on how to smoke ricotta using a DIY stove top smoker technique, and you’ll be ready for our smoked horns of ricotta goodness!

No Purchase Necessary

There’s no need to purchase horn molds as I have a very inexpensive way to make the perfect sized horns for filling.  Start by purchasing a box of sugar cones and aluminum foil sheets that are precut.  For each sheet of foil, cut in half.  Place one cone on the ½ sheet of foil and start to roll the foil around the cone until the final edge meets the cone.  Take the excess foil and push it into the top of the cone.  Continue covering all the cones – most cartons will have 12 cones total.

Tasting Notes: These foil-wrapped cones can be used again and again, as long as you keep them preserved.  To do that, keep the foil on the cones and place in a storage bag, with all the excess air removed from the bag.  I use my cones until they either become too soft or break apart.

Wrapping the Molds

wrapping the puff pastry around our cone

#pastryhorn

This recipe is easier when you use ready to use puff pastry sheets that are readily available in most freezer sections of the grocery store.

Start by following the thaw directions for the pastry.  Using a pizza cutter, I make roughly 3/8-inch strips of pastry.  Taking a foil wrapped cone, I start about ¾-inch from the pointed end and begin wrapping the mold with the pastry strip, overlapping each edge as I progress.  Add a 2nd strip, overlapping the end of the first until completely covered.  You do not have to cover the entire cone.  Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and finish covering the rest of the cones.

With all the horn molds wrapped with puff pastry strips, it’s time to ensure they get golden brown when baking.  That means they need an egg wash.  Taking one slightly beaten egg, brush each horn with the egg.  Use the egg wash to secure any loose ends as well.  Then bake according to package directions which usually is at 400° F for 12-15 minutes.   I usually rotate the sheet pan half way through the baking time to ensure even color.  Remove from the oven when golden brown and gently remove the foil cone from each horn.  Allow to cool prior to filling.

Ready to Fill!

our pastry bag filled with Smoked Ricotta Cheese.

#smokedricotta

With the pastry horns baked and cooling, it’s time to make the filling for the horns.  Start by adding powdered sugar, cream, cinnamon and cinnamon chips to the smoked ricotta. Mix well and then place the filling in a pastry bag.  I prefer the disposable kind to allow for easy clean up.  For the 3 pounds of ricotta I’ve smoked, I’ll need about four pastry bags of ricotta mixture.  In addition, I’m going to have two options for the ends of my horns – shredded coconut and chopped almond.  Be sure you refrigerate the ricotta mixture for at least 30 minutes prior to piping into the horn shells.

 Tasting Notes: For the 3 pounds of smoked ricotta I used, I included ¼ cup cream, 3-1/2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup of cinnamon chips.  You can use these measurements as a guide if you elect to decrease the amount of ricotta used.

 Horn of Flavorful Plenty

Now comes the fun part.  Assembling the pastry horns.  Starting with the large opening on the horn, begin piping the ricotta mixture into the horn in a circular fashion.  Allow the mixture to go just past the end of the horn.  Then pipe additional ricotta into the smaller end opening.  Next, dip the ends or sprinkle using a spoon with the shredded coconut or chopped almond, or both – one on each end.  Then place the finished horn on a serving tray.    Repeat with the other horns until all are filled.  Remember, work with only one bag of the ricotta mixture at a time keeping the others refrigerated until needed.  Use your imagination and think of other great ingredients to use with the smoked ricotta like peppermint extract and chocolate mint chips.  This is a recipe that is highly adaptable and don’t forget, food coloring small batches of the ricotta mixture will give you a colorful serving platter of delight.

Our finished pastry horns filled with Smoked Ricotta cheese

#smokedricottadessert

What’s your favorite filling to go with smoked ricotta?  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 Chips- Minuto®

 

For more reading related to- Learn how to do Smoked Ricotta Cheese by following our method in our Tips blog

For more reading related to- Learn how to do Smoked Ricotta Cheese by following our method in our Tips blog

Additional reading:

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-SMOKED BANANA DOUBLE BITES

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

Dr. Smoke- We love Smoked Ricotta Cheese filled Pastry Horn!

Dr. Smoke- We love Smoked Ricotta Cheese filled Pastry Horn!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

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We’ve reviewed the numbers and are pleased to introduce the best recipes of 2018!

These are the recipes that garnered the most views and hopefully, were cooked in your household.   Vegetable recipes by far dominated this listed.

Without further delay, here are the top 6 recipes starting with number six.

#6 Smoked Carrot-Almond-Ricotta Cake

Slice of Our Smokey Carrot Cake on a plate with the a touch of Almond and Ricotta Cream on the side

#carrotcake

This recipe was completed on the gas grill using wood chunks for great smoky flavor to shredded fresh carrots.  By using a griddle insert on my grill, I prevent overcooking and dehydration to the carrot, since this is a main component to our cake.

You’ll find the full recipe here: https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/11/16/our-smoked-carrot-cake/

 

#5 Charred Corn on the Cob

The how to instructions for cooking corn on a gas grill!

#grilledcornonthecob

It’s clear that corn is one of the most popular vegetables to put on the grill or smoker.  Our recipe featured whole corn on the cob done direct cooking on the gas grill with wood chunks placed directly on the heat shields for the perfect char flavor.

Here’s our technique and recipe: https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/26/smoky-charry-fresh-corn-cob/

 

#4 Avocado-Chocolate Pudding

refrigerate the Chocolate Avocado pudding before serving.

#avocadopudding

We always strive in the Test Kitchen to bring recipes that meet a variety of dietary needs.  For the dairy-free follower, we made the perfect dessert featuring creamy avocado and rich chocolate for the perfect pudding.

Just follow our simple recipe that includes grilling halved avocado on the grill with wood

https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/19/avocado-chocolate-pudding/

 

#3 Cheesy Potato Bake

Cheesy Potato Bake

#cheesypotatoes

Our 3rd recipe of the top 6 overall features one of my favorite vegetables: potato.  This time, we took our pan of lusciousness directly to the bullet smoker for a long infusion of flavor.

https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/cheesy-potato-bake/

 

 

#2 Ember-Fired Fresh Zucchini

Zucchini on embers using the direct fire method for cooking!

#smokedzucchini

One of the things we try to do in our recipe offerings is to give a variety of options on technique.  Our fresh zucchini recipe was one such offering as we took this vegetable to the hot embers to tenderize and char.  This is one great way to use the entire wood fire before it reduces to cold ash.

https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/ember-fired-fresh-zucchini/

 

#1 Wood-Fired Guacamole

Wood fired guacamole by grilling the avocado's before you make the guacamole will excite your taste buds! Your quests will wonder how you did this simple recipe by adding only one small step!

#guacamole

The top recipe of 2018 was our wood-fired guacamole!  Given the popularity of avocado as well as dips in general for easy entertaining, this is one special guacamole.  The wood fired flavor works so well whether you serve this with chips or use it as a condiment to top a burger or chicken sandwich.  With versatility to add special flavor to any meal, it’s no wonder wood-fired guacamole is our number one recipe for 2018!

https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/12/wood-fired-guacamole/

 

Did your favorite SmokinLicious® recipe from 2018 make the list?  Leave us a comment to share your views.  Bringing you informative recipes, techniques, and the science beyond the fire, smoke, and flavor.  That’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious® products used:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Charwood

For more reading related to the best recipes of the 52 we published in 2018!

For more reading related to the best recipes of the 52 we published in 2018!

Related reading:

-Top 10 Vegetables to Cook in Hot Embers

-GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

Dr. Smoke- these are the best recipes from 2018 selected by our readers!

Dr. Smoke- these are the best recipes from 2018 selected by our readers!

 

Serve this smoked simple syrup cocktail up or down, either way a nice smoky tasty bourbon cocktail

Serve this smoked simple syrup cocktail up or down, either way a nice smoky tasty bourbon cocktail

OUR BEST SMOKED SIMPLE SYRUP BOURBON COCKTAIL

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We’ve always tried to stress that smoking doesn’t necessarily have to involve the entire item but rather you can simply smoke one component.  That’s just what we are doing with our latest smoked cocktail.  We are making a cranberry bourbon cocktail that contains a smoked simple syrup to give this extra flavor and balance.  Pick out your favorite brand of bourbon and let’s make this super easy, yet super flavorful smoked cocktail featuring bourbon and cranberry.

Making and Smoking Simple Syrup

simple syrup ingredients

#simplesyrup

Before the simple syrup can be infused with smoke vapor, we need to construct the syrup.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.  Add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh sage to the pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Strain the herbs from the finished syrup and allow to cool before smoking.

With the fresh herb infused simple syrup cooled, it’s time to infuse another layer of flavor using a cold smoke technique.  I’ve added a pinch of Piccolo® wood chips to the bowl of The Smoking Gun™ by Breville. Using a large plastic bag, I insert my measuring cup of the simple syrup into the bag as well as the hose to the smoking unit.  I turn on the unit and light the wood chips which begins the smoke generation.  After filling the bag with smoke, I turn the unit off and remove the hose, while quickly cinching the bag closed.  I prefer to leave the smoke in the bag until it has naturally dissipated.  I do move the simple syrup around to allow the smoke vapor to penetrate completely thru the syrup.

 adding smoke to the simple syrup

#handheldsmoker 

 

Tasting Notes: You can control the level of smoke infusion in two ways – your choice of the hardwood chips for the actual flavor infusion and the amount of time you leave the syrup exposed to the smoke.

Cocktail Time!

ingredients for Cranberry Bourbon

#cranberrybourbon

With our herb infused simple syrup cold smoked, it’s time to assemble our cocktail.  Fill a serving glass with ice, add 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon, 2 ounces of 100%, unsweetened cranberry juice, ½ ounce of the smoked simple syrup, and a splash of fresh lemon juice.  Stir until well combined.  Add a fresh rosemary and sage sprig for garnish and serve.

This is a cocktail you can adjust the ingredient levels to change the level of sweetness versus pungency.   When dialed in correctly, the smoke and sweetness levels balance each other for a well-rounded cocktail to enjoy any time of year.

Do you have a favorite smoked cocktail?  Leave us a comment to let us know and subscribe to our channel to get all the tips, techniques, and recipes we bring your way.  Always eager to share our expertise on all things wood fired, that’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Piccolo®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to on smoked simple syrup and our other smoky cocktails

Related reading:

-SMOKY BOURBON CRANBERRY COCKTAIL

-THE SMOKED PEAR BELLINI COCKTAIL

-JACK FROST GOES SMOKEY-THE COCKTAIL

Dr. Smoke - You will enjoy this smoked simple syrup cocktail

Dr. Smoke – You will enjoy this smoked simple syrup cocktail

We did a smoky whiskey cocktail with a sparkling twist!

We did a smoky whiskey cocktail with a sparkling twist!

SMOKY WHISKEY COCKTAIL FOR THE HEARTY DRINKER

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I’m bringing you another smoked cocktail that is deep in flavor and suited for those who like hearty cocktails.  For this cocktail, I’ll be adding even a deeper flavor to the whiskey by cold smoking it with a handheld food smoker.  A rich syrup is made first and then added to our cocktail that can be served hot or cold.  Perfect, either way, to warm you up on cold winter days!

The Syrup

ingredients in the pot warming up

#whiskey

To get our Harvest Smoke & Sparkle cocktail started, we need to make the sweet syrup to balance the boldness of the smoked whiskey.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together ½ cup of honey, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground clove and 1 cup of orange juice until it starts to bubble.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

If making individual cocktails, it is important to still make the full batch of cider-honey syrup and take the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cider-honey syrup from the batch per cocktail.

Tasting Notes: This is referred to as a harvest sparkle due to the traditional spices associated with the Fall.  Feel free to experiment and adjust these flavors as cardamom and allspice also work well.

The Construction

smoking the whiskey with the handheld smoker

#Breville #coldsmoking

With the cider-honey syrup made and cooling, it’s time to take your favorite brand of whiskey and cold smoke flavor into it.  I’m using The Smoking Gun® by Breville which is self-standing to make the actual smoking process easy.

After placing the whiskey in a measuring cup, I place the measuring cup in a plastic bag and insert the hose of the smoking appliance into the bag.  I then add a pinch of Piccolo® wood chips to the bowl and turn on the unit while lighting the chips.  Once the smoke fills the bag, I shut off the unit, remove the hose, and cinch the bag closed to allow the smoke to penetrate the whiskey.  It helps to move the whiskey around in the cup to help the smoke molecules to cling to the alcohol.  That’s it!

What is so great about this whiskey cocktail is that is can be served hot or cold.  Today, I’m making the cold version in a large batch to serve many guests.  I start by adding my smoked whiskey and cider-honey syrup to a large pitcher with lots of ice.  Next, I whisk these two ingredients together well.  If making a single cocktail, add an ounce of the smoked whiskey and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the cider-honey syrup to a shaker filled with ice.  I strain into a serving glass and add Prosecco and a garnish of rosemary.  I prefer a bit of ice in the glass for the cold version.

Our whiskey and herbs together heating up on the stove

#smokedcocktail #warmcocktails
#hotcocktails

Now, for those that like it hot, simply whisk together the smoked whiskey and cider honey syrup in a saucepan or heat in the microwave for 45 seconds in a mug.  This is one smoked cocktail that will take away any chill in the air!

Do you have a favorite smoked cocktail?  Leave us a comment to let us know and subscribe to our channel to get all the tips, techniques, and recipes we bring your way.  Always eager to share our expertise on all things wood fired, that’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Piccolo®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to this smoky whiskey cocktail

Related reading:

-WINTER COCKTAIL GETS A BIT SMOKY

-JACK FROST GOES SMOKEY-THE COCKTAIL

-SMOKY BOURBON CRANBERRY COCKTAIL

 

Dr. Smoke in this recipe we did a smoky whiskey and added sparkling wine!

Dr. Smoke in this recipe we did a smoky whiskey and added sparkling wine!

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