Monthly Archives: January 2013

Smoking With Your Akörn Kamado: A Guide

kamado grate

You have the Kamado Kooker/Akörn and the Smokin’ Stone.  This is a very cool and unique way to smoke!  Remove your cooking grate and place the Smokin’ Stone on the tabs in the firebowl of the grill.  If you wish, you can rest a drip pan filled with a water mixture on top of the stone for added flavor.

Place approximately one pound of computer mouse-sized lump charcoal in the center of your firegrate.  Light the top of your coals with a kerosene-free firestarter, as described in your manual.  When the coals ignite, close the lid and regulate the temperature with the smokestack and ashpan dampers.  It is easier to raise the temperature than to lower it, so as the temperature rises, begin closing the dampers to ease into your desired temperature range (200°F-350°F).

Pre-soak wood chips cut from fruit or nut-bearing trees for 35 minutes.  Soak large chunks for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the wood is completely saturated.  After your grill has reached the desired temperature, sprinkle two handfuls of soaked wood over the lit coals.  Let the chips begin to smoke, and close the lid.  After a few minutes, begin cooking your food.

General Rules:

The general rule for smoking times is one hour of cooking per pound of food, or for every inch of meat thickness.  When you are cooking slowly at low temperatures, the meat will stay moist and needs little attention.  If you so desire, you can wrap the meat in foil after a few hours to limit browning and to keep it moist.  You can also baste it while smoking, but keep in mind that each time you open the smoking chamber, your smoking time will increase.

“If the smoke is white, the fire’s right; if the smoke is black, add some draft.”  If you see black smoke, your fire is dying and needs more wood or charcoal added.  Do not over-smoke your food either; too much smoke flavor will cause it to taste bitter and turn black.

You can use a drip pan with any of the above configurations.  Just make sure the pan is directly underneath your meat.  In the pan, you can put a mixture of water and wine, water and beer, water and apple juice, or your favorite marinade.  This way, the liquid will add extra flavor by evaporating up onto the meat when it gets hot.  Check the water level after 4 hours or if you cannot hear the water simmering.

Before you put your meat on the grill, we recommend marinating it overnight in the fridge, using your favorite marinade.  Then let it stand at room temperature before and after smoking.  To ensure the meat is fully cooked, insert a probe of your Dual-Probe Remote Thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, without touching bone, and allow at least 5 minutes to register.  Internal temperature for birds should be 170°-180°F.  Pork and beef should be 140°F for rare, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done.  After smoking, you can also put the meat back in the marinade (after boiling it to remove bacteria) for several minutes before serving, to make it juicier and more flavorful.

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Smoked Macaroni & Cheese with Chorizo

smoked mac & cheese with chorizo 2

This smoked mac and cheese recipe is hearty and filling, and shows that almost anything can be cooked on a grill.  Just make sure that you know how to tightly control the temperature of your grill and/or smoker, since you’ll be manipulating it within a 50° range.  (FYI, this recipe can also be done in an oven, without the wood.)  If you do this on your grill, it’ll be a challenge, but the rewards are savory, cheesy, and delicious.  Happy grilling!

 

Smoked Macaroni & Cheese With Chorizo (by John Setzler)

  • 2 cups (uncooked volume) of elbow macaroni (cooked per instructions on box)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 1 cup sliced and/or diced chorizo
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the box. Drain.
  2. Add butter and mix. Add milk, eggs, chorizo, 2 1/2 to 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and mix well.
  3. Transfer to casserole dish. Top with remaining sharp cheddar cheese and sprinkle grated parmesan on top.
  4. Add charcoal and/or wood to your grill or smoker, and preheat grill to 350°F.
  5. Place macaroni and cheese in grill for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, raise the grill temperature to 400° for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes, and serve.

 

Smoking With (Or Without) Your Side Fire Box: A Guide

side fire box

On the phone, we get lots of questions about how to smoke (cook indirectly) with our grills.  Each grill is different, so whether you’re a beginner or a veteran smoker, this post might shed some light on how to smoke our way.  There are a couple ways to do it, depending on what kind of equipment you have.

 

Situation #1:

You have one of our barrel grills, with a Side Fire Box attached.  Your setup looks like the picture above.  Congratulations!  You have an optimal grill situation for smoking.  If you haven’t done so already, attach the Side Fire Box to your main grill (instructions here), making sure to remove both the damper plate on the grill and the one on the fire box, so that there is nothing but open space between the two units.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to start the process.  Get some split logs chopped from fruit or nut-bearing trees, such as hickory, cherry, apple, walnut, etc., and that have been cut for at least 1 year.  Remove the bark from the logs to avoid an acrid flavor.  If you cannot find split logs, you can use wood chips, but we do not recommend soaking the wood in water.  To extend the burn time of your wood, try wrapping it in foil, keeping the ends open.

Start your fire with charcoal, but add the wood once the coals are lit.  Wood burns lower and longer, so it is the best fuel for smoking.  However, charcoal is best to start your fire, since it will catch more quickly and burns hot enough to catch your logs on fire.

With the door of the Side Fire Box and the hood of the grill closed, adjust your side damper and smokestack damper until the temperature in the main grill is between 180°F and 220°F.  The more the side damper on the Side Fire Box is open, the hotter the fire will be.  Inversely, the more open the smokestack damper on the main grill, the more heat is allowed to escape, and the lower the temperature will be.  Be careful not to exceed 300°F in the main grill when using the Side Fire Box, as this will damage the finish on the fire box.

 

Situation #2:

You have a barrel-style charcoal grill, with no side smoker attached.  You can definitely still smoke with this setup, using a small amount of charcoal instead of wood.  We recommend using our Drip Pan with this style of smoking, positioning it directly below the meat on one side of the grill.  Your fuel should be on the opposite side of the grill, as far from the meat as possible.  Using a Charcoal Basket may help to keep the fuel confined this way.  Place your firegrate/ashpan in a low position, and control the heat using the ashpan, and the side and smokestack dampers.

 

General Rules:

The general rule for smoking times is one hour of cooking per pound of food, or for every inch of meat thickness.  When you are cooking slowly at low temperatures, the meat will stay moist and needs little attention.  If you so desire, you can wrap the meat in foil after a few hours to limit browning and to keep it moist.  You can also baste it while smoking, but keep in mind that each time you open the smoking chamber, your smoking time will increase.

“If the smoke is white, the fire’s right; if the smoke is black, add some draft.”  If you see black smoke, your fire is dying and needs more wood or charcoal added.  Do not over-smoke your food either; too much smoke flavor will cause it to taste bitter and turn black.

You can use a drip pan with any of the above configurations.  Just make sure the pan is directly underneath your meat.  In the pan, you can put a mixture of water and wine, water and beer, water and apple juice, or your favorite marinade.  This way, the liquid will add extra flavor by evaporating up onto the meat when it gets hot.  Check the water level after 4 hours or if you cannot hear the water simmering.

Before you put your meat on the grill, we recommend marinating it overnight in the fridge, using your favorite marinade.  Then let it stand at room temperature before and after smoking.  To ensure the meat is fully cooked, insert a probe of your Dual-Probe Remote Thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, without touching bone, and allow at least 5 minutes to register.  Internal temperature for birds should be 170°-180°F.  Pork and beef should be 140°F for rare, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done.  After smoking, you can also put the meat back in the marinade (after boiling it to remove bacteria) for several minutes before serving, to make it juicier and more flavorful.

 

Tune in for more information on how to smoke with our other models, including the Kamado!  Happy grilling!

Tuscan Style Chicken Under a Brick

tuscan style chicken under a brick

One of the classic grilling recipes is good, old-fashioned grilled chicken.  Some may say it’s been done to death, but if you’ve had chicken grilled to perfection, you know that it can make an amazing meal.  And one way to spice up this recipe, no pun intended, is to use a rather unconventional grilling method.  This one involves placing a brick (or grill press if you’re fresh out of bricks) on top of the chicken while you grill it.  This will cut your cooking time in half, make sure it cooks evenly, and as a bonus, you’ll get wonderfully crispy skin on your bird.  Happy grilling!

Tuscan Style Chicken Under a Brick (by Steven Raichlen)

  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus the remainder of the bunch for serving (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, plus the remainder of the bunch for serving (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 2 whole chickens (each 3 1/2 to 4 pounds) or 4 whole baby chickens, poussins, or game hens (each 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 2 to 4 aluminum foil-wrapped bricks or metal grill presses
  1. Place the garlic, chopped rosemary and sage, and pepper in a food processor with a metal chopping blade, and pulse until finely chopped. Add the salt and process to mix. Transfer the rub to a jar with a tight fitting lid. This yields about 3/4 cup of herbed salt rub, more than you’ll need for this recipe. The leftover rub can be used for veal, pork, and pheasant, and will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
  2. Remove and discard the fat just inside the neck and body cavities of the chickens. Remove the packages of giblets and set aside. Rinse the chickens, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels.
  3. Spatchcock the chickens by removing their spines and sternums and flattening them out. Generously season the birds on both sides with the herbed salt rub.
  4. For indirect cooking instructions, skip to step 7. If you are using the direct method of grilling, set up the grill and preheat it to medium. Leave one section of the grill bare for a safety zone. Brush and oil your cooking grate when the grill is hot.
  5. Arrange the birds skin side down on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Place the bricks or grill presses on top of the birds.
  6. Grill the chickens until they are crisp and golden brown on the bottom, 12 to 20 minutes per side for full-size chickens, 8 to 12 minutes per side for baby chickens. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness, inserting it into the thickest part of a thigh but not so that it touches a bone. The internal temperature should be about 170°F. Give each bird a quarter turn after 4 minutes on each side to create a crosshatch of grill marks.
  7. If you are using the indirect method, set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium.
  8. Arrange the birds skin side up in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat, and place the bricks or grill presses on top. Cover the grill and cook the birds until golden brown and cooked through, 40 minutes to 1 hour for full-size chickens, 30 to 40 minutes for baby chickens.
  9. Line a platter or plates with the remaining rosemary and sage sprigs (optional). Place the grilled birds on top, generously drizzle olive oil over them, and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Special Offer – FREE Cover with Patio Pro 1515 Grill!

specialoffer

Looking for a great deal on a grill and cover package? Look no further – every order that includes a Patio Pro 1515 grill will automatically receive a FREE 6060 Patio Pro Cover. (Do NOT add the cover to your cart if ordering online! If you do, you will be charged for the cover.) The compact Patio Pro charcoal grill is perfect for small gatherings, family dinners, etc. and can be taken just about anywhere. This grill is one of our most convenient models, and has virtually all the function of its larger counterparts. The cover is custom-fit to the grill, and will protect it from the elements. This offer is valid for both phone and online orders, so call us at (912) 638-4724 or go to www.CharGriller.com today!

Patio_Pro_Model__4cb3ccab40b48

Grilled Polenta with Pesto and Mozzarella

grilled polenta with pesto tomato mozzarella

If you’re looking for something different to serve that fits right in at both a backyard barbeque and fancy dinner party, try this very unique and VERY delicious grilled polenta appetizer.  Savory ham, fresh pesto, crisp tomato, and chilled mozzarella give it texture and character, and the mix of flavors includes many of our personal favorites.  We hope you enjoy them as you start the new year off right.  Happy grilling!

Click on for the Grilled Polenta with Pesto, Tomato, and Mozzarella recipe by Suzanne of Strands of My Life.