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

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

 

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

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

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

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

It Starts with Quality Meatball Ingredients

our mixture of ingredients before we make into the meatballs

#greekmeatballs

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

Lighting the Grill

our Greek Style meatballs cooking on the grill over charwood

#charwood

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

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

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

Greek-Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce

making our yogurt Cucumber Sauce for the sandwich

#yogurtcucumbersauce

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

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

Make a Pita to Your Liking!

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

#greekmeatball pita

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

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

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

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

SmokinLicious® used in this recipe:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to smoking on the kettle grill!

For more reading related to smoking on the kettle grill!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

-GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

-ROSEMARY INFUSED SMOKED BEEF SHANKS FROM THE GRILL

-Smoked Snow Peas With Cucumber Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#meatwrappedavocado recipe

Avocado & Meat Prep

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

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

Our avacado split in half

#stuffedavocado

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

Assembling the Loaves

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

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

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

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:

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

 Two-Zone Charcoal Smoking

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

#twozonecooking

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

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

Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:  

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

our finished avacado stuffed turkey loaf!

#stuffedavocado wrap

 

 

 

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

 

SmokinLicious® products for this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

For more reading related to

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

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!

SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE being filled with the Stawberry mixture with the final result in the middle! yummy

SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE is a great recipe for fresh or frozen Strawberries. The smokiness will add a special twist

THE MAKING OF A SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE

Summary: This strawberries recipes for smoked strawberry hand pie using cooking wood chunks; is the art of wood fired cooking with a two-zone cooking method is easy! Using pie dough and strawberries fruit! Add this to your strawberry dessert recipes or to smoked strawberries recipes so something to delight your guests.

listen to the audio of this blog posting

It’s one of my favorite times of year – strawberry picking season!  As my area of Western New York State has such a short strawberry season, I literally am consuming strawberries for three weeks straight.

Good thing they are packed with vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, as well as being low in calories and fiber-rich.  They sure are great at filling you up which makes you eat less.

This season, I’ve got a trio of recipes all using the smoked strawberries that I’ve done on my charcoal grill.  Get yourself a flat of strawberries, follow our easy smoking technique (we do have 3 to choose from that offer various levels of smoke flavor), and prepare to make simple hand pies, perfect for the hot days of summer or frankly anytime you can find strawberries.

Grill and Strawberry Prep

As I’m using a charcoal grill, I get that started first as I want a temperature of about 300°F or slightly more when the strawberries are placed on the grill.  My grill has an insert system making it a bit easier to light my fuel.  I place my Firestarter at the base of my chimney starter in the charcoal pan that has been filled with SmokinLicious® Charwood.  I’ve also foil covered a brick to radiate additional heat to the strawberries, and placed that on one side of the charcoal area.  I will use a two-zone set-up so I don’t burn the sugars in the strawberries.  I light the Firestarter, place the chimney of charwood on top, and go to the kitchen to prepare the strawberries.

I’ll be preparing about 6 quarts for all three recipes I plan to make.  Start with strawberries that are at their peak.  Gently wash them and then trim the stem end.  I cut smaller strawberries in half and larger in quarters to ensure the smoke vapor can penetrate easily.  Tiny ones, I leave whole.  I place my clean, trimmed strawberries into a disposable foil pan for the actual cooking on the grill, which makes clean up so easy.

pan of strawberries on the grill with Charwood

Smoking

Once the strawberries are ready for the grill, I place one chunk of hardwood on the charwood coals.  This will add smoke flavor.  I’ve used a double filet wood chunk to control the boldness of the smoke.  The actual smoking process will only take about 15 minutes to know about halfway through, you will want to rotate your foil pan to prevent the pectin from burning.  I’ll be collecting all that thicken juice after the cook and save it for a cocktail I’m making.  Be sure to keep in mind that you’ll still have hot coals left when the smoked strawberries are done so use them for another cooking: maybe some charred peppers or onions, or even cook some meats as you’ll have plenty of heat left.

The Recipe

With the strawberries all smoky good, the juices thickened and rendered, it’s time to take these to the kitchen and make our hand pies.  First, drain off as much of the juice as possible and capture in a container to use for other recipes.  We have a great one for a strawberry marinade you should check out.

ingredients for our recipe

 

Next, you’ll need about 1 cup of the smoked strawberries, pie dough either homemade or store bought; 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar, sanding or turbinado sugar, and one egg plus 1 teaspoon of water.  You’ll also need a rolling pin if making your own dough and flour for rolling out the dough, as well as 4-5-inch round cookie cutter.  Cut 10 rounds from your dough and refrigerate them on a parchment lined sheet pan while you prepare the filling.

The dough cut outs ready for the filing

The Filing

Take the cup of smoked strawberries and add the tablespoon of cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of sugar, mixing gently but well.  If additional juices have rendered, pour off.  Taking one dough round at a time while keeping the others refrigerated, add about 1-2 tablespoons of strawberries to one half of the round maintaining a dough border.  Brush egg “wash” around the edge of the filled side of the dough round.  Gently fold over the dough to make a crescent shape and seal the edges by pushing lightly with your fingertip to form a crimped edge.

filing and closing up the dough

Finishing

To finish the pies for cooking, after folding and crimping the edge, brush the surface with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Make a small slit in each hand pie top to allow the steam to release during cooking.  Make sure the hand pies are spaced out on the sheet pan to allow for juice spillage.  Bake in a 400° F oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust browns.  Remove from oven and allow to rest on the sheet pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Super Outcome

close up of the final baked hand pie

After a simple smoking of 15 minutes on a charcoal grill using a two-zone cooking method, pouring off the beautiful juice, and producing a pie filling, we stuffed 4-inch dough rounds with our smoked mixture producing the perfect size hand pie.  After baking in the oven for about 25 minutes, although you can do that step as well on your grill of choice, we let them rest and then served them up a-la-natural though these are fabulous with a bit of fresh whipped cream or even a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  Smoked Strawberry Hand Pie will be your easy dessert or snack recipe to whip up when those short-lived fresh strawberries come to town!

Tasting Notes: 

The equipment you use will reflect the boldness of the smoke.  If you want a mild smoke flavor infusion, use a handheld food smoker. Medium boldness will be produced on the gas/LP grill, and Bold will be produced on the Charcoal grill.

We hope this recipe inspires you to try wood-fired grilling techniques with your favorite foods.  Tells us what is your favorite fruit to smoke or grill with wood and what kind of recipe do you make?  Bringing innovation to wood-fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®. Please try and leave a comment on our Smoked Strawberry Hand Pie recipe!

Purchase products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Additional reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-STRAWBERRIES GET SMOKY FOR AN AQUA FRESCA COCKTAIL

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

Dr. Smokes favorite- SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE is a great recipe for fresh or frozen Strawberries. The smokiness will add a special twist

Dr. Smoke’s favorite- SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE is a great recipe for fresh or frozen Strawberries. The smokiness will add a special twist

Our Breakfast Pizza Pretzel served with Eggs!

Our Breakfast Pizza Pretzel served with Eggs!

BREAKFAST PIZZA PRETZEL- OVER THE FIRE!

SUMMARY:

Pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese, basil, roasted sweet peppers, Tomatoes, Provolone cheese and Bread dough or Pizza dough- simple and easy. Include or serve Boiled Egg, fried egg or scrambled egg! Our Breakfast Pizza Pretzel a healthy breakfast pizza recipe with a Pretzel twist on the gas grill or charcoal grill with Mediterranean Flavors!

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We’ve all heard the reasons why breakfast is so important – it boosts your metabolism for the day, helps curb cravings that could lead to poor food choices, helps improve memory and concentration, and can set your mood for the day.  Let’s face it.  Not all breakfast items make you leap to the table.

slice of the breakfast pizza pretzel

I’m going to give you a ready-to-take-on-the-day breakfast recipe that is cooked on the grill.  The name alone is likely to bring your kids to the table easily too.  Combine the versatility of a pizza with the shape, texture, and saltiness of a pretzel, I’m making my version of a breakfast pizza pretzel featuring Mediterranean flavors you’re going to love.

Ideal Ingredients

This is one of those fun recipes where you really can’t go wrong with the ingredients you select.  Just keep in mind, that raw egg won’t necessarily be the best choice since we don’t have the same amount of dough surface to hold the raw egg until cooked.  If you want to incorporate egg, do a boiled, fried, or scrambled egg.  For my Mediterranean feature, gather the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup of basil pesto sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 roasted sweet peppers, sliced (I prefer to wood fire the peppers first)
  • 2 medium tomatoes sliced, with the slices cut in 1/2
  • 6 large eggs, steamed for 13 minutes
  • 5 slices of provolone cheese, cut into quarters
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 1lb. store-bought frozen bread or pizza dough, thawed and left to rise according to package directions
  • fresh ground pepper
  • coarse salt for the top of the pretzel
  • 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water for the egg wash
  • flour for rolling the dough

Our simple ingredients for this recipe eggs, tomatoes, parmessan cheese, pesto, bread or Pizza dough

First step is to let your dough rise so make sure you either do this step a few hours before making the recipe or let the dough rise the night before.  Follow the directions on the dough packaging.

If you want to include egg in your recipe, you’ll need to steam the 6 large eggs.  I use a deep pot with a steamer insert, placing about two inches of water in the pot.  Place the eggs in the steamer basket, put the lid on the pot, put the heat to high, and set a timer for 13 minutes.  Prepare a bowl of ice water to immerse the eggs in once the timer goes off, which will halt the cooking process.  When cool, peel the eggs and slice.

After the dough has risen, you’ll need to get a couple of items ready before starting the recipe.  First, decide what type of grill you’re going to use for cooking.  A gas grill will not take as much set up time as a charcoal unit.  Either grill, you want to do a two-zone setup.  For the gas grill, that means turning on only the burners on one half of the grill.  Those lit burners will also hold the wood chunks for adding the wood flavor.  For the charcoal grill, get a chimney starter of charcoal going.  Once the embers are hot, pour into one half of the charcoal area and add a few wood chunks directly on the hot coals.  I recommend starting the grill just before you assemble the pretzel.

A Tasty Trough

With our grill heating, our dough has risen, and our ingredients at the ready, it’s time to assemble the breakfast pizza and form into our pretzel.  First, roll the dough into a 30-inch long rope.  Roll the width to where the rolling pin can sit in the center of the dough and still have an inch of dough on each side of the pin.  Taking the rolling pin, press it down the center of the dough forming a trough.  Starting with the pesto, spread a thin layer down the dough trough.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the pesto, then layer the quartered tomato.  The wood-fired pepper slices are next, followed by the basil leaves, egg slices, and provolone cheese quarters.  Put a final sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to the inside and then we will seal the filling inside the dough.

Thje ingredients on the dough prior to rolling.

Here comes the messy part!  Carefully, bring the two sides of the dough together pinching off where the dough meets.  Continue to seal the mixture contents all the way down the dough.  At this stage, I like to move the filled dough to my parchment lined sheet pan or pizza stone to make shaping into the pretzel shape easier.  Make your pretzel shape – make an upside down “U”; twist the ends over each other, then twist again and bring the ends up to center, pushing the holes open while you press the ends into the dough.  Once shaped, brush the surface of the dough with egg wash and then sprinkle coarse salt and Parmesan cheese over the top.  Note: you can make pretzel rods versus a traditional pretzel shape by rolling out 3-4 dough sections into 10-inch lengths, following the same directions as above on assembling.

Fire Cooking

With the pretzel on a parchment lined sheet pan or placed on a pizza stone, place on the unlit side of the grill, with a temperature of about 300°F.  Close the lid and allow to cook for 15 minutes before checking.  If you notice the side closest to the heat turning brown faster than the other side, simply rotate your sheet pan or stone.   Total cooking time will be about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Keep in mind, pretzel rods will likely cook a bit faster.

A Breakfast to Savor

Our finished dough

Once cooked through, remove from the grill and allow the pizza pretzel to rest for 5 minutes.  Cut pretzel rods on the diagonal and the twisted pretzel like you would a bundt cake; into slices.  With the freshness of the pesto and basil, the sweetness of the tomato, and salty cheese, this is a substantial breakfast that will get you full of energy for the day.

 

 

 

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Related recipes:

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

-ADDING A SMOKY INGREDIENT FOR SAVORY CORN MUFFINS

-THE ULTIMATE WOOD-FIRED CLAMS CASINO

Try this awesome Breakfast Pizza Pretzel on the grill!!

Dr. Smoke- Try this awesome Breakfast Pizza Pretzel on the grill!!

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

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.

Purchase products:

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!

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

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

 

SMOKED STRAWBERRY MARINADE

Summary:

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

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

The Simple Grilling Method

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

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

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

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

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

The Smoked Strawberry Marinade Recipe

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

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

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

Our pork roast and smoked strawberry marinade

Our pork roast and smoked strawberry marinade

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

Purchase products:

Wood Chunks- Single Filet

Additional reading:

-SMOKED MAPLE SYRUP MARINADE

-STRAWBERRIES GET SMOKY FOR AN AQUA FRESCA COCKTAIL

-SMOKED STRAWBERRIES WITH HAND HELD SMOKER

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

 

Dr Smoke

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

 

Our Ember roasted peppers make an awesome Charred Pepper Dip

Our Ember roasted peppers make an awesome Charred Pepper Dip

CHARRED PEPPER DIP

Summary:

A great smoked appetizers for your charred peppers recipes; our ember bed cooking of peppers provides great flavor. How to roast peppers in a grill, cooking on coals directly, cooking in embers, gas grill, charcoal grill, even cast iron skillet cooking will work for peppers.  Try this charred pepper dip topping.

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Peppers are one of those thick-skinned vegetables that release their ultimate flavor when they are introduced to hot coals.  Many people think that you need special equipment to cook foods in hot coals but really, it’s as easy as having a disposable pan available and a grill.  I’ll give you some options for roasting the peppers and then provide a great recipe to be used as a dip or topping that is quick and so easy.

Multiple Charring Methods

The ember cooking of our sweet peppers

Although you will see me using an open pit method of charring my sweet peppers, you can do this on a gas grill set up with either a disposable foil pan or a cast iron pan or skillet.  You can also use a charcoal grill, lighting a fire and allowing it to reduce to simple hot embers.  A portable fire pit works if you clean out all previous ash and wood pieces to keep the final flavors clean.

Here’s the key to making perfect charred peppers, whether sweet or hot.  You must only use hot embers and you need to have additional hot embers available to keep a consistent temperature and a full bed of coals.

Because peppers are loaded with water, it is easiest to clean the skins and seeds from them once they are fire roasted.  If you cover the charred peppers placed in a bowl with plastic wrap, the skins will pull away easily.  Then you’re ready for your favorite recipes.

Fresh Ingredients Make This Dip

What makes this recipe so great is that there are only a few flavorful ingredients that balance out the charry, smoky flavor of the peppers.  For this recipe, you’ll need the following:

the simple ingredients need

  • 6 charred peppers
  • 1 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and well drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
  • A coarse salt such as sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Red-wine vinegar

Once the peppers are charred, I like to quarter them before placing in a food processor.  You can use a blender as well if you have a control to pulse the ingredients as you don’t want to thin them too much.  After pulsing the 6 charred peppers, add the raisins, oil, capers, and oregano.  Pulse to combine everything.  Season with salt and vinegar.  This dip can be refrigerated for one day prior to use.

Endless Uses

This dip/topping made from ember-roasted sweet pepper contains all vegan ingredients so its super flavorful while being healthy too.  Here’s the best part – it has so many uses and can be altered for a specific taste.  Use it as a topping for fish, chicken filet sandwiches, or sausage patties and links.  It can be heated providing an option to use it as a hot appetizer or cold.  I’ve served this will flatbread or Naan slices for a snack, appetizer, or lite lunch.  Want some kick to it?  You can add ember fired hot peppers as well or just add a few drops of hot sauce to the mix.  Because this is oil based, it is best to use up any leftovers within a few days, keeping it refrigerated until gone.

Purchase products:

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

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-SPICY-CHAR HUMMUS

Ember cooked Sweet Peppers

-Ember Cooking/Roasting Garlic In An Iron Skillet

Dr. Smoke- I love ember roasted peppers because they char well! Making a yummy Charred Pepper Dip

Dr. Smoke- I love ember-roasted peppers because they char well! Making a yummy Charred Pepper Dip

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