There’s nothing like the aroma and flavor of deliciously smoked meats. Put a tray of brisket or pulled pork on a table and everyone can tell that those meats weren’t cooked in a traditional oven. Smoking is a lot simpler than most people expect. If you’re new, here are some smoking tips you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Take it slow with low temperatures – The best barbecue is cooked over indirect heat, often as low as 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This is how you make the meat so tender that it falls apart in your mouth. Take your time and never rush a good smoking.
2. Never pre-cook – Meats best absorb smoky flavors when they are raw. As they cook, less flavor penetrates the meat. If you pre-cook your meat even just a little to speed things up, you’ll sacrifice a lot of delicious flavor.
3. Avoid black smoke – White smoke coming from your smoker is a good sign. That means your food is cooking well without impurities. But black smoke means your juices are burning because your food is too close to the meat or because your fire lacks ventilation. Both can disrupt your food’s taste.
4. Don’t leave the premise – Even though smoking meat doesn’t take a lot of maintenance once you have the food in the smoker, you should stick around just in case. Check the temperature every hour to make sure it’s not too high or too low.
5. Use a thermometer – Since smoking takes so long, it’s tough to gauge just when the food is ready. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure it’s safe for consumption.
6. Add just the right amount of wood – You don’t need a lot of wood to create a strong flavor. If you add too many chunks, you’ll turn your food bitter. If the smoke is pouring out like a chimney stack, you’ve added too much wood.
7. Don’t open the lid! – Amateurs are always opening the smoker or grill. Leave it closed unless you need to adjust the temperature, otherwise you’ll lose your precious resources: smoke and heat.
8. Leave your vents open – The vents are designed to give the air an escape. This means smoky air is always swirling over your food. If the temperature gets too high, close the vents briefly to stifle some of the heat.
9. Let the outside get dark and crusty – An crusty exterior the best part of a smoked meat. This happens when the fat and spices caramelize like a crust. Make sure the crust is nice and dark before taking it out of the smoker.
Written by Ian Baranesky of The Smoker Broker
The Smoker Broker is the go-to resource for competitive-grade smokers and grills and all things BBQ in Canada. With a passion for BBQ and great experience, they carry the best BBQ products to sell to stores and direct to consumers. As the exclusive Canadian distributor for Yoder Smokers, the Smoker Broker looks for the highest quality grills and accessory products to bring to the public.
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