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Smoking on the bbq with herbs - Can I get some pointers please?

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To start, I have a propane grill so tossing herbs on hot coals is out. I use an iron smoker box for wood chips.

I tried herbs for the first time without any guidance. I soaked rosemary with oak chips about an hour for steak night. While the aroma of the rosemary was intoxicating, it was well over with by the time the oak was ready.

Should I use only my fresh herbs? Can you use dried if they've been soaked? Do I have to toss them directly on the grill just moments before grilling? So many questions. Help!

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  1. Hmmm. Low temps help, as does soaking. It all really depends on what herbs and food you're cooking. Rosemary makes great skewers, thyme? Not so much...

    I'd use fresh as much as possible, dried when needed (and yes, rehydrate the dried herbs a bit) and, keep a close eye on the herbs, trying to keep them moist and uncharred.

    With regard to timing and placement, put them on the grill just before the meat and go for a longer cook at a lower temp. That will allow the flavours to infuse without drying out the meat. You can always finish the meat on a high heat to seal in the herb flavours.

    That's the extent of my knowledge. I've thrown rosemary, oregano, grape cuttings and lavender on my grill and have had some success, some notable failures and a lot of fun.

    4 Replies
    1. re: escoffier

      Thank you sooooo much escoffier. I hope you didn't feel cornered.

      I'm thinking about Rosemary, Oregano, and Basil. Not all at the same time of course. Essentially herbs that are strong enough to have impact. Can't imagine parsley smoked anything. If you have recs on what works well I would LOVE to hear them.

      I can see why thyme wouldn't skewer, but can you just smoke with it?

      Do you throw your herbs directly on the grill or pouch them in foil and poke a little hole?

      Failures I can do as long as success comes eventually. I'll keep my water spritzer handy and my wool mittens off.

      1. re: Googs

        You can pouch the herbs and place them over the smoke stream.
        I'm not sure what you want to smoke, or grill, so I 'll describe two methods.

        You can't easily smoke steaks, whether beef or fish. Too thin. They need to be grilled, hot, but will respond to a marinade in fresh herbs.

        However, you can marinade a herb mixture into a thicker morsel, such as prime rib, whole salmon, or lamb leg/rack, and slowly cook it offset from the fire, and with chips/herbs smoking away, lid down. It will take awhile, 30 min for a big fish, and up to 2 hours for a roast. Use a probe to reach 120-140 F internally.

        1. re: Googs

          Sounds like a nice combo. But, the Oregano and Basil will feel the heat long before the Rosemary. Something to do with the oils present in the plant.

          My favourite herbs for smoking are: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Black Pepper and Sage. What I've done in the past is either put them on a foil plate, kept them moist and allowed them to smoke over a low heat with the lid down. Or I'll coat the meat in them and slow-cook it. It's all about infusion.

          Glad I could help. Now go have some fun and enjoy the smoke.

        2. re: escoffier

          LOL--fresh thyme thrown on the heat smells just like another infamous "herb'!!