About darn time

by zydecopaws on September 4, 2009

I can safely say that this is the longest I’ve gone all year without a post about a cook. Since we don’t do excuses here, I won’t bother to explain. What I will do is get back in the swing of things by not only posting about a cook, but also a review of some wine-soaked oak barrel smoke chunks provided by our buddy Tim (@GreenLeafBBQ on Twitter) from GreenLeaf BBQ in Turlock, CA. He sent us two small burlap bags of oak smoke wood, which in a former life did duty as wine barrels.

The smaller of the two bags made its way to the lake with us for the Labor Day weekend and was packed with 1/2 inch chunks of wood with a distinct red wine color and no real smell (other than the burlap) that I could detect.

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After firing up a chimney of standard blue bag Kingsford charcoal and setting up the Weber OTG for indirect grilling, I scattered a double-handful of the chunks over the hot coals. Since I hadn’t soaked them beforehand (never do), they immediately began to smolder and give off a wonderful aroma of oak with just a taste of red wine.

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Dinner tonight is pork chops, grilled potato wedges (think Trashbag Potatoes, only cut bigger), and more fresh green beans in foil. The pork chops were marinated in a mixture of Merlot, soy sauce, fresh ground pepper, and dried ground basil for about an hour before cooking. The potato wedges were drizzled with EVOO and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and some standard barbecue seasoning (you know, the stuff that says “barbecue seasoning” on the label). The beans were made the same as the last two times, only without the mushrooms (we were out).

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It might have been my imagination, but the pork chops seemed to take on a bit of a reddish tint (more so than usual) during the cook. After about 45 minutes the cooking process was complete, and it was time for the real test of the wine-oak smoke wood. The combination made for a colorful and tasty looking plate of food…

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And the results were pretty darn good. The pork chops had a small but discernible smoke ring (they never get too much of one cooked this way) and were very tasty. The oak gave them a bit of extra smoke flavor we don’t get with plain charcoal, although pork chops may not have been the best choice for this treatment as they are a dense lean cut that cooks fairly fast. Next time around I will use more chunks and with a cut of meat that will be cooked a bit slower and be on the grill longer. Having said that, I am looking forward to smoking with this wood as I believe that is where more flavor will be imparted to the meat. Two thumbs up on the wine-soaked oak (because that’s all I have on my hands).

And yes, I know, it’s about darn time…

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