How to Make Charcoal Seasoning

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Season the smoke and the food when charcoal grilling.
Season the smoke and the food when charcoal grilling. (Image: meat on grill image by blaine stiger from Fotolia.com)

Give your next grilling session some extra seasoning. Different woods and herbs give a flavor punch to the smoke. Buy herbs at the grocery store or pick up a few pots and start growing them in the garden. Charcoal seasoning for the grill uses citrus, spices and wood chips. Charcoal seasoning for food uses herbs, fruit peels and spices. Rub the seasoning on the food up to 24 hours before grilling.

Things You'll Need

  • Oranges, lemons or limes
  • Knife
  • Cookie racks
  • Rosemary, sage or oregano
  • Rubber bands
  • Wood chips or fruit tree branches
  • Clippers
  • Paper lunch bags
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Twine
  • !/4 cup each onion flakes, dried parsley, dried oregano, paprika
  • 1 tbsp. each citrus peel, hot pepper flakes, ground black pepper
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • Bowl
  • Zip-lock bags

Smoke Seasoning

Slice the citrus fruit into quarters. Set out on a cookie or cake rack to dry. If you want to speed up the process, put the cake rakes in an oven overnight at the lowest setting.

Gather the herbs into bunches that will fit inside the paper lunch bags. Fasten the bunches with a rubber band. Hang in a warm place to dry.

Discard any fruit tree branches that are not at least 1/2 an inch wide. They'll burn too quickly. Cut the tree branches into pieces 4 inches long.

Open the paper bags and line them up on a flat work surface.

Fill the bags with four sprigs of dried herbs, four citrus slices, a handful of fruit branches or wood chips and a cinnamon stick or two. Push out the air in the bag and tie with the twine.

Start the charcoal as you usually do. Wait until the coals have burned down enough to cook. Usually that means they're covered with white ash.

Put the bag of seasonings to the side of the grill by the charcoal but not directly on top. The bag and the contents should heat up and smoke but not flame.

Soak the bag of seasonings if you want more smoke by placing it in a bowl of water for 20 minutes before grilling. Submerge the bag under the water.

Place food on grill to cook and cover so the smoke is trapped inside the grill.

Food Seasoning

Combine the onion flakes, dried parsley, dried oregano, paprika, citrus peel, hot pepper flakes and ground black pepper. Mix well.

Put the mixture in the zip-lock bag.

Season meat, poultry or fish by patting a tablespoon of the charcoal seasoning mix on each side. Toss vegetables in a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the seasoning mix over the vegetables and toss well.

Grill as usual.

Tips & Warnings

  • Match the seasonings to the dish. For example, add lemon and dill for fish.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy when charcoal grilling.

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References

  • "License to Grill"; Chris Schlesinger; 1997
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