smoky snacks!

smoky snacks!

Most people when they think of using their wood pellet grill smoker only think in terms of classic barbecue fare – smoked meats, typical sides, etc. But that hot chamber with its wafting and tasty smoke can also be used to make some delicious snacks.  Like anything done in the smoker – all it takes is time, some tasty seasonings and the heat and smoke from your smoker, fueled of course, by Griller’s Gold natural hardwood pellets.

Dry Smoke is Key for Smoky Snacks

One thing to keep in mind on these recipes – these are all designed for DRY smoke – if your smoker has a water pan in it, don’t fill it.  That may make heat control more difficult, but thankfully these recipes are not very temperature sensitive.  Additionally, these are great “extra space” recipes in your smoker – if you’re doing a long smoke of something and you have some room, put one of these in and make some extra treats – again, provided that you’re doing a dry smoke like on a pellet grill fired with Griller’s Gold pellets. 

Also, note the recipes below don’t have a recommended type of Griller’s Gold pellet – that’s because all the flavors will be good with these – just use what you have on hand or what you’re using already in your smoker.

Here’s a few ideas that will be a hit at your next party – all of them are very easy and completely delicious! 

Smoked Nuts

Rather than paying extra for a fake smoke flavor on mixed nuts, how about the real thing?

This is one of those “it’s so easy why didn’t I think of it before?” recipes and using a wood pellet grill makes these especially easy. 

Here’s the ingredients:  1 container of your favorite nuts – mixed, single variety, whatever works for you.  Here’s the method:  Dump them into a foil pan and put them into the smoker at between 180 degrees and 250 degrees for an hour or so, stirring every 15 minutes or so – more time if you want more smoke flavor, less time for a more subtle flavor. 

We quote a temperature range there because these can go on with other food, but if doing them by themselves on a wood pellet grill, go to the low end – 180 degrees as pellet grills tend to kick out more smoke at lower temps.

Now, to kick them up a notch, do this – for every 3 cups of nuts, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and whisk in 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, 1 t each of garlic powder and onion powder and if a spicy kick is wanted, a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce.  Toss this with the nuts prior to smoking. You’ll see this same mixture below. 

(photo credit: Washington Post)

Smoked Goldfish™ crackers or cheese crackers 

Again, super easy – for one bag of Goldfish crackers or a regular sized box of cheese crackers, simply toss them with a ¼ cup of cooking oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and paprika, and if you want heat, ¼ t of cayenne pepper.

Spread in a foil pan and put in the smoker for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Temperatures are ok from 180 to 250 on these as well. Absolutely delicious and we double dog dare ya to not eat a huge handful hot from the smoker. Amazing!

(Photo Credit:  Stewart Campbell)

Smoked Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips 

Yeah we said that. These are even easier – it’s literally dump, smoke, eat like it’s your job.

Spread a bag of nacho-cheese flavored tortilla chips out on a sheet pan and slide them into your pellet smoker at 180 degrees – let them go 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

You’ll never eat another “straight from the bag” nacho cheese tortilla chip again. Also works great with potato chips, especially cheese flavored.

Smoked Queso Dip 

This has been quite the rage of late in the BBQ social media forums and it couldn’t be easier.

There are a thousand different recipes for this online.

Here’s the one we’ve found to be the best combo of easy and tasty:

Taco Meat or Chorizo:  Using a prepared taco seasoning and ground beef, prepare 1 lb of taco meat to the instructions on the package. Can also substitute crumbled chorizo sausage, browned and drained. For this recipe, use a ½ pound of the taco meat or browned chorizo

1 can Rotel tomato/chile pepper mixture

1 cup diced raw onion

1/2 cup diced pickled jalapenos (can be omitted if desired)

20 ounces of Velveeta cheese cut in 1” cubes (note – regular cheese like cheddar will not melt evenly enough for this, you need the pasteurized process cheese to work right)

⅔ cup of sour cream

Mix together the prepared taco meat, the Rotel, onion and jalapenos or chiles and spread out in a foil pan, then scatter the cubed cheese over the top. Smoke for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes, then stir in the sour cream and smoke 15 minutes more.  Serve hot with tortilla chips and enjoy!

(Photo Credit:  4sonrus.com)

Smoked Chex Mix

Who doesn’t love a big batch of homemade Chex mix? Everyone that makes it puts different custom touches in their mix.

Here’s a link to a great oven-toasted Chex party mix recipe that we’ve used a lot and it’s always a winner.  And here’s how you kick it to the next level – instead of toasting this in your oven at 250 degrees, smoke it in your wood pellet smoker with Griller’s Gold pellets for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Also, the linked recipe calls for using sheet pans – this also works fine in a foil roasting pan – just make sure you’re stirring it well to expose as much of the crunchy stuff to the smoke. It’s great with a mug of cold beer!

Try Your Own!

Do you have a favorite snack recipe that requires some oven baking? One of the beautiful things about wood pellet grills fueled with Griller’s Gold pellets is that they offer great temperature control and will give your food a subtle “baked in a wood burning oven” flavor. Any oven-baked canapé or appetizer will be extra tasty when baked in your pellet grill. Experiment a little – we have yet to find something that wasn’t just a bit tastier after a ride in our pellet smoker.  Pick the perfect wood pellet for your next meal, and, happy smoking!

Fall grilled brunch flavors

Fall grilled brunch flavors

Whether it’s a hearty and savory one-dish morning meal, or a sweet sandwich that will bring back childhood memories, or a great bread to enjoy at home or take to a friend’s, there’s a lot of flavor in brunch dishes from the grill. (Bonus: Enjoy any of these brunch dishes with pumpkin spice latte – unless that’s not your thing, at which point just forget we mentioned it…)

Breakfast pizza with sausage gravy

This sausage-and-gravy-and-pizza recipe delivers all the classic flavors of a Southern breakfast — on a pizza crust! Make the sausage gravy indoors, and then turn your outdoor grill into a pizza oven. Spoon on the warm gravy and serve.

Grilled peanut butter banana sandwich

This is an insane sweet-spicy indulgence with minimal prep and cooking time. Assemble (preferably on cinnamon bread) and throw onto the grill in an uncovered skillet. Our favorite step is the recipe’s final one: “Pretend you are eleven. To make it totally official, eat with some potato chips.”

That pretty much says it.

Baking banana walnut bread on the grill

Sliced banana bread with walnuts

Follow your favorite family recipe – because with a wood pellet grill, you can control temperature for baking. And refer to The Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill Cookbook by Peter Jautaikis if you want a complete, delicious recipe. (You can order some Griller’s Gold pellets while you’re shopping.) Pumpkin bread is a great alternative.

Pizza, sandwiches, sweet baked goods – they’re all delicious grilled brunches with fall flavor. Have a great weekend.

Back to School: History of Barbeque, Part 1

Back to School: History of Barbeque, Part 1

While America justly claims barbecue as its own today, there’s history to this cooking technique. And it goes way back in time – to the days when cavemen (and women!) discovered the kind of miraculous combination of meat and heat. The idea of roasting food over a fire was embraced by many ancient civilizations around the globe.

 

First, let’s travel back about 200,000 years.

That’s the age of the cooking artifacts found near Carmel by archaeologists at Israel’s University of Haifa. The evidence there tells us that large, meaty hooved animals, such as cattle, deer, and boars, were on the menu. Our ancestors would have probably first just thrown the meat into an open fire, then eventually discovered the effectiveness of green, inflammable wooden skewers to hold the meat over the flame.

 

Things inevitably got more sophisticated.

(It’s a long way from a green stick to a wood pellet grill!)  Wooden frames held larger pieces meat far enough away from the flame so as not to incinerate dinner and cookware alike; this approach mandated slower cooking times and added the flavor of smoke. With that taste came preservative qualities: smoke reduces the moisture that allows bacteria to grow, so perishable meat could be smoked, dried and salted for future consumption. In ancient China, India, and Japan, smoking food has been popular for thousands of years. Ceramic urns for smoking are called kamados in Japan and tandoors in India.

The use of spits and metal implements in ancient Greece is documented in Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey. Then there’s the gridiron, the precursor to today’s grill, which was developed early in the Iron Age. Note that the Greeks basted the meat in wine and salt, and feasted outdoors. Sound familiar?

Look in the Hebrew Old Testament books of Exodus and Leviticus for references to burnt offerings of animals. The smoke rose to God, but the meat of the animals was eaten by Moses and company.

 

Fire plus food – that’s the simple, but absolutely brilliant idea.

No wonder barbecue has endured, and pleased the world’s palates, through the ages. If you’re looking to add even more flavor to your BBQ, check out our bbq series, Sauces of Honor: Chicken and Sauces of Honor: Pork.

 


Thanks to our source for these historical facts, amazingribs.com. If you want to dig into a great big fun serving of their barbecue scholarship, visit the site and check out the best-selling Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, authored by website founder Meathead Goldwyn.

Come back to this blog for more history lessons in the months ahead!

 

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Southern Smoke: Hickory

Southern Smoke: Hickory

If you’re like a whole lot of people, when you’re talking about wood for smoking food, you’re thinking hickory. Griller’s Gold Premium BBQ Pellets are made of only one ingredient: wood. And since hickory is such an important wood for great BBQ, it’s in three of our blends.

 

The hickory tree is part of the walnut family.

Hickory nuts are edible, and you can forage for them in autumn; ripe hickory nuts fall to the ground so just pick them up. Eat them raw or roasted, and use them in pies instead of pecans, and in quickbreads and salads.

The United States has the most species of hickory trees

A dozen or so species exist in the United States alone. They tend to thrive in the Southeastern US; our neighbor to the north, Canada, has less than five species.

The average hickory tree will grow to be about 100 feet tall.

Hickory wood is exceptionally hard, dense and strong. Because of its durability and shock resistance, hickory wood is typically used for tool handles. It’s also employed in drumsticks, lacrosse sticks, archery bows, walking sticks, and on the bottom of skis. Historically, hickory was used in early airplane construction. Hickory wood is valued for the character its grain it brings to flooring, furniture, and ornamental woodwork.

A taste of the South

beef brisket

Smoked meat connoisseurs from the Carolinas to Tennessee to Texas talk up their hickory-scented favorite BBQ. Griller’s Gold offers an all-hickory flavor of premium BBQ pellets, and we mix hickory into Competition and Smokeshack blends, as well. For a recipe with seriously smoky attitude, try Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket from the author of The Paleo Kitchen.

Continue reading this series: Getting to our Roots: Maple

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Sauces of Honor: Chicken

Sauces of Honor: Chicken

2017 CHAMPION CHICKEN SAUCES: NATIONAL BARBECUE NEWS

In the publication’s 7th year of awarding Sauces of Honor for BBQ excellence from Alabama to Alaska, National Barbecue News recognized these labels as the top 10 sauces for chicken. As always, the competition is open to both commercial producers and enthusiastic amateurs, including caterers, restaurants, competitive teams and farmer’s market vendors. Read about them – and look for these very special sauces when you’re in the winner’s neck of the woods. Save some room for the magazine’s list of winning beef sauces, coming later this grilling season.

 

AND THE WINNERS ARE…

  1. Original Sauce –Historic BBQ (Lebanon, Ohio)
  2. Eroc’s Black Cherry & Mango – Eroc’s at Hawgeyes BBQ (online)
  3. Burntout BBQ Sweet Mama – Burnt Out BBQ Co. (Castle Rock, Colorado)
  4. Steele Grillz Sweet Hawaiian – Steele Grillz BBQ Sauce (Anchorage, Alaska)
  5. Pa Paw’s Medium – Pa Paw’s Killer BBQ Sauce (Lemoore, California)
  6. Myassis Dragon – 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q (Waynesville, Ohio)
  7. Skinny’s Original BBQ Sauce – Skinny’s BBQ Team (Buckeye, Arizona)
  8. Smokehouse Gold – Spices Smokehouse LLC (Boaz, Alabama)
  9. Veterans Q Original BBQ Sauce – Veterans Q (Hampshire, Illinois)
  10. In the Rhubarb – Team Turnin-N-Burnin Jeff Deckard (North Pole, Alaska)

 

Continue reading this series: Sauces of Honor: Pork

 

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Burgers Just Get Better

Burgers Just Get Better

The burger is the American griller’s favorite food choice. Surveys from organizations like National Cattleman’s Beef Association and Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association say so year after year. How much better can it get for the burger? A few food writers at the Detroit Free Press and Huffington Post shared their tips and perspectives to do better by your burger. Here’s how to upgrade your hamburger grilling game.

 

Look at all the elements together.

The meat, the condiments, the toppings and the bun. Choose all with equal care. Get creative!

 

Burger meat needs fat.

Experts generally recommend a mix that’s typical of ground chuck: 80% lean meat and 20% fat. Ground round is a bit leaner, 85% meat to 15% fat. Ground sirloin is usually labeled 90% lean. If you’re cooking with grass-fed beef, check out these helpful tips here.

 

Season your meat.

Don’t add too much in the way of ingredients, just spices.

 

Handle the burger as little as possible to avoid making the meat cook up rubbery.

Less is more! Mix the burger meat and seasonings gently, shape patties with a soft touch, and resist the urge to squeeze the juices out with a spatula.

 

Form the perfect patty

Use about 6 ounces of meat in a patty that is at least ¾” thick and 3-1/2” diameter. Put a little dent in the center of the raw patties with your thumb so the burgers don’t puff up on the grill; it works!

 

For a great burger using condiments and toppings that come from Greek cuisine, try the Olympian Burger recipe from beefitswhatsfordinner.com

 

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