Infuse More Flavor by Grilling With Herbs
Smoking is a time honored grilling tradition; one that many people, and in some cases whole states, are fiercely passionate about. Needless to say, there is a wealth of information out there about smoking; everything from different techniques, which wood to choose for which protein, to thousands of recipes and what smoking equipment to use. Here at Kalamazoo we love to smoke on our Hybrid Fire Grill – and you can read our own guide to smoking here. But what about branching out from smoking with wood, and throwing some fresh herbs into the mix?
To start, choose hardier herbs like rosemary and thyme, as they will stand up to heat better than more delicate herbs like basil or cilantro. We recommend giving the herbs a good soak in water before cooking with them – it will prevent them from burning, they will last longer on the grill and release more flavor. You can also experiment with used tea leaves; they will have already been soaked in water and have incredibly exotic, unique flavors.
There are two ways you can use herbs on the grill. The simplest involves getting your charcoal fire going, then throwing the herbs right on top of the coals after they’ve ashed over. If you are using a traditional charcoal grill, most herbs will fit between your grates, so you can simply sprinkle them onto the coals. If you’re cooking on a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill, simply pull out the Hybrid Grilling Drawer and set the herbs on top of the charcoal once it has a coating of gray ash.
This second method was inspired by a recent Serious Eats article, and has some similarities to plank grilling. Simply rest your food on a bed of herbs and place both directly on the grill grate. We recommend using the indirect grilling method, especially if you’re cooking large or thick proteins. Close the lid of your grill so that the flavor from the herbs can infuse the food as it cooks. This method tends to yield more flavorful results as the herbs last longer on the grill grate, than they do when they have direct contact with smoldering coals.
If you want to explore something a little different with your grilling, give these methods a try. The gentle, smoky herb flavors will add a new spin to your favorite foods. And remember, these aren’t hard and fast rules. Try experimenting with different herbs, techniques and even vegetables. Some competitive BBQers even throw whole onions on their fires!