The Best Grilling Advices: Demystified!

Pellet grills are one of the hottest trends in the industry, offering consumers the primal flavor of wood smoke coupled with the turn-of-a-knob convenience of gas, which is the primary reason for the surge in popularity of pellet grills. Of all the different smoker designs available, pellet smokers are the easiest to use, because they are thermostatically controlled, just like the kitchen stove. The pellet meat smoker tries to combine the convenience of the electric and propane meat smokers with the flavor of the charcoal smoker. The pellet smoker provides a deeper smoky flavor in a very convenient manner.

Here are some important tips to use a pellet grill like a professional:

Pellets to Use

Fuel it with food-grade wood pellets, which is about an inch long and 0.25 inch wide, composed of compressed hardwood sawdust. With the exception of vegetable oils to aid the extrusion process or carry flavor, the pellets contain no additives. They burn cleanly, leaving remarkably little ash.

Pressure and Temperature

The sawdust should be subjected to high pressure and heat, which would activate lignin – a natural glue in wood.

Safety against Electric Shocks

Since a pellet smoker has to have electricity to run, it is a good idea to use a ground fault interrupter. It will protect you from a shock hazard and may also help save your equipment in case of a ground current.

Outdoor Settings

You may set up the pellet smoker on a covered wooden deck, which would allow you to use it in any weather. This might not be the best example for a safe cooking set-up, so you could keep a fire extinguisher handy or a water spigot next to the deck. You could also enhance the safety measures by having the smoker set up on a fireproof mat.

Reducing the Possibility of a Grease Fire

When you cook over 300 degrees F, there might be a slight chance of grease fire. It can be prevented by using the gas grill for searing. Also, keep the smoker clean, vacuum out and change the foil on the drip pan regularly.

Cooling before Shutting Down

The oxygen could burn back into the tube and if it ever got into the pellet bin, it could cause a nasty fire and damage the smoker as well. Therefore, it is recommended that you don’t shut down after a 250 degree or hotter cook. You could turn the setting to 180 degrees and let it cool down before shutting down.

Use a Combination of Pellet Flavors

Pellets come in a variety of flavors – hickory, pecan, alder, mesquite, cherry, apple, maple, bourbon, etc., and can be mixed or changed in minutes, which helps to improve the taste of food to a great extent.

Increasing the Amount of Caramelization

You can improve the caramelization you get on the outside of food by preheating a cast iron grill grate, skillet, griddle, or plancha directly on the grill grate for 20 minutes before cooking.

Keep the Pellet Grill in Dry Environment

If exposed to moisture, pellet fuels will disintegrate. People who live in damp climates must keep their pellets dry, and indoors in airtight containers.

Don’t Crowd the Grill

If you add too many items to the grill, there would be no place to move the food, and it may also cause flare-ups. The more you add to the grill, the more heat you remove from the grates, which means the meat would steam instead of developing the desired grill marks and the end results would be terrible.

Charcoal Grills: Edging Over Electric Grills?

Barbecuing meat and seafood is a big part of many cuisines all over the world. For many, barbecuing is a hobby. The methods used to barbecue meat have undergone a change over the past couple of decades. With the advent of electric smokers and grills, the traditional charcoal grill has been pushed to the back burner. While an electric or propane smoker may be easier to use, there is a reason why the good old charcoal grill has stuck around. Beginners to the world of barbecue might think charcoal grills are too much of a hassle and an electric smoker is a much better option but this isn’t strictly true.

The following points explain why the charcoal grill is still the best way to BBQ:

  • Temperature

Now, the main reason most people are switching to electric smokers is because the temperature can be easily controlled by the user. However, charcoal grills are much better suited as they can sustain high temperatures of 500-700 degrees. The high temperature ensures that the meat is cooked inside and out. For all the steak lovers out there, a charcoal grill is the only BBQ appliance that can give you the perfect steak with a crispy exterior and a warm, red center. Also, a charcoal grill cooks the meat slowly, which keeps the meat moist and tender for a longer time.

  • Better Flavor

All experienced barbecue lovers swear by charcoal grills. This is because an electric or gas grill cannot give you that rich, smoky barbecue flavor that a charcoal grill can. The distinct smoky flavor you get from a charcoal grill is lost in any other barbecue method.

  • Portability

Charcoal grills are perfect for outdoor barbecue picnics at the park, while camping or even in your own backyard. Unlike electric grills, they do not need to be plugged in and so you can easily set it up and barbecue meat even when you are on the move.

  • Cost

Charcoal grills are by far the least expensive type of BBQ appliance. If you are a beginner to barbecuing and do not want to shell out too much on your first grill, a charcoal grill is a way to go.

  • The Process

Barbecuing on a charcoal grill does take more time and attention compared to the newer grills out there. But for those who enjoy the process of barbecuing, nothing can compare to the charcoal grill. A charcoal grill can be great for an all-day outdoor barbecue party. Also, the process of barbecuing using a charcoal grill ensure that the nutrients in the meat are retained, making it a healthy option.

Charcoal grills also have to be handled with a lot of care. These guidelines by MIT are really helpful to put safety concerns to bed.

The charcoal grill is a favorite among barbecue connoisseurs due to the amazing, unique flavor it imparts to the meat. It has been used for centuries past and is still used by professional chefs as well as amateur barbecue enthusiasts. While it may not offer the push-button convenience offered by newer BBQ appliances, it will continue to remain a favorite with barbecue lovers all over the world.

Here’s a great video by MrCrestliner1850 on charcoal grilling that you’re bound to enjoy!

Electric Smoker that Suits You? You Just Found It!

Smoking meat is an old-age tradition that is still popular today, with the only difference being the fact that the techniques have changed. A lot of people prefer smoking because it can lead to aroma tenderness, flavor, and texture than cooking the meat through other methods.

One thing that has changed, however, is that smokers are now more advanced. These smokers equipped with state-of-the-art features that will make it easy for anyone to smoke even at home. Choosing your first smoker is a tough task because at that time you don’t know much about smoking or how these smokers work ?. It is important to pay attention to ease of use of the smoker. It should have controls that are easy to access and must be designed especially for beginners. It should have the ability to provide an even temperature and consistent smoke. It must meet the demands of the users, which is why choosing the right size will also be important, as well as a model that suits your budget. The first smoker should always be easy to use. So, your first smoker should be electric smokers because of the following reasons:

  • They Have Temperature Control Systems

Smoking and barbecue go hand in hand. But smoking food is not child’s play; it requires the precision of cooking time and temperature, and it is hard to achieve unless you have a good smoker. Masterbuilt electric smokers really impressed us with its precise temperature control and a host of other features that make smoking convenient and fun. There is a high-powered heating element ideal for smoking an enormous amount of meals quite conveniently. There are also meat temperature probes that will monitor the cooking temperature so that the meat is not overcooked. The most amazing part of the heating is that the outer part of the device remains cool even when the temperature is high inside.

A Bradley Smoker
  • Convenient to Use

Masterbuilt electric smokers are appliances that make smoking convenient, easy and pleasurable. You don’t have to be on your toes to see if your food is getting too much or not enough heat, or worry about getting your food undercooked or overcooked. For the beginners, they are the blessing.

  • Eco-Friendly

Electric smokers do not require anything extra to operate, other than electricity. There is no need of charcoal or wood pellets, whose burning could lead to serious environmental issues. An electric smoker uses electricity as fuel to ignite the wood used to smoke the food.

  • Easy to Clean

As they leave less residue, they are easy to clean. Electric smokers are more efficient than any other.

  • Safe

They are safe to use as they don’t emit any gas and also restrict flare-ups. These smokers also include additional features that will let you set the cooking time to prevent overheating and electrical fires.

With all of these advantages of using an electric smoker, it is easy to see why these smokers are gaining in popularity. Easy to use and convenient, an electric smoker will most importantly give your food that great smoky flavor that you and your family love.

Here’s a great video by TOPLIST+ showcasing a list of best electric smokers this year!

Use Meat Probes Like a Pro

It’s very important to get the roast part of meat cooked just the way you would enjoy it. For that, you need to cook them at the right temperature without any guesswork involved. Here’s when a probe thermometer comes into use. A probe thermometer is a pointy device that can be inserted in meat to know its right temperature when you cook, thaw, roast or keeps it cold. Keep in mind that there are different types of thermometer, some are oven safe and some aren’t while some show digital readings and others use a dial. If the thermometer isn’t oven safe, do not leave it in the food that’s being cooked in an oven or on a stove.


To test the usefulness of the thermometer, place them in ice cold water or hot boiling water. Let it be still in there for about 30 seconds, the reading for cold water should be 32 degrees Fahrenheit and for hot water, it should be around 212 F.

Insert the pointed part of the probe into the thickest part of the meat as you want it to reach the center and not touch the bone. The center, in most cases, corresponds to the coolest part of the meat. Aim for the right general area than trying to gauge depth.

You must be careful about using the thermometer at the right time. While cooking meats, use the thermometer at the end of the minimum cooking time and let it remain inside the meat for about 15-20 seconds. Pull the probe out smoothly after you record your reading. For more accurate readings, you can follow certain other steps related to cuts of meat and their minimum temperature.

When you’re preparing roasts or thick chops, keep it at a minimum temperature of about 145 F and try to insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat. When you are cooking whole poultry, insert the thermometer at the inner thigh area near the breast but not touching the bone and allow it to reach 165 F. For thin items such as hamburger patties, insert the probe sideways and let it reach 160 F. You can also set the alarm to ring around 4-5 degrees below your desired temperature to avoid carryover cooking, that is, from letting your product cook even when it’s off the heating source. You will notice more carryover cooking when you cooked your meat at a higher temperature; it would be significantly less if you cook it on a grill, slow smoking meat as it is being cooked at a lower temperature.

You must remember to turn off your digital thermometer after every use to preserve its battery life and make sure it’s dry to prevent rust. You should always clean and sanitize the probe thermometers after every use with alcohol or sanitizing solution.

Avoid problems like overcooking and keep your meat tender and juicy by using meat probes in a proper manner so that you know when it’s done the way you like it, at the peak of its flavor and safe for eating! Here’s a fact sheet compiled by Oregon State University about meat thermometers which you’ll find more than handy.

How to Lose Yourself by Barbecuing Fish?

Fish takes on a deliciously moist texture when slow roasted in a smoker.  The meat of the fish easily peels away in tender, flaky chunks as it is infused with all the flavors of sweet smoky wood.  When paired with seasonings of fresh herbs and citrus aromatics, smoked fish is a tasty treat that you can feel good about indulging in. There are various methods to make fish in a barbecue smoker, but all are based on a few common principles. The following are very generic steps you can use to smoke your own fish.

Choose the Right Fish.

Fattier fish, such as salmon or sea bass, are better than leaner fish at absorbing smoke. Use
only freshly-caught fish that have been kept clean and cold. Fish that have been handled carelessly or stored under improper conditions will not produce a satisfactory result. Do not use bruised, broken, or otherwise damaged flesh.

Prepare the Fish.

There are a variety of ways to enjoy smoked fish, and these variations mostly depend on its preparation. Different fish species generally require specific preparation methods. Salmon are split, i.e., their backbone removed; herring headed and gutted; bottom fish filleted, and smelt dressed. The skin of whole fish crisps up and separates from the meat, which makes it a delicious smoked fish treat. Fish fillets with skin on are the most convenient, though, because they are easy to eat and hold up well in the heat of the smoker.

Choose the Right Wood Chips.

The best choice for smoked fish is sweet, mild woods like apple, cherry, or alder because they won’t overpower the exquisite, bland flavor of the meat.

Smoke Fish.

Preheat smoker and add wood chips to get things going. Let the wood chips preheat for about 45 minutes.  Add fish and let smoke for about 3 hours at 175-200F.

Test the Temperature.

It’s important to smoke your fish until it reaches a safe internal temperature. The majority of the fish fillets will be completed once the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. You can use a digital meat thermometer to check the temperature throughout the cook time to be sure.

Note

If your fillets aren’t thick enough for the meat probe to get an accurate reading, calculate the smoke time for about three hours plus 30 minutes per pound of fish.

A Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-5 lbs. hearty, skin-on fillets (salmon, mackerel, or sea bass).
  • 1-quart water.
  • 1/2 cup salt.
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar.
  • Paprika.

Instructions

  1. Mix brine over low heat until salt and sugar dissolved. Let cool completely.
  2. Submerge fish in brine. Let rest in the fridge for 6-10 hours, or overnight.
  3. Remove fillets and lightly rinse before smoking. Pat dry and sprinkle with paprika.
  4. Preheat smoker and add wood chips. Smoke fish for about 3 hours at 175-200F or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

Now that you know all the secrets to making a delicious fish in a barbecue smoker, enjoy it with your friends and family at any time. Here’s a great video on how you can smoke salmon, by The Consummate Sportsman. Check it out!

How to Elevate Your Chicken Grilling Skills?

Who doesn’t love a smoke flavored juicy bird packed with sizzling flavors with a melt in your mouth feel? It would be foolish to not love it. When you smoke a chicken, you get a much different texture and flavor than when you roast it. One thinks of too much work when you think about a recipe with smoke flavoring and grill, but not this time. Here’s a delectable recipe you can try at your home to treat yourself!


Ingredients

  • 2 lb Chicken breasts
  • Olive oil

For the Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

For the Citrus Glaze

  • 1/2 cup of Orange juice
  • Fresh Orange zest
  • Lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of Honey
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter

Here’s what you need to do

Take a small bowl and mix all the dry spices in it. It’s a classic rub but don’t let the simplicity fool you because this is what makes this dish so scrumptious and perfectly seasoned. You can also adjust this spice rub as per your convenience and taste.

Cover the boneless and skinless chicken breasts with plastic and then pound them to make them tender and also so that they cook evenly on the grill.

Now brush the chicken breasts with a bit of olive oil and coat the chicken with the spice rub generously. Once the rub is applied, let the chicken sit for a couple of hours so that it absorbs the flavors decently.

In the meantime, you can prepare the glaze. Take 2 fresh oranges and shave some of its skin for the zest. Now cut the oranges in half and juice them so that you get up to ½ a cup of fresh orange juice. You can also use packaged orange juice for the same. Now in a bowl, take about 1 tablespoon of honey, fresh orange juice, lime juice, a bit of the zest, Worcestershire sauce, and melted butter and mix them all together to get a smooth glaze.

Drizzle this glaze on the chicken breasts and now place them on a tray covered with foil.

Keep your pellet grill pre-heated at about 240 F. Now place the chicken pieces skin-side down on the grill with the help of tongs instead of forks or any other sharp object because it might pierce the meat. Let the chicken cook for 45 minutes- 1 hour, turn the pieces halfway through and you can also glaze them again in this procedure. Don’t open the lid too much because the meat needs the heat and to maintain the smoked flavor intact.

Take them off the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. Now serve them with light homemade coleslaw (optional) and your favorite BBQ sauce. An amazing flavor packed plate of smoked chicken prepared on a grill is ready to serve!

The Green Side of Electric Smokers

Cooking meat by smoking is an old-age tradition and is still very popular. The introduction of electric smokers has paved the way for people to enjoy smoked meats with relative ease and comfort. Set it and forget it. That’s the main attraction to electric smokers, and one of the most important one.

Apart from providing a very pleasant performance, electric smoker makes use of electricity, rather than fuel gas which makes it an environment friendly product. These machines are progressively designed to minimize energy use and have less of an impact on the environment. They use manufacturing processes that are less energy-intensive than traditional methods and even use renewable materials. Various other features and characteristics of electric smoker that contribute to its eco-friendly nature are as follows:

  • Safety

Unlike gas smokers, the electric smoker does not need fire to produce smoke. Hence, it is a better and safer option in places where open flames pose a danger.

  • Tight Door Seal

It has a nice and tight door seal, to make sure that the cooking environment is perfect for a good meal flavour. This also prevents any leakage of smoke into the atmosphere.

  • Efficient and Monitored Heating

There is a high-powered heating element ideal for smoking an enormous amount of meals quite conveniently. There are also meat temperature probes that will monitor the cooking temperature so that the meat is not overcooked. The most amazing part of the heating is that the outer part of the device remains cool even when the temperature is high inside.

  • Well-Structured Body

Some electric smokers consist of a cylindrical smoking chamber and a separate combustion chamber. The fire is lighted in the combustion chamber, while the heat and smoke are made to enter the smoking chamber via small pipes where the food absorbs the flavour from the smoke before it finally escapes the chamber. This separate chamber for combustion makes them safer and less susceptible to cause environmental problems.

  • No Use of Charcoal

Electric smokers do not require anything extra to operate, other than electricity. There is no need of charcoal or wood pellets, whose burning could lead to serious environmental issues.

  • Use of a Renewable Energy Source

Electricity is the primary operational component of electric smoker. It is a renewable source of energy, which is available in abundance. Moreover, a majority of electric smokers do not use much electricity. They can be operated without having to worry about incurring high electric bills.

  • Cleaner Source of Energy

Electricity is a far safer as well as cleaner source of energy than propane and charcoal. It also infers that the food will have fewer impurities. The flavour of food will be enhanced and also, the smoke emitted will have less pollutants.

  • Leave Little Residue

After smoking of meat is finished, there is very little waste left to clean up. It is because the electric smoker is very efficient and uses up less fuel.

Thus, try to adopt an eco-minded thinking when buying a smoker next time, and choose from a wide range of electric smokers available in the market.

How Pellet Smokers Conspire and Beat Electric Smokers

Barbecue enthusiasm seems to be growing every year, and many backyard cooks, no longer content with burgers and chicken, are venturing into the mysterious and myth-laden realm of smoking. Of all the different smoker designs available, pellet smokers are the easiest to use, because they are thermostatically controlled, just like your kitchen stove. The pellet meat smoker tries to combine the convenience of the electric and propane meat smokers with the flavour of the charcoal smoker. The pellet smoker gives you a deeper smoky flavour than the electric and propane models, while keeping most of their convenience. Also, contrary to the electric smokers, the pellet smoker does not need to be plugged into an outlet, which makes it easily portable.

There are certain reasons as to why pellet smokers are better and more convenient to use than electric smokers.

  1. One of the primary reason being that the working of pellet smoker is entirely based on usage of wood, while electric smokers use wood only for flavour. Hence, you get a more traditional wood taste in former.
  2. Another factor which contributes to the traditional taste provided by a pellet smoker is its dry environment. On the other hand, electric smokers have a moister environment than the pellets, but that’s why the pellet smoker has a more conventional look.
  3. Pellet grills are versatile. You can barbecue, smoke, roast, grill, and even bake or braise in a pellet grill.
  4. Pellet smokers, unlike the electric ones, preheat fast (10 to 15 minutes). The design discourages flare-ups.
  5. Some pellet smokers allow you to regulate temperatures in 5-degree increments, giving you a strict heat control capability. In the cooking chamber, a thermostat sends precise signals to the controller and regulates pellet delivery. Whereas in electric smokers, the use of thermostat and various other features is quite complex.
  6. Pellet smokers are lighter and easier to transport as compared to the electric ones, and are generally low maintenance.
  7. You can easily reload and cook for longer period of time using pellet smoker. Its cooking chamber can be loaded up without fear of uneven cooking, as it works like a convection oven.
  8. There is a very little probability of over-smoking the food in a pellet smoker. Also, the smoke flavour is more subtle than the sometimes acrid smoke generated by an electric smoker.
  9. The pellet smokers are available in various sizes ranging from small to large, including commercial size units that can accommodate pulled pork or a whole hog for a large number of people. It can also provide additional wood smoke flavour by the use of hardwood chunks or pouches of soaked wood chips directly on the heat diffuser plate.
  10. Pellets are easily available, they come in a variety of flavours, such as pecan, hickory, mesquite, alder, apple, cherry, bourbon, maple, etc., and can be mixed as well as changed in just few minutes.

So, if you want a great balance of convenience and flavour, a pellet smoker would be the perfect choice of meat smoker for you.