smoke, bbq, barbecue

Smoke – The Secret Ingredient

There’s simply no way you can compare food cooked with fire naturally (charcoal grills, open flame grills) to those cooked with gas grills. I mean come on! They’re in two different levels. Everyone knows natural fire grilling is the best.

They have a way of elevating the food’s taste and taking your meal on a different level that you will love.

These excellent grill flavors develop when juices from the food drip on the hot charcoal or wood. Smoke then comes up and gets infused with the cooking food creating that smoky delicious taste.

I know the reason why some people don’t like using this method is because of its time-consuming quality, it’s inability to control the heat as well as the gas grill and the cleanup needed. They want the flavors that come with grills that use fire naturally but don’t want to do it themselves. So, if you’re usually impatient when coming to cooking, you better go for the gas grills. But remember, hard work is rewarded and in this case, the work needed for the natural flame grilling will be worth it when you finish and sit down to enjoy your meal.

Types of grills that use fire naturally

Charcoal grills

As the name suggests, these use charcoal as the fuel and fire power for cooking. This is a wonderful way to add an unmistakable smoky delicious taste to your food. 

There are two types of charcoal you can use with charcoal grills.

  • Natural Lump or Natural wood charcoal – There’re lots  of advantages of this type of charcoal. It burns with very high temperatures (800- 1000 degrees Fahrenheit) and hence can reach the cooking temperatures as fast as 7-10 minutes. They also light very easily, burns clean, produces little ash and are made from renewable hardwood. It can save you money since a pound of this charcoal is equivalent to twice that number of charcoal briquettes (2 pounds) (PS – head over here to find awesome charcoal)
  • Charcoal Briquettes – This is mostly seen as the most convenient and easy to most people. They burn much longer and more evenly compared to the natural charcoal. They are used for heating, cooking and adding flavors to food and are more consistent in size. They’re also less expensive than natural charcoal. However, they have a disadvantage of taking twice the time that natural charcoal needs to reach cooking temperature (20-25 minutes).

 You can use charcoal briquettes or natural wood charcoal with this grill according to what you prefer.

Open flame grills

This is especially for those people who don’t want to stare at temperature gauges all the time and instead talk, laugh and generally enjoy the whole grilling process. You don’t have to stress a lot of ingredients or equipment while cooking.

steps to cooking with open flame method:

  • Build a fire about 2 hours before you start cooking.
  • Use enough wood so that you would have a generous amount of coals afterwards.
  • When ready to grill, use a poker to break up the logs and flatten the fire.
  • Create 3 heat zones first: hottest area, cooking zone (second hottest zone), chill-out zone (has very few coals and the meat can relax here after cooking.)
  • Place the meat in the chillout zone for about 1 hour and then move it to the hottest zone about 20 minutes before you plan to serve.
  • Allow them to sizzle for 2 minutes on each side (creates a crusty sear on the bone side and a nice fat cap) and then move it to the cooking zone for about 3 minutes.
  • Move the meat to the chill out zone for 5 minutes, remove it to rest for another 5 minutes and then serve.

How smoke adds flavor when grilling.

Have you ever wondered how smoke makes a difference to grilling? We all know smoke is a major part of turning your grilled food into one delicious meal but do you know how it comes about and especially how it changes/adds flavor? As a self-proclaim expert, I can tell you.

Smoke is produced when wood or charcoal breaks down when it is burned. This smoke then goes on to get infused with food .

The concept of flavor comprises of 3 things: taste, physical stimulation and smell. Smoke mostly falls under the smell category. Some say smoke is a dimension of food.

However, taste isn’t exactly absent in smoke. A maillard reaction is created when smoking food. This happens when heat breaks down sugar and amino acids. An example is the sear that occurs on steaks when grilling it. The taste includes sweetness and bitterness.

Watch the video below to learn more about adding smoke to a gas grill.