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Grilling with Honey

Memorial Day is next weekend, and Father's day is just around the corner; with temperatures steadily rising, it can only mean one thing–Summer is coming. And that means it's time to fire up the smoker or the grill!

Our friends at Whachu Smokin BBQ & Catering recently competed in the Best in Baker BBQ Contest! We were excited to see our honey as an ingredient on their menu and honored to be a part of their first-place wings recipe!

Rather than see you burn your meat trying to replicate the masters, we thought there was no better time to share some tips to keep you grilling all summer with sweet success.

Keep it balanced.

A few tablespoons of honey adds an essential balance to whatever I might be grilling up. The acidity of other ingredients in a marinade needs toning down, and honey is the ideal mellowing agent—honey seals in the meat's juices that begin to seep when the temperature is high.

Mix it properly.

Because of its sticky consistency, honey can be hard to brush, baste, or mop onto your meat by itself. Also, grilling honey that has not been mixed with another liquid, like juice or oil, is not a good idea, as it'll burn right up and char the surface before the food is cooked.

However, honey is okay, even in direct heat in brine or mixed with other ingredients. You can add a bit of orange juice or a touch of water, or fresh pineapple juice, a natural tenderizer, to create a more brushable consistency that goes on smoothly.

Map out your zones.

Here's the big grilling-with-honey tip: Establish direct and indirect heat zones by separating the coals in your grill. In a zone of indirect heat, you can freely apply your honey-juice mixture to the outer surface of your protein — pork or chicken are great options — to lock in flavor and moisture while helping the caramelization. Then, for a beautiful mahogany finish and a fast sear, move your honeyed protein quickly into the area of direct heat and hold it briefly.

Go thick with it!

Honey is also a great binder and thickener for amping up or sweetening sauces, marinades, dips, and dressings. For instance, a good beef marinade can be a simple dose of honey along with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary, green onions, and Dijon mustard. The soy sauce adds plenty of salt to season the meat, and the honey softens the intensity, giving it a balance with some sweetness.

Where there is smoke, the flavor is fire!

Not into grilling? Have you ever tried a smoker?

Dustin McKinnis, who recently won our first How Do You Honey Contest, also shared his smoked Glazed Pork Spare Ribs recipe.

McKinnis shared, " I took spare ribs and got them coated in 3 layers of Meat Church rub. I seasoned the meat using Honey Hog Hot, Honey Hog & Holy Gospel. After letting the rub adhere for about an hour, it was time to head to the smoke! Using a pellet grill running Hickory pellets, I placed the ribs on the 350 degree smoker. Spritzing with apple juice every 45 minutes until they had a great mahogany color," he continued. "I then layered brown sugar, butter & Datil Sting Honey onto aluminum foil. Wrapping up tight they were placed back on the smoker for another hour & half. To finish the cook. I opened up the foil and flipped the ribs back to meat side up. Then, I glazed the ribs with Blues Hog Championship sauce & Datil sting and shut the lid to cook and tack up for another 15 minutes."

Need a little help getting started? Here is our recipe for Honey BBQ Sauce using two types of World Honey Market Honey!

Honey BBQ Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • ½ cup WHM Avocado Honey

  • 4 tablespoons WHM Wildflower honey

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons cold water + 1 tablespoon cornstarch

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