Maple Cured Bacon: Acquire pork belly (pictured: 8 lbs.). Cure in fridge for two weeks with 6 tablespoons sea salt, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and 1 1/2 teaspoons curing salt, flipping meat after a week. Rinse, pat dry, and smoke at 150 degrees or lower on your Sapling for 2 hours. Store in fridge or freezer for at least a day before slicing thin. Cook. Eat. Enjoy!
You’ve put away your DIY maple syrup making operation for the year and see blue skies ahead. Time to grill out! Ready to experience the magic of a multifunctional machine? Here’s what Justin McCabe, the inventor of the Sapling Evaporator, Sapling Party Grill and Sapling Everything Grill has to say to start you off right!
You’ve been converting your Sapling Evaporator into the Sapling Everything Grill for a few years now. Tell me how you like to use your machine when you are not sugaring.
The Sapling Everything Grill is really effective for preparing large food spreads; we use it to grill meats for parties at our home and to smoke special meals or preserve meats for the family larder. The surface area is extensive. And it’s pretty easy to control the temperature for smoking food.
There’s significant prep and cleanup time involved, so this is weekend, holiday (and quarantine!) cooking for us. But we love it.
Give me an idea of the grill space. How big does it feel? How much food can you fit on it?
Let’s see, we’ve fit 14 pounds of pork bellies on our Sapling; 15 pounds of chicken. A 15 pound turkey. 40 hot dogs. At 20 by 30 inches, it’s BIG.
To grill, do you use wood or charcoal? How far in advance of cooking do you have to start the fire to grill? And to smoke?
You can grill with wood or with charcoal. If you are using soft wood, wood gets hot quicker and is good for searing. You can be ready to go in 10 minutes or so. Charcoal is going to take you at least 20 minutes to get to grilling temperature. And to smoke, you need a half hour minimum to get your charcoal bed set and your chips smoking.
Can you cold smoke on the Sapling Everything Grill?
We’ve had temperatures under 150 degrees, but cold smoking is well under 100 degrees. You know, we’ve never tried, but I suppose you could! We’ll try it and get back to you!
What kinds of temperatures are you looking to achieve on the Sapling for smoking different kinds of food?
It depends on whether you are cooking or curing. If you are curing bacon, for example, you are looking for 120-130 degrees. If you are cooking chicken to eat, you are looking for more like 250. All those temps are totally doable on the Sapling.
Can you make pizza on the Sapling Everything Grill?
Yes! Here’s a little secret: you can turn any grill into a flatbread and pizza oven by adding a pizza stone. But here’s another secret: using a wood-fired unit makes a HUGE difference in taste. I understand that Nikki, the family baker, will be blogging about how to use the Sapling to make pizza, Montreal bagels and other breads soon. We’re still perfecting our method, but, by using a large, rectangular pizza stone, and firing the grill up to 400 degrees or so , we’ve made some amazing, amazing pizza. The wood-fired taste is just outrageously good. And we’ve figured out how to use the maple syrup we made on our Sapling as an ingredient in our pizza, too.
Wood Fired Veggie Pizza with Maple and Goat Cheese: Make your favorite pizza dough and roll thin. Top with crushed tomato, fresh mozzarella, sliced baby bella mushrooms, baby arugula, and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle with goat cheese and drizzle lightly with maple syrup. Remove baffle from Sapling and ensure damper is open. Place pizza stone on grates and start fire. Cook covered at 400 degrees or hotter for 10 minutes or until done.
Cool! How do you store your Sapling when you are not using it?
Outside, under the Sapling Grill Cover.
How do you get the longest life out of your Sapling?
Clean out ashes and brush off dirt every once in a while, and then coat in vegetable oil, inside and out. Keep dry. Sand any blemishes with 100 grit sandpaper and touch up with Sapling Touch Up Paint or stove blacking. We sell a Sapling Care Kit that covers all those bases and more.
How does grilling and smoking on the Sapling Everything Grill compare to your experience with other grills and smokers?
You have to be a bit more patient. You have to take your time and pay attention to what you are doing, then wait until the grill cools before you put it away. But the outcomes are better. The wood flavor is amazing. The difference in taste cannot be overstated. The food is just so good.
Do you recommend the Sapling Everything Grill then?
Ha! Of course. Yah! Anyone interested in wood-fired cooking should check out the Sapling.
I’ll toast to that! Care for a maple sun tea?
Maple Sun Tea: Put four tea bags in a half-gallon mason jar and put in the sun until brewed to taste. Remove bags, add 1/4 cup of maple syrup and mix. Enjoy on ice!