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6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Garlic

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Garlic Tips_Oil Poached Garlic

So many recipes start with garlic that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Here are some of our favorite tips for handling garlic from separating cloves and peeling them to cooking it gently to tame its flavor.

Separate stubborn cloves with the back of your knife

Sometimes cloves of garlic separate easily from the head, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, try this trick: Wedge the dull side of a knife blade in between two cloves and twist it to pry the clove out.

Garlic Tips_Release Stubborn Cloves

Peel cloves quickly and easily in a jar

Peeling cloves can be a hassle especially when their papery skins stick to your fingers. When you want to peel a handful of cloves fast, plop then into a jar, put on the lid, and shake the bejesus out of the jar. Dump them out and, like magic, they will be peeled.

Garlic Tips_Easily Peel Cloves_

Enlist salt when mincing garlic

When you are looking to finely mince garlic, kosher salt can help. Begin by chopping the garlic, then sprinkle it with a big pinch of kosher salt and keep mincing. The abrasive crystals not only speed the process but also keeps the garlic from sticking to the blade. Want a garlic paste? Holding the knife nearly parallel to the cutting board, scrape the side of the blade over the garlic, mashing the garlic against the board. Use the knife to return the minced garlic to a pile and repeat until it becomes a paste.

Garlic Tips_Quick Garlic Paste

Grate garlic for potent flavor

As when you mince garlic, grating it releases more aroma and flavor than, say, slicing. A rasp-style grater makes quick work of grating. Simply rub a peeled clove back and forth along the grater and it will quickly become like a paste perfect for adding a garlicky punch to salad dressings and marinades.

Garlic Tips_Lazy Garlic Prep

Make garlic mellow by roasting it

If chopping garlic releases its aroma and flavor, it makes sense that leaving the cloves whole keeps it more mild. Add to that low and slow roasting and you get to meet garlic’s sweet side. To roast garlic, peel off the papery outer layer of a whole head then slice the top ½ inch off to expose some of the cloves. Put the head (or heads) in the center of a piece of foil and drizzle with a little olive oil. Gather the foil around the garlic like a pouch and place it in a small baking dish (just in case there’s a leak). Roast at 350°F until the garlic is completely soft and golden brown. Let cool and then enjoy the fun part: squeezing the garlic from the skin. Covered and refrigerated, roasted garlic will last a few days in the fridge. Try some squeezed into mashed potatoes, spread on toasted baguette or a sandwich, or added to a vinaigrette.

Garlic Tips_Traeger Roasted Garlic2

Get a 2-for-1 by poaching garlic in oil

If you want to tame garlic’s hot flavor but don’t want to go as sweet as roasting, poaching it in olive oil is your answer. Aside from softening the cloves both texturally and flavor-wise, poaching also leaves you with garlic-flavored oil perfect for drizzling onto just about anything from grilled vegetables to roasted meats. It’s also delicious as the base for a vinaigrette or, paired with a little balsamic vinegar, as a dipping sauce for bread.

To poach garlic, add about 1 cup of peeled cloves to about 3 cups olive oil. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and keep an eye on the pot adjusting the heat as needed as the garlic cooks for about 30 minutes to become soft and golden brown. Remove the cloves with a slotted spoon. Store them in the oil or seperately, but be sure to refrigerate both and they will keep up to a week. Substitute the cloves anywhere you would use fresh garlic but would rather not wake up the next morning with garlic breath. Try them in mashed potatoes, stuffed under the skin of a roast chicken, or mashed with roasted red peppers and goat cheese for an easy and tasty spread for crostini.

Garlic Tips_Oil Poached Garlic

Recipes Featuring Garlic

Garlic is featured in many Traeger recipes. Here roasted garlic lends is deep, sweet flavor to lemony mashed potatoes in Roasted Garlic, Lemon, and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes. MInced garlic is used in many rubs and marinades, such as Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Herbs and Spicy Shrimp Skewers.

Minced garlic also stars in garlic butters, whether mashed into it or added to melted butter. The fat in the butter carries the galic flavor beautifully in such recipes as Reverse Seared Steak with Garlic Butter, Grilled Lobster with Lemon Garlic Butter, and simple Grilled Corn with Parmesan and Garlic.

And don't forget garlic bread! Try this 5-star Ultimate Basked Garlic Bread for the ultimate in garlic flavor.

Reverse Seared Steak with Garlic Butter

by Danielle "Diva Q" Bennett

Prep Time

20 Min

Cook Time

55 Min





Take a page out of the Queen of BBQ’s book for steak perfection. Thick-cut rib-eyes are reverse-seared on the Traeger, then topped with garlic compound butter for a rich and delicious finish.

Garlic Butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
2 Tablespoonfinely chopped shallots
1 Tablespoonminced garlic
4 (1-1/2 to 2 inch thick) rib-eye steaks
1/4 Teaspoonkosher salt
1/4 Teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
  • 1

    Make the garlic butter: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until tender and lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute, until fragrant. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

  • 2

    Transfer the shallot mixture to a medium bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup butter and mix until well combined.

  • 3

    Transfer the garlic butter to a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic wrap over the butter and twist one end to close. Shape the butter into a log, then twist the other end to seal tightly. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.

  • 4

    Make the steak: When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 225 °F and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.

  • 5

    Season the steaks on both sides with the salt and pepper.

  • 6

    Insert the probe into the center of a steak. Place the steaks directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 115 °F, 45-60 minutes.

  • 7

    While the steaks cook, remove the garlic butter from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

  • 8

    Remove the steaks from the grill. Increase the Traeger temperature to 450 °F (or 500°F, if available) and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.

  • 9

    Slice the garlic butter into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

  • 10

    Re-insert the probe and return the steaks to the grill. Close the lid and sear until the internal temperature reaches 125 °F for medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, or your desired temperature.

  • 11

    Remove the steaks from the grill and immediately top each with a round of garlic butter. Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes (the internal temperature will continue to rise to 130 °F).

  • 12

    Slice and serve. Enjoy!

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