How to cook pulled pork
September 6, 2019

The second episode of Becoming a Backyard BBQ Master is here! Today, Evan will attempt to smoke his first Pork Butt (also known as a Boston Butt).

Pork butts are a great choice for cooking low and slow. They’re hard to mess up, they taste delicious, and they provide a lot of food for a lower cost (so if you do manage to mess it up you won’t feel too bad).

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or, like Evan, new to the world of Backyard BBQ, there is something to enjoy in this new video series. Watch the episode now, and read on for more insights and instructions on smoking your first pork butt.

Why Start with Pulled Pork?

I have loved eating pulled pork for as long as I can remember. We grew up going to BBQ restaurants and the sandwich was a staple around our house as well. Smoking a pork butt, however, has always seemed like a mystical and unattainable task to me. To be honest, I thought that smoking anything would be difficult.

Turns out I was wrong: Pork butts are actually one of the easiest things to smoke! They may take a lot of time, but it’s low effort and well worth it.

I have cooked a few pork butts in the past, but always using a crockpot. Some recipes claim it is just as good as the smoker – I’m here to tell you that is also not true. If I had to do a blind taste test of my crock pot pulled pork and my new smoked pulled pork, I would guess the right one every time.

So, since I love pulled pork and it’s one of the hardest things to mess up, I decided that this would be my very first smoke.

Materials

There are two different sets of materials I need to explain. First, the food ingredients and then my smoking equipment.

Food Ingredients are very basic:

  • Pork butt or Boston butt (they’re the same thing). I smoked one that was 9 pounds, which is a pretty large cut of meat.
  • Dry Rub to go onto the butt
  • A bit of oil for the grill
  • Liquid for the drip pan – you want some kind of liquid in your drip pan to keep the meat moist. Some people use juice or soda, but I just used water.

Pork Butt ready with Dry Rub

That’s it! That’s all you need to smoke a pork butt. Obviously you may want bbq sauce or buns or coleslaw to make sandwiches with once you’re done, but that’s completely up to you. You could also use your pork for tacos or serve it without bread. It’s a versatile meat, and once you cook 9 pounds worth you’ll get several chances to enjoy it.

Smoking equipment that I used:

Equipment for Smoking a Pork Butt

The equipment was amazing and made the job much easier. In particular, I loved the Flame Boss. It felt like cheating (and some purists probably would call it cheating), but when you’re new to smoking it is a fantastic assistant.

The Flame Boss deserves its own episode in the future, but basically it monitors the temperature inside the pit and inside the meat. It also controls a small fan, which can blow air into the smoker to raise the temperature as required. It’s a really clever design and makes it very easy to reach and maintain a consistent temperature when you cook for long periods of time. You can monitor and adjust the temperature on the Flame Boss itself, on your phone, or even through Alexa devices.

I had to choose which type of wood to smoke with as well. The Pecan chunks were recently featured in Garden and Gun magazine, so they seemed like the best option for my first smoke. I’ve never cooked with or tried pecan before, so I was excited to try it.

How to Smoke your First Pork Butt (or Boston Butt)

There are a ton of great resources out there from experienced backyard bbq masters when it comes to smoking your first pork butt. One in particular that I used a lot was Primo University: Pulled Pork (Boston Butt) Recipe.

But sometimes the experts forget about the things newbies don’t know, so I’m going to share my experience and hopefully add something useful to the world.

Step 1: Prepare the meat the night before: Preparing the meat is relatively simple. If there is excess fat, you can cut some of it off (but don’t cut too much because that provides flavor and juiciness). Then, choose the dry rub of your choice and cover that butt as best you can with it. I wrapped the butt in plastic wrap and stuck it back in the fridge so it could soak in all the flavor over night.

Step 2: Preheat the Smoker and Prewarm the meat: Most smokers take at least 20-30 minutes to get to the right temperature. Before lighting up the grill, however, make sure you take the pork out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter. Allowing it to warm up a bit and get closer to room temperature will help it cook more evenly.

Then, light up the grill and bring it to temperature. Use lots of charcoal so you don’t have to add more halfway through your cook (any leftover charcoal can be used on the next cook). Don’t forget to add 2-3 cooking chunks as well. Most people smoke pork at 225F, but some will go at 250F. I started at 225, and then bumped it up to 250 in the last couple hours because I was starving.

Pecan Chunks for Cooking Pulled Pork

Step 3: Drip pan and Meat into the Smoker: Once the smoker is at temperature, it’s time to start cooking! First, place the drip pan into the grill below where the meat will go. Don’t add liquid to the drip pan until you have placed it (or you can be like me, and discover how difficult it is to slide a pan full of liquid into a hot grill). Once placed, add your liquid and then place the pork butt into the smoker. You should place the meat on the grill with the fattier side facing down.

It’s also important that you place the meat on indirect heat! In other words, you don’t want burning charcoal directly under the pork butt. You should use a ceramic heat deflector, which will allow the smoker to have an even temperature throughout and help your butt cook evenly. Since I didn’t have the appropriate heat deflector racks, I ended up piling all the charcoal onto one side and cooking on the other. This worked just fine, except I ran out of charcoal quickly because I only had it on one side.

Step 4: Play the waiting game: Pulled pork can take a long time to smoke. If you want an estimate, plan for 1-2 hours for each pound of meat. This creates quite the broad range. My first Boston butt was 9 pounds and took about 13 hours. My second one was 10 pounds and took 22 hours!

You really shouldn’t open your smoker throughout the day either. Each time you open it, you lose a lot of heat and it will only cause the process to take longer. You may need to check it a couple of times to ensure the drip pan still has liquid in it or that your charcoal is still in good shape, but otherwise resist the temptation!

Using the Flame Boss for a Pork Butt

This is where having a Flame Boss can be really helpful. The picture above shows how it monitors the temperature of your pit (red line), your meat (yellow line), fan output (green line), and goal temperature (blue line). You can where, when I opened the smoker, the pit temperature dropped significantly. It gives you good info on what’s happening, so you are not tempted to open and check.

It’s also worth mentioning that there is an actual thing called the stall. Basically, the Pork butt will heat at a pretty quick pace until it reaches 150F. Then all of a sudden, it stalls! It may get stuck there for an hour or two, but don’t worry – this is normal. Eventually it will get going again and reach the goal temperature. Just keep playing the waiting game!

Step 5: Remove when the pork reaches 195F: You need to cook pork butts to a pretty hot temperature. The extra heat breaks down the tough tissue and makes it juicy and tender. Once your meat reaches 195F, it is time to take it off the smoker.

Wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest for 30-60 minutes. This lets it cool down a bit and helps the juices distribute themselves.

How to pull a pork butt

Step 6: Pull that pork! There are several ways to pull pork. The most basic (and the one I used) is a couple of forks. This can be difficult if your meat is still tough, but hopefully it will be very tender and fall apart easily. Bear claws are another great option, and I know some people who use a certain type of blender.

Step 7: Eat it! Once pulled, your pork is ready to eat. I was really happy with how my first pork butt turned out. It was far more juicy, tender, and flavorful than anything I had made on a crockpot. The pecan wood added a subtle nutty flavor that was quite enjoyable. We had pulled pork for several days, shared with friends, and even put some in the freezer.

And now I feel one step closer to becoming a backyard BBQ master.

How to make Homemade Pulled Pork Sandwich

Lessons Learned

Each episode, I want to share a few lessons I learned. I mention 3 in the video, but there are a couple more I want to add:

  1. Add more charcoal: I think I lost about an hour of cook time because I ran out of charcoal. The Primo temperature started dropping and really fell off when I had to add the charcoal. The flame boss worked pretty hard to get it back up to temperature, but it took time. It’s always better to have excess charcoal because you can use it again for your next cook – so you don’t have to worry about wasting it!
  2. The Flame Boss was amazing: Seriously recommend this tool to anyone wanting to improve their low and slow cooking skills
  3. If you’re looking, you aren’t cooking: It’s really tempting to look at your meat and check it throughout the day. Don’t do that. Every time you open it, you lose significant cook time. Not just while it is open, but the pit also needs time to heat back up.
  4. Add liquid to the drip pan after placing the drip pan: I made this mistake, and it took me a lot more time to get the drip pan positioned.
  5. Cook the day before a party: This didn’t really hit home until my second cook. We had some friends coming over on Friday, and my original plan was to wake up really early and start cooking the butt so it would be hot off the smoker in time for dinner. This would have worked great if it took 14 hours, but instead it took 22 hours to cook! Our dinner party would have been a disaster, but fortunately circumstances forced me to start on Thursday. The nice thing is, pulled pork is easy to reheat and still tastes just as good! So, if you’re making food for an event, always give yourself plenty of time!

Conclusion

All in all, this was an awesome first experience with cooking low and slow for me. If you have any points or tips for others new to the world of Backyard BBQ Mastery, then please share them in the comments below!

Don’t forget to subscribe so you can catch the next episode of Becoming a Backyard BBQ Master.

August 28, 2019

There is something special about starting a fire with a single match. Not only does it make life easy, but it also tends to invoke a certain sense of pride.

On the flip side, it’s fairly infuriating when you go through dozens of matches or an entire supply of lighter fluid attempting to get a fire started. This process usually involves lots of smoke inhalation, frustration, and possibly a few four letter words (and unfortunately, we don’t mean “fire”).

But we’re here to help! Cutting Edge Firewood has mastered the art of starting a fire with a single match. Watch this short video to see our process, or scroll down for some written directions.

What you need:

In order to start a fire with a single match, you’ll need a few key supplies:

  • Dry Firewood: This is the most important part of a single match fire. Wet wood simply does not want to ignite. You can force it to light withenough heat, blowing, smoke, and persistence, but certainly not with a single match. This is one of the many reasons Cutting Edge Firewood is the best – we use the most rigorous drying process in the industry.everything that you need to start a fire
  • Fire Starter: There are a lot of different fire starters on the market, but basically you want something that will light and then stay lit for several minutes. Naturally, we recommend our excelsior fire starters because they are scent and chemical free. This makes them safer for both indoor fires and cooking fires. And of course, they are very easy to light and will last a long time.
  • Heart Pine: A nice way to complement your fire starter is with a piece of heart pine. Heart pine is derived from the heartwood of pine trees and burns readily even when wet, making it a prized natural fire starter. The pleasant aroma of pine will add a welcome addition to your fire. We don’t recommend using them with cooking wood, because heart pine does not add great flavor.
  • Kindling: Smaller pieces of wood ignite more easily than larger pieces. You can gather lots of small twigs from your yard, cut off smaller pieces from a log, or you can use the kindling we supply at Cutting Edge. Each of our kindling pieces are made with the same quality as our firewood and is easy to light. If you use our kindling, two pieces will be plenty. If you use other kindling, you’ll likely need many more pieces.
  • Matches: If you want to start a single match fire, then you’ll obviously need some matches!

Each of the items listed above are available from Cutting Edge Firewood. You can purchase them separately, or for extra convenience you can choose the complete fire starter package.

What you don’t need:

Many people are under the impression that a single match fire requires the following, but we’re here to tell you the truth. The following “fire starters” are not necessary and can negatively affect your fire starting experience.

  • Lighter Fluid: We’ve known friends who seem to think a good fire is one where you spray lighter fluid at the fire whenever the fire gets too low. The problem is, they’re burning fluid instead of wood. They’ve chosen to use wet wood and are trying to make up for it with lighter fluid. This adds unnecessary chemicals to your fire, does not smell good, requires more work, and creates additional danger.
  • Newspaper: Most people have used newspaper to start a fire before. It certainly ignites easily, but it does have several disadvantages. First, it cannot stay lit for very long and often burns out before the kindling ignites. Second, it doesn’t burn as hot as a good fire starter. Third, it creates lots of unnecessary ash that often floats up and out of the fire. Lastly, in today’s digital age it’s much harder to find newspaper! For a more reliable experience, choose an actual fire starter.
  • Gasoline: This is an absolute NO. Using gasoline is extremely dangerous. The fumes spread immediately and lighting it is explosive. We know people who tried to use gasoline and they ended in the hospital. If that’s not enough reason, gasoline isn’t even an effective fire starter because it burns so quickly. So once again, never use gasoline to start a fire.

Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Fire with one Match

If you watched the video, you saw how easy it is to start a fire the Cutting Edge way. Remember to always keep safety in mind when you start a fire and choose an appropriate place to start one.

Here are step-by-step instructions for lighting a fire with a single match:

  1. Place the excelsior fire starter (or the fire starter of your choice) at the center of the where you want the fire. If using a fireplace grate, then place this below the grate.
  2. Strike your single match and light the fire starter.
  3. If you’re using heart pine, carefully rest a single heart pine piece on top of the lit fire starter.How to start a fire: adding heart pine
  4. Place a couple pieces of kindling directly above the heart pine in the shape of an X. Use additional kindling if required.
  5. As the kindling lights, place two large pieces of firewood alongside the kindling (or above the kindling if you are using a fireplace grate). When using a grate, place the larger log in front, so that as the wood breaks down it will fall backwards instead of forwards.One Match Fire - building it
  6. Add additional logs on top as required. You want to have some logs go directly over the burning kindling. You can build this up as high as you want (as long as you keep it a safe height).
  7. Sit back, relax, and feel proud of the fact that you started a fire with a single match.

One match log cabin fire

That’s it! Starting a fire with a single match is quick and easy when you have the right ingredients. You can shop all of our fire starters or our premium firewood today. We deliver and ship our products all over the United States.

August 27, 2019

Just in time for fall, Cutting Edge Firewood is pleased to announce our new same day delivery service for our box products in the Metro Atlanta area!

This service is available for all of our box products and is great for customers looking to start a fire or cook with firewood tonight. Best of all, this service is entirely complimentary!

The process is easy, all you need to do is order a box of firewood on our website, and then select free same day delivery when you checkout. We’ll bring the box (or boxes) of firewood to your home and leave it on your front porch. Boxes are easy to move to your fireplace, fire pit, or grill. Orders must be placed before noon to guarantee same day delivery.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Firewood Delivery - everything you need is in the boxThe Cutting Edge Firewood box includes enough wood for approximately 2-4 fires (or about 8 hours of burntime). The box has everything you need for an easy, enjoyable fire experience, including:

If you were wondering, six boxes of firewood is about the same amount of materials as one rack of firewood plus one fire starter package.

What about the other boxes?

The Cutting Edge Firewood box isn’t the only one eligible for complimentary same day delivery. Our cooking wood boxes and cooking chunks boxes are also available. That means if you want to cook some incredible wood fired pizza for friends tonight, it’s not too late to get our pizza cut wood! If you’ve already got a rack want to order our fire starter package, that’s also eligible for same day delivery!

Order now:

If you would like to take advantage of our new service, then you can order now! Simply add your desired box or boxes to your cart, place your order, and we’ll get your firewood out to you!

  • Cherry Firewood Box

    $59.00

    The most luxurious cherry firewood for sale in Atlanta. Our favorite choice for cooking. Cherry wood has a distinct aroma that is adored by firewood connoisseurs and casual burners alike. It has a shorter and cooler flame than our oak and hickory products. A cherry fire brightly lights up warm spring, summer and autumn nights. ARTISANAL QUALITY. Experience a fire like no other. An outstanding fire experience requires excellence to the highest degree. It demands dry firewood free from mold and pests. We perfected our kiln drying process to offer products that exceed industry expectations. Every piece of wood we sell undergoes a process twelve times more intensive than the market benchmark. PERSONALIZED SERVICE. We care about your experience. When you purchase one of our products, you receive complimentary white glove delivery. Our Delivery Artisans will bring your wood to your home and stack it the way you request. Customers who are new to firewood may also ask for assistance lighting their first fire.

  • Fire Starter Package

    $59.00

    The Cutting Edge Firewood Complete Fire Starter Package includes everything you need to start a fire quickly and easily. Each package includes:

    • Oak Kindling,
    • Excelsior Fire Starters,
    • Heart Pine Bundle,
    • Cigar Matches.

    Ignite your fire with a single match using the Cutting Edge way. Check out our how-to video below so you can master the single match light every single time!

  • Hickory Firewood Box

    $59.00

    Our most beloved product. Kiln-dried hickory firewood provides a hot, gorgeous and long-lasting flame. Its signature aroma and crackle make it a customer favorite. Enthusiasts and casual burners alike have something to love.

    INCOMPARABLE: We craft the finest hickory firewood for sale in Atlanta. Our artisans understand that it takes top-quality fire products to fuel the best fires. That’s why they condition our hickory firewood for 48 hours — that’s twelve times the required length for kiln-dried wood.

    EFFORTLESS: Anyone can burn hickory wood. Hickory doesn’t need a large amount of effort to light. Wood lovers of any experience level can appreciate a hickory fire.

    UNPARALLELED EXPERTISE: We’re passionate about firewood. Every local customer receives our complimentary Artisan Delivery Service. Your personal Delivery Artisan will deliver, stack and clean up your wood to your specifications. They will readily answer your questions or even start a fire for you.

  • Oak Firewood Box

    $49.00

    Oak is typically the go-to choice for a first kiln dried firewood experience. Its low emissions and ability to light quickly and burn through the night always exceeds our customers’ expectations. Oak is also popular with our cooking clients as it provides optimal results when smoking techniques are used. Our Oak products provide an excellent blend of red and white oak from southern forests.

    • Length of firewood: 16″ (approx.)
    • Box measures 2.45 cubic feet or 16″ x 16″ x 16
    • 2 – 4 fires (approx.)
    • Next business day delivery available (in certain regions) when selected at check out
    • Subscribe and save!

Why choose a box?

We obviously love our firewood racks and think they look great in any home. However, there are several reasons you might choose a box over a rack:

  • You love the convenience of having everything you need in one box.
  • You can easily take a box with you on a camping trip, to the beach, or to your lake house.
  • Boxes make great gifts, and with same day delivery they can be perfect for that gathering you’re going to tonight!
  • You want to try a variety of products from Cutting Edge before choosing an entire rack.
  • You have less storage space and don’t want an entire rack. Boxes are great for townhomes or condos with fireplaces!
  • You have multiple fire areas and want the convenience of a box to carry firewood to tonight’s fire area.
  • You need firewood today!

We hope you’re as excited as we are about this new service. Add a box to your cart by choosing the prodcuts above, or shop our entire line of products in our online store.

Primo Grill Cooking with Wood
August 23, 2019

Today we’re excited to introduce you to a new series, hosted by our very own Evan Forester. It’s called, “Becoming a Backyard BBQ Master” and follows Evan on his quest to go from zero to hero with his backyard BBQ skills. We think it’s going to be fun!

Hi everyone! And welcome to the first episode of Becoming a Backyard BBQ Master.

My name is Evan Forester, and here are my credentials for hosting a Backyard BBQ Master show:

  • I have a backyard.

That’s about it! I have used a grill before, but just for burgers and hot dogs. I’ve never even tried to grill a steak. I certainly have never smoked anything before.

All that being said, I enjoy cooking and I love food. I figured now was a great time to learn, and I’d love to invite you on this journey! Make sure to watch the video, or you can read the story below:

Unboxing the Primo Grill

First things first, I had to take my dysfunctional gas grill to the curb and set up my new Kamado style grill. I chose the Primo XL 400 – it’s large (really large) and oval shaped. It’s got a few features I already like and will explain below.

Set-up was pretty easy, but it is a two person job. The cart was very nice to put together and didn’t take too much skill. You only need two tools and it took us less than 30 minutes. You could do the cart on your own, but it will take more time and be difficult to line things up.

Where you really will need help is lifting the large ceramic grill into the cart. The Primo XL 400 is a beast. We managed with two people, but to be honest three would have been easier.

My biggest mistake was setting up the grill at 2pm on the 4th of July. It was crazy hot outside, but I really didn’t have a choice. We were hosting people that evening and I had to cook burgers and brats! If you set up your own grill, make sure you do it when the weather is cooler. Alternatively, if your order a Primo from Cutting Edge Firewood, our delivery artisans can set it up for you!

Unboxing my Primo XL 400 Grill

The kit I chose included:

  • The Primo Grill
  • The Cart
  • The Cast Iron Divider (this enables you to have your heat source on only one side of the grill)
  • Heat Deflector Plates (these enable indirect heat cooking)
  • Heat Deflector rack (these hold the deflector plates)

Ultimately, choosing the size of your primo and the different pieces you want depends on what you want to do. Out of the box, the grill includes everything you need for basic grilling, but the extras are really nice and give you more freedom. If you have questions, our customer support team would be happy to help.

What I like about the Primo

There are several things I liked about the Primo – some before I even cooked with it!

First, you can tell it is a high quality grill. My old gas grill was in seriously bad shape, so this was a very quick upgrade. It’s nice to that the grill is made in the USA – as far as I know the Primo is the only ceramic grill with that claim to fame.

Second, I love the size. It’s big and makes no apologies about it. We love hosting crowds of people at our home, so this gives us a lot of flexibility to cook for large groups. Part of the genius, however, is their oval shape and split design. If I’m cooking for just a couple people, I can get the coals and cooking chunks going on one side of the grill and leave the other empty. I won’t waste charcoal and it’s less clean-up.

It’s also super-flexible. I can cook close to the heat on one side, and far from the heat on the other. I can easily move certain items from indirect heat to direct heat instantly.

I’m sure as the series goes on, I’ll find more things to like about this grill!

My First Cook

For my first cook on the Primo, I kept things simple and stuck with what I know. I cooked burgers and brats.

I used Royal Oak hardwood lump charcoal and some hickory chunks from Cutting Edge Firewood. I used my cast iron divider so all the direct heat was on one side (see image below). This allowed me to reverse sear the burgers.

two zone cooking

What is reverse sear? Basically, it’s a technique where you cook the burgers on indirect heat for a few minutes. This lower temperature warms up and cooks the burger without drying it out. Once done, you move the burger to the direct heat side of the grill and cook it at a high temperature to give the burger a crispy exterior while keeping the juices inside.

I took a similar approach to the bratwursts as well. The direct heat gave them a crispy exterior while the indirect heat allowed it to take on the smoke flavor and cook through.

The Primo Grill is large

I was excited to compare my previous efforts on the gas grill with the primo. I noticed the difference immediately.

The smoky flavor of the hickory was surprisingly noticeable. Hickory provides strong flavor and may be too much for some (cherry, oak, and pecan are all less intense flavors), but I love bold flavors. They tasted great!

What really made me happy was the results of the turkey burgers. In general, I’m not a fan of turkey burgers, but someone brought them so I threw them on the grill. They were frozen and I added nothing to them flavor wise.

And then one of the guests at the party started raving about the best turkey burger she had ever eaten. “What did you do to make this taste so good? Normally I eat turkey burgers because they’re healthy, but I miss the flavor of beef. These taste great!”

It was the hickory, of course.

Needless to say, I had a great first experience with the Primo, but I kept it simple. My journey to becoming a Backyard BBQ Master has a long way to go, but it’s fun to get started!

On the next episode, I’m going to attempt to smoke something for the first time in my life: a 9 pound pork butt. Stay tuned!

the ultimate guide to making s'mores
June 5, 2019

Summer has arrived, which means s’more season is officially in full swing. Roasting marshmallows over an open fire consistently triggers great memories. Because of that, we’ve brought together the ultimate guide to making the best s’mores.

When you make s’mores with family and friends, there should be more than nostalgia fueling the fun. This is a dessert that has earned its own national s’mores day, after all (August 10, if you were wondering).

Often times, when we eat something we loved in childhood, it doesn’t quite match up to the memories. If you follow the tips on how to make s’mores in this post, and you will wonder why you aren’t making them more often.

1) Get everything you need ready

smores sticks - Roasting Forks

I can remember many campfires growing up where we decided to make s’mores. We had all the ingredients ready, but then had to wander around the woods in the dark (while hoping to avoid poison ivy) and look for a s’mores stick long enough to roast the marshmallow. On multiple occasions, the s’mores stick I found on the ground was way too short. I’d spend the next few minutes holding the marshmallow near the fire for a few seconds, then pulling it away because my hand was starting to burn. This dance wasn’t that nice.

And of course, there was always the clothes hanger. We spent many campfires trying to unwind metal clothes hangers and then debating if the white paint on them would poison our marshmallows. Once we were done, we never knew what to do with these long and pointy things that could never return to their original form.

But nothing is worse than toasting a marshmallow and realizing you forgot something at the store or still need to unpack the graham crackers and chocolate. Odds are your marshmallow would fall on the ground in the process, get cold, or just get eaten before you had achieved s’more perfection.

So make sure you have some reliable s’more roasting forks handy, and get all your ingredients ready to go.

2) Try more s’more ingredients

Speaking of ingredients, the basic s’more recipe is simple:

  • 2 pieces of graham cracker
  • 1-2 roasted marshmallows
  • 1-2 pieces of milk chocolate

If you only eat s’mores that contain those three ingredients, you’re still technically eating s’mores. But that’s kind of like eating nothing but cheese pizza – you’re missing out on a world of possibilities.

Oreo S'mores for the win!

For instance, have you ever tried trading that piece of milk chocolate for a Reese’s peanut butter cup or a couple of Rolo’s?

Have you ever considered replacing the graham crackers with chocolate chip cookies or Oreos? Oreo s’mores are like a whole new world!

What if you added strawberry slices or peanut butter inside the s’more?

There are countless options out there, but this collection of 39 s’more hacks should give you plenty of ideas to get through the summer.

3) Roast the chocolate while you roast the marshmallow

One of the simplest hacks to making an amazing s’mores dessert is to roast the chocolate at the same time you roast the marshmallow. You obviously cannot put the chocolate on a roasting fork – it would melt and fall off.

So instead, place the chocolate (or Reese’s or whatever you choose to use) on the graham cracker and simply set it near the fire. You’ve got to be careful here – too close and it will melt everything entirely or even burn your hand.

How to melt the chocolate in your s'mores

Chocolate doesn’t need a lot of heat to melt, so just make sure it’s a warm area and let the fire do the work. Then, when your marshmallow is ready you can create your s’more sandwich. The warm, melted chocolate is amazing and once you try it, you’ll never go back. You might get a little extra chocolate dripping down your face, but we promise it’s worth it.

4) Roast it over the coals

This is one of my pet peeves and perhaps the greatest controversy when answering the question, how to make s’mores. Many people choose to simply shove their marshmallow into the flame, let it catch on fire, and then blow it out. I call this method the “burn and blow” and think it is the worst.

how to make the best s'moresIf you genuinely prefer this method of roasting marshmallows, then I guess it’s a free country and you can do what you want.

But in my view, you will never make the perfect s’more with a marshmallow that is burnt on the outside and cold on the inside. I can’t think of a single food item where people prefer the burnt version over a properly cooked version.

The key to successfully roasting a marshmallow is to do it slowly over the coals of the fire. You’ll need to wait a bit for the fire to burn and watch for those coals to fall to the side. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for, s’more perfection awaits!

If you roast the marshmallows over the coals and slowly rotate them, they will turn golden brown on the outside and warm through to the center. Does roasting them properly take longer than the burn and blow method? Yes, but we’re talking 1 minute verses 10 seconds, not a whole hour.

So if you want the best s’more possible, take the extra few seconds and actually roast the marshmallows.

5) Use an actual fire

The internet is filled with alternative methods for making s’mores: Cook them in the oven or microwave! Cook them over a candle! Use the toaster!

making s'mores together

But in my mind, cooking a s’more over anything but an actual fire defeats the purpose. You don’t make a s’more just to have something yummy to eat (although that is clearly a benefit). You make s’mores for the shared experience, for the time together around a campfire, and the memories that it can create.

For many kids, cooking a s’more over a fire might literally be their first time cooking anything. Teaching others how to properly cook a s’more, roast a marshmallow, or warm the chocolate is a great way to connect.

Sometimes, weather doesn’t cooperate and you need to make s’mores inside. That’s ok, because most likely you have a fireplace inside where you can make s’mores as well. The hearth creates a nice place to warm that chocolate and you can still turn s’more making into a community undertaking.

6) Take the necessary safety steps

Nothing ruins a good s’more faster than a burnt hand or out of control fire. Anytime you create a fire, it’s important to follow the necessary safety steps. Since making s’mores requires you (and often younger children) to be closer than normal to the fire, safety is even more important.

Smokey Bear provides a complete list of campfire safety rules, but here are a few that relate specifically to making the best s’mores:

  • Only create a fire for s’mores in a safe fire pit or fireplace
  • Never get too close to the fire or touch the flames
  • Keep s’more ingredients far away from the fire – not only could they melt, but an entire bag or box could fall into the fire and cause problems
  • Always supervise children around fires and while making s’mores
  • Have water nearby so the fire can be put out completely when necessary
  • Never wave roasting forks around, especially if there is a flaming marshmallow on it
  • Be careful not to touch the flame side of the roasting fork with your fingers – it’s hot!

7) Teamwork makes the dream work

Depending on how long your roasting fork is, it can be quite difficult to place a marshmallow between two graham crackers using just your two hands. The graham cracker might break, the chocolate could fall out, or you might only get 10% of the marshmallow inside the sandwich while the rest explodes out the side.

But teamwork makes the dream work! As you roast marshmallows, ask a friend to prepare your ingredients of choice and then help you make your s’more. You’ve got a much better shot at keeping everything together and properly proportioned. Once you’ve had your own delicious s’more, you can return the favor for your friend.

This principle is especially true with younger kids. It’s great to involve them in the s’more making process, but they’re more prone to hurting themselves or destroying the s’more when they do it themselves. Give them a helping hand and give them a s’more experience they’ll remember for years. Odds are, they’ll remember the person who taught them how to make s’mores for much longer than they remember what their first s’more tasted like.

8) Use the best firewood for the best s’mores

There was a time when I believed that making a good s’more over an open fire required a certain level of smoke inhalation. This was because, as a kid, we would build fires using wood that had just fallen from trees and was still pretty wet. This unseasoned wood would create a lot of smoke, and it was only a matter of time before the wind changed and you got smoked out.

When you cook s’mores over a fire with Cutting Edge Firewood, however, things are different. We deliver the best firewood available, period.

best firewood for making s'mores

So what does this mean for making s’mores?

First, our firewood creates less smoke. You don’t have to suffer through copious amounts of smoke in your eyes just to enjoy a s’more!

Second, our firewood is easier to light. A single match is all you need and you’ll have a crackling fire burning in no time. This takes the stress out of starting a fire and saves you (and every other s’more eater) substantial time.

And third, Cutting Edge firewood burns hotter and longer. Want to make a s’more now? Great! Go for it! Still want to make a s’more an hour later? No problem! Keep the fire going with the best firewood available and you’ll get to enjoy the best s’mores all night.

Shop quality firewood today so you can be ready for your next s’mores adventure.

Your turn: Do you have any tips or tricks for making s’mores? Leave a comment below!

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