When Smoking is Oh, So Good


I’ve talked about this in the past, my inability to grill food at home with anything other than a grill pan on the stovetop or on the small electric grill on my balcony. Fire hazard and all that. But it’s not that bad. Really. See, last year for my birthday, my parents gave me a grill. The kind that’s safe and approved for high rise condo living in these here parts of the DC suburbs in Virginia. It’s an electric grill. It does a pretty respectable job for the most part, especially now that I’ve had an opportunity to use it enough to cause the stuff on the bottom of the grill to flare up and char what I am cooking.

Ok, so that only happened once and I made sure to clean out whatever fire-inducing grilling remnants were left over from the previous grilling event so that I don’t put my neighbors in harm’s way. I mean, I like firemen and all, but it’s not really that much fun when they come to your house to save you from yourself and your dumb, idiotic, careless, unthinking, foolish mistakes. But enough reminiscing. It’s time to move on and talk about how to get the great taste of the outdoors in a bag.

Yep, I said a bag. A couple of months ago a customer walked into the store (Williams-Sonoma) with a determined look on her face. You know what I mean. Some customers know exactly what they are looking for when they enter the premises. They don’t need anyone to pander to them. No one to help prod them into thinking about something that would never have entered their mind had they not pulled on the door and stepped over the threshold that day.

So anyway, she walks in, takes a look around and before we could ask if there was anything we could do to help her, she asked, “Where are your smoker bags?” Smoker bags! First of all, I don’t know anyone here that smokes and how dare you intimate that any of us are old enough to be considered part of the old bag demographic. Geez! Who do you think you are? One of those punks that chats on Justin.tv or something? Well, I never!

A little chopped garlic, juice from 1 lemon and salt and pepper to taste and you have a meal

Thankfully, someone had the clarity of mind to ask what she was referring to. With a very animated and enthusiastic response, our customer told us about these aluminum bags in which you simply drop in chicken or meat or fish and turn on the oven or grill and let the bag do the work. It turns out smoker bags are a seasonal item that we would be selling, but they just hadn’t arrived yet. I was excited about the prospect of using smoker bags. The concept made sense, but I could not quite figure it out without seeing it.

The day the bags arrived was no surprise to me. Each time I work I get out to the sales floor, take a look around to see what’s new, what has changed, where we are for the day or what the goals are and what we can make for tastings or what has been whipped up already. I walked by one of the new Summer Grilling displays, noticed a strong, smoky scent and there, in front of me was a red envelope filled with two smoker bags. Since they’ve arrived I make a point to show them to most of the customers I am helping and in many cases, just the smoky aroma has done the job of selling the bags.

Last weekend I demonstrated boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the smoker bags and the bags started flying off the shelves. I purchased my own set this week and put them to the test in my own kitchen this morning before heading to the store for the day. I decided to brown the leg quarters before putting them in the bag. The ones I did in the store were not browned and although they tasted great, they were lacking the crunch and depth of a little color. What I ended up with today was moist, tender and DEElicious!

Next time I might add some grated ginger and green onions for an Asian twist

I recommend these bags to anyone that wants a good, smoky result. They can be used in the oven or on the grill. Yummm!


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