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food | home cooking

“Think of smoke as a new flavor for your toolbox,” outdoor cooking pro Jamie Purviance says. See how quickly you can add its savory accent to steak, pasta, and cheese using the grill in your backyard. “Lots of people think

Smoking in a Snap

smoking is just for big, tough cuts of meat,” Jamie says. “But just a few minutes of smoke can fill in the bland holes in several kinds of food that lack flavor.” It’s a good time to give smoking a try because the wood chips you need are widely available in home centers, barbecue shops, and hardware stores. And Jamie has created a foolproof technique for getting great results. It starts with what he calls a “two-zone” fire. FOR CHARCOAL Arrange coals on one side of the charcoal grate and leave the other side empty to create two heat zones. The empty side is for cooking foods that require indirect heat; you can also move food there when you get flare-ups. To smoke, once coals are lit, scatter soaked and well-drained wood chips evenly over the charcoal. Wait for smoke to appear before you begin cooking. FOR GAS Gas grills are a little different because they require preheating to generate smoke, and wood chips need to be contained. You can either purchase a metal smoker box or make your own by placing wood chips in a small foil pan. Cover the top with aluminum foil, then poke holes in the foil to let smoke out. Before you light the grill, remove cooking grates and place the aluminum pan directly on bars, preferably in a back corner. Replace cooking grates, light grill with all the burners on high, and close the lid. If you are using a box, place it on top of the grate, directly over a lit burner. When smoke appears, turn one burner completely off, adjust remainder as directed in the recipe, and begin cooking.

by richard swearinger | recipes jamie purviance food photos tim turner courtesy of weber-stephen products portrait photo bob stefko | background photos blaine moats

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food | home cooking

“Just a short time on smoke makes a

steak much more interesting. But because the smoking time is only a few minutes, you need an assertive wood like mesquite,” Jamie says.
in spots all over, 8 to 10 minutes, turning often. Remove from the grill and set aside. When corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs. Add to the bowl with the potatoes along with the avocado, radishes, scallions, and cilantro. 5. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, minced chile pepper, and garlic. Gradually whisk in the oil. Pour over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate while cooking the steaks. 6. Meanwhile drain and add wood chips to charcoal or to gas grill. Cook the steaks over direct high heat (for flank steak use medium) with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to your desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium rare (8 to 10 minutes for flank steak), turning once or twice (if flare-ups occur, move steaks briefly to cooler side of grill). Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. 7. Cut the steaks across the grain into 1⁄2 -inch slices. Serve immediately with the salad and warm tortillas, if desired. Makes 4 servings. each serving 503 cal, 34 g fat, 85 mg chol, 667 mg sodium, 24 g carb, 5 g fiber, 30 g pro.

Mesquite Skirt Steak with Corn and Potato Salad

Mesquite is the boldest of the smoking woods. This steak cooks quickly, so the flavor never becomes overpowering. smoke intensity Moderate prep 30 min. cook 12 to 16 min.
mesquite skirt steak 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 2 Tbsp. pure chili powder 2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. minced garlic 1 tsp. kosher salt 13⁄4 lbs. skirt or flank steak, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch thick, trimmed of excess surface fat (if too large for your grill, cut into 12-inch sections) corn and red potato salad 1 lb. very small red potatoes, scrubbed 2 ears fresh corn, husked 1 ripe Hass avocado, diced 4 medium radishes, thinly sliced 2 scallions (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced 1 ⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 1 canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, minced 1 garlic clove, minced 1 ⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt Ground black pepper 1 large handful (1 to 11/2 cups) mesquite wood chips, soaked in water at least 30 minutes Flour tortillas (6 inches) (optional)

Join us June 9–10 in Chicago for great food, live music, and classes from grilling experts including Jamie Purviance. Other chefs include restaurateurs Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat Restaurant, Gale Gand of Tru restaurant, and the Hearty Boys. Go to for details.

Save the Date

2012 festival

1. For Mesquite Skirt Steak in a small bowl whisk together all ingredients but steak. Spread paste on both sides of steak. Set aside at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking. 2. For Corn and Red Potato Salad in a medium saucepan cover potatoes with lightly salted water. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Cut each potato in half, transfer to a medium bowl, and refrigerate to cool. 3. Preheat gas or charcoal grill for two-zone fire over high heat (450° to 500°F) as directed on page 167. 4. Brush the cooking grate clean. Cook the corn directly over coals or burners, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the kernels are brown

Go to for Jamie’s guide to hot, spicy, sweet, and tangy grilling rubs.

8 delicious rubs


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food | home cooking
Smoked Artichoke Pasta with Lemony Vinaigrette
“I wanted smoke to be the supporting player in this recipe,” Jamie says. “That’s why only the peppers and artichokes are smoked and I used oak, a moderate wood, to ensure it stays subtle.”

smoke intensity Mild prep 25 min. cook 10 to 12 min.
⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice ⁄4 cup finely chopped Kalamata olives 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves 1 ⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt Ground black pepper 3 medium sweet peppers (red, yellow, and orange), cut into 1⁄4 -inch strips 2 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts (not in marinade) or 12 frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, drained, and quartered 1 ⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp. minced garlic 1 large handful (1 to 1 1/2 cups) oak or hickory wood chips soaked in water at least 30 minutes 8 oz. dried penne pasta 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1⁄4 -inch cubes
1 1

“The key to smoking cheese,” Jamie
Chile con Queso

says, “is getting the smoke on right at the start. Wait to add your food until the smoke is pouring out of the grill.”

Jamie makes this on a water smoker, but we’ve adapted it to a backyard grill. smoke intensity Strong prep 15 min. cook 30 min. to 1 hour
12 oz. Monterey Jack cheese 12 oz. mild cheddar cheese (do not use sharp) 4 large handfuls (4 cups) mesquite wood chips, soaked in water at least 30 minutes 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 1 medium jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano* or oregano 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 12 oz. bag tortilla chips

the way you cut them makes all the difference in the smoke flavor,” Jamie says. “You want the maximum surface area exposed to the smoke.”

“With vegetables,

1. Prepare gas or charcoal grill for two-zone fire over medium heat (350° to 450°F) as directed on page 167 and preheat 12-inch grill pan on the cooking grates. 2. In a medium nonreactive serving bowl whisk lemon juice, olives, and thyme. Continue whisking and drizzle the 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup oil in a steady stream until dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. 3. In a large bowl toss peppers and artichokes with the 1⁄4 cup olive oil and the garlic. 4. Drain and add wood chips to charcoal or to gas grill; close lid. When the wood begins to smoke, arrange the peppers and artichokes in a single layer on the grill pan. Cook over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until slightly charred and softened, 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Wearing insulated barbecue mitts, remove the pan from the grill and set it on a heatproof surface. Transfer the vegetables to the serving bowl with the dressing. 5. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain pasta and add to serving bowl. Add cheese, toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings. each serving 351 cal, 20 g fat, 27 mg chol, 474 mg sodium, 30 g carb, 4 g fiber, 15 g pro.

1. Prepare gas or charcoal grill for two-zone fire over low heat (175°F) as directed on page 167. For charcoal, use 15 briquettes, adding more briquettes if temperature falls below 175°F. 2. In a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet place the blocks of cheese about 2 inches apart. 3. Drain and add wood chunks to grill. When smoke appears, place the skillet on grill away from coals or over unlit burner, cover and cook just until cheeses melt and run together, 30 to 60 minutes. Check occasionally and rotate pan as needed to melt both sides evenly. Do not overcook or cheese will separate. 4. Meanwhile, for salsa, in a medium skillet over medium heat cook onion, jalapeño, and garlic in hot oil until onion softens, 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and oregano; cook until tomatoes give off juices, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with kosher salt. 5. Spoon salsa over the melted cheese in the skillet and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Makes 8 to 10 servings. *Mexican oregano is stronger than regular oregano; find it in supermarkets or at each serving 226 cal, 15 g fat, 33 mg chol, 294 mg sodium, 13 g carb, 1 g fiber, 10 g pro.


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food | home cooking

Jamie’s five rules for smoking success


Start raw. Many of the flavor compounds in smoke are fat- and water-soluble, which means that what you are cooking will absorb smoky flavors best when it is raw. As the surface cooks and dries out, the smoke will not penetrate as well.



Don’t overdo it. The biggest mistake rookies make is adding too much wood to the point the food tastes bitter. The first time you make a recipe try one or two handfuls of chips. You can always go up next time.

White smoke is good; black smoke is bad. Clean streams of whitish smoke can layer your food with the intoxicating scents of smoldering wood. But if your fire lacks enough ventilation (or your food is directly over the fire and its juices are burning), a blackish smoke will result that can taint your food.



Don’t peek. Every time you open a grill, you lose heat and smoke—two of the most important elements for making a great meal. Open the lid only when you really need to tend to the fire.

Keep the air moving. Open the vents on your charcoal grill and position coals on the side opposite the lid vent. The open vents will draw smoke from the charcoal and wood below so that it swirls over your food and out the top properly, giving you the cleanest smoke.

A guide to wood flavors

These are the woods you’ll find in most stores catering to grillers; remember that the amount of time food is exposed to smoke is just as important as the type of wood in determining the smoke intensity of the dish. MILD Alder: Delicate smoke flavor. Good with fish including salmon and sturgeon; also chicken, pork. Apple: Slightly sweet but also dense. Good with beef, poultry, pork—particularly ham. Cherry: Slightly sweet, fruity. Good with poultry, game birds, pork. MODERATE Maple: Nicely smoky, somewhat sweet flavor. Good with poultry, vegetables, ham. Oak: Assertive but pleasing. Good with beef (particularly brisket), poultry, pork. Hickory: Pungent, smoky, baconlike flavor. Good with pork, chicken, beef, wild game, cheeses. Pecan: Rich and more subtle than hickory but similar in taste; burns cool, so ideal for very low-heat smoking. Good with pork, chicken, lamb, fish, cheeses. STRONG Mesquite: In a class by itself—a big, bold smoke bordering on bitter. Good with beef and lamb. n

More recipes from Jamie

These recipes and tips were adapted from Jamie Purviance’s latest book, Weber’s Smoke (Oxmoor House, $22).


bet t er hom e s a n d g a r dens | m ay 2 012 | bhg .com