Cooking With Fire, A Start

This past weekend, using some of the money we received for our wedding, Eliza and I purchased a grill and a smoker.  We’ve wanted both for sometime now and so they felt like logical items to get for our household.  We’re both very excited about using them and have already been planning a number of meals to cook on both.

I have grilled and smoked before but I cannot claim any vast knowledge base in either.  Fortunately Eliza has a really nice collection of grilling cookbooks, and we’re looking into a few smoking ones as well.  We hope that with a little practice and patience we’ll be quick learners in the art of cooking with fire.

There is something very appealing about both grilling and smoking.  Not only do these forms of cooking produce delicious food if done right, but they expand the means and capability of cooking.  As somebody who really appreciates good cooking and good food both devices are ideal.  While I imagine we’ll make a lot of standard and expected food on both the grill and the smoker, I also look forward to opportunities to experiment and explore their wider capabilities.

We choose to purchase a gas grill, with four main burners and a small side burner (for fry pans and the like).  I am aware that in the world of grilling there are two very ridged camps about what type of grill produces the best food; gas versus charcoal.  Personally I have no real major preference for either.  I’ve cooked and enjoyed the results from both.  The reason why Eliza and I chose to go with gas over charcoal has more to do with the quick convenience rather than any firm opinions on quality of the food produced.  While I am sure that there are some folks who’d disagree with me, I have always found charcoal a bit of a pain in the ass to get hot and to the right temperature.  I also find it time-consuming having to wait until the coals get hot enough to cook over.  As such gas was going to work for us.

The smoker is a simple electric model, where woodchips are placed right on top of a heating element to produce the smoke.  Like the gas grill, we chose electric over charcoal for the ease of use.  The model we bought is the same model owned by our friends Bear and Evan and I’ve had the opportunity to use both of theirs in the past and so felt very comfortable with the purchase.  The model is very easy to use, clean, and store.

Considering we bought both on Sunday we have not been able to do too much cooking in either yet.  We made kabobs on Sunday evening.  Last night we used the smoker to smoke portobello mushrooms.  For those of you who dig portobellos and have a smoker this is a real simple recipe for some delicious eats.

  • Portobello caps (as many as you want.  We cooked four)
  • Slab feta cheese (you could use crumbled but it wouldn’t be quite as fun)
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • vinegar
  • fresh herbs, salt & pepper

We pre-grilled the caps for about five minutes just to get them softened up a bit.  Brush them generously with olive oil, and sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper on them.  Place them top-side down on the smoker.  On the gill-side put some chopped garlic and over that place a slab of feta cheese.  Mix olive oil, vinegar (any kind of vinegar will work, we chose a Pinot Grigio vinegar last night) and herbs into a simple basting marinade.  Set the smoker to produce about medium heat.  We used applewood chips last night but we’ve also done this previously with hickory chips.  The mushroom caps really only need to be on the smoker for about 30 minutes.  Throughout bast the caps and cheese generously.  If you want you could pre-marinade the portobellos, but I don’t think this is necessary as the smoke and the basting will instill plenty of flavor.  We served the smoked feta caps with a rice and beans dish.  I suspect you could also put them on a burger bun and eat them as a smoked feta portobello burger.  They are really a delightful and quick smoked food.

I intend to write more as I make more using our new cooking apperati.  Stay tuned.



~ by Nathaniel on October 18, 2011.

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