Flavor fireworks: Best pairings of wood & food

Flavor fireworks: Best pairings of wood & food

Griller’s Gold wood pellets are made of 100% natural wood – and nothing else. But the variety or type of wood differs between our five blends. Those mixes were created by BBQ pros to make the perfect match with different foods.

Competition Blend with Pork Shoulder, Ribs, Beef

The Griller’s Gold flagship blend combines wood varieties to put flavor first. It’s the right choice for beef, from burgers to a ‘Poor Man’s Brisket’ from our friends at the National BBQ Association.

Smokeshack Blend with Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Ribs

Our Smokeshack pellets are made with classic BBQ meats in mind. Learn about why these affordable and flavorful cuts are perfect for smoking in this article about meat slow-cooking fundamentals.

Fruitwood Blend with Seafood, Chicken, Pork

Bone-in chicken makes a great grilled main dish; here’s a recent blog post featuring a simple and delicious recipe for homemade BBQ sauce that works brilliantly on chicken. Cook over Fruitwood pellets and you’re putting one winning meal on the table.

Cherry with Seafood, Poultry, Pork

The slight sweetness of cherry smoke makes it the right choice for lighter proteins like seafood. Here’s more about smoking fish on the grill with a link to a favorite salmon recipe.

Hickory with Beef, Pork Shoulder, Ribs

Tom McIntosh cooks at home and in competition. Tom prefers Griller’s Gold Hickory for his ribs in the backyard and on the circuit.

When you know your pairings, you’re ready to grill like a champion!

When you can’t just run out to the store 2: Great side dishes and grilled meals with pantry ingredients

When you can’t just run out to the store 2: Great side dishes and grilled meals with pantry ingredients

There’s never been a better time to eat together at home. Here at Griller’s Gold, we want to share ways to make great dishes — mains and sides — with a few ingredients you have in your pantry. Stay-at-home dinner never tasted so good.

First, look in the pantry

What have you got there? If you’re like so many of us, you’ll see:

  • Canned or dry beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Spices like cumin and hot pepper.

It all adds up to something fantastic:

Recipe: Chili on the grill!

That’s a genius main dish*. And you can basically never have too much of it. For the dedicated griller in you, the great Steve Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible, says it all: “The secret to the world’s BEST chili lies in your backyard. Start with barbecued brisket and pork, not raw meat. Add plenty of beer and a little chocolate. And above all, cook it in a smoker.”  Here’s Steve’s Smokehouse Chili recipe in all its glory.

*Yes, Steve and pretty much everyone else who loves chili will acknowledge that maybe your part of the country thinks either tomatoes or beans just don’t belong. Nonetheless, this is your opportunity to make chili with what you’ve got. And you can swap out any smoke-worthy meat for the cuts Steve recommends. Once you’ve smoked the meat, it’s time to fire up the chili pot. This chili can make down time fun.

When it’s time to serve, you can choose to go traditional with the sides and do a cornbread and salad. You mix things up a little by cooking some pasta and making a chili mac. Work with what you already have in your kitchen to keep it easy.

Recipe: Quick BBQ sauce

If you’ve got bone-in chicken pieces plus some tomato sauce and brown sugar from the pantry, that’s pretty much all it takes for this 5-ingredient BBQ chicken recipe. Just mix the sauce and grill. And in the spirit of inspiring your creativity and problem solving, you could dig in the freezer and see if there’s another protein on which you could splash your home-brewed BBQ sauce.

Recipe: Spanish rice is nice

Look in the pantry again, and you’re almost sure to find white rice and chicken stock in addition to those canned tomatoes. Combine with onion and garlic, and you’ll have the makings of a savory Spanish rice recipe that’s the perfect side dish for grilled meats.

So whether you do a project of grilled chili empowered by your pantry, or keep it simple with a homemade BBQ sauce or simple Spanish rice side, you’re grilling like a champion. And we applaud all of you who BBQ with attitude.

And check out our other post in the ‘skip the shopping trip series’ — on making dinner with a minimal number of ingredients you’ve got on hand.

When you can’t just run out to the store 1: BBQ with what you’ve got

When you can’t just run out to the store 1: BBQ with what you’ve got

Right now, it seems right to talk about enjoying meals together at home. For this blog, it means that we want to share ways to make great grilled meals with a few ingredients you have on hand. Grilling is something we almost always do at our own home — and nowadays, grilled goodies are more of a comfort food than ever.

Count on a minimal number of ingredients

You can look online for all sorts of 5-ingredient recipes. You can even search with a list of what you’ve actually got: like “recipe with beef tomatoes onions bell peppers.” Most recipe writers and cookbooks will say that the ingredient limit doesn’t include things like herbs and spices, salt, pepper, flour, oil, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, water — the bare essentials.

For grillers, that “doesn’t count” list might make you think of something: marinade! Want a refresher on marinating for the grill? This is one of our favorite past posts, including guidelines for making your own marinade from scratch. You’ll read about rubs, too, and they’re just as versatile and easy to get going without a trip to the grocery.

Now, what you’re marinating (or rubbing) matters. But the technique works for so many different meats. Which is perfect if the selection was limited when you went to the store, or if you have only a few choices in the fridge or freezer.

Minimalist main dish on the grill

The National BBQ Association recently shared this one-minute “poor man’s brisket” recipe video that captures the idea: a protein, some seasonings, rub technique, and you’re ready for BBQ with attitude. What’s great about this approach — the method applies to all sorts of proteins you might have in your freezer.

Minimalism on the side

For a hearty yet, simple side for meat (or meatless main dish if you like), these grilled cauliflower steaks define a minimalist recipe. Basically, there’s one ingredient plus good old marinade. The recipe’s instructions call for drizzling and sprinkling tasty marinade made of olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. If you’re new to cauliflower steaks, review the instructions for cutting the cauliflower heads so the slices stand up to cooking.

Be sure to check out our next post about recipes inspired by the pantry. And keep on grilling!

The Smoker Tube Tailgate

The Smoker Tube Tailgate

Get wood pellet flavor at the game even if you’re using a portable grill. Moments like this were made for smoker tubes. They’re easy, they’re budget-friendly, and they bring the taste of smoke where it needs to go.  

Tailgate pork chops

Pork chops cook up on the spot at the tailgate. Hall of Famer coach Mike Ditka’s ‘Official Tailgater’s Grilled Pork Chop’ recipe requires a little bit of planning – 24 hours of marinating in orange juice, soy sauce and assorted spices. But once you get to the stadium, it’s salt, pepper, and onto the grill. While the recipe doesn’t ask for wood fuel, pork chops always get even better with some smoke flavor. Guaranteed.

Grilled vegetable platter

A simple but colorful grilled vegetable platter makes for savory snacking and a side dish for grilled meats. Take your pick of the harvest and marinate on the way to the game with balsamic vinegar, oregano, honey and more, then grill and drizzle the marinade over when you serve.

Guacamole with charred corn

Bobby Flay definitely takes game-day dip to the next level with this chunky, colorful and tasty charred corn guacamole recipe. Grill the corn and mash it up with the avocado and lime juice and serve it up. It’s a winner.

Smoky chili chicken

This chili barbecued chicken recipe suggests wood in the grilling fuel. The on-the-bone bird is brushed during cooking with a clear spicy-sour sauce combining cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and three kinds of pepper – chili powder, paprika and red pepper flakes.

Pass the plate and get grilling with attitude this football season. Go, team!

Back to school 3 — best of BBQ hacks from Griller’s Gold

Back to school 3 — best of BBQ hacks from Griller’s Gold

Get your BBQ smarts going with this library of fantastically helpful BBQ tips. It’ll make the rest of grilling season great.

Prepare for a big BBQ — checklist

Make a list and check off your items. Here’s a recent post on the ABCs of prepping for a big party.

Basic BBQ menu planning

Getting your work done means sticking to a schedule. Here’s how to schedule your BBQ menu planning.

Best meats for grilling and smoking 101

Get to know a little of the BBQ science about why it’s actually perfect to use low-cost meats for grilling. Extra credit points here for household budget math skills!

Seasonal tomato sides for easy great taste

Let’s serve up a side of summer – while we still can. Tomatoes are a classic accompaniment to grilled meat. Check out some tomato side dish recipes.

Learn about trendy grilled fruit desserts

BBQ isn’t all about meat and the occasional veggie kabob. This uber-easy grilled peach-and-pound-cake recipe is right on trend and delicious to eat.

Once you’ve studied up, you’ll be able to do an A+ job on grilling. Revel in your top-of-the-class skills and BBQ with attitude!

This family really cooks

This family really cooks

On a sunny July afternoon, Jennifer Luckhart talked to Griller’s Gold about her family’s award-winning BBQ team, Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co., and the business that’s sprung from it. (Bradney Luckhart cheerily answered the call but handed the phone to his wife so he could climb down into the pit to fix a smoker problem.)

Jennifer says, “We have been cooking on a competition level about 10 years. Most teams consist of a group of guys who are friends. We are one of a few husband-and-wife teams.” Today, the Luckharts cook with their two daughters, who are aged 10 and 11. “Since they were old enough – 4 or 5 – they’ve been watching, then helping as they got older. We just dragged them around with us everywhere!” The Luckhart girls cook competitively with the family team, and also on their own at the kids’ level. “It’s a lot of family time together, giving the kids something constructive to do. “

The people on the competition scene matter. “We have found that the BBQ world is very friendly. A majority of people are really nice and helpful. As a team that’s been around for a bit, we pass (knowledge) on to new teams. We all know it’s an art and it’s nice to talk to someone who understands.”

Nuthatch Hill has opted for a more local competition circuit in recent years. “We used to travel all over Illinois and surrounding states – Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kentucky. Now we do favorite competitions to keep accolades coming in and see our friends that we’ve made along the way. Competitions become a little vacation now,” says Jennifer.

Practice, practice, practice

Even when they’re barbecuing for fun, the Luckharts are thinking about the next competitive event. “At home, we practice for BBQ competition. It’s all down to timing.” The family uses a checklist to manage four meats – just like in competition – each of which requires different timing and attention on the smoker. Jennifer says, “We’re always looking for new flavor profiles and different ways of turning the meat in. We don’t want to get stale; we tweak a little and add something new.” Who eats all this bounty?  “We like to practice on Sunday and a lot of visitors stop by to hang out. We live out in the country on a dead-end road, so they have to have a purpose to come down here. It’s the famous ‘oh I just popped by!’ ‘Oh you have some chicken for me to try!’“ On a typical Sunday, 10 to 15 friends drop in on the Luckharts. They’re always made welcome.

What they look for in wood pellets

Great BBQ is a big picture, and wood pellets are a vital element in the process. “It’s really an art,” Jennifer says. “Your art changes with each smoker you use, your type of wood, the piece of meat.”

In the second post of this 2-part series, learn how the Nuthatch Hill family took their competition experience and built a business in sauces, seasonings and catering.

Griller’s Gold is proud to sponsor the Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co. team.

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