Vegetable Grilling Guide
You can smoke almost any vegetable – here is a list of a few of our favourites - the ones that really shine when infused with smoky flavor over a low heat, and our suggestion for grilling them.
|VEGETABLE||PREPARATION||APPROXIMATE COOKING TIME|
|Zucchini||Thickly sliced||1 ½ hours|
|Peppers||Halved and Seeded||1 ½ hours|
|Eggplant||Thickly sliced||1 ½ hours|
|Squash (Butternut or Acorn)||Halved and Seeded||3-4 hours|
|Garlic||Whole||1 ½ hours|
|Corn on the Cob||In husk, with outer silk removed||1 ½ hours|
|Asparagus||Tough ends snapped||½ hour|
|Mushrooms||Wiped clean, ends trimmed||1 hour|
|Cauliflower||Cut into large florets||1 hour|
|Sweet Potatoes||Peeled and thickly sliced||1 ½ hours|
|Onions||Quartered||1 ½ hours|
With this method your vegetables are not only smoky, but are also very sweet and have a creamy texture. You can scatter a few vegetables around the smoker any time you use it for meats or other dishes. This way you have the base for pizzas, salads or soups.
Smoking Wood Guide
Smoking is another seasoning to add to grilled favourites. Like spices, different woods impart very different flavours – from the intense, spicy notes of mesquite and hickory, to the sweet and fragrant notes of apple and cherry.
|Mesquite||Pungent, Smoky, Spicy||Beef, Pork|
|Hickory||Pungent, Smoky||Beef, Lamb, Pork|
|Whiskey||Spicy, Smoky||Pork, Poultry, Beef|
|Maple||Sweet, Smoky||Pork, Poultry|
|Pecan||Rich, Flavourful||Pork, Poultry, Lamb|
|Cherry||Sweet, Smoky||Pork, Poultry|
|Apple||Sweet, Smoky||Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Cheeses|
|Alder||Mild, Smoky||Lamb, Pork|
|Cedar||Bright, Spicy, Smoky||Seafood, Cheeses|
If you’ve never done any smoking before, don’t overdo it – start with a small amount of wood chips (1/2 cup or so), and soak them in liquid for at least ½ hour. Drain the wood chips, and then scatter them directly on top of the smoldering coals.
TIPS FOR USING THE KEG AS A SMOKER
SETTING UP THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
- Low Temperature:
- Keg should be set up to cook at temperatures between 225 and 275°F for at least 5 hours.
- The lid on the Keg should be kept closed
- Use the diffuser kit to add moisture to your cooking environment and help maintain the temperature
- Use wood or wood chips to impart that smoky barbecue flavour into whatever you are cooking.
- It is very important to soak wood chips for 20 – 30 minutes before use. Adding dry chips to a hot grill will often cause unwanted fire. The smoke from fully burnt wood chips will add an acrid, bitter taste.
- Add wood 5 – 10 minutes before putting your meat on the grill – raw meats take on smoky flavours much better than even slightly cooked meats. Having a smoky environment to start will enhance and deepen the flavours.
- Once the outer portion of the meat has begun to developed a crusts, it is very hard to increase the ‘smokiness’ of what’s on the grill. For more info on choosing the right wood see our Smoking Wood Guide.
LAYERING THE FLAVOURS
The key to successful smoking is to create complex flavours in the food that stand up to the rich smokiness created while cooking in the Keg. We accomplish this by layering on flavours. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, but layering often looks like this:
- Rub meat with a layer of yellow mustard, then pat on dry rub and let sit for an hour to develop a crust.
- This step allows the vinegar in the mustard to tenderize the meat and helps the rub stick to the meat so that a crust forms while in the smoker.
- This helps develop the wonderful flavour of the spices and seals in moisture.
- Mop or spray the meat while in the smoker every ½ hour.
- This contributes to the flavour development and adds moisture to the food.
- Apply sauce/glaze during the last ½ hour of cooking.
- At this point, the vents are opened to increase the cooking temperature and the meat is basted with a sauce, to give it the final burst of flavour.
- Always allow the food to rest, covered for at least 20 minutes, to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat.
- The same principles can be applied to cooking with vegetables, but more simply, using salt and pepper, simple spices and a fruit juice spray.
- A fun alternative to starting off with a dry rub is to brine the food, such as turkeys, pork chops, to infuse the flavour and moisture directly into the meat.
MAXIMIZING THE COOKING EXPERIENCE
Setting the Keg for smoking requires a bit of planning. Make good use of the time by preparing several things at one time. For example, while smoking a chicken for 4 hours, cut up a variety of vegetables and add them to the upper rack. Set them aside for later in the week, when you can prepare a Smoked Vegetable Pasta Salad or a Smoked Vegetable Coconut Curry Soup.
FOOD SAFETY TIPS
- • Always thoroughly clean all surfaces, utensils, and kitchenware that have come into contact with raw meat
- • After placing raw food on the grill, clean the utensils before using them on cooked food
- • Use separate cutting boards for raw and ready foods
- • The maximum time roasts should be left at room temperature is 1 hour; steaks, chops, chicken and fish, 2 hour
- • Incorporate used marinades into sauces only after boiling the marinade for 5 minutes to kill accumulated bacteria
- • Always use a meat thermometer to determine internal temperature, remembering that this temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests
- • The thermometer is especially critical when using ground meats