A smoker cooks meat slowly, on a low flame using some form of fuel such as charcoal or wood. Smoking meat is very popular among barbecue enthusiasts as it imparts a rich flavor to the meat that just cannot be replicated by any other method. It might take more effort and time than a regular charcoal grill but a smoker makes your meat much more succulent. To top it off, smoking meat also makes it healthier!
So, you go ahead and buy a smoker, only to find that it has arrived without a user manual. With the amount of information about smoking meat on the net, it can quickly get overwhelming and confusing for someone who is smoking meat for the first time. Don’t worry, though! Smoking meat may seem intimidating to start with but once you get down to it, it all comes down to two main factors, the temperature, and the timing. Once you get these right, you will be smoking restaurant quality meat in no time!
Read on for some tips on how to use your first smoker:
If you have tried grilling in the past, you might think you can apply the same principles to smoking meat too. But these two methods are very different. The main principle when it comes to smoking meat is patience. Slow and steady wins the race in this game. When grilling meat, the temperature would be around 400 degrees Fahrenheit but while smoking the temperature is much lower at 200 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Another major difference between the two is that in the grilling process, you would have to lift the lid many times in order to avoid flare-ups but this is counter-productive in the process of smoking meat. Avoid lifting the lid at all costs as this would cause the smoke to escape and significantly increase the cooking time.
A pro tip when it comes to smoking meat is to cure the smoker prior to actually putting the meat in. First get the temperature up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit then turn it down to about 225 degrees Fahrenheit and let it smoke for several hours. This will add a layer seasoning to the smoker and also remove all contaminants.
Next, before putting the meat into the smoker, you should select the wood chips you will be using. Different types of meat go with different types of wood, so choose the wood chips depending on the meat you are planning to smoke. The right wood chips will enhance the flavor of your meat and add a smokiness to it, without overwhelming the taste of the meat itself.
Now, it is time to load up your meat. For best results, marinate your meat overnight with your choice of rub. Once the meat has returned to normal room temperature, you can put it into the smoker and finally begin the process. This is probably the easiest part of the whole process of smoking. Once you have started smoking the meat, just make sure the temperature remains consistent and give it ample time to cook. In the matter of a few hours, your tender, succulent meat should be ready to serve!