How to Smoke Meat: 3 Easy Steps
The art of how to smoke meat began as a preservation technique. While we may have found new and better ways to preserve meat, smoking has continued to grow in popularity and usage. It is considered as one of the most effective ways to bring out the rich flavor that comes with ribs and a lot of other meat-types. Let us go ahead and see how to smoke meat in easy and effective steps.
I: Setting Up a Smoke
The first thing you need to learn in how to smoke meat is setting up the smoker. This can be done in the following manner:
- Selecting a smoker
Before you learn how to smoke meat, you need a good smoker that will suit your requirements. The most common types are wood, charcoal, gas and electric smokers. Wood smokers give the most flavor-rich meats; charcoal is a good choice for beginners; gas smokers are similarly easy to use but do not have the best taste; and an electric smoker is the most continent to use with a ‘set and forget’ type of operation.
- Selecting the type of wood to be used
There are a number of hardwoods that you can use, and each will impart its own distinct flavor to the meat. For instance, hickory is best suited to red meat for it has a strong flavor, while maple, alder and apple have sweeter flavors that work with poultry, pork and even fish. The type of wood you use will also depend on the smoker that you will be using. You can even mix different woods to create a mélange of your favorite flavors.
- Dry smoking vs wet method
With water, you can control the inside temperature of the smoker when the meat is being cooked. There are special water smokers that incorporate the use of water in the cooking process. However, that is not mandatory- for you can get equally good results in a wood or charcoal smoker as well, using a water pan inside it. It is extremely necessary for larger meat-cuts, while you can skip using water in smaller cuts. Before you purchase a smoker, check its instructions to see if works with water, and how that can be done.
- Soak the small ones, leave the rest
In a small charcoal grill, or one where wood is not the fuel, wood chips can be used in place of the big pieces. To make them last longer, soak the chips else they will burn out fast. You can leave the bigger ones dry.
- Readying the smoker
Every smoker has its own specifications for getting ready to smoke the meat. A wood or charcoal fueled smoker needs you to light them and let it burn until no flames exist. Electric or gas smokers only require to be switched on as per the provided instructions.
II: Getting the Meat Ready
The second part of learning how to smoke meat involves readying the meat. This is how you can accomplish it.
- You first need to decide the meat you want to smoke. This will decide the smoking technique to be used, and how you will proceed with the rest of the process.
- Next, you need to marinate the meat or dry rub it. While this may not seem necessary, it will help add another depth of flavor and ensure that the meat is as juicy as possible.
- Lastly, you need to bring the meat to room temperature. Doing this is essential before the smoking process begins. It will help the meat to cook well and be at the right internal temperature.
III: Smoking the Meat
The last part of how to smoke meat involves the actual process, which is smoking the meat.
- Calculating the cooking time
This depends on the grill’s heat, the type of meat as well as its size. To be on the safer side, expect at least 6 to 8 hours for the meat to be cooked well. It could be well above this range as well. For instance, a brisket takes somewhere around 22 hours.
- Placing the meet in the smoker
The position depends on the meat you are cooking, but in any case- the meat should not be above direct heat.
- Basting and covering
If you want to keep the meat moist throughout the process, then basting is also required. However, this depends on the recipe that you are following. Similarly, as per the recipe, covering may be required, for some recipes require it to be smoke while covered for a few hours.
- Removing the meat when at the right temperature
Monitor the temperature, and when meat reaches at the appropriate level, take it out. This varies- for poultry, it should be at 165 degrees, while steaks, chops and roasts need to be at 145 degrees.
- Checking for smoke ring
As the meat is smoked, a pink ring forms under its outer crust. If you see this pink ring when you cut the meat, then you will know that it has been smoked right.
That is all there is in learning how to smoke meat. As you smoke and grill more, you will learn all the finer points of making meat taste just the way you want it to.
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