Smoking meat is a favourite way to cook food when friends and family gather for a casual lunch or dinner, or even for holiday celebration. The slow method of cooking allows for plenty of time to share news, trade jokes and generally have a good chat with friends. However, having the best smoker on the market in your backyard does not guarantee you’ll be producing the best tasting smoked meat ever. For that, you’ll need to learn some basic tips and tricks for meat smoking.
Tips to Help You Smoke the Perfect Piece of Meat
- Smoking the perfect piece of meat starts with choosing the right type of meat to use. Smoking is good for large pieces of meat such as ham, lamb, turkey. Get beef or pork ribs, pork shoulder or beef brisket.
- Rub the meat with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons chili flakes and 1 tablespoon lemon pepper.
- The right type of wood also makes a contribution to get the best-tasting barbecue. A smoky sweetness can be achieved by using fruitwoods like cherry, apple and pecan, as well as alder. Pork ribs and butt, which are bolder cuts of meat, can be infused with stronger smoke flavor from hickory. For dark meats, the best wood to use is mesquite, which imparts the strongest smoke flavor. Vegetables and poultry will get a sweet, mild smoke flavor from maple. Soak the wood in water for about an hour before you add it to the flames so it will smoulder and smoke for several hours. When using wood chips, wrap the soaked wood in foil with punched holes.
- Do not use lighter fluid to start your coals. Use lump charcoal or high quality briquettes and keep a bunch of lit coals to keep your heat level constant. Your temperature should be 200-300 °F (95-150 °C). Place the lit coals at the bottom of your grill then put the wood on top of the coals. Put the grill’s open damper above the meat then the lid of the grill.
- Keep the amount of water in the pan to 1/2 inch, adding hot water when the water level drops. You might also use pineapple or apple juice or beer rather than water. Or you might add dried herbs, onions or fruit slices into the water to add more subtle flavours to the meat.
- Avoid opening the lid often to check the meat as there is no need to flip it. Open your smoker only to add coals, water and smoking wood, which is usually every 30 to 45 minutes. In about four hours, you’ll have a good smoked piece of meat. But you have to check it. If you’re smoking ribs, lay it flat on your mitt. If the ends of the slab of ribs bounce when you move your hand up and down, it is still undone and needs about another hour of smoking. If it breaks apart in the middle, it is overcooked but still all right. If you can pull packs of meat from the bones, that’s perfectly cooked.
Glaze your meat with barbecue sauce and set it over direct heat or put it back to smoke for 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap in tin foil afterwards and let it rest for another 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Also read: Should You Invest In A Cooking Thermometer?