Smoking meat is one of the best and tastiest ways of cooking meat. In fact, it is the original way of cooking meat- this is how meat was cooked thousands of years back- slowly and over wood. The concept of smoking meat slowly over wood still remains popular even though we have invented coal and gas cylinders and barbecue.
The taste of smoked meat is quite unique, which is why so many people are attached to it. The meat derives it’s taste purely from the wood and the smoke which is why gas barbecues cannot replace this method of cooking.
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Things to keep in mind when smoking food:
- You have to keep in mind that this is a long process. You would have to spend a long, long time cooking the meat. Unlike when you are cooking on a barbecue or grilling your meat, you will be cooking it at a temperature below 225 degrees. You have to be patient throughout and keep an eye on the food, so that it doesn’t get burnt.
- There are smoked meat machines that come with the wood and the other necessary apparatus. They are quite cheap, so you won’t have any trouble with finding or buying the same.
- There are some people who do not like the taste of smoked meat. If this is your first attempt or taste of this meat, don’t make too much of it.
Difference between smoked, grilled and barbecued meat
Smoking meat is a slow process because of the low temperature in which it is cooked. The temperature used for cooking is lower than 225 degrees. Grilling, on the other hand, involves cooking the meat at a temperature higher than 550 degrees.
Barbecue does share some commonalities with smoking, but even on a barbecue grill, the food is cooked at a higher temperature than 225 degrees.
How to make smoked meat?
Here are the steps you can follow to make the most delicious smoked meat. It might seem like an intimidating and long process at first but keep in mind that through this process you will be able to cook meat in a way that would make you the envy of all your meat loving friends. Here’s how you make the best smoked meat:
- Thaw the meat completely. Defrosting your meat is an important step for it will make sure that your food is cooked through and through. It also prevents the growth of bacteria on the meat.
- Choose the right kind of wood. Since the meat is cooked on the wood and derives its taste from the same wood, it is important for you to choose the right type of wood. Woods like cedar and apple are best for this task.
- Soak the chosen wood in water for a while. Dry wood would burn up really quick and spoil the taste of wood but if you use wet wood, it will burn for a long time and it will give your meat a really good taste. In case you are using wood chips and pieces that are really small, you could just wrap them in foil, poke some holes in the foil and soak that in the water.
- You could choose to marinate the meat. Marinade makes the meat more tender and it gives it richer flavor.
- Prepare your smoker grill. Place it outside, where the smoke won’t trouble people too much.
- Add charcoal to the drip pan. Turn the smoker on and wait for the coals to turn red with heat. You can add about half a cup of wood chips or one or two wooden pieces to the drip pan. Make sure that you keep adding those many wood chips every hour or so. Replenish the briquette stock every half an hour by adding 15 briquettes to the grill.
- Throughout the process, ensure that the temperature remains between 225 and 300 degrees.
- Add meat to the grill. You should keep checking the temperature of the meat on the thermometer.
- In case you are cooking poultry, you have to wait for the temperature to reach 165 degrees. Ground meat, including pork, has to be cooked till 165 degrees. Roasts, chops and steaks should be cooked all the way till 145 degrees.
If you are an amateur cook or someone who loves hot smoking and wants to better your skills at hot smoking meat, try these simple steps and dish out many culinary delights.