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

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

 

Try Smoked Meatballs Greek Style 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.

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Ember Fired Eggplant on the rack cooking above a bed of hot coals. This technique provides the heat for cooking and the aroma of the wood smoke

Ember Fired Eggplant on the rack cooking above a bed of hot coals. This technique provides the heat for cooking and the aroma of the wood smoke

EMBER FIRED EGGPLANT WITH FETA TARTS Click To Tweet

You’ve heard me mention before how great it is to ember or coal fire certain foods, with a good majority of those items falling in the fruit category.  One of the best fruits to use this technique with is eggplant.

Not of Nutritional Value

we selected two nice and plump eggplants for our ember cooking Eggplant, also called aubergine, is part of a flowering plant grown for its edible fruit.  This is a thick-skinned fruit that has a meaty quality to its flesh.  In fact, it can make for a filling meal.  Eggplant contains a lot of water – 92% to be specific!  It is not known to be a contributor for daily nutritional intake.  Despite all that, Eggplant remains a favorite ingredient to cook with.

Nestling is Key

When cooking in the coals, it is best to use medium sized eggplant.  It doesn’t matter what variety you select, the technique for cooking in the coals will remain the same.

Starting the fire

First, you need to start with a good wood fire, using clean hardwood.  In order to do this technique successfully, you need to ensure that there are no flames left in the fire, just hot coals.  You’ll know the coals are ready for the cooking when they are completely grayed over.  If your grilling area is large enough, you can stage a couple of burning wood pieces to provide additional heat to the area.  Just don’t cook directly in those flames.

preparing the hot coals for the eggplant. you want these to burn down leaving only the heat and no flame to burn the eggplant. Ember cooking is only over hot coals.When the coals are ready, make sure the embers are in an even layer and then place the eggplants side by side in the embers.  I like to use a fine screen in the bottom of my charcoal area to aide in heat retention.  Now, leave these untouched for about 10 minutes.  After that time, you can turn the eggplant to ensure all sides get evenly charred.  If you make a large enough fire, you can bury the eggplant completely in the hot coals and not have to do any turning.  That technique will require about 30 minutes of cooking time.

Chef Bert teaches Neighbor Tom about ember cooking

#chefbertandtom

Blackened, Charred Skin Makes It Ready

Once the Ember Fired Eggplant has tenderized in the coals, it’s time to carefully remove it. Cool the eggplant, so it won’t burn and can be handled.  Then, slice each eggplant open from end to end, and gently scoop out the flesh.  Be sure to leave all the charred skin behind.  If you’re ready to use this in a recipe, then no need to do anything more to the eggplant.  If you plan on using it later, you must prevent the eggplant flesh from turning dark by incorporating 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and enough water to cover the flesh.  When finished, it’s best to store the Ember Fired Eggplant in a glass jar, bowl, or other container.

6 Needed Ingredients

To make the Ember Fired Eggplant with Feta Tarts, you’ll need a muffin pan and the following food ingredients:

  • Flesh from 1 medium size coal-fired eggplant
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons for topping the tarts
  • ground coriander about ¼ teaspoon
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing dough and preparing muffin pan

Wood Flavored Eggplant Mixture

removing any char from the fire and then chopping up the eggplant to be added as the tart fillingRoughly chop the wood fired eggplant.  Then transfer to a medium bowl and add feta, 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, coriander, red-pepper flakes, and mint.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and stir gently to combine.

Making the Tarts

Lightly oil the muffin pan cups.  Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a board and lightly brush with oil.  Stack 4 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with oil.  Cut the stacked sheets into 6 equal squares.  Carefully, pick up each square and place in a muffin cup, gently pressing in place.  Fill each dough cup with about ¼ cup of eggplant mixture.  Gently fold over the corners of the dough to enclose the filling as a tart.  Brush tops with oil and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.  Then Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

showcasing the finished product! Our ember roasted eggplant within the feta tart- yummy

 

 

 

 

 How did we do?  Leave a comment, love us, and subscribe.  We’re all about wood fired cooking techniques, idea, recipes, and the science behind the smoke and fire.

What can I roast over a fire?

Just about any fruit or vegetable can be roasted over a fire.  Vegetables and fruits with a dense, husky outer skin do very well when grilled with gas, charcoal and wood fuels.  Eggplant is ideal for roasting over an open fire or directly on hot embers (ember cooking).

Additional reading:

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

-SUCCULANT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

TOP 10 VEGETABLES TO COOK IN HOT EMBERS

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Our wonderful Single Filet wood chunks are featured in this ember fired eggplant recipe

#woodchunks

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Dr Smoke- "Try this because it's a really tasty appetizer and easy to make."

Dr Smoke- “Try this because it’s a really tasty appetizer and easy to make.”

Our wood-fired clams casino on the offset grill with brick and the finished product

Our wood-fired clams casino on the offset grill with brick and the finished product

THE ULTIMATE WOOD-FIRED CLAMS CASINO

SUMMARY:

Wood fired cooking on a charcoal grill is fun with clams! You have tasted steamers, top neck clams, clams casino now try wood-fired clams casino! These wood roasted clams casino in our grilled clams casino recipe is a must try anytime you grill! This two-zone cooking method is easy with a foil-covered brick!

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Have you ever noticed how many ingredients go with clams?  This low fat, high protein seafood also has many beneficial minerals.  They are also one of the most sustainable seafood resources.

I thought I would provide an easy wood-fired cooking method that can be done on your charcoal grill (you certainly can modify a few setup items and do this on the gas grill as well using wood) and produce the most flavorful clams casino out there.

Go find some similarly sized clams, fire up the grill, and get ready for this recipe and technique to become your favorite.

our ingredient table with everything ready for the stuffing!

Hot Coal Grilling

Our recipe is quite simple: gather together

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 oz. sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced (you can use pre-minced garlic)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 18 medium clams, shucked, bottom shells reserved

 

Before starting on the casino filling, it’s important that you get the grill ready.  First, you’ll want to get a chimney starter of charcoal going.  I’m using SmokinLicious® charwood in place of traditional charcoal as this is a partially charred product that will also provide for some hardwood flavor infusion.  Once lit, the chimney starter needs to burn down the charwood to hot coals – no flame should be visible when you dump this into the grill.

our wire mesh on the charcoal rack to retain all the small and hot pieces

For my charcoal grill, I’ve set a mesh screen at the base of my kettle grill to allow me to retain as many hot coals as possible.  The screen helps to prevent small coals from falling through the charcoal area.   I’ve also covered brick with heavy-duty foil to act as a heat conductor and radiator.  This will help to keep a constant temperature during the actual cooking process.  The brick will also separate the cooking area from the fuel area.  A bit of unlit charwood is also added to the charcoal half of the grill so these bits can ignite from the hot coals and sustain the heat level more evenly.

Casino Mixture

With the charwood burning in the chimney starter, I can now start on the casino filling.  After adding a tablespoon of oil and cooking the pancetta or bacon in a skillet, I’ve put that aside on a paper towel lined dish and added the diced red pepper to the fat drippings in my pan.  After cooking a few minutes, I had the shallots, garlic, and parsley to the same skillet and sauté until the shallots are tender and translucent, which is about 5 minutes.  Add the white wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated.  Remove the skillet from the heat and cool completely.

our ingredients in the mixing bowl with cheese added

Assembling the Casinos

While the casino mixture is cooling, I prepare my clams.  Here you have a couple of options depending on your skill level and time management.  You can shuck the clams as normal and reserve the bottom shell with the clam, or you can steam the clams until just open, separate the top from the bottom shell, reserving the bottom shell.  I loosen the clam from the shell so it’s easier to consume with the casino mixture.  After the clams are readied, I take the cooled casino mixture and add the previously cooked pancetta or bacon, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan, and fresh pepper mixing well.  I then take a tablespoon of the mixture and mound it over the clam in the shell.  The finished clams are placed in a grill-proof pan.

Wood Firing Brings Depth of Flavor

Chef Bert explains the indirect cooking method.

#chefbertandtom

With all my top neck clams stuffed with casino filling, I sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and the 2 tablespoons of panko bread crumbs over each clam.  I am now ready to place the tray on the grill.  Since I’m using a two-zone cooking method, I can safely put the lid on the grill without concern for charring these clams too far.  With a steady temperature of about 300°F, these will take between 15-20 minutes.  You can rotate the tray if you feel the heat level in your grill is not even or steady.  For those that like a crunchy outside to the clam feel free to place these under the broiler for a few minutes.  The clams pick up the wood flavor in a very balanced way, giving just hints of charry goodness with each bit.  Super easy, super flavorful, and super fun to make.  Take your clams to the wood fire for your next event.

The Culinary Crew wants you to know…

about the great results had from indirect cooking or the two-zone grilling technique, as referenced in this recipe blog.  When it comes to this particular recipe, you will find that wood fired clams done on a charcoal grill with indirect heat and a simple brick heat conductor will add a distinctive smoky flavor twist to your clams casino.  This appetizer promises to be a fan favorite for any seasonal or football party!

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

The best of charcoal and cooking wood is SmokinLicious® Charwood.

#charwood

Charwood

Related reading:

-WOOD FIRED LEG OF LAMB

-WOOD FIRED CLAMS MAKE THIS THE PERFECT BITE

-WHY CHAR-WOOD IS THE BETTER OPTION OVER CHARCOAL

-SPICY-CHAR HUMMUS

Dr. Smoke-try our wood-fired clams casino for something special!

Dr. Smoke-try our wood-fired clams casino for something special!

Smoke a Turkey with our easy to do tips will result in awesome color and flavor. Give it a try!

Smoke a Turkey with our easy to do tips will result in awesome color and flavor. Give it a try!

HOW TO SMOKE A TURKEY ON CHARCOAL OR GAS GRILL Click To Tweet

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There are so many ways to smoke a turkey with the main difference found in the amount of time for both preparation and cooking.  One of the favorite methods is hot smoking whether done on a traditional smoker, charcoal grill, or gas grill.

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WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE FLAVOR BROUGHT OUT BY THE SMOKING PROCESS!

Wood Fired Apple WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

As the second most consumed fruit in the USA, apples are loaded with antioxidant benefits and have been found to have extensive benefit to the colon due to the high level of gut bacteria present in its polyphenols.  Plus, this is a fruit that is readily available all year long making it an ideal choice for cooking.

We are taking the Gala variety and putting them over a coal fire for wood-fired flavor in our apple pie cake.  Pick your favorite variety of apple and get out the charcoal grill for this fun and simple technique and recipe.

Fire Up the Grill

Fire up the Stok grill

After purchasing 12 apples of your choice, get the charcoal grill going, so the flames can reduce to hot coals.  That’s all needed for our apple cooking!  Any size charcoal grill will do, including the small portable grill.  I use a chimney started to lite charwood from SmokinLicious® as this is my preferred product when I do a short cook fruit or vegetable item.  The reason?  It is not fully carbonized, so it still releases plenty of flavonoids from the hardwood.  You certainly can use a standard hardwood charcoal but add a chunk or two of SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunks to be sure you get a wood flavor.

While the chimney starter is burning down to hot coals, I peel and thinly slice 12 apples.  I use a Gala variety for my recipe and a Stôk charcoal grill, equipped with an insert system.  I place my sliced apples in the insert vegetable basket for this simple method of wood firing the apples.  Just be sure to spray the basket with non-stick cooking spray to ensure the apples don’t stick.

A Cake by Name

With my hot SmokinLicious® charwood producing steady heat, my 12 Gala apples peeled and sliced thin, I’m ready to place the vegetable basket over the hot coals.  Remember, apples have a lot of water content, so they will steam initially.  The water will attract the smoke vapor and bring great color and flavor.  After approximately 10 minutes, I shake the apple slices in the basket to allow them to rotate for even cooking and color.  You’ll see the edges become bronzed as they cook.   In 20 minutes, these will be ready to go.

wood-fired apples make the best cake

Adding the Ingredients & Cook Time

Our wood fired apples and dry ingredients mixed in the pan ready for baking

After the apples are removed from the grill and cooled slightly, add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to maintain color until baked in the oven.  Set those aside and gather together 2 cups flour, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 sticks of cold butter cut into 8 cubes.

Start by combining 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of packed light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Taking one piece of cold butter at a time, add to the flour mixture, cutting each piece using either an electric hand mixer, 2 knives or a pastry cutter.  You want to have pea-size pieces of butter mixed into the flour mixture.  Press 2/3 of this mixture into a 9-inch springform pan then add the wood-fired apple slices, spreading evenly in pan.

With the wood fired apple slices nestled in the simple cake batter of flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, it’s time to top the apples with the remaining 1/3 flour mixture.  Be sure all areas are covered.  Set the springform pan on the foil lined sheet pan and place in a 350°F oven for 75 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to sit in the springform pan until cool.  Just run a knife along the edge of the cake to ensure it will separate from the pan’s ring once removed.  Remove the ring when the cake has cooled then sift a ¼ cup powdered sugar on the surface of the cake.

Cake Perfection

Our finished wood fired apple pie cake nicely golden brown

 

After giving Gala apple slices the lick of smoke from our charwood grill, mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon with butter for a great cake batter, and baking everything together, the ultimate in apple pie cake is born.  With a light coating of powder sugar, the wood-fired apple slices pile high for perfection in the single bite.  More like a cobbler batter than cake, you’ll love the simplicity of the construction and the unique flavor a wood fire gives to apples.  Perfect anytime of the year, just like apples are, you’ll be the envy of your neighborhood when you fire up the grill for wood infusion to apples.  Now you must also prove that Wood-Fired Apples make the best Cake – Enjoy!

The Culinary Crew wants you to know …

… that this recipe can easily be adapted with the substitution of apples with fruits like peaches, pears or even strawberries.  This switch will offer more of a traditional cobbler type baking with these moisture rich fruits taking on incredible but delicate smoky flavor.

Visit our narrated video with more pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Press above to visit our narrated video with more pictures and step-by-step instructions.

SmokinLicious® products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More recipes to try:

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-A SAVORY TAKE ON THE PANCAKE FROM SMOKINLICIOUS®

 

Dr Smoke- "

Dr. Smoke- “This is a MUST try recipe”!

It’s Pea Season so why not try Smoking Snow Peas recipes!

collage of the steps to our Smoking Snow Peas

Smoking Snow Peas steps covered in this blog

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One of the most versatile vegetables is now in season and can be used in both hot and cold side dishes and main courses.  In this series, we will be roasting our peas using a hot smoking method to bring the great wood-fired flavour.

Ingredients-Smoking Snow Peas

  • At least 1 lb of peas, I like sugar snap peas
  • Almond oil
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Pepper
  • A charcoal smoker, any size will do
  • A disposable foil pan or vegetable pan or basket that is high heat tolerant
  • 3 lbs. of lump hardwood charcoal
  • 1 cup SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® Wood Chips – I’ll be using Wild Cherry
  • Kitchen torch for easy lighting

I’ll be using my Stok Drum Charcoal Grill for this series.  As the Stok has its own charcoal basket, I won’t need to prepare any additional lump hardwood charcoal. I am using a direct method of cooking.  I place my charcoal in the unit’s charcoal basket leaving my grate insert off for now.  Once the coals turn gray, I will lift the charcoal basket and allow the coals to advance into the cooking drum.  I then grate insert off as I will use my vegetable pan to go right over the top of the insert area.

Pea Preparation

While the coals have been firing, I start preparation on the peas.  As I am using sugar snap peas for this recipe there is very little preparation that has to be done.  I first will remove all the string membrane that is attached to one side of the snap pea.  If any stems are left on, I will remove those as well.  I then wash the peas in a colander and then allow them to drip dry, shaking my colander occasionally to rid any excess water. If needed, I will pat dry the peas to ensure they are ready for the fire.  Then I sprinkle on some Almond oil, sea salt, and fresh pepper to the peas.  Now, we’re ready to wood fire!

My coals are hot, the wood chips are smoking, and the peas are ready to be kissed by fire!  I place the vegetable pan on the center of the grill and leave my grill cover off.  When cooking with wood, know that some temperature fluctuation can occur due to the natural variation in combustion so don’t leave the Peas unattended.  Once you see the peas start to char, give them a toss with a spoon to ensure an even char cook.

Usually, you will see char begin about 4-5 minutes into the cooking cycle.  Once that occurs, you will be looking at another couple of minutes before the peas will be ready to come off the grill.  Be sure you monitor that you don’t go too far with the smoking process.  If the peas begin to shrivel and wrinkle, you went too far.  You can remove them and place in an ice bath or run under cold water to stop any additional cooking from taking place.

Recipe Ideas

It’s so hard to explain the aroma that comes from the grill when you wood fire vegetables.  Keep in mind, that even when the vegetables are chilled, they will retain their char flavor.  Here are some tips to finishing these beautiful smoked sugar snow peas: add some crumbled feta cheese and serve, or a splash of lemon juice and dill, or even a dollop of ricotta cheese that’s been whipped with a bit of cream.  You can also check into our next blog on peas where we feature these scrumptious beauties in a Snap Pea and Cucumber Salad, just perfect on a hot summer’s day!

First Turn on the Grill

First Turn on the Grill

The Culinary Team wants you to know 

… that when it comes to the forgotten method of direct ember cooking with wood, there are many great food varieties besides your typical meats, poultry and seafoods that offer awesome flavor.  This blog demonstrates how snow peas are one of many tasty garden variety veggies that will tickle your pallet with a great smoky wood-fired taste.  There are many more foods for you to enjoy with this technique!  Go ahead, experiment with your favorite vegetables or fruits and treat yourself to a “world of flavor” possibilities!

Bon-Bar-B-Q!

SmokinLicious® Products used for this recipe:

Wood Chips- Grande® Sapore

Dr.Smoke- you have never tasted peas until you do this Smoking Snow Peas recipes

Dr.Smoke- you have never tasted peas until you do this Smoking Snow Peas recipes

For more reading related to

For more reading related to Smoked Snow Peas, try these recipes

Related recipes:

-Smoked Snow Peas With Cucumber Salad

-FRESH PEAS GO TO THE GRILL FOR SMOKY FLAVOR TO PEA MASH

-SMOKED FAVA BEANS MAKE THE PERFECT DIP OR CONDIMENT

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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

More recipes like this one:

-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 finished Cauliflower rice with Tomato we fire roasted with just a chimney starter!

Our finished Cauliflower rice with Tomato we fire roasted with just a chimney starter!

COAL FIRE CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH TOMATO

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#cauliflowerrice

With my special chimney starter cooking technique, which you can view in a separate posting, a fresh head of cauliflower was wood fired for a charry flavor.  Now, it’s time to take this fabulous flavor and marry it to tomato and spice in a cauliflower rice dish that can be consumed as a main course or a fabulous side dish.  A simple recipe that’s full a flavor that you’ll want to enjoy again and again.  Plus, you’ll enjoy the added benefits of this super nutritious food due to its low saturated fat and cholesterol and high vitamin and mineral daily needs.

Making Rice

Our charred Cauliflower in the food processor ready to be "riced"

After tenderizing my fresh head of cauliflower on the hot coals of a charcoal fire, I’m going to turn this into a cauliflower rice dish that features tomato, feta cheese and just a hint of jalapeno pepper.

To start, cut your cooked cauliflower steaks into smaller florets and place half in a food processor with a standard blade.  Pulse the cauliflower until it is reduced to rice-like particles.  Remove from the processor bowl and add into a pot.  Continue to process the remaining cauliflower in the same manner.  You’ll see the tiny flecks of the charred goodness easily if you’ve prepared white cauliflower.  Keep in mind, that one head of cauliflower will produce nearly two quarts of rice before the other ingredients are added, so this can comfortably feed 6 as a side dish or 3-4 as a main entrée.

Tasting Notes: If you care for additional spicy notes, feel free to pulse in some fresh ground pepper or pepper flakes.  Just be sure to reduce the amount of fresh hot pepper in the cooking section.

Hearty Flavors

Adding the broth to the cauliflower rice!

Once the cauliflower rice is made and in the pot, it’s time to add the other ingredients.  Start by adding 2 cups of diced tomato and one finely chopped jalapeno pepper.   Pour in ½ cup of broth – I’m using bone broth – and stir well.  You can adjust the moistness of the finished rice by adding more broth.   Add ¼ cup of feta cheese just before serving, allowing the cheese to be heated just a couple of minutes.

Once sampled, you’ll taste the meaty char flavor from the coal cooking technique that is balanced so well by the sweet tomato and slight kick of the spicy pepper.  This is hearty enough to eat as a main meal or the perfect accompaniment to your favorite animal protein.  Just think what the festive colors can do for this dish if you’re lucky enough to find yellow or purple varieties of cauliflower. [#cauliflowerrice]

Tasting Notes: There are so many variations to cauliflower rice.  Use seasonal ingredients to guide you.  Options: curry powder, honey, Dijon mustard, & butter; asparagus, mushroom, basil, & coconut milk; black beans, tomato, corn, onion & Verde sauce.

SmokinLicious products used:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

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

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

Additional reading:

-Cauliflower roasted on LP/Gas Grill over wood chunks

-SUCCULENT WOOD FIRED STUFFED TOMATO WITH HERB RICE

-SMOKED BROCCOLI CASSEROLE WITH APPLE & QUINOA

-WOOD GRILLING WINTER SQUASH WITH CUMIN & HARDWOOD

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

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

Our Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition with sweet onion, Tomatoes, and fresh herbs!

Our Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition with sweet onion, Tomatoes, and fresh herbs!

GRILLED PEACHES FOR THE PERFECT SALAD ADDITION

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If you’ve been a follower of our recipes and techniques for a while, then you’re aware of our preference to grill, smoke, coal cook, and ember fire in-season produce.  Peaches are no exception!

I’ve got my two quarts of fresh peaches and a plan to grill these on the charcoal grill using charwood coals.  Then I’ll use my luscious smoked peaches in a salad that features two additional seasonal ingredients – tomato and shallots.

Get your chimney starter of charwood or charcoal and meet me at the grill for this quick technique and recipe featuring peaches.

Fire Up the Grill!

Whenever you use the charcoal grill, it’s always best to get it lit about 30 minutes ahead of cooking.  I’m using a kettle-style grill made by Stôk that has a removable center grate for an assortment of inserts.  I won’t be using any inserts for this cook as my peaches will stay in a disposable foil pan for easy cooking and removal.

Start by placing charcoal or charwood in a chimney starter.  Place a Fire starter in the charcoal area of the grill and place the filled chimney starter over the starter.  Lite the Fire starter and allow to remain in place until all the charwood has ignited and started to reduce to hot coals.  While that’s burning, let’s prepare the peaches.  Be sure you have a couple of wood chunks available to add to the coals when we are ready to grill.  I like to use the single filet wood chunk size from SmokinLicious®.

Tasting Notes: there are differences in charcoal so be sure to use a natural charcoal or charwood product rather than briquets as briquets will produce more heat than you need.

Perfect Peach Bites

With our charcoal grill going, it’s time to start on the peaches.  There are a few ways to remove the skin from peaches including placing them in hot water for a few minutes then removing and placing in a bowl of ice water.  The skins will just peel off.  I’m an old school so I use a sharp paring knife and just remove the skin.

Once the skin is removed, it’s time to cut the peach into bite-size pieces.  You can easily cut around the pit and cut those slices into pieces.  Place all the pieces in a foil pan in an even layer.

Tasting Notes: Try to purchase peaches that have some firmness to them if you don’t plan to grill them right away.  The peaches should have no bruising and have a slight give when touched.  Too soft and those peaches won’t hold their shape when exposed to the grill’s heat.dicing the peachs in preparation for the smoker

 

Smoking Process

With the peaches prepared, time to take them to the grill.  Pour the chimney of hot coals into the grill’s charcoal area and add the wood chunks.  Add the pan of prepared peaches and placed the lid on the grill.  Be sure the outtake vent on the lid is ½ way open.  The intake vent at the charcoal area should be ¼ way open.  Now allow smoking for 15 minutes prior to checking.  Remember, we want to add smoke without reducing the peaches to a puree.

Tasting Notes:  Since peaches contain 89% water, they take in the smoke vapor extremely well.  Keep that in mind when you select both the charcoal and wood.  Remember, oak based charcoal tends to burn hot and has a stronger undertone to fruit.

ingredients table

 

Final Salad Prep- Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition!

While the peaches are absorbing all that great smoke flavor, return to the kitchen and prepare the remaining ingredients for our salad.

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb. tomatoes cut into 1/2’” pieces; or if using cherry or grape tomato, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for final drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • fresh mint leaves torn
  • salt and pepper

I start by slicing my tomatoes in half, then add a teaspoon of salt to them while sitting in a colander so I can render some of the water.

the ingredients in the serving bowl and ready to add the dressing

While the tomatoes sit, I start slicing the shallot into thin strips.   At this point, you’ll want to check the peaches.  They should be close to or ready to remove from the grill.  I like to place them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool them down for the salad.  While that’s happening, let’s prepare the vinaigrette.

I prefer to mix all the vinaigrette ingredients in a measuring cup so I can easily pour it to the salad right before serving, to keep the tomato and peach from getting too soggy.  Start with the extra virgin olive oil and add the rice vinegar.   Next, the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and fresh pepper.  Whisk it all together and set aside while you combine the salad ingredients.

Tasting Notes: you can substitute cider vinegar for the rice vinegar and any color of tomato will do though I lean toward the reds and purples to give a color contrast from the orange peach.

Smoked peaches go into the serving bowl first, following by the tomatoes, and shallots.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad within an hour of serving and top with the torn mint leaves.  A perfect balance of sweet, tart, smoky, and refreshing.  An easy method and recipe you can have in 60 minutes.  I love peaches so try our grilled peaches for the perfect salad addition for your next dish to pass!  You will tantalize the guest taste buds!

SmokinLicious products used in this blog:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Additional reading:

-PEACHES WOOD FIRED FOR A SMOKY FLAVORFUL GAZPACHO

-STEPPING UP RADISH SALAD WITH A WOOD-FIRED FLARE

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

-GRILLED PEACHES FOR THE PERFECT SALAD

Dr. Smoke add some mint, onions and tomatoes to Grilled Peaches for a perfect salad addition!

Dr. Smoke add some mint, onions, and tomatoes to Grilled Peaches for the perfect salad addition!

The raw squid and mussels ready for our grilled seafood recipe

Our Grilled Seafood Recipe for Squid and Mussels

My Favorite Grilled Seafood Recipe: Simple but Exquisitely Mediterranean

Chef Calle image

By:  Chef Calle, Resident Executive Chef

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Over the past several weeks, my good friends at SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products have allowed me to make their Tips & Techniques blog platform “my home away from culinary home” to highlight the cooking with wood style.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.  Before I begin an extended hiatus overseas, as my thanks, I thought I’d leave you with a pretty easy and flavorful recipe that showcases all the virtues of wood grilling with a couple of my favorite seafood- squid and mussels.  The cooking style is one that is very popular in the Mediterranean region.  Give it a try and let us know how it fared!

Let’s start out with squid or “calamari” as my Italian friends remind me.  Whether it’s squid or calamari, it’s got to be fresh!  Prepare first by thawing and rinsing thoroughly with cold water.  Drizzle with a good quality of EVOO.

Chef Calle drizzling extra virgin olive oil over the squid and Mussels

Grilling the Squid

Grill over the hottest part of the wood fire, cover to get a shot of wood smoke flavor.  It’s important to not overcook the calamari.  If your grill is really hot (and it should be) cook just long enough to get a grill sear mark (30-40 seconds per side) Remove immediately when ready. Drizzle again with EVOO, season with salt and pepper.  Spritz with a squeezed fresh quartered lemon section and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley.  Plate and serve right off the grill!

Mussel Preparation

Grilling over the hottest part of the fire and spritz with lemon

Next, grilling the mussels in the shell!  Rinse the shelled mussels with cold water. Remove the beard with a quick, firm yank.  Working in batches, place shelled mussels directly on grill grate over the hottest part of the wood fire.  When shells just begin to open, cover to allow for a wood smoke infusion.   After a minute, uncover and remove with tongs.  Make sure you discard any unopened mussels.  Quickly but carefully, remove the mussel meat from the opened shells with a fork or spoon and collect the meat in a mixing bowl.

Finished grilling of mussels

After shelling out the mussels, drizzle with a good amount of EVOO (1/8 cup), season with salt and pepper and a hefty spritz of a squeezed whole fresh lemon.  Plate and serve right away.  For a flavor option, if desired, before grilling the mussels, prepare a mixture of clarified butter (about 2 tablespoons per 1 dozen mussels) with equal amounts (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) of finely chopped garlic, oregano, and parsley.  Season the grilled mussel meat with the mixture, plate and serve with wedges of fresh lemons.

 

I hope you enjoy these recipes.  Keep on cooking with wood!  Bon Appetite!

Grilled calamari and mussels- great side dishes!

Purchase products:

Wood Chips- Grande Sapore®

Charwood

Additional reading:

-STUFFED SQUID COOKED ON THE PLANCHA WITH SMOKINLICIOUS®

-THE ULTIMATE WOOD-FIRED CLAMS CASINO

-HOT SEARED SCALLOPS!

-Charwood Grilled Salmon Fillets for a Hint of Smoky Flavor

 

Dr. Smoke- Chef Calle and I had fun with our Grilled Seafood recipe- I think you will too!

Dr. Smoke- Chef Calle and I had fun with our Grilled Seafood recipe- I think you will too!

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