Category: Grills-Smokers

Grilla Silverback Review

Grilla Silverback Review

Grilla Silverback Pellet Smoker/Grill

The craze continues so manufacturers keep improving the pellet smoker/grill category and Grilla is no exception.  I cooked on the original Grilla about seven years ago at their factory in Holland, Michigan and very much enjoyed the uniqueness and durability.

The Silverback is a newer entry for Grilla and is built along the lines of several top manufacturers in the barrel-bodied style to resemble the old traditional home-built smokers of long ago.  In this review I will set out to try to break down the pros and cons of this product as best I can.  As a mea culpa, I must admit that the acting manager of Grilla, Mark Graham is an old friend from my former life as a grill and smoker manufacturers rep.

To be fair, I have started to get down on the whole pellet grill thing as a true bbq snob should… so I thought.  After testing this unit for a month and a half, I have fallen in love with pellets all over again and who doesn’t want to be in love?  My biggest take-away is that if this style of smoking gets more folks into bbq, why knock it.  As it turns out, the product I made on the Silverback was nothing short of total tastiness and I might be hard pressed to say it wasn’t done on charcoal.  This doesn’t mean that I am not still a snob, I am.

The Packaging and Assembly

This thing comes packaged in a very scientific configuration which would appear to alleviate most chances of shipping damage which is good as Grilla pretty much LTL’s all of the product.  I did find all of the parts in perfect shape with no damage.

I must say that the assembly instructions were very easy to follow and unintimidating.  The only thing that I might add is to wear light gloves as the stainless lid is very well wrapped, but I did get metal slivers.  The entire assembly took just under one hour and it was a process that anybody can complete.

I should add the aid of a Schmohz Bonecrusher Stout.  I highly recommend you follow ALL of my steps.

Next I filled the hopper, plugged it into my trusty extension cord and powered it up.  Hit the start button and then let it burn for an hour to cure the paint and burn off any residual oils from manufacturing.  Time for another beer and for this, I elected to go with an M43 by Old Nation Brewing Co. and actually even finished the cook with the coveted ME-MI.

The First Cook

For my first cook, I did a Tri-Tip from Sobie Meats and I have to say it came out perfectly.  I set the temperature at 250 and let it go for a a half hour.  I then threw in a few beets (Jop’s head is now exploding)  and continued the smoking session for another half hour.  Then I placed a pan of asparagus coated with garlic evoo from Old World Olive Co. and some secret spices.  I left this all in for another twenty minutes and checked the temp on the meat which was at a perfect 132 so I pulled it all.

The Second Cook

The next cook just had to be ribs even though I rarely eat them anymore.  Back to Sobies to pick up some nice babybacks.  After my typical prep, I fired up the Silverback and put several styles of seasoned babybacks in.  The green bag is a Chimichurri style.

I would add that the unit is top-heavy because of the thick stainless lid.  I would highly recommend storing a few bags of pellets in the cabinet to add ballast.  Mine now has a dented front as it tipped over while pulling it out of the garage.

After about three hours the ribs were ready to sauce.

Now they are done so lets pull.

I have to say that the smoke ring was perfect, the ribs were moist, and most importantly, the temperature control was flawless.  I did not use the meat probe yet as I simply don’t ever feel the need (snob).  It did seem to use less fuel than my last pellet smoker which also worked well and resides in Jop’s garage now (along-side several other grills that use to populate my deck).

Don’t you just want to chomp on this?

With the success that I have had falling back in love with pellets, I can’t wait to do a brisket which is still my all-time favorite protein to smoke.  This thing might have to stay at my house because it fills a gap in my repertoire plus makes it easy to do a pop-up que.  Anyway, honestly, the thing is better than I thought and now I’m gonna have to eat crow.  Hey, I wonder how that would smoke?

I guess that is the major take-away from my time with Grilla’s Silverback.  Let’s recap:


  • Great Packaging
  • Easy assembly
  • Temerature control – simple and accurate
  • Pellet consumption – light to normal
  • Smoke control – very nice with a simple selection of temperature to control the level of smoke vs heat.
  • Overall product friendliness – very easy to use (smoking for dummies could apply)
  • Overal product quality and construction – seems pretty rugged and well engineered.


  • Top heavy – store something in the base and you are good
  • Metal Shavings upon assembly – gloves is an easy fix

I hope this helps in your quest for a pellet smoker and I will put The Grillin’s Guys stamp of approval on the Silverback.


Cleaning Grills

Cleaning Grills

Grillin Tip:   Choosing a Smoker

Grillin Tip: Choosing a Smoker

Grillin Tip:   Lighting Charcoal

Grillin Tip: Lighting Charcoal

t1Using a charcoal chimney – Listen to the guys tip this week.

Use a chimney starter to light coals easily and without using chemicals. After the coals are hot, dump them out into the grill, as food editor Liz Johnson demonstrates at her yard on April 15, 2011 in South Nyack. ( Tania Savayan / The Journal News )

What wood do I smoke with?

What wood do I smoke with?


Operation G I BBQ

Operation G I BBQ

How would you like to be part of the coolest BBQ event in the world?  We want to bring BBQ to our troops and need your help.  We are trying to raise $28,000 to buy a Texas Gator Pit Smoker, a pallet of sauce, a pallet of bbq spices, several skids of great lump charcoal, and a full pallet of good old American Beef Brisket.

Operation G I BBQ is sanctioned by Operation Injured Soldier, a 501-3C that is involved with helping wounded soldiers returning home.  These good folks are parting with The Grillin’ Guys radio show to raise money to make sure some tired, lonely, and under duress troops of ours have a nice BBQ Christmas present.

Please  help us raise awareness by sharing this with friends.  Let’s overwhelm our troops with Peace, Love, and BBQ.

Here is where you can donate:


The best Smoked Turkey you will ever have

The best Smoked Turkey you will ever have


  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 pound honey
  • 1 (7-pound) bag of ice
  • 1 (15 to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
  • Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey
  • 6 bottles of Schmohz Miracle Off 28th Street Beer
  • Two medium size pieces of dried Apple Wood for smoking (Charcoal Smoker)
  • Two cups of Apple Wood Smoking Chips
  • 1 Baking Pan to put under the Turkey


  • Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.
  • Drink your first Miracle off 28th Street to celebrate your brining process!
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.
  • Light your smoker and bring the heat to 225 degrees F.
  • While your smoker is heating up, open your next Miracle off 28th Street and enjoy
  • If you are using Charcoal – Place the Apple Wood directly on the charcoal just before you place the bird into the smoker
  • If you are using an Electric Smoker –  Place the Apple Wood smoking Chips in tray just before you place the bird into the smoker
  • Set the turkey on the grate in you smoker with the breast side UP in the baking pan. The pan will be used to catch the juices for your gravy.
  • If you are using an electronic thermometer (IGRIL or TapAQue) insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, but not touching the breast bone, and set the alarm for 160 degrees F. Close the lid and cook for 3 hours.
  • Have #3 and #4 of your Miracle Off 28th Street Beers while the turkey cooks.
  • After 3 hours, check the bird; if the skin is golden brown, cover with aluminum foil tent, not too tightly, and continue cooking.
  • Once the bird reaches 160 degrees F, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Enjoy #5 Miracle Off 28th
  • Carve and serve.
  • Have #6 Miracle Off 28th Street with you meal

Immediately following dinner, adjourn to the couch, turn on the Football Game, and take a nap at halftime — you deserve it!



Grilled Lemon Garlic Portobellos

Grilled Lemon Garlic Portobellos

Grilled Lemon Garlic Portobellos
You will need:
6 Large Portobello Mushrooms
½ t See Salt
1 Medium Vidalia Cut into 6 nice slices
6 Small Ripe Tomatoes
6 oz. of Burrata Cheese
2t Dijon
¼ Cup Old World Garlic EVO
4 T Fresh Chopped Basil
4T Fresh Chives
Zest and Juice from One Large Onion
Light your charcoal grill. That’s right, I said it. Charcoal and no cheesy briquettes, real good lump charcoal.
Mix together the oil, lemon zest and juice, mustard, and salt in a small bowl.
Gently twist the shafts off the mushroom caps. Brush caps and stems with oil mix and also coat the onions. Grill these both separately over the coals turning once about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
Add caps to cooler side of grill with the fin side down. Cook for two minutes. Flip and brush with oil mix and add tomatoes to grill. Grill until until golden and tomatoes are warm.
Place mushroom caps on serving platter. Chop the stems and onions and mix with 2 T of oil mix. Divide among caps and place on fin side of mushrooms.
Divide Cheese on caps and sprinkle level. Place tomatoes on cheese and sprinkle basil chive mix to decorate.
Now you can rock your party like no other.

portobella This photo shows a variation.

Backyard Master Competition at Berlin Raceway

Backyard Master Competition at Berlin Raceway

BBQ Competition

BBQ Competition


Here is your chance to show US your stuff.  Do you have mad skills on the grill?  Do your friends and family insist on you doing the grillin’?  Now is the time to be BOLD ! 

Come to Berlin Raceway and Entertainment Complex and compete in the “Backyard Master” events and you could win some cool grillin’ gear.  How would you like to own a brand new Tappecue wifi remote monitoring thermometer or a case of Original Juan Sauces or a sleek Thermapen instant read pocket sized thermometer?

You could do it.  All it takes is guts, a grill and the ability to lay it all on the line.  The first event is July 19th in the parking lot at Berlin Raceway and Entertainment Complex in Marne, MI.  The second chance is August 2nd and the third is August 30th.

Here is what you do:

  • Download the application and send it to: Berlin Raceway and Entertainment Complex, PO Box 1198, Holland, MI 49422 .  Include a check for $50 and you are in.
  • You will also receive a ticket to that nights race.  Plan on arriving at the complex around 3pm to get set up for the 4pm competition.
  • You can grill anything you like, especially if it is “Tailgate” food.
  • Jop and BBQ Bob will be the official judges for the top three spots.
  • First Place wins the Tappecue valued at $199.00 and tickets to the next event.  Can you say “Jackyl”?  That’s right, the winner of the July 19 event will get tickets to see Jackyl on July 25th.  The first place winner of the next two competitions will also get tickets to upcoming events.
  • Second Place gets the Thermapen valued at $99.00.
  • Third Place gets a case of Original Juan – American Stockyard BBQ Sauces valued at $84.00.  Warning:  Jop will try to steal this so if you win, place in a locked car immediately.
  • The winners will be announced at the opening of the race in front of the entire racing crowd on stage in the infield.

No guts?  Stay home.  This isn’t for the light at heart wannabe’s.  This is for the guy or gal that can lay down as much smoke as they as their neighbor.  Even if you don’t compete, come on out and watch.  You just may be inspired and have a ball at the races.

Here is your entry form which must be received by Noon Wednesday before the race:  Backyard BBQ Entry Form 

Mail your completed form and a check for $50 to: Berlin Raceway, attn: Backyard Master Entry,  P.O. Box #1198, Holland, MI 49422


This is going to be fun, and oh yes, the three first place winners will compete at the first RIBSTOCK” ever held in Michigan.  That winner will be taking home a beautiful brand new Grill !!!

Why wouldn’t anybody want to try his or her hand at this?  That’s what she said.

American-Stockyard Tappecuethermoworksthermapen





This is going to be very tasty and fun.  Ribstock is a joint venture between Berlin Raceways and Entertainment Complex and The Grillin’ Guys.  RibStock is an open grilling competition at Berlin Raceway and Entertainment Complex taking place on Saturday September 6th. The grillers will be competing for $20,000.00 in prize money!

Leading up to this event will be three Backyard Master BBQ competitions as well.  These are for the guys and gals that have backyard prowess and want a chance to win and get a trophy at one of the races.  The dates for those are:  July 19th, August 2nd, and August 30th.

Click on the links below and get registered.  C’mon, you know you got skillz.


Listen in for updates.


Backyard BBQ Entry Form

RibStock Griller Forms & Rules


Mail your entry forms and payments to:  Berlin Raceway, P.O. Box #1198, Holland, MI 49422 

(Attn: Ribstock or Backyard Master)