Smoking on a Gas BBQ

Food food food. I love food.

I have a friend with a smoker. Every week he regales me with tales of delicious slow cooked smoked meat. Ribs, and pulled pork, chicken wings and sausages. My mouth waters and I cry a little inside, as I dont even own a charcoal grill, much less a smoker.

Now, dont get me wrong. We love our natural gas Napoleon grill. It’s a workhorse of a beast that happily cooks everything from steaks to Thanksgiving turkey. But I wanted more! I wanted smokey, barkey goodness! I wanted a backyard that smelled like a caveman firepit! I wanted a smoker.

Let’s think things through first though. Where would I PUT a smoker? How often would I drag it out, fire it up and patiently stoke it’s fire for hours? The answer is; not very often. Not that I’m lazy, but that’s a lot of work! So I set to finding a way to make Mr. Napoleon somehow smokey.

Napoleon makes smoker boxes for their bbq’s. (Which I may look into in the future.)  For our first attempt at smoking however, my tools were some wood chips, water, and some tin foil.

I got some delicious smelling Jack Daniels wood chips, as well a bag of plain maple chips, a pork loin, some of my favorite spices, and set to work.

Jack Daniels Wood Chips
Jack Daniels Wood Chips

First up, we put a bunch of wood chips in a bowl of water, and let them soak for half an hour.

Wood Chips
Wood Chips soaking in a bowl of water

I mixed a concoction of dried spices with everything from garlic and sugar to chiplote and cayenne. I dried the pork with a paper towel then rubbed it all over with the spice rub. We fired up the bbq and let it get nice and hot.

Spice rub + pork loin
Spice rub + pork loin
Pork with spice rub
Pork with spice rub

Next it was time to make the smoke packets. I have seen several different versions, so I decided to make a traditional rectangular packet with a few holes poked into it, and one shaped like a cone, with it open at the top to let the smoke out (really just putting a pile of wood chips on some tin foil and then folding the tinfoil up around the sides into a chimney at the top.)

* Somehow in the excitement of smoking, neither El Granto or I got a photo. OOPS! Sorry 🙁

Next we placed the pork in the bbq on one side, and the smoke packets in the middle. We turned the burner under the pork off completely, and turned the burner under the smoke packets down to medium low (all other burners in the bbq off). This made the bbq drop to about 300 degrees.

We closed the lid, and let it do its thing. Within an hour the backyard was smelling like delicious roasting meat and whiskey smoke goodness. We tried not to check on it too often (you loose the smoke!). After about 2 1/2 hours we swapped the smoke packets. When we put in the second batch of smoke packets, we also added a vidalia onion into the bbq to let it smoke with the meat, and with one hour of cooking left we added in a tin foil packet filled with new potatoes, garlic, fresh rosemary, olive oil & butter.

pork on bbq
Pork on the BBQ
Onion Smoking
Onion Smoking

Mmmmmm. Now things were smelling amazing, and it was torture to wait for everything to finish cooking. After one more hour, we pulled the pork off to let it rest, then carved everything up and dug in.

Mmmm BBQ
Mmmm BBQ

The verdict? An outstanding success! The meat smoked for five hours total. The bbq kept a steady temperature of about 300 degrees the whole time. The cone shaped smoke packets worked best, and we had a wonderfully smokey (but not overpowering or campfirey) taste. The rub which I was worried would be too overpowering, ended up mellow and wonderful. The barque was delish, and the fat cap on the roast was like butter. The smoked onion was juicy and wonderful, and the roast potatoes went beautifully with a chive sour creme.

Now I want to smoke everything. Whats on the menu this weekend? I’m thinking smoked beef tacos! Or chicken wings, or brisket, or sausages. I might just make it all…

Thanksgiving Menu, Homemade Butter & Cranberry Sauce

I was going to post today about how to make your own chalk paint, but I forgot to take a photo of my chalk paint, so yeah, that post will have to wait. But dont you worry, I wont leave you empty handed today.

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. I know what you’re thinking: already? Yeah me too, I’m not quite sure where September went, but holy crap its October.

This year we’re having Thanksgiving at our house. Its a small group (6 total) so its not a big affair, but we still like to have all the trimmings! So I thought I’d share with you my Thanksgiving menu and some of my tips and tricks.

Thanksgiving Menu

Brie and Lingonberry Puff Pastries

BBQ Roast Turkey
Jamie Oliver’s Bacon Stuffing (although I don’t use sage or celery, I prefer Rosemary)
El Granto’s Mum’s Squash Casserole
Spiral Cut Ham with Maple Glaze
Garlic Butter Green Beans
Balsamic Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Pearl Onions, Beets, Parsnips and Garlic
Fresh Rolls and Homemade Butter
Fresh Cranberry Sauce

El Granto’s Mum’s Pumpkin Pie
Homemade Martha Stewart Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


You may have noticed we will be BBQ’ing our turkey. If you have a BBQ with a natural gas line (or have a couple ready propane tanks) I HIGHLY advise you to BBQ your turkey. You cook it in the bbq like you would the oven. In a pan (albeit a cheap disposable one) but in a pan none the less. You get a lovely browned turkey AND your oven is left open for everything else.  The one thing to note about a cooking your turkey on the BBQ is that it does cook a bit quicker. Also make sure you use a meat thermometer, you don’t want that turkey overcooked and dry (yuck!).

Speaking of keeping your turkey moist, don’t stuff the main cavity with bread stuffing. Why? Cause that bread sucks up all the turkeys juices. It also makes the turkey breasts cook slower, making the rest of your turkey overcooked before those thick breasts are done. Instead place some halved lemons and herbs in the cavity, and cook your stuffing in the oven. Put some butter under the skin of the turkey and enjoy the most delicious turkey ever!


Do you want to impress your mother in law? Fresh made butter is your party trick. All you need is some whipping cream and a container than seals air tight and that you can see through (like a jar).

Now I find that a really good whipping cream works best, I like to use Harmony Whipping Cream.  If you wanna make extra fancy butter you also will need some fresh herbs.

So here goes. Put your whipping cream on the counter to come up to room temperature. Leave it there for a couple of hours.

Pour your cream into your airtight container. Make sure you don’t fill the container more than half full. Seal your container and make sure it doesn’t leak.

Now take the container in one hand and gently shake it.  By gently shake, I really mean rock it Continue doing this for 5-10 minutes (it takes longer if your cream is colder). Until magically your cream that was once completely liquid will now start to separate and create a lump of butter in your jar. Keep shaking it for a few minutes so the butter stiffens up a bit more, then pour off the liquid (now buttermilk) and the solid. The solid mass of butter will have some buttermilk left in it, so I find its easiest to pour out the butter onto a plate/bowl getting rid of the buttermilk (although you can save it and use it for another recipe such as corn bread) Mash up your butter with a fork, trying to get rid of all the excess buttermilk. Give it a rinse with water. Once you’re left with only butter, add some salt and mix it up again. This will be your plain butter, but its anything from plain, its light, fluffy and delicious! Now what I like to do is crank it up a notch and make a few herbed butters. I like to mix in a couple herbs and seasonings. Like Rosemary and lemon, chive, roasted garlic or chili lime. Anything you can think of! Now go impress your in-laws with your bbq turkey and your homemade butter.


This is waaaay simpler than you’re thinking. Grab a bag of fresh or frozen cranberries from your grocery store. To a medium sized pot, add a cup of water and a cup of sugar and add your bag of cranberries. Simmer at medium heat for 10-15 minutes until your cranberries have softened and start to break down. You can also add cinnamon, orange zest or any other flavors you like. Another tip is to keep your extra cranberry sauce and serve it over some brie for a yummy snack!



Friday Libation – Spicy Jamaican Ginger Beer

This weeks libation is courtesy of El Granto. He has a mean love of all things ginger, and on our vacation he could be found sipping these dockside. Enjoy.

Spicy Jamaican Ginger Beer


Jamaican Ginger Beer
2 oz Jamaican Spiced Rum

How To:
Place a handful of ice in a pint glass. Add 2oz of Jamaican Spiced Rum to the glass. Top up glass with Jamaican Ginger Beer, stir and enjoy

*Jamaican accent not included. You’re also damn lucky I didn’t name this drink Jamaican Me Crazy.

Friday Libation – Cuban Miami Vice

When I am on vacation I love sipping girly drinks pool or beach side under an umbrella wearing a floppy hat. A bit specific I know, but it’s the truth. On a vacation to Cuba a few years ago the bartender surprised me with a drink he thought I’d like. It ended up being my favorite drink that holiday and one I still love to this day. So on my summer vacation I thought I’d make something to remember Cuba by. So here it is:

Cuban Miami Vice

Piña Colada mix (my fave is the frozen Bacardi mix available at any major grocery store)
Strawberry Daiquiri mix (again the Bacardi one is ok, I also like the Mott’s one)
Fresh strawberries and/or pineapple (optional)

How To:
Mix up a batch of Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri following the package instructions. You will need a blender or food processor. (don’t worry about having extra, you can either make one for a friend or have extra for later). In a pint glass fill half way up with strawberry daiquiri. Then fill the remainder of the glass with Piña Colada. Garnish with fresh fruit and a straw. Find sexy Cuban man to deliver it to you poolside. Say gracias, tip generously and enjoy.

*Sexy Cuban man is optional, but suggested for authenticity.

Friday Libation – Irish Rose

I am not a beer drinker, much to El Granto’s dismay. You see El Granto is what you would call a bit of a beer fanatic. He loves lagers and stouts, ipa’s and porters, bitters and pilsners. He likes to bbq with them, cook with them, and he has even made ice cream with beer. He has probably tried every single craft beer the LCBO carries.

Me, I hate the stuff. A few years ago however I discovered something on tap that I did like; Cider! It comes in a pint glass, it looks like beer, and it doesn’t have an umbrella on it. I can hang with the boys while eating chicken wings at the bar and not get razzed. Since the day I discovered cider, I have also discovered that not all ciders are equal. Myself, I am not a big Strongbow fan, so I started asking bartenders for some grenadine in my Strongbow. It took the tartness down a notch and added a bit of sweetness. Since that day I learned that cider + syrup is called an Irish Rose. Here is my favorite version:

Kristen’s Irish Rose


Can of Alcoholic Cider (my favourite is Sir Perry’s)
1 oz Lingonberry Drink Syrup (from Ikea, can also use Grenadine)

How to:

Place a handful of ice into a pint glass, fill the glass half way up with cider, then add the syrup (if you put the syrup in first it never mixes well). After you put the syrup in, add the remainder of the cider. It should mix all by itself, not needing a stir. However if it does settle, give it a stir and enjoy! Best served on a deck in the sunshine.

Friday Libation

Ahh…it’s Friday of the long weekend…time to relax. (well not yet, I still have to get through today’s workday unlike my slacker of a husband who took the day off today!) None the less…as soon as I get home today I am looking forward to a drink on the deck.

This summer with my vegetable garden in full swing, and cucumbers reproducing faster than the Duggar’s, my drink of choice has been:

El Granto’s Gin & Cucumber Caesar

For all the American’s our there, a Caesar is the Canadian version of a Bloody Mary, but BETTER cause it’s made with Clamato juice. What is Clamato you ask? Well really it’s a tomato cocktail that contains some clam juice. Don’t you go making a yucky face at me, it’s delicious. You would have no idea that it has clam juice in it, it’s just wonderful. Kinda like how Caesar salad dressing has anchovies in it. Yeah and you love it, so don’t you worry about Clamato, it’s delicious.


2 oz Gin
Mott’s Clamato Juice
Celery Salt
Hot Sauce
3-5 slices of cucumber, peeled
Matt & Steve’s Extreme Beans (a spicy pickled green bean, you can find these at gourmet grocery stores or Costco)
Worcestershire Sauce

How to:

Run a wedge of lime around the rim of a pint glass, and then rim it with celery salt.
Place cucumber in bottom of glass, pour 2 oz of Gin over top and using some sort of implement (ideally a mojito muddler) bash up the cucumber into the Gin. Macerate it, and really get the cucumber flavour into the gin. Add a teaspoon or so of horseradish (less if you’re not a big horseradish fan.) A dash of hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a stir, then add a handful of ice, and top with Clamato juice. Give another stir and garnish with a wedge of lime, a slice of cucumber and an Extreme Bean or two. Enjoy!