We usually become passionate about the art of cooking because of the pleasure it gives to our loved ones. It then gets more complex in time. The simple barbecue was the first method of cooking and it has developed in many different ways, like grilling, baking, frying, and so on.
Smoking is one of the methods to use when cooking meat. So, in this cooking guide, we are going to reveal the best meats to smoke.
What Does Smoking Meat Mean?
Smoking meat is a cooking method like barbecuing. It is also called the browning, seasoning or preserving (storing) with the use of smoke. The only difference is that it is cooked as far away from the fire as possible.
Using indirect heat, the meat is placed in the the most upward part of the area where there is a lot of smoke. The heat source could be coal or wood, gas, electric or steaming.
The Best Meats For Smoking
This is considered to be the easiest meat to smoke, and the best choice because cooks quickly. If you need to feed your family for dinner, then you can smoke it in the afternoon. It only takes a few hours before it's done.
- For faster smoking, the chicken must be about 8 lbs.
- If you are in a bit of a hurry, you can opt for chicken cutlets, which are also a lot cheaper.
Smoking is the best way to cook big cuts of meat, such as the shoulder, butt or ribs.
These cuts offer a lot of delicious fat that runs during the process. As the fat lingers on the skin over time, it naturally seasons the meat to perfection!
This is the top of all the best meats. Welcome to beef brisket! It always ends up tender and juicy, and the delectable fatty part is moist and mouthwatering to the last bite. It is so luscious!
The good thing here is that beef brisket is very common in local markets and groceries. It is often on sale too!
- Choose a brisket with a level cut (mostly flat).
- Another option is the prime rib, but it is very expensive, so if you are not an expert in this method of smoking yet, start with the brisket first.
Surprised? Yeah, lamb is a very good meat for smoking. Try the shoulder part. It has this oozing fat that cooks perfectly. This is very popular, especially for outdoor parties.
It is not always available in certain markets, so keep an eye out for days when it is on sale and you might even negotiate a good price.
- The leg is the second choice after the shoulder. It does not cook as fast as the shoulder and you need to find an appropriate position in your smoker to cook it evenly, but it’s worth it.
What comes first to mind when you think of smoking meat with seafood? Yes, salmon!
It has lots of fat that tastes awesome when you smoke it. It is always available too.
Steps In Smoking Meat
CHOOSE A SMOKER
Using the best cooking tools, of course, makes your cooking a lot faster, easier and more convenient. A long time ago, our ancestors just did it in a hole in the ground. Now, we are lucky to have a lot of options!
Below are different smokers for you to choose from.
- Wood - The favorite source of heat. It is said to give the best flavor. Hardwood block and chips burn well, but it is important to keep an eye on them as they burn quickly and need to be fed frequently.
To give you a clearer idea of this, here is a video for you to watch:
- Charcoal - If you are a newbie, it is best to start using a charcoal when smoking meat as you do not need to watch over it. It burns longer and the heat is constant. It is much easier than wood.
Here is a video to show you how:
- Gas - Getting hi-tech? Of course, gas is very easy and quick to use as it's easy to heat and you do not need to worry about monitoring the temperature. However, it does not produce the same tasty meat compared to wood and charcoal.
Here is a video demo about using gas:
- Electric - This is much better than gas as it heats quickly. This is very useful for multi-tasking, especially if you are going to have a party in the day. All you need to do is put the meat inside and take it out when the timer goes off. The electric smoker is costly though, and like gas, it does not give that authentic flavor that wood and charcoal can offer.
Here is a video to show you:
CHOOSE YOUR WOOD
The most important factor is choosing the type of wood to use. As they say, a different type of wood gives the meat a different type of taste. You can use and mix them all and a little experimentation won’t hurt.
Do you think you can have all the different flavors too? Huh? Choose from these different wood types:
- Mesquite - The result is yummy but gives you a very concentrated taste.
- Hickory - Best used when you have red meat.
- Oak - Suitable to use when you have big cuts as it burns longer than the others.
- Cherry - Ideal if your favorite cuts are beef and pork.
- Apple - The best one for poultry, seafood, and pork!
WHAT METHOD ARE YOU GOING TO USE?
Two methods of smoking meat:
- Dry method - This is the traditional method of smoking that does not use water.
- Wet method - Water is used when smoking to keep the temperature stable. Some smokers have a water compartment built in. When using charcoal or wood, you can improvise by putting water in any container and placing it in the smoker. Make sure it never runs out.
Prepare your smokers and your wood and be sure to wet the wood chips before starting the heat. Leave the big pieces of wood dry.
IS YOUR MEAT READY?
Whatever meat you prefer, smoking will give the food its own yummy flavor. But if you want to add more spice and give the meal a twist to enhance the taste, you can also do marinating, brining or rubbing.
ROOM TEMPERATURE STORAGE
While you are still burning the wood, keep your marinated meat at room temperature. It helps if you make sure that the meat is cooked evenly.
IT IS SMOKING TIME
Place the meat in the smoker and make sure that you have set the right time if you are using an electric smoker. Either way, you need to know how long the cooking time is.
To keep the moisture, you will need to baste the meat once in a while. Keep it covered too. You need to cover it after an average of 2-3 hours of smoking.
THE MEAT IS DONE!
During smoking, you must be vigilant in monitoring the temperature. Take the meat out when it reaches the desired temperature, and you will find it is completely done.
Below is the suitable temperature for each type of meat:
- Poultry - 165 deg. C
- Pork - 160 deg. C
- Beef steaks, pork chops - 145 deg. C
WHERE IS THE SMOKE RING?
The most effective way to know that you have smoked the meat just right is to look for smoke rings. They should be at the yummy outer part of the meat.
Smoke rings happen because there is a chemical reaction when the smoke penetrates the meat. The color should be pink, as a result of the nitric acid in it.
Now you know what smoking meat is all about and can choose the meat of your choice. I wonder what your choice will be? Using the steps provided in this "how to do" section should help you to do this pronto.
Take notice of the tips too, as they provide a few simple reminders that will guide you as you make perfect dishes. Here are some additional techniques/tips to help you:
We all know that smoking meat is controversial when it comes to the health risks involved. It is best that you understand both its nutritional value and the probable disadvantages that can occur if it is eaten in certain conditions.
The health risks are avoidable provided that you heed the precautions. You can always create a wonderful balance with all good things. Try to research and find out more about its pros and cons. Knowing is a great help.