From smoking fish to preparing a dish, Fish Alaska’s Editor are foodies who love the bounty of our local fish and game. Every year as part of our gear review we seek out items to name the best in outdoor cooking. From camp stoves to local spices, knives to grills, check out these items our team is calling this year’s best in outdoor cooking.
Can Cooker and Burner
Bringing the cattle drive tradition back, this product is basically a little pressure cooker, so any meat you put in it will come out tender. It makes great stews, and you can cook potatoes or rice along with your protein. You just need to know what ratio of moisture-to-product to add. The burner is a bit flimsy, but it does pair well with the cooker and has good, varied temperatures.
Summit Spice and Tea Lemon Herb Salmon Dip
This is one delicious salmon dip mix, and coming from the local experts at this Anchorage-based company, that’s no surprise. It includes garlic, dill, onion, and lemon along with some other herbs. The package suggests adding smoked salmon and cream cheese plus sour cream and milk. We like it mixed with greek yogurt and baked salmon with some fresh-squeezed lemon. Serve with crackers and cucumbers.
Calphalon Contemporary 5-inch Santoku Knife
Fully forged from high-carbon German steel and featuring an all-purpose design for slicing, cutting and chopping, this knife was one of the handiest our tester tried all year. Additionally, the straight cutting edge is lined with divots that help keep food from sticking to the blade.
FoodSaver Fresh Containers
These BPA-free containers are very handy. They come in four sizes (3-, 5-, 8- and 10-cup containers), are nestable and stackable for efficient storage, are odor-, stain- and crack-resistant, and are microwave-, dishwasher-, refrigerator- and freezer-safe. The coolest feature of the system is that these containers pair with any FoodSaver vacuum-sealer to pull air out of the container through the vacuum-seal valve. We’ve noticed that food lasts a lot longer in the refrigerator since using this system.
Bradley Smoker Smart Smoker
We’ve been impressed with every Bradley Smoker that we’ve tested and that’s the case with the Smart Smoker. We used the smartphone app to control the smoker and that was both cool and useful. The smoker allows you to really dial-in temperature control, resulting in perfectly smoked salmon. Bradley makes multiple flavors of wood discs; we recommend trying the variety pack which includes apple, alder, hickory, maple and mesquite.
MSR Titan Kettle
This versatile pot is super light and is made from titanium, giving it strength. It’s got a lid with an integrated handle; a handle is also built into the kettle, making it easy to handle when hot. Another smart feature is the spout built into the kettle that aids in spill-proof pouring. We used it quite a bit in 2017 and like it a lot.
Seth McGinn’s The Plank
This foldable cutting board was one of the cooler cooking products of the year, according to our tester. Of good-quality construction, the seams are holding up even after a season’s use, and The Plank’s space-saving qualities come in real handy on extended wilderness trips. It’s a little tricky to wash, so our tester recommends using it for cooking chores, rather than as your fish-processing board.
Bradley Smoker Cherry and Pecan Bisquettes
The key to quality smoking in your Bradley Smoker is in the bisquettes, and luckily they produce 14 irresistible wood flavors. We tried the cherry and pecan bisquettes this year and loved the flavors produced.
Alaska Balsamics Denali Balsamic Vinegar
From caprese salad to salmon with a balsamic-honey glaze, Alaska Balsamics Denali is a stand-out ingredient. Denali is their traditional flavor that our testers found thick and nicely concentrated, with just the right bit of sweet. They love it plain or used in a recipe. Alaska Balsamics is a new company from Valdez, Alaska, that launched this winter with 7 flavors of balsamic vinegar and their Pineapple Balsamic Hot Sauce. They ship immediately when you order from their website, so plan now for wowing family and friends with the weekend’s meals and you’ll be ready to cook in just a few days’ time.
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett pellet grill; Stainless; Wi-Fi version
The Davy Crockett pellet grill is a versatile grilling machine! Whether at camp or tailgating via the 12-volt adaptor or at home with AC power, this grill is great for cooking for small groups. One can connect to the grill through point-to-point Wi-Fi or through your home Wi-Fi network. A mobile app (iOS or Android) serves as the interface. The hopper holds up to nine pounds of pellets, ensuring long cook times without the need to refill the hopper. A digital meat probe is included, and temperature of both the grill and the food can be monitored either on the unit’s control panel or on the app. Temperature can also be controlled from the panel or the app. Our tester used this for Boston Butts as big as 8 pounds, steaks, salmon, tri-tip roasts and pork loin. He claims the results were mouth-wateringly delicious.
Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator
This product opened up options for us on what we can smoke. In addition to making a tasty, cold-smoked salmon, we’ve been smoking cheese and nuts using alder and apple pellets and the results are scrumptious. We’ve used it with our Big Chief smoker and piped the smoke into the door that normally is used to access the wood chip pan.
Testers enjoyed making fajitas in the FireDisc and found it to be a fun process, turning out a delicious meal in no time. They were able to get a good amount of food made all at once and appreciated the varying temperatures.
The Spice & Tea Exchange Grilled Fish Spice
Our staff foodie declares this a wonderful seasoning for all types of fish, especially salmon. Just rinse your fish with cool water and lemon juice; then brush with olive oil and add this blend before grilling, baking or sautéing. Overwhelmingly positive reviews from your dinner guests are the result.
The Spice & Tea Exchange Cajun Spice Blend
Made from an old family Bayou recipe, this seasoning is great for blackening any type of meat or seafood. Season according to taste, then grill, sear or bake. Available at The Spice & Tea Exchange in South Anchorage.