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Grilling Recipes

Smoked Cocktails for the Holidays: Barbecue You Can Drink



Excerpted from Steven Raichlens Project Smoke (Workman Publishing, 2016).

Somewhere between the Penicillina libation featuring ginger, honey, lemon, and Scotch, concocted by bartender Sam Ross at Milk & Honey in New York City in 2005and the bourbon-based Dragons Breath I drank from a mesquite smoke-filled brandy snifter at a cocktail lounge in Scottsdale, the American cocktail got smoked. Literallyusing an ingenious handheld smoker, or indirectly, by adding a smoke-scented spirit like Mexicos mezcal (distilled from smoke-roasted agave hearts) or single-male Scotch whisky (made with peat-smoked barley). Wood or other smoked ingredients can turn a cocktail youve sipped a hundred times into a beverage that will fill you with wonder. And just in time for the holidays, when a bit of magic is always expected.

Smoked cocktails are turning up at cutting-edge bars from Brooklyn to Berkeley. (Jean Georges Steakhouse in Las Vegas even offers a tableside Smoked Whiskey Cart where guests can select the smoked wood, such as hickory or apple, to pair with Scotch, Japanese whiskey, or bourbon.) Smoke adds a complexity and depth that can make a decent cocktail great and a great cocktail a masterpiece. And you can make them at home. There are several ways to infuse a cocktail with smoky flavors.

How to Infuse a Cocktail with Smoke:

1. Handheld Smoker

The Smoking Gun by Polyscience looks like a pistol. Place fine hardwood sawdust in the smoke chamber, then switch on the battery-powered fa and light the sawdust with a match or lighter. The smoke flows through a rubber tube into your glass, cocktail shaker, or pitcher where it flavors the drink. Cover the cocktail with plastic wrap and fill with smoke. Repeat as necessary. (Just recently, the company introduced the Smoking Gun Pro Cloche. It looks like an elegant glass dessert cover, but has an unobtrusive valve on the side to accommodate the smoking hose. You place the cocktail you want smoked under the cloche for a dramatic presentation.)

2. Conventional Smoker

Pour fruit puree (fresh pineapple works great) into an aluminum foil pan to a depth of 1/4 inch. Place in a larger pan filled with ice. Cold-smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or hot-smoke for 30 to 40 minutes. You can also smoke vermouth or wine this way. Refrigerate until using, but try to use within a few hours of smoking. (Note: You can freeze smoked fruit puree in ice cube trays for future use.)

Other Ways to Infuse Smoke Into a Cocktail

1. Use a smoked spirit.

Scotch whisky has a distinctive smoke flavor, the result of being distilled from smoked barley. Rauchbier (German-style smoked beer) is also brewed from smoked barley. Mezcal is made from fire-roasted agave hearts. All three make killer smoked cocktails.

2. Rinse the inside of a glass (or pitcher) with smoke.

Fill a chilled inverted bar glass with smoke. Place a coaster over the mouth of the glass (now upside down) to cover it tightly. Now turn the glass upright again and let stand covered for 1 minute. Pour in the cocktail and serve while the glass is still smoking.

Smoked cocktails

3. Infuse smoke directly into the cocktail.

Mix your drink in a bar glass or shaker. Cover the top with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open. Load your handheld smoker with hardwood sawdust following the manufacturers instructions. Insert the smoking hose into the glass above the drink. Fire up the smoker to fill the glass with smoke. Withdraw the tube and cover the open edge with the plastic wrap. Repeat as needed.

4. Smoke a large batch of cocktails at once.

Mix your ingredients in a large glass pitcher or bowl and cover with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open. Insert the handheld smoker hose above the mixture and fill the pitcher with smoke. Remove the hose and tightly cover the top of the pitcher. Let stand for 4 minutes, then stir and repeat as needed.

5. Smoke the garnish.

Use a smoky garnish like a crisp strip of bacon, a fire-roasted wedge of orange, or home-smoked beef jerky.

Bacon Bourbon

6. Smoke the water for the ice cubes.

Place water in an aluminum foil pan. Cold-smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or hot-smoke for 20 to 30 minutes over low heat. Freeze the water in ice cube trays.

Here are some of my favorite smoked cocktails to get you started. For more recipes and techniques, see my book Project Fire.

Steven Raichlens Best Smoked Cocktails:

Related Products:

About the Book

Project Smoke by Steven RaichlenProject Smoke

Project Smoke is the How to Grill of smoking, both a complete step-by-step guide to mastering the gear and techniques and a collection of 100 explosively flavorful recipes for smoking every kind of food, from starters to desserts.

Read More

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Grilling Recipes

Quadzilla Burger Recipe (Japanese Quadruple Grilled Cheeseburger)



Quadzilla Burger Recipe - Quadruple Grilled Cheeseburger

This quadruple grilled cheeseburger (thats right, quadruple) is a beast of legend, its no wonder they call it the Quadzilla! Fire up your grills and prepare your tastebuds, this ones gonna be WILD.

Quadzilla Burger Recipe Quadruple Grilled Cheeseburger!

What is The Quadzilla?

The Quadzilla is obviously named after Godzilla, the giant Japanese dinosaur-like monster that shoots laser out of its mouth a perfect comparison for this four-patty cheeseburger.

But the comparison goes beyond its size. Many of the ingredients are either Japanese or Japanese-inspired. Some might be harder to source locally, but are available on online marketplaces like Amazon. More common substitutes will be listed wherever possible.

Japanese Burger Sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Japanese Mayo/Regular Mayo
  • 3-4 Tbsp Okonomi sauce/Chipotle BBQ sauce

Simply mix the two in a small cup. Adjust how much Okonomi sauce you put in it you want the savory of the mayo to be present, while the sweet and spicy tones of the Okonomi shine through.

Sweet Onion Topping

  • Sweet onion
  • Shichimi Togarashi seasoning

Use a cast iron skillet on a hot grill, or do this on your kitchen top. Chop the sweet onion up, and let it cook in some vegetable oil over medium heat. Once it starts getting translucent/yellow, mix in some of the Togarashi seasoning.

Grilling 4 Patties

  • Burger buns
  • Crisped up bacon
  • 80/20 ground beef (4 ounces per patty)
  • Japanese Worcestershire Sauce

Onto the actual grilling! Fire up your pit, prepping it for direct cooking. If you have a flat top, set that up, because its going to make your life a lot easier with the thin burger patties.

Give the buns a quick, light toast.

And now, the actual patties of the quadruple grilled cheeseburger. You want to make 4 of them, so they are going to be fairly thin. Make four 4-ounce meatballs, and use a patty smasher to get them down to about 1/4th-1/8th of an inch.

Place the chopped up crispy bacon under one of the patties, so the bacon pieces become embedded to the meat.

Once all 4 patties are cooking, give their top sides a light coating of japanese Worcestershire sauce. This is going to act as the salt element, and add a ton of flavor to the patties.

Flip the patties when ready, and add one slice of cheese to all of them except for the one with the bacon. You can add different cheeses (provolone, american cheese, cheddar-jack, etc.)

Assembling the Quadruple Grilled Cheeseburger

Its time to stack these babies! Place all four patties on the bottom bun, with the bacon patty on top. Then throw on some of the onion topping, and finish the whole thing off with some Japanese BBQ sauce.


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Grilling Recipes

Home for the Holidays: Smoked Mushroom Bread Pudding



You might know it as stuffing. Or strata. But in my household, this savory union of bread, mushrooms, celery, and fresh sage is known as bread pudding. It meets all the holiday requirements while adding a flavor distinctly its ownyou guessed itfragrant wood smoke.

While most recipes for stuffing start with bread, this one calls for day-old briochea French butter and egg-enriched bread. Youll want a firm, not soft-squishy loaf. Weve found challah makes a good substitute. If you can find neither brioche nor challah at your local bakery, use whatever good bread you can find. (Youll need about a pound.)

There are lots of options for the mushrooms: morels, chanterelles, boletus, shiitakes, black trumpets, hen-of-the-woods, maitake, and king mushroomsnot to mention the more commonplace button mushrooms, cremini, and portobellos.

For unabashed richness, I add cream and eggs. And for complexity, theres optional Cognac or brandy.

You can swap chopped pecans for peeled roasted chestnuts if you wish, the latter taking cues from crooner Bing Crosby: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire Using a sharp knife, cut Xs into the rounded side of each chestnut so they can release steam, then place in a grill basket or disposable aluminum pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes over a medium fire (about 400 degrees), shaking the basket or pan every few minutes so the chestnuts dont scorch. Let cool before peeling.

Smoked Mushroom Bread Pudding

Get the Recipe

If you tend to think of bread pudding as a dessert, try my Smoked Chocolate Bread Pudding. Find the recipe here.

Get Ready for the Holidays:

What are you cooking up for the holidays? Tell us about it in the comments or by sharing it with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


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Grilling Recipes

Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin with Apple Kale Chutney



Yall know Im a big fan of cooking in cast iron, as it can easily go from your stovetop to your oven, as well as be used on your grill. This Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin with Apple Kale Chutney is a stellar recipe made in cast iron that can be cooked in one skillet in less than 30 minutes!

Another added bonus is that this dish is actually kid friendly the apple kale chutney is sweet and buttery with the addition of craisins and candied walnuts, so you can sneak the kale in alongside the apples for the perfect sweet, crunchy, buttery bite that pairs well with the Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper flavor of the pork tenderloin.

The Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin is already conveniently pre-seasoned, so all you have to do is sear the tenderloin in butter on both sides, stir the chutney ingredients together in the same pan, and then transfer the cast iron pan into a preheated oven to let the pork roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, which should take 30 minutes or less.


Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin with Apple Kale Chutney

  • Author: Robyn


This Smithfield Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper Pork Tenderloin paired with Apple Kale Chutney is a one dish meal! It can be made in a cast iron pan that goes from stove top to oven to dinner table in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it is kid friendly! Your kids wont even know Ive snuck a veggie in because the buttery sweet apple kale chutney mixes apples, kale, craisins and candied walnuts for the perfect pork pairing that makes for a sweet, savory and crunchy bite. I dare you to have just one serving!


  • 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin
  • cup butter
  • 3 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 2 cups chopped apple (approximately 2 large apples)
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 dash ginger
  • cup craisins or sweetened dried cranberries (golden raisins can be substituted too)
  • cup candied walnuts



Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Heat your cast iron to medium-high heat and melt the butter. Sear the pork tenderloin on one side until browned, about two minutes, and then flip and brown the other side. Add the kale, apples and craisins, and stir to combine.

Transfer your cast iron pan to the oven and let the pork tenderloin roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove the cast iron from the oven and add the walnuts to the apple kale chutney. Slice the pork and serve with the chutney. Prepared to be surprised how quickly your kids will eat their veggies with this sweet and savory dish!


Note: This post is made in partnership with my friends over at Smithfield. Sponsored posts help keep this blog going!


Did you make this recipe?

Tag @grillgirlrobyn on Instagramand hashtag it #grillgirlrobyn

cast iron pork tenderloin with apple kale chutney

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is my go-to during the holiday season and beyond whether Im entertaining friends and family, or just looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, Smithfield has always got me covered with their assortment of pork cuts and flavors.

You can find the Marinated Fresh Pork products at local grocery stores including Walmart, Publix, ShopRite, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Albertsons and Safeway. For more recipe inspiration and product information, make sure to check out

Whats your favorite way to cook in cast iron? What are your tips for getting dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes to avoid your kids getting hangry? Leave me a comment below and dont forget to tag me on instagram using @grillgirlrobyn #grillgirlrobyn if you make this!

This is a partnered post with my friends at Smithfield (see notes in recipe section).

Need some pork inspiration? Check out this stuffed pork chop recipe!

Gorgonzola Thyme Stuffed Pork Chops with Bourbon Grilled Apples

The post Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin with Apple Kale Chutney appeared first on GrillGirl.

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