In Episode 037, Taryn talks with Paul and Taryn Scarfone from A Grill for All Seasons about grilling and smoking during the “off-season”. While many people typically grill during warmer weather, Paul and Taryn grill year round and they give some great tips and recipe suggestions to help you do it too! While they mention some staples like smoked chicken thighs, there are also some fun and different ideas like smoked lasagna, Traeger baked potatoes, and even smoked cheesecake! Listen in to get some great recipes to keep your grill and smoker going throughout the year.
Connect with Paul and Taryn.
Bio: Paul & Taryn have been happily married since 2003 with 6 children. Taryn started a food blog, Joy Filled Eats, in 2015 and has grown it on her own since then. In 2017 they decided to embark on a new blogging journey together focusing on grilling and smoking recipes with the website A Grill For All Seasons.
Some of the following are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Weber Genesis gas grill
- Weber kettle grill
- Traeger Ironwood wood pellet grill
- Thermapen instant-read thermometer
- Cheesecake pan
These are some of the recipes mentioned by Paul & Taryn in the episode. They are on their website, A Grill For All Seasons.
Taryn Solie: Hello, grillers. October is just around the corner as are colder temperatures. But you don’t have to give up grilling. Today I talked with Paul and Taryn Scarfone from A Grill for All Seasons and they give some great tips for off season grilling as well as go over some recipes that are better suited for grilling in cooler weather. It’s an interesting episode. I think you’re going to get a lot out of it.
Before we begin. If you’re enjoying this podcast, I’d love for you to leave a rating and review. As a newer podcast, it helps spread the word and I would really appreciate it. Now let’s get into the episode.
Today on the podcast. I have Taryn and Paul Scarfone. Paul and Taryn have been happily married since 2003, with six children. Terran started a food blog, Joy Filled Eats in 2015 and has grown it on her own since then. In 2017, they decided to embark on a new blogging journey together, focusing on grilling and smoking recipes with the website, A Grill for All Seasons. Taryn and Paul, welcome to the podcast.
Paul Scarfone: Thank you for having us.
Taryn Solie: Thank you for being here. I’m going to admit it’s a little weird to have another Taryn on the podcast because it is more of an unusual name, but I think we’ll be fine.
Taryn Scarfone: Happy to be there.
Taryn Solie: Yeah, I’m happy to have you both here. So first I would love to hear a little bit maybe, Taryn this can be for you about how you started your food blog, how you got into developing recipes.
Taryn Scarfone: I’ve always loved to cook. I spent a lot of time as a teenager just messing around in the kitchen. I wanted to start a food blog for years before I actually did it. So I decided to just start one as a hobby and I took off pretty quickly and it became our primary income for our family. So we decided since Paul also liked cooking, that then we do one together.
Taryn Solie: Oh, I love it. That’s great. It’s wonderful that it took off so quickly and there was a fairly short time frame between starting your blog, Taryn, and then merging into A Grill for All Seasons. So it’s only about two years or so, which is…
Taryn Scarfone: So yeah, A Grill for All Seasons, over the first three years of its life, maybe got five recipes and then in 2020, we picked it up a little faster and we started really working on it.
Taryn Solie: It just took a while. Took a while to get into it. So now as I understand it, Paul, you are mostly the recipe developer and the griller behind A Grill for All Seasons. So how did you get into grilling?
Paul Scarfone: Well, as a kid, we had a bunch of kids in our family and so I was helping them grow up all the time as the oldest boy. Especially in the summer months because we didn’t run the air conditioner. I’d go outside. I had to put things on the grill and it was fun to mix those flavors and that charness and stuff. Just started doing that. Then even in college, I lived with a bunch of guys and I was like the food dude. Food shopping and meal planning and having fun cooking. Then we got married. We both liked to cook and Taryn’s very much, I would say more on the baking side of things. She was always very precise with stuff. I was more of a taste and see as we go. I find sometimes grilling measurements and key temperatures aren’t as crucial. So it’s a little more forgiving, at least for my style of cooking.
Taryn Solie: Yes. Particularly when compared to baking; baking is definitely an exact science. And grilling, you do have some leeway on there, for sure. So I wanna talk today a little bit about grilling for what’s typically I think of as off-season grillin. The name of your website is A Grill For All Seasons, so I think that’s a good fit. So. We’re sort of heading into fall, winter that tends to not be as big of a grilling season. But I would love to know what you do for off season grilling. Maybe starting with, if there’s any general tips or what your recommended grill is for more off season grilling.
Paul Scarfone: Sure. So a recommended grill will really be whatever someone’s comfortable with and they like to use. The key is, if we think of grilling in the grilling season, the classic grilling season, summer barbecues, stuff like that, we tend to want a high heat grill. We’re cooking outside so we don’t heat up the house. We’re cooking things pretty quickly because we have a thirsty and hungry demanding crowd. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, those types of things. Typically in the winter months I find, we move at a little bit of a slower pace and we have more time for things. So in the winter what we try to do is still capture some of those flavors we love from the summertime, but just apply it to things like roast and stuff that would be more of, you’d think of more as a winter type meal done in the oven. We’ve grilled and smoked a lot of different things, whether it be pork roast or even some beef roast, those are always fun. The key to sometimes grilling a bigger piece of meat is to not have such direct heat on it. So when you’re cooking on a grill, maybe you put one of the burgers on and your meat on the other side of the grill. Another way to alleviate that is a lot of smokers aren’t direct heat. So you can kind of get that flavor going. Certain smokers, I remember it was a couple years ago, we decided to dive in and upgrade our little gas smoker. I was asking in a Facebook group what recommendations people had. It’s easy to think that to make good smoked or grilled food, you have to be able to grunt and your beard grows a little.
Taryn Solie: Maybe if you’re a man, yes.
Paul Scarfone: If you just Google smoking and you’ll get that a lot. These pit bosses, all this stuff and that’s great, great flavor, but sometimes it can feel unapproachable. I remember someone commented, are you looking for a charcoal grill or a pellet grill, which is just like an Easy Bake oven for adults? I think the pellet grill is actually what I’m looking for. I didn’t want to babysit for a whole day. But something that kind of could hold its temp and was pretty predictable on when things would be done and took a lot of guesswork out of it. Then you don’t ruin your meal. So we’ve had a lot of fun picking meals that we might normally do in the oven and do them on the grill and the smoker. We’ve done grilled chicken parm. We’ve done smoked lasagna. A bunch of Thanksgiving dishes, smoked cornbread and Turkey and apple pie and pumpkin pie. It’s just a different way to get a great tasting meal. You get that smoke, a little of that char, that we like about grilling.
Taryn Scarfone: The other thing that I found helpful is when you’re cooking one of those big holiday meals, it’s very easy for the oven to be full where you can’t fit all the dishes into the oven. So being able to divide and do half of them on the grill or the smoker really helps when you’re making multiple courses.
Taryn Solie: Yes. A hundred percent. I should have asked you this, what grills and smokers do you guys have?
Paul Scarfone: So our main grill is a Weber Genesis gas grill. Then for smokers, we have a Weber kettle charcoal smoker. Then we also have a Traeger Ironwood pellet grill.
Taryn Solie: Oh, Ironwood. It’s a big gun.
Paul Scarfone: It’s fun. We got a big family. If we’re hosting something, we need a lot of space.
Taryn Solie: Yes. I love that. So, Taryn, I wanna go back to what you were saying about using the smoker or pellet grill, for the holidays, or even for not necessarily even the holidays, but just bigger events like that, because I think that that’s a really great way to look at it, as a second or a third oven. Paul, you mentioned smoking pies, which combine the baking and the oven. I love that idea. Are there other sorts of fun things that you’ve made on holiday or not, that maybe people don’t think of that you could make in a pellet grill?
Taryn Scarfone: Yeah, I smoked cheesecake.
Taryn Solie: Ooh.
Taryn Scarfone: Actually, one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had.
Paul Scarfone: The best.
Taryn Scarfone: When you’re cooking cheesecake, it’s such a low temperature for a long period of time, it’s very creamy.
Taryn Solie: Interesting. I have never had a smoked cheesecake. Is it flavored at all or are you just plain cheesecake?
Taryn Scarfone: Regular New York Style Cheesecake, but just cooked it on the smoke.
Taryn Solie: Oh, my gosh. I love that. That sounds so good. I’m gonna be hungry. That sounds a little intimidating. Maybe it’s not, but for somebody who maybe isn’t used to grilling things or smoking things that you would typically make in an oven. What would be, maybe Paul, this could go to you. What would be your recommendation for some, an easier recipe that somebody could start out with?
Paul Scarfone: You want meat or a dessert?
Taryn Solie: Why don’t we go for both? Sure.
Paul Scarfone: Well, meat, I would say one of the easiest things in pretty forgiving, is a pork Tenderloin. It’s one of those things if you have a good meat thermometer, you can leave it in to gauge the temperature. That’s really flavorful. You can marinate it. You could put a dry rub on it. Those can even be pre bought, right? You don’t have to like to start mixing it yourself. But that’s usually a pretty, pretty easy one. A fun side to do on the grill and even the smoker is just the baked potatoes. So that you want that indirect heat we were talking about. So if you’re putting them on the grill, maybe they’re on the top shelf. Maybe you only got one or two burners. In the smoker again, if it’s like a pellet grill or even a traditional smoker, just find that temp of like 250 to 300 and you’re able to do that. Then dessert. I mean, we’ve had some fun with a lot of different fruits. Whether we’re grilling them, we did a grilled peach ice cream, which is nice. We made homemade ice cream, but you could easily just take the grilled peaches and smash them into a vanilla ice cream. We smoked bananas and pineapple, which were absolutely fantastic. Just smoked plain with a little whipped cream to serve them with. So you don’t have to get too crazy or too complicated to have something delicious.
Taryn Solie: Yes. I’ve done grilled peaches and grilled pineapple, but I had not even thought about doing smoked bananas, but that would be such a natural thing. Are you doing it right on the grates or do you put a cast iron or?
Paul Scarfone: I put it right on the grate.
Taryn Solie: Do you? And it doesn’t stick?
Paul Scarfone: No, it’s fine. The bananas are fine. You literally peeled it and stuck it on it. What was it like, maybe an hour? You put it on the plate, you got a little whipped cream on it and it was just the softest gooiest, sweetest bite. You get that little bit of smoke flavor. It was really nice.
Taryn Solie: Oh, that sounds so good. I might have to try this now. I have some bananas. Are you doing like a really ripe banana or just any type of banana?
Paul Scarfone: Ripe. It’s not really ripe, but it’s not so ripe that it’s sticky all over the place. But it’s not a green one.
Taryn Solie: Okay. Okay, good. That’s important because bananas vary widely. Especially when you’re cooking them. Okay. Well, this is good. I love all these suggestions. Do you have any other recipes that you love to grill during that off season or maybe winter months? Or one your kids really like you to grill?
Paul Scarfone: I’d say the smoked Mac and cheese was pretty popular with the kids.
Taryn Solie: Oh yeah. Mac and cheese.
Paul Scarfone: That was a good one.
Taryn Scarfone: They just love grilled steak. I was gonna say chicken thighs. So the boneless skinless chicken thighs. They’re moist. Our favorite rub is just smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Using the smoked paprika when you’re grilling gives it that smokey taste without having to use the smoker. So that’s one of our favorites.
Paul Scarfone: Yeah. We love chicken thighs because, and anyone, especially if they’re new to grilling and learning how to gauge that temperature so they don’t overcook something, chicken thighs, just because of the fat and the dark meat are so forgiving.
Taryn Solie: Yes. Yes. Those are one of my favorite things to grill. I totally agree. I know some people have an issue with chicken thighs because they tend to be fattier and there’s little blobs of fat on them, but that tends to burn off or at least certainly get smaller on either a grill or even a smoker sometimes. So I agree. I think those are fantastic pieces of meat to grill. I also love that your kids love grilled steak because of course they would because a really nice steak and you’re like, yes, of course a really expensive piece of meat is what my kids love to eat.
Paul Scarfone: Our kids have definitely gotten spoiled, like eating fun things. Our son, when he was, what was his birthday? He asked for surf and turf. So we got him lobster and maybe it was a ribeye or something. There he was taking his lobster and sticking it in the ketchup. We’re like, no, but it was his birthday so let him eat it.
Taryn Solie: Oh my gosh. That’s so funny. Yeah, of course the surf and turf. I mean, that’s such a classic,expensive dinner out. And ketchup, oh my gosh. But yeah, if that’s what he likes, then more power to him. Well, this has been great. I do want to give you guys a second to see if there’s any other things, any other tips you have for off season grilling. Any other things you want people to keep in mind when they’re grilling in maybe cooler weather?
Paul Scarfone: Well, one of the things in cooler weather and I wrote it down, it really doesn’t relate to grilling, but it’s something that we’ve run into a couple times. After a snowfall and you think you’re done shoveling, shovel the pathway to the grill. There’s nothing worse than looking out there and realizing you were about to go grill something and you still gotta clean it off. So just a big recommendation as we get to the colder months and stuff, shovel the path to the grill and clean it off so it’s ready to go.
Taryn Solie: Is your grill covered at all or do you have it uncovered?
Paul Scarfone: We have a cover on it but it’s not under any type of canopy or structure that keeps the snow off it. That is something we would love to have one.
Taryn Scarfone: I would just add to keep in mind when the air outside is very cold, you might have to increase the grill temperature a little more than you would in the summer, just to make up the difference.
Taryn Solie: Mm-hmm. That’s a really good point that outside temperature can really get you. Although I will say with the Traeger, something where temperature is really customizable or really pinpointed, it might be a little easier with the Trager. But certainly with something like a gas grill, you’re gonna have to bump it up and really take into account that air. Or if it’s like raining and again, it’s not covered and you have the rain coming down on the grill, that will definitely mess with your temperature for sure. Well, this has been great. I think there’s some really great tips for people. I wanna give you guys a chance to tell people where they can connect with you online.
Taryn Scarfone: You can find us at A Grill For All Seasons website and on all the social medias. It’s just A Grill For All Seasons.
Taryn Solie: Perfect. That sounds great. Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. This was a great chat.
Taryn Scarfone: Thanks for having thanks for having us.
Taryn Solie: Are you motivated to try out cold weather grilling now? Paul and Taryn had a ton of great recipe recommendations that sounded so good. I had never thought of smoking a cheesecake and I may have to try it out. I love the concept they mentioned of thinking of a grill or a smoker as a second oven. That’s what we do for the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and it really helps with managing, cooking all of the food. Great tip there.
I’m going to include links to the resources and recipes that Taryn and Paul mentioned on the show notes page. To get there, you can either go to my main website at hotpankitchen.com and click on a podcast in the main menu, or you can click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on.
Outro: That’s it for today. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep grilling like a mother.