Smoked Drinks

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It’s a new trend in mixing drinks: infusing spirits with a cozy campfire taste and aroma. Before you get to smoking ingredients to make your cocktails and impress your friends this summer, you will need to know the basics of smoking and some of the techniques for smoking. This article will cover it all from what wood to use and how much, to how to set up your charcoal for long smokes. Whatever you are trying to smoke, and however you are trying to do it, this will be your guide.

 

Lets get to it.

 

- INDEX -

Adding Smoke to Drinks
Smoking 101
Smoking Woods
How Much Wood to Use?
To Soak or Not to Soak?
Smoking Food on a Gas Grill
Smoking Food on a Charcoal Grill
The Minion Method
Using Charcoal for Long Cooks
Tips for Smoking on a Charcoal Grill
Smoking With Gas and Electric Smokers
Ingredients for Smoked Drinks
Using a Smoking Gun
Smoked Drink Recipes
FANFOOD BBQ Guide

 

 

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Adding Smoke to Drinks

 

There are a few ways to add smoke to cocktails. The first is to use an intrinsically smoky spirit, like single malt scotch or Mexican mescal, or a smoky flavoring, like chipotle peppers or bitters or pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika), The second is add smoked ingredients such as smoked ice cubes and lemons, (recipes below) and another way is to infuse the drink with actual wood smoke.

The ultimate smoky spirit is Scotch whisky, which owes it distinctive iodine-smoke flavor to peat. The distiller uses this coal-like fuel to roast the barleycorns before mashing and fermenting. All scotch has a smoky flavor component, but according to master mixologist Dale DeGroff, author of The Craft of the Cocktail and the man who sparked a mixed drink renaissance in the U.S., the smokiest scotches come from the island of Islay—in particular from the two great distilleries: Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Degroff makes a smoky Manhattan by floating a spoonful of scotch atop the conventional rye or bourbon cocktail.

Mescal (sometimes written mezcal) is the other great intrinsically smoky spirit—made in Mexico’s Oaxaca region by smoking the hearts of agave and other cacti. If your vision of mescal involves the puerile thrill of eating the worm found in mid-market mescals—a pastime popular when I was in college—please reconsider. A new generation of single village mescals, typified by Del Maguey, possess the finesse of a great cognac. They should definitely be on your bar shelf.

If you love to smoke food, why not try your hand at smoking the ingredients that you will make your cocktails with? If you are new to smoking food here is a crash course on smoking food using charcoal, propane, electric smokers and a cold smoking gun. If you are an experienced BBQ chef read on to refresh your techniques or just skip to the recipes.

 

 

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Smoking 101

 

 

The secret of BBQ is heat, time, and smoke.

The secret of GREAT BBQ and successful smoking is airflow.

You need to bring smoke to the food but you can’t hold it there for too long.

Those who know how to use a smoker will tell you that the key to cooking the best food is to know just how prepare the wood, and how much wood should be added to the smoker once started.

You want the wood to burn slowly at a nice even temperature.

You want to maintain a steady smoke and a temperature between 220 and 260 degrees F. at the surface of the food. Ideally, stay as close to 225 degrees F. as you can.

Tip: Have about 8 whole bulbs of garlic soaking; every couple of hours toss a couple of the bulbs into the burn chamber.

Practice makes perfect, so you may have to experiment a bit.

The smoker needs to be heated thoroughly before you add the food and you will need to watch the temperature while you are smoking the food.

The smoking process takes a few hours and the idea is to create a smoke flavor to the food.

You want to place the food in the smoker chamber with the heat temperature between 180 and 200 degrees F. If you are using a gas grill, you may need to place the food as far away from the heat source as possible.

If using wood or charcoal, you must tend to the heat constantly during the smoking.

Use a meat thermometer to make sure smoke cooked foods are done but not overcooked.

It takes practice to know when to adjust the dampers and the flues to keep the temperature at the right level, but this is the key to succulent smoked food!

Smoke cooked foods look differently than other grilled or oven prepared foods. They may be pink or red when completely cooked depending on the type of wood that is used. For example, smoking with apple wood will make chicken look a slightly red.

Experiment with different woods and meats until you find the right combination for your taste.

 

 

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Smoking Woods

 

 

With the large selection of wood available it is hard to know which ones to use. While the traditional BBQ is characterized by the strong sweet smell of mesquite or the pungent flavor of hickory, a whole world of flavors is available. See below

BBQ’s unique flavor comes from cooking with an open fire of charcoal and wood. Enhancing the flavor of the smoke by adding aromatic woods, or herbs and spices, to the charcoal gives any food a distinctive smoked taste.

Each type of wood blends particularly well with certain foods. Below are some combinations that will add excitement to your next meal.

Fruit woods
Apple, cherry and peach wood work beautifully with poultry, game birds and pork. Serve a chutney made from the same fruit to underscore the flavor even more.

Sugar Maple
Sugar maple add a sweet, subtle flavor that enhances the flavor of poultry and game birds. Smoke a pork roast with them for a sensational taste experience.

Pecan
If you like a beautiful golden-brown turkey, pecan is the best. Try it with other poultry products, game birds and pork- for a delicate pecan flavor.

Jack Daniel’s
Made from Jack Daniel’s barrels. Adds a distinctive flavor to beef and poultry.

Woodbridge Vintage Barrel Chips
Made exclusively from recycled 100% American and French Oak wine saturated barrels, which for years have been used in the aging of fine wines. Upon completion of the aging process the five to seven year old barrels are hand selected for recycling into wood smoking chips.

Alder
Long a favorite of Pacific Northwest Indians for cooking fresh salmon, alder chips or chunks impart a delicate, wood-smoke flavor which enhances the natural taste of salmon, swordfish, sturgeon, rainbow trout, and other fish. Also excellent with chicken or pork.

Mesquite
One of the most popular woods in the country, mesquite is a scrubby tree that grows wild in the Southwest. Sweeter and more delicate than hickory, it’s a perfect complement to richly flavored meats such as steak, duck or lamb.

Hickory
The most popular hardwood flavoring in use today, hickory lends a pungent, smoky, bacon-like flavor we associate with Southern-style cooking. Excellent with ham, pork, and beef.

Grapevine cuttings
Traditionally used in the wine-growing regions of Italy and France, grapevine cuttings give a more delicate flavor than hardwoods and are recommended for use with fish and poultry. When used dry, the grapevines produce a quick burst of heat and then smoke lightly to permeate foods with their sweet, wine-hinted flavor.

Herbs and Spices
The uniquely fragrant flavors of rosemary and basil give new life to grilled poultry and fish. Garlic cloves, citrus peels, cinnamon sticks and whole nutmegs can be added to the fire. Water-soak all herbs and spices, dried or fresh, before adding to coals. The seasoning should smolder and smoke, not burn, to a crisp.

Guava Wood
Guava wood has a subtle, semi-sweet aroma. The cut wood is seasoned naturally under the Hawaiian sun for 9-12 months, then hand-split, chipped and packaged to retain maximum flavor. Whether grilling or smoking fresh chicken, pork, fish, lamb or beef, guava wood will complement each flavor differently.

 

 

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How Much Wood to Use?

 

With wood smoke, you are looking for a smoke that is just barely visible.

It is sometimes referred to as the thin blue smoke and is simply that smoke that you have to squint your eyes to see.

It is important to consider airflow when smoking. Good smoke is smoke that is moving around and not trapped inside your smoker!

The way to ensure the smoke is moving is to create a good draft by having an inlet for air and an exit or exhaust for the smoke. This inlet is usually near the firebox area and is sometimes referred to as the intake damper. The exit or exhaust can be a vent in the lid or a pipe protruding out of the top or side of the smoker sometimes referred to as the chimney or stack.

The intake should be at least 1/4 open at all times and the exhaust to be at least 1/2 open to ensure proper air flow.

At any rate, although this is somewhat dependent on the individual smoker, NEVER close either one all the way. You will immediately stop the airflow and the smoke will begin to create creosote on the food and the inside walls of your smoker.

This will most certainly ruin the food for this smoke and future ones due to the buildup within the smoker. If this happens, you will need to thoroughly clean the smoker and re-season it just like you did when you bought it new. Bottom line, keep the air / smoke moving for the very best results.

 

 

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To Soak or Not to Soak? That is the Question

 

There is a reason boats are made out of wood and why we use water to put out fires!

It is conventional wisdom that you should soak wood chips and chunks before using them in a charcoal or gas grill or smoker. All the books say so. All the TV shows say so. The guys over at amazingribs.com experimented with soaking a bunch of different wood, chucks and chips and after 24 hours of soaking , the water barely penetrated solid wood and slightly penetrated the cracks. Most books recommend soaking for only an hour or two. So if the water barely penetrates the wood after 24 hours, what good is 60 minutes?

 

What happens to wet wood on a grill?

 

There’s another good reason to not soak your wood. If you toss dripping wet wood on hot coals, the water on the surface can cool off the coals. But as mentioned above, the key to good outdoor cooking is to control your temperature. The goal is to get to a target temp and hold there.

Let’s say the coals or gas jets are 1,000°F on their surface. If the wood surface is wet the wood cannot heat much beyond 212°F, water’s boiling point, until it evaporates by turning to steam. The temp sticks there.

In a grill or smoker, the wood temp will not rise much above 212°F until the water steams off. After the water is driven off, the wood starts to warm and when the surface hits the combustion point, about 575°F, it begins giving off gases. It can then combust and produce smoke.

You might think you see “smoke” when you toss on wet wood, but it is really steam.

One more reason not to soak. Not all smoke is the same. As said before, the best tasting smoke is practically invisible, thin, and pale blue. Blue smoke is better than white, gray, or black, by far. Blue smoke depends on dry wood and a hot fire.

Tip: Some people have problems with chips catching on fire when they throw them on the coals. To prevent this and improve smoke quality, try making a smoke packet by wrapping the wood in foil and poking holes in the foil. Or switch to chunks. You may have to experiment with the number of holes.

 

 

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Smoking Food on a Gas Grill

 

If you are adding smoking wood to a gas grill then you need to arrange to keep the wood isolated from the fire. You don’t want the wood to burn too fast and you don’t want the ash to collect in your gas grill. There are several devices on the market for holding smoking wood chips in your gas grill;

The most common is a cast iron box that fits under the cooking grate and above the burners. A “V Shaped Smoker Box” was designed for your gas grill and works great! It has been expressly constructed to fit between the flame deflector bars of most gas grills which provides direct contact with the heat source for rapid heat up and smoke flavor.

This will help accelerate the smoking of your wood chips and save space on the cooking surface and better yet, all the ashes stay in the smoker box keeping your grill clean and ready to go.

There is even a top hinge for convenient refilling.

The secrets of gas grill smoking are indirect heat and temperature control. In order to smoke successfully, your grill needs to have at least two burners, and it should have a temperature gauge.

Here’s the low-down on what you’ll need…

A gas grill with two or more individually controlled burners under the grate, positioned either side-by-side, or front-to-back. You will place your foil wrapped smoking wood over the left-side burner, and your meat on the right side of the grill. (Or wood in back, meat in front.)

A temperature gauge mounted in the lid. It’s important that you know what the temperature is inside the grill.

If your grill has cast iron grates, it’s important that they are seasoned correctly. This will help prevent the foods from sticking as they smoke, and prevent rust from forming. After cleaning the cast iron grate, coat all sides with vegetable oil, and heat them over low heat in the grill for 30 minutes. Brush on another coat of oil before each grilling session.

I know what you are thinking, “Then how do I keep wood chips from catching fire in my grill or smoker?” As we learned in science class, fire needs air, heat and fuel to burn. The way to limit the chips from catching fire too quickly is to minimize the air to the chips. As mentioned before, it’s best to wrap the chips in a foil pouch and then just poke a few small holes in the top of the of the pouch to let the smoke out. If done correctly it will never catch on fire. Place the wood packages directly over the burner you’ll be using, positioned under the grate and directly on top of the lava rocks or the metal shield. Turn the burner on and set it to medium or medium-high. You’ll need to experiment in order to determine where to start with your grill.

When you see your gas grill smoking, place the food on the grate, opposite the smoking wood, and close the cover. Maintain the temperature at 225 F to 250 F degrees until the food is done.

This method works great and all you have to do is throw out the foil packet once it’s cooled down.

Another option is to use wood chunks. With wood chunks you can just place them in a foil pouch directly over a burner just as you would with the wood chip smoker pouch.

The great thing about cooking with smoke is all the experimentation it allows you to do. There all kinds of different woods you can use in different combinations. I suggest you start with oak, it’s a good mild wood that won’t overpower your cooking and will get you started on the journey of cooking with smoke. Now you have no excuse not to try smoking on a gas grill!

 

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Smoking Food on a Charcoal Grill

 

If you’re just starting out BBQ smoking, you might have heard of the term “Minion Method” once or twice. If you’re already familiar with the term and have used the method, you know that it’s far superior to what the manual tells you to do. If you’re serious about smoking your own BBQ and you want to use charcoal as your heat source you definitely want to know the Minion Method.

The Minion Method is basically a way of setting up the charcoal so that it burns longer, more steady, and more consistent. In general, you won’t have to keep adding more fuel during the cooking process, so it’s perfect for overnight cooking sessions. To top it all off, you can start cooking relatively quickly. If done correctly, it should last anywhere from 6-18 hours at around 225-275 degrees F–perfect for the low and slow meats like brisket and pulled pork. The Minion Method is not meant for smoking at temps of higher than 300 degrees F.

 

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Basics of Setting Up the Minion Method:

 

Fill the charcoal chamber to the top with unlit charcoal briquettes

Spread several fist-sized chunks of wood at the bottom (and/or the top) of the charcoal

Fill the chimney starter about halfway with charcoal, light up

When the burning charcoal starts to turn white ash, dump on top of the unlit charcoal

There you have it. The Minion Method.

 

Minion Method of fire control. Invented by Jim Minion, this is a clever technique of maintaining constant temp for a long time by filling the basket part way with unlit coals and then you pour hot coals on top. The hot coals slowly ignite the coals below them and the temperature remains remarkably steady for long periods of time. Jim Minion, a caterer who invented the technique, started by pouring a Weber chimney fill of unlit coals (80 briquettes) into the grill or smoker and buried about three chunks of wood in the pile. Then put 1/2 a Weber chimney (40 briquettes) of hot coals on top of cold coals, and a lump of wood on top. The exact number of coals will vary depending on the brand you use, the smoker, and the weather.

Harry Soo from Slap Yo Daddy BBQ likes to make a “crater” with his Minion Method. He piles as much charcoal on the sides, almost playing a little game of balance, while leaving a hole in the middle. Then he fills the hole with fully-lit, ash-colored charcoal. That way, the charcoal slowly burns from the inside out.

Now of course, as in the case of BBQ Philosophy, everyone has their own ways of doing things. I like to put a few chunks of wood on top of the charcoal, because I feel that the wood flavor penetrates the meat a lot more at the beginning stages vs. towards the end of the smoking process. Since charcoal is relatively cheap, I much rather put more charcoal at first vs. having to end up re-filling down the line.

There are also those with distinct taste buds, who say they don’t like the idea of smoking with unlit charcoal because it gives off a weird taste. They also say that it’s unhealthy because unlit charcoal briquettes has that chemical taste that needs to be initially burned off (thus turning into the ashy, grey-color). Personally, I’ve smoked BBQ in all different methods and I really can’t tell the difference in taste. That’s part of the fun about BBQ — there is no right or wrong, whatever works for you, just go with it.

 

 

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Using Charcoal for Long Cooks

 

Part of the problem with charcoal is that it starts cold, heats up rapidly, hits a peak, and then slowly cools as the fuel is consumed.

But it is important to keep the temp of your grill or smoker constant. There are several clever solutions. The core concept of them all is that you put lit coals on top of unlit coals, or vice versa, or side by side, and the ignition of the new coals synchronizes with the death of old coals.

They work well with one noteworthy problem. Freshly lit coals put out a lot of smoke, and it is thick white smoke, not the thin blue smoke that makes the best flavor.

 

The fuse method

To light the fuse, known as the snake, C, or U method, you put the coals in a C or U shape, ignite one end, and walk away. It works remarkably well. Here is how it looks on a

Weber Kettle or a bullet smoker.

 

 

There are also those with distinct taste buds, who say they don’t like the idea of smoking with unlit charcoal because it gives off a weird taste. They also say that it’s unhealthy because unlit charcoal briquettes has that chemical taste that needs to be initially burned off (thus turning into the ashy, grey-color). Personally, I’ve smoked BBQ in all different methods and I really can’t tell the difference in taste. That’s part of the fun about BBQ — there is no right or wrong, whatever works for you, just go with it.

 

 

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Tips for smoking on a Charcoal Grill

 

 

NEVER use liquid charcoal starter unless you want your meat to taste like lighter fluid!

Monitor temperature by adding 8 to 10 fresh briquettes at a time.

Keep the heat at about 225 F and resist the temptation to constantly peek under the hood. Heat and smoke escape each time you open the lid, sacrificing aroma and flavor while extending the cooking time. Remember, barbeque is a “low and slow” process.

Start with a small amount of wood to see how you like the flavor, then add more for a more intense smoky taste. Don’t overdo it though, and don’t add wood after the first half of the smoking process. Adding wood too late can impart a bitter flavor to the meat and ruin your barbecue, and most importantly, after your food reaches around 150 F, it doesn’t absorb smoke anyway.

Because a pan full of charcoal produces a limited supply of heat, you will need to preserve as much heat inside the cooker as possible. Heat will be lost by removing the lid to check your food, so resist this temptation as much as possible.

Excessive wind will also make the charcoal burn faster, so try to place your smoker where wind is minimized. If necessary, you can build a temporary windbreak to help control the loss of heat created by the wind chill factor. This is important since temperatures must be in the 225 F to 250 F to properly smoke your meat. Remember, as the air temperature falls, the chilling effect of any wind that is present increases as does your fuel consumption.

When smoke cooking large quantities of food, be careful to adjust the airflow vents so that the fire will not cook too hot and burn out too soon. Never close the airflow vents completely unless you want to extinguish your fire. You can monitor your cooking temperature with a temperature gauge inserted in the lid of the smoker.

When cooking large cuts of meats such as turkeys, hams and large roasts, place the food at the far end of the cooking chamber away from the fire. This will allow the food to smoke cook more slowly over a longer period of time. If the temperature begins to decline before you have finished the smoking process, add more fuel until the temperature rises to the desired level.

It might sound obvious, but if you cook with charcoal, you need to have a plan on what you are going to do after the cook. Properly disposing of used charcoal is more than simply sending it to the landfill. You can get much more use out of it and if you BBQ as much as I do, you can save money too.

The first and most important thing you need to do with the charcoal that you use, is to allow the coals to burn out completely and let ashes cool at least 48 hours before doing anything with it.

 

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Smoking With Gas and Electric Smokers

 

There are two types of gas smokers categorized according to the fuel they use. One is propane smoker and the other one is the natural gas smoker. In using a propane gas smoker, you will have the advantage of having twice the energy it can give compared to a natural gas. Propane-fueled smokers are very convenient and portable, but you need to be careful and make sure that the propane tank is situated away from the smoker because the smoker tends to be extremely hot during the operation.

Natural gas smokers, on the other hand, are best and safe for home use since they can just be connected to the natural gas supply in your homes. And the best thing about using a gas smoker is that you are using a clean gas burning fuel, so there will be no worry in cleaning ashes. They are also easy to light and can easily maintain the temperature in a click.

Advantages of a Gas or Electric Smoker

Many people prefer an electric smoker to the traditional wood and charcoal type. It is easier to use and also simpler to start up. There is no need to get the charcoal lit, and the temperature is more even. Many charcoal smokers provide varying temperatures as the coals burn and are topped up. Not only that, but air flow through traditional smokers is not always consistent and you tend to get much wider temperature differences between the bottom and top sections of smokers such as bullet smokers and ovens.

An electric smoker offers more even and consistent heat and airflow, and you tend to get the same results consistently each time you cook. You can set the temperature you want and the thermostat will provide that, and you can also walk away and leave it because there are no coals to burn away and the oven switches itself off after the allotted time.

You can get thermometers or thermocouples that retain the maximum temperature reached in their memory, so you can also check that the proper meat temperature has been reached without having to be there continuously. In that respect electric smokers are generally safer from a cooking point of view.

Some people believe that electric smokers don’t give the same flavor as the traditional types, but why not? You get the smoke and flavor from the wood not the charcoal, and if you use the right type of wood for the meat, such as hickory with pork and ham, or maple for poultry then you get as good if not better results with the electric smoker because the temperature is more even.

In summary, electric smokers are significantly more convenient, offer more regular results day in day out and the flavor and smoke will also be more regular because it is not tainted by the charcoal. The electric smoker is also easier to keep clean and generally healthier because of its ability to maintain a set temperature throughout the cooking cycle.

 

Just Remember, never use a smoker indoors; fumes from the charcoal and wood are toxic. Always follow smoker operating instructions and safety warnings found in the owner’s manual.

 

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Using a Smoking Gun

 

 

The Smoking Gun makes your kitchen and bar creations appealing and unique. There are virtually no other methods that allow you to make such big flavor and aroma differences so easily. The Smoking Gun offers an alternative to traditional smoking methods.

Today turning even salads, chocolate, meringue, sauces, butters and fruit into unique new culinary sensations is possible by adding a measured amount of natural, cool smoke. The Smoking Gun makes adding flavors and adjusting their intensities easy. Your selection of combustibles including various types of wood chips, teas, herbs, spices and even hay and dried flowers is limited only by your imagination. The durable, hand-held Smoking Gun operates on just four AA batteries allowing you to experiment and create signature culinary creations at extremely low cost per serving. Simply fill the Smoking Gun chamber with your choice of combustible, turn it on, light with a match or lighter and apply the smoke where you want it.

There are a few ways to add smoke to cocktails. The first is to use an intrinsically smoky ingredient, like single malt scotch or pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika). Another is to infuse the drink with actual wood smoke.

When choosing your ingredients, aim for smoky spirits. Scotch whisky — the ultimate smoky spirit — owes it distinctive iodine-smoke flavor to peat. Or try mescal, which is made in Mexico’s Oaxaca region by smoking the hearts of agave and other cacti.

A handheld smoker is the latest weapon in a barman’s arsenal, and smoked cocktails are turning up at cutting edge bars from Brooklyn to San Francisco.
According to master mixologist, Dale DeGroff and his book The Essential Cocktail smoke adds a richness, complexity, and depth of flavor that can make a respectable cocktail great and a great cocktail a work of art.

Smoke guns come in two basic models, but both work on a similar principle. You load in the hardwood sawdust of your choice, turn on the fan, and shoot smoke into your favorite cocktail. Excellent just got better.

 

Weapon #1: The Smoking Gun by PolyScience. It looks like a black plastic handheld hair drier. You put hardwood sawdust in the smoke chamber. Switch on the battery-powered fan and light the sawdust with a match. For smoking cocktails and other beverages, a rubber tube fits on the end of the Smoking Gun: simply insert it in the liquid. Cover the glass or bowl with plastic wrap and fill with smoke. Repeat as necessary.

Weapon #2: The Aladin Smoker. Shaped like an upright metal cylinder, the Aladin has a fan in the bottom section, a sawdust holder at the top and a smoke chamber with a flexible plastic hose for directing the smoke.

 

So how do you actually smoke a cocktail with wood smoke?

Smoke your drink ingredients. There are so many ingredients you can smoke for your drinks from lemons to brown sugar and even the ice cubes that you pour your concoctions over. (recipes below)

Coat the inside of the glass with smoke flavor. Fill an inverted bar glass with smoke. Tightly cover the glass with a coaster and turn it back over. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the cocktail and serve immediately, with the glass still smoking. Try the Dragon’s Breath (recipe below).

Infuse smoke directly into the cocktail. Mix your drink in a bar shaker or glass. Cover the top with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open for the rubber smoking tube. Insert the tube all the way to the bottom of the drink. Fire the smoking gun to fill the shaker with smoke. Quickly remove the hose and seal the top of the shaker with plastic. Let stand for 3 to 4 minutes, then uncover and stir in the smoke with a bar spoon. Repeated as needed to achieve the desired degree of smokiness.

Smoke a large batch of cocktails at once. Place your ingredients in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Insert the smoking hose and smoke and stir as described above.
Smoke your ice cubes. (recipe below)

 

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Ingredients for Smoked Drinks

 

Smoked Lemon – For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Toss a wood pack or smoke box (see above) over the coals. Place 8 lemon halves, cut sides up on the grill rack. Cover and grill about 20 minutes or until lemons are softened and peels are slightly browned. For a gas grill heat grill to medium and adjust for indirect cooking. Add a wood pack or V-shaped box chips and use the method above.

Smoked Graham Crackers – fill a 9×5 inch foil pan one-quarter full with ice, then stack another pan on top and fill with 12 graham crackers. Arrange medium hot coals around the edges of the Toss a wood pack or smoke box (see above) over the coals. Place stacked pans on rack in the center of the grill. Cover and smoke 8-10 minutes or until the crackers have a smoky aroma. For a gas grill, heat grill to medium and adjust for indirect cooking. Add a wood pack or V-shaped box chips and use the method above.

Smoked Jalapenos – Arrange medium hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Toss a wood pack or smoke box (see above) over the coals. Place jalapeno peppers on grill over drip pan. Cover and smoked for 15-20 minutes or until peppers are lightly browned. For a gas grill, heat grill to medium and adjust for indirect cooking. Add a wood pack or V-shaped box chips and use the method above.

Smoked Ice Cubes – arrange medium hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Toss a wood pack or smoke box (see above) over the coals. Place ice cubes in a 9×5 disposable foil pan. Place pan on grill rack above the drip pan. Cover and grill for 30 minutes. Remove foil pan and cool. Pour water into ice cube trays and freeze for at least 8 hours or until firm. For a gas grill, heat grill to medium and adjust for indirect cooking. Add a wood pack or V-shaped box chips and use the method above.

Smoked Brown Sugar – arrange medium hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Toss a wood pack or smoke box (see above) over the coals. Place 1 cup of brown sugar cubes in a small disposable foil pan. Cover and grill about 15 minutes or until sugar starts to caramelize on the surface. For a gas grill, heat grill to medium and adjust for indirect cooking. Add a wood pack or V-shaped box chips and use the method above. Remove and cool. Pulse in food processor until cubes are pulverized.

Bacon – Infused Rye – The first thing you need to do is to know the difference between bourbon, scotch, whiskey, and rye. Then in a wide-mouthed screw-top jar combine 1 cup rye and 2 slices of cooled crisp bacon. Cover and gently swirl jar for 20 seconds. Let stand at room temp for 6 hours or until rye develops a bacon flavor to your liking. Swirling occasionally. Remove and discard bacon. To infuse a 750 btl, use 6 slices of bacon and a pitcher and infuse as above.

 

 

 

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Smoked Drinks

 

 

Smoked Bacon Rye Sour


INGREDIENTS

Smoked Lemon (recipe above)
Smoked Ice Cubes (recipe above)
2 ounces Bacon – Infused Rye (1/4 cup) (recipe above)
¾ ounces pure maple Syrup 1 ½ tablespoons

 

PREPARATION

Squeeze a Smoked Lemon and measure ¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) of juice.
Fill a cocktail shaker half-full with smoked ice cubes.
Add Bacon-Infused Rye, syrup and the lemon juice.
Cover and shake until very cold.
Strain into a cocktail glass filled with smoked ice cubes.

Smoked Bacon Rye Sour for Eight:

In a pitcher, combine the juice from 4 smoked lemons (3/4 cup), 2 cups Bacon-Infused Rye, and ¾ cup maple syrup.

Serve in cocktail glasses filled with smoked ice cups.

 

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Toasted Smores Cocktail

 

INGREDIENTS

Smoked Ice Cubes
½ cup chocolate liqueur
2 ounces marshmallow vodka (1/4 cup)
¼ cup whipping cream
Chocolate curls
Smoked Graham Crackers (recipe above)

 

PREPARATION

Fill a cocktail shaker hall full with Smoked Ice Cubes.
Add chocolate Liqueur, vodka and ¼ cup of whipping cream.
Cover and shake until very cold
Strain into a glass filled with smoked ice cubes
Garnish with chocolate curls and a smoked graham cracker piece.

MAKES 2 DRINKS.

 

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Smoky Maria

INGREDIENTS

1 Smoked Lemon
Smoked Ice Cubes
4 ounces pureed fire-roasted tomatoes or tomato juice (1/2 cup)
2 ounces tequila
3 dashes Smoked Chipotle Tabasco
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Smoked jalapeno (see recipe above)

 

PREPARATION

Squeeze Smoked Lemon and measure 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) juice.
Fill a cocktail shaker half full with smoked ice cubes.
Add the lemon juice, pureed tomatoes, tequila, tabasco sauce and worchestershire.
Cover and shake until very cold.
Strain into highball glass filled with smoked ice cubes.
Garnish with a smoked jalapeno.

 

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Smokin’ Sidecar


INGREDIENTS

Smoked Lemon
Smoked Brown Sugar (recipe above)
Smoked Ice Cubes
2 ounces cognac (1/4 cup)
1 ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur (2 tbs)

 

PREPARATION

Wet cocktail glass rim with smoked lemon half.
Sprinkle smoked brown sugar in a dish, dim rim into sugar to coat.
Squeeze a smoked lemon half and measure ½ ounce (1 Tbs).
Fill a cocktail shaker half full with smoked ice cubes.
Add Cognac, the lemon juice, and Cointreau.
Cover and shake until very cold.
Strain into prepared glass over additional smoked ice cubes.

Smoky Sidecar for eight:

In a pitcher combine 2 cups Cognac, 1 cup Cointreau, and ½ cup squeezed smoked lemon juice.
Stir to combine. Serve In cocktail glasses over smoke ice cubes.

 

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Smoked Rub & Rye

 

INGREDIENTS

Mesquite salt or your favorite barbecue dry rub spice mixture
Smoked Ice Cubes
1.5 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
.75 oz Smoked Lemon juice
.75 oz Maple syrup
1 oz Egg white
5 oz Scaldis Pêche Mel beer
5 drops Barbecue bitters

 

PREPARATION

Coat the rim of a pint or double Old Fashioned glass with mesquite salt or dry rub.
Fill halfway with smoked ice and set aside.
Add the rye, lemon juice, maple syrup and egg white to a shaker and fill with ice.
Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared glass.
Top with the beer and bitters, and garnish with a piece of beef jerky.
Click here for original recipe

 

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Smoky Martini

 

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces really good gin (like Hendrick’s)
1 ounce dry white vermouth (like Noilly Prat)
2 drops liquid smoke
1 cup ice cubes
1/2-inch wide strip of lemon zest (remove it from the lemon with a vegetable peeler)

 

PREPARATION

Get 1 martini glass, chilled in the freezer or with ice.
Combine the gin, vermouth, liquid smoke, and ice in a shaker glass and stir vigorously. Strain into the martini glass.
Hold the lemon zest shiny side down about 2 inches above the martini. Squeeze the zest to release the oils, then light a match and hold it under the zest, which will flambe when they hit the match flame. Drop the zest into the martini and serve at once.

 

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Agave Smoked Heaven

 

INGREDIENTS

Smoked Ice Cubes
1 ounce mescal (preferably Sombra)
1 ounce white tequila (preferably Two Fingers)
1 ounce freshly squeezed smoked lime juice (same recipe as smoked lemon above, but smoke for less time)
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) Strega (liqueur)
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) agave syrup
Celery bitters or bitters of choice

 

PREPARATION

 

Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer or with smoked ice cubes.
Combine the mescal, tequila, lime juice, Strega, and agave syrup in a bar shaker with 1 cup ice cubes. Shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a dash or two of celery bitters and serve.

Tip: One good brand of Celery bitters is Frye Brothers.

 

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Smoky Manhattan

 

INGREDIENTS

Smoked Ice Cubes
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) rye whiskey or bourbon
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) red vermouth (one good brand is Dolin)
2 drops bitters (preferably Angostura)
1 to 2 teaspoons smoky Scotch whisky, like Laphroaig or Lagavulin
Maraschino cherry

 

PREPARATION

Fill a martini glass with ice to chill it.
Place the rye or bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker.
Add 1 cup of smoked ice to the shaker.
Stir the Manhattan until the shaker cup is painfully cold, 30 seconds.
Dump and discard the ice from the glass and strain the Manhattan into the glass. Carefully spoon the Scotch whisky on top so it floats. Garnish with the maraschino cherry and serve.

 

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FANFOOD 4TH OF JULY BBQ PARTY GUIDE

 

Whether you’re lighting up the grill on the 4th of July or waiting for the weekend, a good BBQ takes planning. So, if you’re having a few friends over and enjoying some cold ones to celebrate the 4th, start getting your game plan together now. Of course, if you’re like us, you don’t just want to throw a good BBQ, you want to throw the best damn barbecue the free land has ever seen. Here’s how to do it:

When cooking for a large gathering make sure you prepare something for everyone. Throw on a couple of Hot Dogs for the kids while you are grilling the rest. In fact, try getting the kids fed first to alleviate their hunger for summer foods and let them finish off with someflag fudge.

 

Cooking and Recipes

When putting together a meal decide the best way to prepare the dishes quickly and easily. Start off with some great appetizers for the grill or other appetizers.

If you want tradition then you need a good recipe for Potato Salad, Cole Slaw or Barbecue Beans. There are over 250 recipes on this site for you to choose from to create a great menu for your 4th of July Party.

 

FANFOOD RECIPES

 

Appetizers | Marinades | Rubs | Chili | Vegetables | Sandwiches

Pizza | Meats | Sauces | Breakfast | Desserts | Holiday | Drinks |

Equipment & Technique |

 

Vegetarians at a BBQ? 

If you or some of your guests are vegetarians you can still do some 4th of July entertaining, only vegetarian style. Vegetarian grilling can be more than just veggie burgers, but you will be a success if you make them from scratch.

 

Desserts

Remember to cool things off with some Frozen Delights or go the extra mile with Italian ice cream. There is a lot you can do with desserts like a nice dish of dirt, Summery Fruit Candies or a margarita pie.

 

Drinks

Don’t forget the iced tea, or even the iced coffee. Coordinate your drinks with the meal and the season. A nice Sangria will go great with grilled foods. There are also a lot of cool,refreshing summer cocktails you can choose from. You might even what to check out some patriotic drinks for this July 4th. Of course no great cookout is complete without beer. What you need to make this even particularly patriotic is a good selection of beers. Refresh your knowledge of all things whiskey. You will know what you are talking about.

 

FANFOOD BBQ Tips & Tricks:

Here are some tips that will ensure you’ll be the perfect barbecue host

  • Keep all your barbecuing tools handy – tongs, chopping boards, insulated gloves, brushes ect. Have a plan to light your charcoal, and don’t use lighter fluid, nobody wants to taste it. Always use natural charcoal free of additives.
  • Never mix together different raw foods (i.e. fish and chicken) in the same marinade. Always keep in separate containers. Use separate chopping boards and utensils for handling raw and cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination
  • Remove meat and poultry from the fridge an hour before cooking and leave covered in a cool kitchen until required. This will help bring the food back to an ambient temperature, and will result in a more succulent cooked result.
  • Always know how many guests you are expecting and make sure you are seated near to the kitchen. This means you won’t be barging past your guests when going to and from the house.
  • Keep plenty of iced water handy – particularly if you’re barbecuing on a hot day. If you stick with the beer or wine your guests will soon be dehydrated (and you maybe too tipsy to tend the barbecue).
  • Prepare dressings for salads and marinades for the barbecue in advance to be one step ahead of yourself. You can even make your very own mayonnaise. Meat & Poultry will benefit from marinating overnight in the refrigerator rather than for an hour just prior to barbecuing, so do as much preparation ahead of time as possible.
  • Have a good link to a weather website, preferably one with live doppler radar, so you know what is coming and when.
  • If you’re having a barbecue at night, don’t forget to consider the lighting.
  • Check with your guests if they have any special dietary requirements.
  • Burning citrus candles is a great way to keep the bugs at bay and stop them biting your guests, especially if you’re serving any sweet food or drinks.
  • If you’re having an afternoon barbecue, make sure there’s plenty of shade to avoid sticky sun burnt guests.
  • Pork, sausages, burgers and chicken in particular, must always be cooked through to the center. It might look cooked on the outside but can still be raw in the middle. Check by piercing the thickest part with the point of a sharp knife. If the juices run clear then the meat is ready. Any sign if pink juices will require further cooking. Get yourself a digital thermometer, it’ll come in handy, trust me.
  • Be aware of wind direction and the proximity of neighbors when placing your BBQ.
  • Clean your charcoal barbecue after each use, once the grill has cooled down – a wire brush and warm soapy water is all that is needed – little and often is secret. Your gas barbecue can be cleaned by simply burning off the grill for 10 minutes. Have a plan for your used charcoal.

Schedule a couple of days to go shopping for the items on your lists. Here is a simple countdown to take you through the final two weeks leading up to the big day.

Two Weeks Before:

- Confirm your guest list, order your beef if fresh and give out specific assignments to guests that are contributing meals.
- Finalize your shopping lists.
- Inventory your table and kitchen supplies.
- Make arrangements to borrow or rent any items that you lack.

One Week Before:

- Purchase wine, beer, soft drinks.
- Shop for non-perishables.
- Select music.
- If using frozen meats, plan the day to begin to thaw. The rule of thumb is to allow one day for every five pounds of meat.
- Make a plan for cleaning your house, particularly the rooms that will likely be seen by guests. De-clutter the messiest rooms first.

Two Days Before:

- Purchase all perishable ingredients.
- Begin cleaning and chopping any vegetables for the dips and side dishes.
- Bake and freeze any pies or other desserts that can be frozen.
- Prepare recipes such as dips, marinades, sauces. Make a written plan for cooking your meal.

One Day Before:

- Clean the bathroom, dust and vacuum all rooms guests will be using, especially the dining room and kitchen and back deck.
- Set the table if you are setting up a buffet; take out all of the serving pieces.
- Finish preparing and bake your pies.
- Prepare and refrigerate salads.

Day of the Party:

- Ask someone to pick up any bread or rolls or ice you may need.
- Finish preparing appetizers, first courses, and/or side dishes.
- Turn on your music.
- Take fifteen minutes before guests arrive to freshen yourself and relax.
- Welcome guests.
- Start Cooking
- Set out the food, and count your blessings!

Preparing a BBQ doesn’t need to stressful. Many dishes can be prepared many hours in advance of the meal. Some preparations benefit from sitting for a time before being served. Even if the whole dish cannot be completed early in the day, the preparation of the ingredients can be. Ingredients can be cleaned, cut, blanched, and otherwise made ready for their final cooking.

Plan Ahead

If you decide what to cook early, have all ingredients on hand, and cook some of the meal ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of stress. On the day before you can make your pies, and prepare and refrigerate salads.

Simplify Cooking

If you can take shortcuts, take them. For example, you can buy pre-made dips, and marinades, and bake pies purchased from the store.

Try Fewer Side Dishes

It’s a lot of fun to have a feast, and there are many creative recipes this time of year, but if you cut down on side dishes, you can save yourself quite a bit of time and effort. Just pick a side and vegetable or two, and make a lot of them. This way, while there’s less variety, there’s plenty of food.

Let Others Help

Another fun way to simplify your meal is to let others help with the side dishes. If you’re having other people come, you can just let everyone bring a side dish or dessert while you supply the meat. If you’re only cooking for your own household, you can let everyone in the house be responsible for one side. This lets everyone feel good that they’ve contributed to the joy of the feast.

Final Tips

Try to relax and enjoy your guests. Accept help when it’s volunteered – you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to build those long-cherished memories. Many times it’s the little imperfections that nestle into the warmest spot of your heart.

Perhaps more important than hosting a BBQ, observing the 4th evokes a special feeling of pride and patriotism, celebrated with 4th of July fireworks shows, parades and displaying the American flag.

After all, it was patriot John Adams himself who declared in 1776 that the 4th of July should always ” be commemorated ….with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

 

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