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What is Allspice? How Can I Use it?

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It is often used to substitute cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg but there isn't a single spice that can capture the essence of allspice.

Allspice is often confused with the term ‘mixed spices' but it isn't a spice blend at all. It is a fragrant berry used in both savory and sweet dishes. Curious to know more about allspice? We've got you covered!

What is Allspice?

Allspice is native to Jamaica. It is one of the spices Christopher Columbus encountered on his trip to the island back in 1494. He mistook it for black pepper, the main spice he set out for, which is why the tree that produces allspice is referred to as the pimiento tree (pimiento is Spanish for pepper).

Prized as a preservative and warming agent, allspice is commonly used in food, beverages, candy, perfumes and medicine.

Fun fact: During the Napoleonic wars Russian soldiers sprinkled allspice in their boots to keep their feet warm.

Uses for Allspice

Round and small, allspice is used in Jamaica's famous jerk seasoning.

Its antiseptic qualities made it ideal for the preservation of meat centuries ago. Germans and Scandinavians still use it for that purpose, whether its in sausage making or pickling fish or meats.

Allspice is also an ingredient in some recipes for Mexican chicken mole (such as the one pictured below).

Allspice is featured in the French spice mix quatre épices and is also used to season the classic Greek recipe of stuffed grape leaves.

While it is used in many savory dishes, allspice is famous the world over for its use in pastries. It's found in everything from pumpkin and apple pies to gingerbread cookies.

Allspice is also widely used in the production of soft drinks, flavored rums and liqueurs. It is also popular as a mulling spice.

How to Buy Allspice

When buying allspice, opt for buying it whole. The berries should be round, even textured, dark brown and aromatic. The spice loses a lot of its potency when ground so it is best to grind only when needed.


via Bulgarian Spices

How to Store Allspice

Keep allspice in an airtight container away from light and moisture.

Medicinal benefits of Allspice

Allspice is full of antioxidants and has warming and antiseptic properties. It's been used to treat athlete's foot, alleviate rheumatoid arthritis and ease menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown it can also help lower blood pressure, according to Healing Spices, written by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD and Debora Yost.

Interested in other spices? Get to know more about cardamom.

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Cooking Tips

Seafood Butter Boil

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This is one of those dishes that I make all the time and just assumed that I had documented it for the website. I hadn’t and that’s a shame. This is one of my go-to recipes that can be made in minutes and is absolutely amazing! Did I mention that this is low calorie too? No? Good, because it’s not. I mean, we are cooking seafood (which is pretty healthy) but we are simmering it in butter, wine, herbs and garlic. I guess if you don’t dunk the seafood back in the butter it’s not terrible. My problem is, that utter/wine/herb/garlic sauce is sooooooo good that I dip in it every time. Aaaaaaand that’s why I’m fat.

This recipe can be done with just about any seafood. I’ve done this with scallops, lobster tails, bivalves, chunks of hearty fish, shrimps, prawns (honestly, I have no idea what the difference is between the last two), and all manner of herbs and white wines. There is no wrong answer here. Just go with what you have that looks good. Now let’s get back to this amazing and oh so simple recipe. 

Seafood Butter Boil Ingredients:
2 lbs little neck clams (soaked in tap water to remove the saltiness and any sand)

1.5 lbs U16-U20 shrimp

1.5 lbs mussels (de-bearded and rinsed)

1 lb salted butter

2 tbsp fresh garlic (minced)

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf (optional)

1 cup buttery white wine

The Ingredients
First off, take the clams and put them all into a bowl that they can be completely submerged in tap water. Soak them for 20-30 minutes before cooking. I’d show you some pics of how to do this, but we forgot this step and ours were really salty. Don’t make the same mistake we did!?!

Tip 1: When it comes to any bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters), make sure they are tightly shut or will shut themselves if you tap on the top or bottom. If they don’t close, it means they are dead. Since there is no way of telling if they died 12 seconds ago or 12 hours ago, throw them away. Likewise, after they cook, if any don’t open, don’t serve those either. 
Next up, “de-beard” the clams. Some of the clams will have little hair looking things sticking out of the flat side of the mussel. Pin the hairs between your thumb and a the edge of a butter knife to get a good grip and pry them out of the mussel. We did do this step but nobody got any pics. A quick google search will show you how this is done. 

Now, prepare the grill for medium to medium-high heat (350f-400f degrees), which, in this case is my American Made Grills “Muscle” Grill made by Summerset. I love this grill because it is not only super high quality and made in American, but also I can use it as a gas grill (as I did here) or charcoal or charcoal and wood chunks or just wood chunks and even split logs like for my fireplace. Talk about versatility. It’s the perfect anchor for any outdoor kitchen. 

Once the AMG is up to temp, I placed the grill safe pot or pan over the heat. I went with a standard cast iron pan and everything barely fit. Be ready with a secondary pot or pan to dump some of the butter/wine/herb/garlic sauce and seafood into. The other option is to put as much in as fits, serve that portion once it is ready and then add in the rest of the ingredients. 

Begin by dropping the butter, wine, garlic and herbs into the pan:

What better buttery wine than one named Butter?
Once the butter/wine/herb/garlic concoction starts to bubble, it’s time to put the seafood in. For this recipe, we went with the little neck clams first because they take the longest to cook:

Round 1 of seafood
Tip 2: If you need to add more liquid to cover more of the seafood, add more wine. No one has ever claimed that was a bad idea, ever.
After a couple minutes, we added the shrimps:

Round 2
Then I dropped the lid on the cast iron pan to help to steam all the seafood that is not in the butter sauce:

Cover it to trap all the heat
Some magical things are happening inside there!
After about 90-120 second of the shrimps cooking, I drop in the mussels:

Round 3, Mussels for the Muscle Grill
And then the lid goes back on until the clams and the mussels pop open:

This is how to know the clams are ready to eat
Then simply spoon some into a bowl or, if you are a little more daring, hand everyone a fork and let them all go to town. That’s completely up to you. We used soup crocks:

I can’t think of a better use of a soup crock, can you?
Finally, make sure to pour some of that butter/wine/herb/garlic sauce over every bowl for dipping:

Like I said, healthy. Oh, wait…
And just because I love action shots, here’s a bonus:

I just love those action shots!
As shown here we have a wonderful bowl of butter poached seafood sitting in a slurry of butter, wine, herbs, garlic and seafood stock:

I give you a bowl full of seafood and buttery heaven!
As I mentioned above, there are no wrong answers here. Go with whatever looks good at your local fish monger or grocery store. Because once you simmer it in butter, wine, garlic and herbs, it’s all going to taste amazing. Trust me! Also, toast up some crusty bread to dunk into the butter sauce. Trust me on that one too!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email. 

Also, if you are a seafood junky like I am, and love some oysters, I have a couple dynamite recipes for you. Oysters Picante and Char-Grilled Oysters with Butter and Wine (see a theme, here?)

Save Print Seafood Butter Boil Author: Scott Thomas Recipe type: Appetizer Cuisine: Seafood Prep time:  20 mins Cook time:  15 mins Total time:  35 mins Serves: 6-8   Shrimp, clams and mussels poached in butter, wine, herbs and garlic all in a cast iron pan Ingredients 2 lbs little neck clams (soaked in tap water to remove the saltiness and any sand) 1.5 lbs U16-U20 shrimp 1.5 lbs mussels (de-bearded and rinsed) 1 lb salted butter 2 tbsp fresh garlic (minced) 2 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf (optional) 12 ounces buttery white wine Instructions Completely submerge the clams into a bowl of tap water for 20-30 minutes to clean out the sand and salt water "De-beard" the mussels Set the grill for 350f-400f Place a grill safe pan or pot big enough to accommodate all the ingredients Drop in the butter, wine, garlic and herbs Once the butter melts and begins to bubble, toss in the clams After a couple minutes of the clams simmering in the butter concoction, drop the shrimp in and set the lid on top of the vessel After 90-120 seconds, remove the kid and add the mussels and put the lid back on Once all the clams and mussels open up (about 3-5 minutes) remove from the heat and serve Ladle some seafood into a bowl and then add some of the butter slurry to each bowl to dunk in Toast some crusty bread for dunking in the butter sauce
 The post Seafood Butter Boil first appeared on GrillinFools.
Author informationScott ThomasScott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.

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American Made Grills “Muscle” Grill,Cast Iron,Seafood,American Made Grills,AMG,Butter,Butter Boil,Clams,Garlic,Grill,Grilled,Grilling,Herbs,Mussels,Shrimp,Shrimps,Wine

By: Scott Thomas
Title: Seafood Butter Boil
Sourced From: grillinfools.com/blog/2021/05/05/seafood-butter-boil/
Published Date: 05/05/21

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Cajun-spiced Bacon

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Now that I'm on the homemade bacon train, I'm all in—it's been well over a year since I last purchased bacon from the grocery. Smoking up a steady stream of bacon has afforded me the ability to experiment with seasonings a lot over a short period of time and I mostly treaded familiar ground at first with things like peppered bacon, maple bacon, and spiced bacon. That has now left me starting to venture into the more experimental spaces like pastrami bacon and this Cajun spiced bacon. To be honest, I've seen Cajun bacon before and that's why it popped up as a recipe to try, but I don't think it's something I would choose over other bacons when shopping, so I went into this recipe not quite sure how much I'd be into it on the other end.

Developing the recipe itself was pretty easy for me since I've done many Cajun and blackened recipes over the years that use this common earthy and herbal spice mixture that has a light touch of heat to it. Paprika serves as the foundational red base while garlic and onion powders give the seasoning a lot of its sharpness. Cumin is what enhances that earthy quality and it's a mixture of thyme and oregano that bring in the herbal components. To transform this into a cure for bacon, I merely had to add kosher and curing salts into the mix and I was done.

I utilized around a three pound piece of skinless pork belly for this bacon, which was half of what I bought that day—I've been smoking up one regular bacon and one experimental one in each of my cooking sessions. I coated the belly liberally with the cure, then transferred it to a Ziploc bag and set in the fridge for a week. Every morning and night I flipped that bag over to help the bacon cure evenly throughout.

At the end of those seven days, the pork was pretty firm, a good indicator that the cure worked as expected. I had been running my bacons under water before smoking to remove excess salt, but I didn't want to remove any of the seasoning for this bacon, so skipped that step. A few of my past bacons were not quite salty enough, so I wondered if skipping the washing might solve that problem, or possibly end with a bacon that was too salty. It was going to still be some time until I got an answer to that question though as I moved onto the next step of transforming this pork belly into bacon by putting it into the smoker running at 255°F with a couple chunks of pecan wood tossed on the coals.

When the pork hit around 150°F in the center, I removed it from the smoker and let it cool off at room temperature for a bit before wrapping it in plastic wrap and sticking it in the fridge to chill completely. The final bacon had a solid earthy red hue to it all over, which gave me hope that the seasoning would be substantial and really give the final strips that boost of Cajun flavor I was hoping for.

Once the meat was throughly chilled, I cut it into strips utilizing my meat slicer. I went a little thicker than I had been for other bacons mainly as a change of pace, but also thought you'd really want all the boldness you could get out of this bacon, so heftier strips would best deliver that.

Once I was done slicing, I portioned the bacon out into vacuum sealed bags and then placed those in the freezer to wait until I was ready to use them. I know I can always re-portion and freeze store bought bacon, but I never do, and making these single serving bags has been one thing I've really loved about going homemade—I always have the right amount of bacon for just me and wife.

From here, you can choose to cook the strips in your favorite manner, which for me is grilling. I decided the first use of the Cajun bacon would be in blackened chicken tacos, which I was cooking on the grill already, so it made sense to use the existing fire and get the added advantages of not making a mess in the kitchen or smelling up the house like bacon for days (although I personally don't mind that second part much).

On the grill, I placed the bacon over indirect heat and then covered. I let the strips cook, turning and flipping them occasionally, until the fat rendered and crisped up the meat nicely. For this use in tacos, I wanted an extra crispy texture to contrast against the chicken, so I let this batch cook until they were very well browned.

At this point in time, it was weeks from when I actually started the process of making this bacon, so expectations may have grown even more with the added wait and it felt really great to bite into that first crackling strip. Initially I was hit with the comforting smoky, meaty, and salty bacon flavor that was a tad saltier than most of my previous bacons, but also tasted more “right.” After that came a light heat that was the first unique stamp of the Cajun seasoning that was then built upon by garlicky and earthy flavors as I ate more. There was no doubt this had a flavor above and beyond the standard bacon, whether I would pin point that as uniquely Cajun if it wasn't called out by name is debatable though, but it was an amazing tasting bacon none-the-less. That being said, that strong earthy heat isn't going to be warranted in every bacon situation—which is why I always like smoking up a standard bacon alongside my more experimental ones—but when that extra Cajun flavor is desired, this bacon is going to serve you well, big time.
Published on Thu Apr 22, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

Yield 10 servings

Prep 10 Minutes
Inactive 5 Days
Cook 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Total 5 Days 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Ingredients
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon pink curing salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 lbs boneless pork belly, skin removed
Procedure
In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, curing salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Coat pork belly all over with the cure and place in a large resealable plastic bag. Place in the coldest part of the refrigerator and cure for 5 to 7 days, flipping bag about every 12 hours.
Fire up smoker or grill to between 200-225°F, adding 1-2 fist-size chunks of smoking wood on top of the coals when at temperature. When wood is ignited and producing smoke, place pork belly in smoker, fat side up, and smoke until an instant read thermometer registers 150°F when inserted into thickest part of the meat. Remove pork belly from smoker and let cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until completely chilled.
Cut bacon into slices at desired width and cook using your favorite method. Store leftover bacon in Ziploc or vacuum sealed bags in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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By: meatmaster@meatwave.com (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Cajun-spiced Bacon
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/homemade-cajun-spiced-bacon
Published Date: 04/22/21

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Cooking Tips

Bacon burnt ends

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Started with slab bacon covered in honey mustard and lanes Bbq kapalua seasoning. Cooked on the mini max at 225 for a few hours with rockwood charcoal and apple wood chunks. Glazed with buckeye bbq sauce and put back on the egg for another hour or so. First time trying this, but turned out pretty yummy.

EggHead Forum

By: Leopoldstoch
Title: Bacon burnt ends
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1227777/bacon-burnt-ends
Published Date: 05/03/21

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