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Flank Steak September 06 2016

Life continues to be more than interesting and I seem to have not been able to find time to write recently.  That being said I always find time to cook.  So here is a little update on my learning curve into the world of smoking.  My big brother found me a lovely smoker and delivered it to my house so I could try moving outdoors over the summer to experiment with various cuts of meat, marinades, rubs, etc.

A good Flank steak is hard to beat any time.  Rubbed up with a blend of various spices and then rolled and tied, it fits nicely onto the smoker and gives you a juicy bite and paired with a nice salad, some sauteed zucchini fresh from the garden, a crusty baguette and a good glass of red wine, it is hard to beat.  I even had time to relax a little in the back yard with a good book, a glass of that red and my trusty side kick, Louie.  Here is how I did it:

1 – Using my new smoker, I found a nice spot away from the house with good air circulation.

 

2 – I got a nice bed of coals going.  I think it is important to use real wood charcoal which is available almost everywhere these days.  You want to keep the heat on the low side so that your meat is slowly cooked through the smoking process and not flame broiled.

3 – I added my soaked wood chunks above the coals.

4 – I placed a drip pan above the chunks to prevent the fat which will render out of the meat from dripping onto the soaked chips as we want smoke not fire from the chunks.

5 – Time to add the meat.  I rubbed the Flank steak with a blend of spices and let it marinade for several hours before placing it in the smoker.  My recipe follows but use your favorite rub or experiment with different spices till you create your own new favorite.

6 – Relax!  This is going to take several hours if you have the coals nice and low and maintain an environment for perfect smoking.

7 – Bring the meat off the smoker when it hits your desired temperature for your taste.  Let it rest a bit so that the juices return to the center of the meat and don’t run out as soon as you slice in.

8 – Plate it up.  I recommend a nice salad and some fresh veggies sauteed till just cooked.  Pair it with your favorite beverage and a nice bit of bread and it will be fabulous.

9 – Dig in!

I love Bob!  He knows I love to cook and will come up with some great recipes.  He also loves to cook and like myself, he has passed that love onto his son.  We are blessed to have these guys in our lives and we celebrate through our food.  Here is to the Bobs in our lives, especially the ones at Bob’s Smokin Hardwood.

Happy Smokin!

Lori Coates

Lori’s Dry Rub Blend

1 Tsp. Cumin

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Onion Powder

1 Tsp. Paprika

1 Tsp Crushed Rosemary

½ Tsp. Cinnamon

½ Tsp. Salt

¼ Tsp. Ground Pepper

Blend together using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and rub into all surfaces of your meat.  Let the meat absorb the spice blend for several hours or even better, overnight.  


Planking it! July 08 2016

Life over the last couple weeks has been pretty hectic for me.  I've crisscrossed the US dealing with a variety of things.  I have literally been from one coast to the other and between (Seattle, WA, Wichita, KS, and Durham, NC).  

Like so many people, I am coping with family stuff and financial stuff and well, just life in general.  So, when life gets me feeling pressed for time, how do I get to enjoy a nice meal in short order and still feed my inner foodie?  I have discovered Planking It!

Soak some planks for 30 minutes to an hour.

After washing and patting dry chicken breasts or salmon fillets, place them onto the soaked planks and generously season with just salt and pepper.

Turn your oven on quite high (425 degrees) or get your grill good and hot.  Place the planks in the oven or on the grill and close the door or lid and walk away.  In 15-30 minutes depending on the thickness of your meat or fish, you will have a lovely, softly smokey entree.  I paired mine with some quickly sauteed asparagus.  Um!

By the way, I did bring along one of the Bobs of Bob's Smokin' Hardwood to Wichita with me.  After a day of packing our sister up to move to Seattle, we deserved some good chow.

Life is so much more enjoyable when you share it with those you love.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoy your next meal.

Lori Coates


Ready for the Fourth of July June 29 2016

Time to celebrate summer and the independence of our great nation.  Even if it rains, I’ll be ready for the Fourth of July with a feast that is a True-Blue, All-American Tribute to the bounty of this country. I just tried my hand at indoor smoking on my stove top. So easy and the results are delicious. 

Grab a big pot with a tight fitting lid.  I used a nice stainless steel stock pot which I think I have just found an entirely new use for that is amazing.

Soak some wood chunks for a couple hours then put them into the bottom of the pot on a nice layer of foil, or do as I did and use a disposable foil pie plate. I used Small Apple Wood Chunks from Bob's Smokin' Hardwood, Apple wood brings out some great flavors on pork!

Next place another layer of foil or another foil pie plate on top of the wood layer and load in your meat.  I rubbed a 2+ pound piece of Pork Loin with my own spice blend (recipe follows).  You can use fresh Garlic and Onions and just about any spice blend which you like.  I serve a sweet BBQ sauce on the side instead of putting too much moisture into the smoker. 

I washed up a bag of Red Fingerling Potatoes and placed then in a mesh colander and that went in right on top of the pork.

Put the lid on the pot and then wrap the lid gap tightly with a good heavy foil, with the intent being to seal the smoke inside the pot.

Turn the burner on your stove to Medium High for 10 Minutes.  This will bring the temperature of your wood layer up to produce smoke. 

Turn the burner down to Low and walk away for 2 hours.

Turn off the burner and carefully unwrap the foil from your pot.  Lift the lid slowly away from you with your exhaust fan running and carefully remove the colander of potatoes.

Re-wrap the pot lid with foil and turn the stove back on to Medium High for 10 minutes and then turn things down to Low for an additional 2 hours.  While you are waiting, you have time to make all your side dishes and desert.  Recipes follow.

Repeat the process of turning off the heat, unwrapping and taking the lid off with an exhaust fan running and this time you will have the most tender, juicy, smoked pork that will simply fall apart and be ready to load onto nice buns or right to the plate.

I paired my pork with Smokey Potato Salad (as a nod to our supporters in achieving independence from England I did a twist on a tasty French Potato Salad) and a crisp Spinach Salad and for dessert: Berry Shortcakes with fresh Whipped Cream.

Now all we need is something cold to drink and a great fireworks display to make the day a real celebration! 

Happy Fourth of July!

Lori Coates

 

RECIPES:

Pork Spice Rub

  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • a large pinch of fine Sea Salt. 

Simply blend and rub into the surface of the pork.

Smoky Potato Salad

Combine:

  • 1 Tablespoon Grainy Mustard
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup Rose or White Wine (Nothing to sweet)
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon fine Sea Salt
  • 6 Green Onions, sliced up to a nice size (not to small but not huge), green portion only

Stir this together and when the potatoes come from the smoker, slice them into the mixture while still warm and they will absorb the liquid and taste amazing.

Berry Shortcakes -  Combine 4 cups of the freshest fruit you can find at your local farm stand or grocery store or if you aren’t blessed with such offerings, you can even use frozen berries you have thawed.  Sprinkle with a little sugar or honey to get the juices flowing and let stand for at least an hour.  I used Strawberries, Cherries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Peaches.  Make sure to cut things up into nice bite sized pieces.  My shortcakes are essentially sweetened biscuits.  I have used Jiffy Brand baking mix and Bisquick both, but the trick is to add a bit of plain old sugar before you rub in the butter.  The butter should be really cold and you can even freeze it and then grate it into the dry mixture before adding your milk or even better, buttermilk.  I even use soured milk if I have it!  Here is my recipe: 

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.

Stir together:

  • 2 Cups Baking Mix
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 stick of Butter (4 Tablespoons)

Combine rubbing butter into dry ingredients till pea sized crumbles form.  Do not overwork it or it will get tough. 

Stir together:

  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • Or if you have actual soured cream use 1 Cup.

Combine with dry ingredients and form into a loose log.  Cut into 8 equal pieces and pat gently into rounds about ½-1 inch thick.  Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar or plain white sugar if it is all you have.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until just beginning to turn golden at the edges.

We like to slice the shortcake in half and put our berries in between and on top of the layers and top it all with a giant dollop of Whipped Cream.  Yummmmm!

Please send any feedback to lori.smokin@gmail.com.


Wrapped up in a neat little package June 22 2016

Being new to the smoking world, I decided to start out gently and build my abilities.  First up is the use of wraps.  This method is so easy and the results are the prettiest little package you can put on a plate.

Start by soaking your wraps in water for 30-60 minutes.

Next, pile on the veggies ( I used sugar snap peas, match stick carrots and slivered sweet onion dressed with a little drizzle of soy sauce, olive oil and a grind of lemon pepper).  

 

Top the pile of veggies with a nice meat serving (I had a package of baby back ribs that came pre-cooked and slathered in BBQ sauce).  

Fold the wrap up over the food and tie it with a length of cotton cord (included with your wraps).  

Place it into a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes on a shallow backing dish or jelly roll pan.  Alternately you can place it on tin foil with the sides gently folded upward to catch any drippings.  This can also be done directly on a medium heat grill.  Close the lid if you use the grill and sit back and wait.  

All that is left to do is plate it up and watch the eyes of your guests when they see the gorgeous little bundles. But, wait for it, soon you will hear the moans of delight at they dig in.

 

Enjoy!

Lori Coates


Your Newest Blogger on Bob's Smokin' Hardwood! June 18 2016


Hi there!

I am Lori Coates, your newest blogger here at Bob's Smokin' Hardwood.  I am the sister of Bob senior and auntie of Bob junior.  My two Bobs have great products and it will be my pleasure to give you some ideas, tips and tricks and a few recipes for using the products that these guys offer.

I am a foodie from a long line of foodies.  Growing up in Michigan with grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles living on farms, I was treated to the freshest ingredients and learned how to use them to create great meals.  My son once told me that he had no choice but to become a chef since his mom set such a high culinary bar.  That being said, I am new to smoking and will enjoy sharing my foray into this side of food with you.

For the last 16 years I have lived in North Carolina which offers up some of the best pit smoked selections to the culinary world.  Now I am in Seattle and my craving for these smoky delights has been challenged.  It rains a lot here in the northwest so I will not only be exploring outdoor options but options for those of us who do not have the ability to smoke in the more traditional method.  You do not have to have a conventional smoker to still enjoy the wonders of smoking your foods.  

As I begin this learning and sharing experience, please let me know what you like, dislike and if you have questions or ideas for future blogs.  Write to me at lori.smokin@gmail.com.  Thanks for visiting my blog and stay tuned for future posts.  I look forward to sharing.

Lori Coates

 


Bob's Simple Turkey Smoke November 11 2015

Hi Folks,

I know a lot of people who are a bit intimidated by the thought of smoking a turkey, whether due to the importance of the occasion or the thought of trying to smoke such a large bird. I have done a lot of chickens, but honestly hadn't tried doing a turkey yet myself. With the holiday coming up and our Thanksgiving Apple Wood Sale underway I thought this would be a good time to give it a go!

I started with a bird I knew would fit in my smoker and roasting rack, which in this case turned out to be slightly under 17 lbs. I could probably have gotten up to a 19 lb. bird in, but preferred to err on the side of caution. I didn't want to brine the bird, because this is supposed to be the simplest version of a turkey smoke I could come up with for the test. So to make up for it, I used a foil liner in my rack to contain juices, and cooked the bird with the breast side down immersed in the liquids from the cooking. Doing the bird upside down causes all the extra fat and juice in the thighs to migrate via gravity to the breast and foil liner.

The issue this presents is that the breast as normally presented at the table would appear pale, which I knew would be less than optimal for the visual experience and normal expectations at the dinner table. I had two solutions: Flip the bird later in the smoke to get the color on the breast in the smoker, or flip it and finish it in the oven to brown the breast skin. I decided to go with the latter for two reasons, one of which was it would bring the aromas of the smoker into the house just before dinner in conjunction with the normal smell of roasting turkey, which I feel is part of the anticipation of a big holiday meal.

I used a black pepper and garlic rub for the bird, inside and out, though you can obviously season it to suit. I personally like a lot of savory seasonings on turkey so my next bird will use different spices. I let the turkey sit overnight with the rub in the fridge, same as I would a chicken.

Turkey in the smoker, ready to go.

I did my usual low and slow, starting my run at 170 degrees. I added lots of smoke to the unit with our Small Apple Wood Chunks for about 6 hours, at which point the bird was sitting between 150-160 internal temp on the thickest part of the breast.

Apple wood in the tray, let's smoke!

Here is a quick series as the smoke progressed, taken at 2, 4, and 6 hours respectively.

Two hours into smoking.
2 hours

Four hours into the smoke.
4 hours

Six hours and ready to go to the oven.
6 hours

At that point I pulled the bird and put it in my roasting pan, then flipped the bird to be breast side up. With the oven set to 325 degrees, it took roughly 45-60 minutes to brown the breast and hit the desired 180 degree temperature for fully cooked and safe to eat.

Smoke complete, ready to flip and finish in the oven.

You can see a nice smoke ring coming in on the right side in this picture I took when I cut into the breast to see how moist and tender it turned out. Definitely juicy, smelled and tasted great! The part of the breast with the ring was a little tougher, but it was such a small part of the breast it had little impact, and was at least partly made up for by the enhanced flavors.

Finished and carved smoked turkey.

We quite enjoyed the bird, and it was almost as easy as doing a chicken! Tenderness varied a bit, but honestly felt in line with my experience with most every other turkey I've ever had.

Good luck to everyone on their turkey smokin'!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Bob Coates


Why wood quality matters; a great article by Scott Thomas October 14 2015

Hi Folks,

I've been trying to write a good article on wood for smoking and the important details thereof, plus a wood smoke pairing guide for a long time. Before I could manage to finish my own, the folks over at Fix.com contacted us about a similar article they had recently published by Scott Thomas (the gentleman behind grillinfools.com), called "Up in Smoke: All About Smoke Woods for Grilling". They also offered us use of the infographics on our own site to assist interested folks when they are selecting woods for purchase based on intended fare.

Like most of Scott's stuff, it's a great article and helps illustrate why you want the best wood possible when you are preparing food in the presence of wood smoke. We know that it doesn't take much foreign debris to change the flavor of wood smoke, it's literally in the Parts Per Million (PPM) which is an extremely fine measurement by it's very definition. Poor quality wood, wood exposed to various chemicals for preservation or colorizing, hydrocarbon contamination, and poor storage can all contribute to poor quality wood smoke that translates to poor or unhealthy food attributes when you BBQ or smoke.

These are the reasons we work so hard to bring you the highest quality product. We know the history of the wood we produce, we work closely with the growers to ensure the highest possible quality from the time it comes off the tree to the time it lands on your doorstep. We naturally season our wood and then wash it  before we store it in a controlled environment where it awaits your order to be cut. When we produce wood chips, we use the same hand selected wood we bring you in our chunk products, no compromise on the quality of the wood is made whatsoever. We don't add "junk" wood or pallets to our production line, so you can be assured you are getting what you paid for when you order wood chips from us.

I'm hoping to add the infographics to our site next week in a more useful location, but here is the main one from the article for reference below. Go check out Scott's article, it's spot on!

Smoke Wood: Wood and Food Pairing
Source: Fix.com


BSHW is now offering Premium Wood Chips! August 14 2015

Hi Folks,

We have been busy working to bring requested products to the store, and today we are happy to present our Premium Hardwood Chips in Apple, Cherry, and Pear varieties! These easy to use and convenient format wood chips are great for grilling and smoking your favorite foods.

These are produced by us, using the same hand selected hard woods we bring to you in our Wood Chunks format. We screen them after production to remove any dirt or debris and then they are brought to our processing facility for protected storage until we ship them to our customers. We have managed to bring these to market at a price comparable to the wood chips you would find in your local big box store, even after shipping costs! We offer 512 and 792 cubic inch boxes of chips, shipped USPS Priority Flat Rate Service for only $5 and $10 respectively. These volumes are multiples of the standard 190 cubic inch offering found at most local retailers, which is why we can keep the price down while still delivering the quality our customers have come expect from us.

To celebrate, we are offering a 10% discount on our already competitive prices to the first 100 orders that use this code: BSHWCHIPS - during checkout.

Thank you for your support!

Bob Coates

Here is a picture I took of the new Apple Wood Chips I took when we were doing the product photos for the store:


Smoking feast with friends! July 04 2015

Hi Folks!

We've been mighty busy of late preparing for the new BBQ season, but finally found some time for food and fun last weekend while my friend was in from out of town. He's been hearing about all of our activities and the great food for about two years now and decided to come see what it was all about.

He got an early taste after arrival because I still had some ribs and fish from a smoke just days before, but I wanted him to get the best experience, which everyone knows is fresh out of the smoker! To that end, we lined up a beautiful layout of: One whole chicken, three racks of St. Louis style pork ribs, 3.5 lbs. of bratwurst, 1-2 lbs. of breakfast links, and about 4 lbs. of russet potatoes. I brought home 5 lbs. each of apple and pear wood from the shop, invited the partners and a local friend up to the house, and away we went.

Starting the Apple wood

I was working hard to make sure everything came in on schedule and according to plan, with sausages to munch along the way at different times, and then the ribs, chicken, and potatoes together as a sit down meal in the early evening. Knowing the whole chicken would be the longest smoke, it went in early with a nice bunch of our apple wood and I ran a bit higher temp than normal (~190deg F) to help it come in on time for dinner. As some of you already know, I take "Low and Slow" a bit to the extreme, as I usually run a smoker temp of approximately 170-180 degs F. I like my smoked food SMOKED, you might say!

Before it was all said and done, the chicken got about 6-7 hours of full smoke. Not only did it look amazing, but it was juicy and tender, with good flavor throughout. As always, I cooked it breast side down in my foiled roaster rack to help keep juices contained and draining into the water pan through the hole created in the center of the foil for that purpose. It builds up in the foil, which helps keep the chicken moist, but eventually drains down. My smoker gets coated in enough juices without having the chicken leaking in every direction! I also put the chicken in the very bottom so that it would get the benefit of the drips from the other food above. No lack of flavor in this chicken...

Chicken started in the smoker

I started the breakfast links next to provide some munchies for the arriving guests, and started adding pear wood to the unit when I put them on the racks. I used pear wood from here until the brats were done.

The St Louis Style ribs were great in this case due to the fact they tend to cook more evenly and a little quicker than baby-backs, which was useful for my socialized smoking event. It's harder to pay proper attention to the cooking when engaged in conversation with friends and a scotch on the rocks in one hand! I was still doing pear wood when I put these in with the chicken, and added more at the same time.

As always the pear smoked bratwurst were amazing, with the newly experienced exclaiming about how sweet they were etc. If you haven't tried our pear wood for smoking brats yet, you are truly missing out! Part of the fun of our business is access to so much smoking wood that we experiment with random things and occasionally stumble over great combinations of this sort. Smoking is a fun learning process for me every time, and what's not to like about sampling new smoked food combinations?

The smoked potatoes were a new adventure for me this go 'round, so I did some research on the the Interwebs for ideas and to set expectations on results from differing approaches. Most obvious from reading reports from the front line on smoking potatoes was that getting them tender/fully cooked was the primary challenge. Lots of folks were apparently par-cooking them before smoking, and others were finishing them by other means. Saw many recommendations to slice them into slabs of about 1/2" for faster and more even cooking, which seemed pretty reasonable to me.

In the end, I decided to try whole and sliced at the same time so I could see the differing results in one shot. I used basil-garlic olive oil, fresh ground sea salt and pepper, with some garlic powder for a little extra punch. I put them in the smoker on foil trays to contain the oils, but was more than a bit generous in the amount I prepared.

I ended up tossing some of them in with the chicken, just to get them in the unit. That actually got some cheers from the audience when they saw the taters landing in the juices collected in the foiled rack!

I was prepared for the potatoes to be the holdout at the end, and they didn't let me down. I ended up finishing them in the oven so we could eat somewhat on time. That's the way of it sometimes, and no one complained anyway with the spread that got laid out when the time came to sit down and eat. Next time I'll start them earlier in the smoke and not make (quite) so many. I had plenty leftover, and I'm going to try dicing them up and making them into country style fried potatoes. I'll let you know how that turns out!

 Last but not least, a quick picture of the feast in progress :-) We even had (some) vegetables!

Happy Fourth of July Everyone!
Be safe and have fun!

Bob C.