Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I was excited to get a Big Acres Smoker Bag that Melanie recommends for those who like mess free grilling. I have two boys, so I'm used to messes. But, it can be nice to make dinner and really have no clean up. It sounded like the grill Smoker Bags would be just the ticket for those kinds of days, and it turned out that they sure are.
You can see in the photo that these look like of like aluminum foil packs for grilling - also called tin foil grill packs in the South. But, the quality is much better with these actually designed to go on a grill. And, they have a bottom layer with wood chips and flavors. We were doing fish so went with the Alder bags for a nice mild smoke taste.
I must confess that my Little Smokey tailgater was not the best pick for Smoker Bags, because they are 11 x 19 inches. Also, they are not intended for direct flames to be hitting the bag. It is fine to use Big Acres bags with charcoal, wood or whatever, but have some distance and no flames hitting the bag.
I tell you what I do right and what I do wrong. In this case, the grill bags are better for a nice sized gas grill where the flames are better regulated and no real direct flames hitting the bag or a larger charcoal grill like the Weber kettle. Also, the smoker bags can be used in the oven as well. As cold as it has been, that's a great option to get smoke flavor without going out in the cold to fire up the grill.
It waas just me and kid for the evening, and these bags would easily hold enough food for 6 or 8 people depending on what you might be grilling and the sides.
My kid loves potatoes and those take longer to cook than tilapia. Times are listed on the back of the pack. That was fine. I just parboiled the potatoes a bit beforehand. If we'd done broccoli or something like that, then all the food would have just gone right in the bag.
After parboiling the potatoes, we just poured the fish, potatoes, onions and some seasonings in the Smoker Bag. Very simple.
I think I might use some marinade next time. They work with or without marinade. I like an Italian dressing marinade on fish, or I might try out one of Melanie's gourmet marinades.
My kid likes grill gadgets and new stuff, so he helped out on the Smoker Bag project. We were breaking out all the cool grill stuff and had a FlameDisk for the fuel (another super easy grilling product that means no mess).
We had to use the lid to cap back the flames a bit, since FlameDisk burns good and hot - better for burgers and steaks. Flame Disk is perfect for direct grilling and makes a nice sear.
It was neat to see how the grill smoker bag kind of puffed up, and we could hear the food kind of sizzling along. The smell was fabulous too, so we were both drooling a bit.
You could use any fork or knife to open up the top of the Smoker Bag, but we have a Fork It Over which is the ultimate in grill forks. It looks like something you might use in a duel, so my guys really like the fork. I would hide it from younger boys as it would be too tempting to want to sword fight with it, and it's a tool and not a toy.
The grilled fish and potatoes were fabulous. The Smoker Bag really did give the food that low and slow flavor from smoking. That's hard to get if not using an actual barbecue smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet we love.
I recommend Melanie's Smoker Bags for gas grillers who want a good smoked flavor without the charcoal and wood chip work and mess, but they can also be used on bigger charcoal grills and even in the oven. You can find the Smoker Bags and also some fabulous gourmet sauces made with fresh ingredients at Big Acres Gourmet Shop.
The Smoker Bags are super easy to use, and you really do get that smoke flavor which you don't with many products on the market. I enjoyed an easy night grilling with the food actually tasting great, and then there was no cleaning up afterwards. Clean up often takes me longer than any other part of a grilled meal, so I like having a no mess option now and then. I think I will use the Big Red Char Broil grill next time though and grill for a bigger crowd.