There is never a bad day for a good slab of meat. As a matter of fact, there are not that many things in life that are better than a filling, sumptuous meal. As you can already tell, smoking meat is both science and creativity, and the more skilled and artsy you are in your approach to the meat-smoking discipline, the better of a connoisseur you become!
Back in the olden days, or so they say, smoking was a strategy to preserve food. In the absence of spanking new smart-controlled refrigerators and shockingly-tasty food preservatives, smoking meat was a solid way to add flavour and keep them fresh, all while being able to cook them accordingly. And even when our methods of gratifying our culinary senses have improved tenfold, smoked food remains to be a favourite method today.
For this article, we’ll teach you some of the best hacks to impeccable smoked meat
A charcoal chimney is never out of style
The taste of steak seared over turbulent flames is godly, but having to heat a whole charcoal grill is tedious and wasteful; especially when you have only one to two steaks to heat. A better alternative is turning your charcoal chimney into a towery heat grill. Also referred to as the afterburner steak technique, load the chimney with 1/2 to 3/4 of charcoal and preheat the coal briquettes in full. Season your steaks with salt and apply a good amount of oil on these pieces. Avoid sprinkling pepper at this stage because it’s only going to burn your meat much earlier than you’d want.
At the top of your chimney, add a small grate and let the steaks roast while frequently flipping and moving them. Consistently move them around until they’re seared to perfection and cooked to your desired doneness. Voila! A technique for human toasters!
Grocery sauce isn’t exactly sauce until you sauce it up
If you’re a pro at making BBQ, then you know for sure that coming up with your own sauce can take a while. If you have the luxury of hours, feel free to whip up something from scratch! But if you’re pressed for time, consider concocting your signature sauce by purchasing a bottle from the grocery. The trick here is to improve these sauces by adding ingredients like fruit jams or jellies, fruit juices, chipotle, smoked paprika, melted butter, or even coffee!
Pour the sauce into a pan and mix the ingredients you’d like for your sauce. Heat the liquids until you achieve your desired consistency and texture. Once done, store in the fridge and let out only when your juicy meat is ready for some dressing. This may not be a smoking secret per se, but hey, we promised you how to come up with perfectly smoked meat, and flavour has got to be one of the most elemental components of mouth-watering meats.
Go with slow and low
The key to great-tasting meat is going slow and low. For best results, keep your heat between 212 °F and 230 °F. This method is best when you don’t want your steak’s cell walls to blow. Doing this lets your meat preserve its nutrients and keeps it more succulent.
Here’s a trivia: hard collagen in meat’s connective tissue is more likely to be broken down into gelatine when cooked at low temperatures. What’s more, this tactic doesn’t overheat the proteins, too, so that’s a plus right there. Simply put, smoking your meat slow and low allows tough tissues to hydrolyse while giving it time to absorb smoke.
Woods are your primary warriors. Be picky with them.
Meat can be smoked using a vast array of woods, each giving off specific flavors to your meal. That being said, by the time you’ve decided what taste, aroma, and zestiness you’re going for, you should also already know which hardwood you’re using. Similar to ingredients, some woods are better paired with particular meats. Knowing which ones work best with red and white meat can easily help you identify what you need. Your smoker of choice plays a huge role here, too. If you don’t have one yet, check out these reviews before purchasing one from your local store.
Here are tips on wood type you can go over:
- Alder is fantastic for white meat. It has a natural saccharine scent, making it perfect for poultry or seafood.
- Hickory has a distinct flavor that’s strong enough for red meats, like ribs, to handle. Regardless of how huge your slob is, hickory is a staple for many beefs and pork meat.
- Mesquite is perhaps the most popular wood type in the pungent department. So if you don’t properly utilise it, its smell can easily rub off and overpower your meat. For promising results, don’t use this for large meats that demand lengthy periods of cooking.
- Oak is arguably the best wood to use for large cuts of ribs and steaks that take a while to cook. Its flavour is subtle and doesn’t overpower your meats.
- Pecan is a safe choice for plenty of meat types. It gives off an organic fruity smell and burns slower compared to other woods used for grilling. Like Hickory, This is best used for bigger chunks of steaks, but it’s also great for small turkeys and salmons.
Moisture maintenance is a must
On top of seeing to it that your smoker is, well, smoking, make sure that it’s also steaming. Most smokers have a pan inside them, so keep them full every time. Electric smokers are fine, too, but it’s a must for the pans to be filled at all times. Whether with water or marinade of your choice, keeping the pan full helps your meat retain its moistness. Again, smoking is a hundred percent science and creativity so play around with sauces and flavors until you find what works for you.
There you have it. At this point, you should probably pat yourself on the back for reaching the end of this article. Now the only thing that’s left to do is to start smoking meat!