6 Tips for Smoking Meat

6 Tips for Smoking Meat

Meat smoking can be traced back to as early as humanity’s cave living times, and it proved to be so good that this cooking method remains a favorite even now in the 21st Century.

The only difference is that back then, our early ancestors hadn’t quite figured out the best meats to smoke on a pellet grill.

Now that you have that edge, perhaps you’re thinking about how you could make that meat as tasty as possible.

In this article, we’ll teach you six easy steps on how you could level up your meat smoking.

Meat Smoking and Why You Should Try It

Smoking is a cooking method that involves exposing the meat and other smokable food items to smoke from burning materials (most commonly wood or charcoal).

This method locks in the desired “smokey” flavor that varies depending on the type of wood or charcoal used.

Smoking your meat preserves it and adds a unique flavor, texture, and color.

The experience of actually doing this cooking method that some even consider art is something that everyone should try at least once.

6 Tips for Smoking Meat

1. Prepare your meat for smoking.

To prepare your meat, you should first learn the properties of different meat types.

Pork, beef, chicken, and fish are common types of smoked meat that take no special training to prepare; just ensure that you clean them properly before seasoning.

There are generally two ways to flavor your meat for smoking: rubbing or injecting. What you choose is generally up to you, but each has pros and cons.

Rubbing seasoning is as easy as massaging salt and pepper to the meat of your choice and can typically be done quickly.

On the other hand, injecting seals in the flavor is better but requires a meat syringe and a combination of herbs and spices of your choosing.

2. Choose which wood to use.

Aside from learning about different types of meat, knowing which wood you should use for each of them is another thing to note.

As a rule of thumb, you should avoid woods that look rotten, soggy, or powdery as they may result in uneven smoking.

You also shouldn’t use woods high in oil and resin, such as spruce, fir, or pine, as they give off harsh and thick smoke when burning.

So, what wood should you use? Chad’s BBQ suggests using hardwood like hickory, oak, and maple wood for heavy meats such as pork and beef.

For light meats, they suggest cherry, alder, and applewood.

3. Keep the heat on a consistent low and slow.

You should not let the fire be in direct contact with your meat. If you’re not using a dedicated smoker, you could try using a metal sheet to keep the fire on one side or simply slide the fuel source away.

However, you shouldn’t try to keep the fuel in a non-flaming state. You should keep the vents slightly opened so that some oxygen could still enter without producing white smoke (more on this later).

4. Keep the light smoke blue.

More smoke does not mean better for your meat. According to Tyler Lachance of Cookout Expert, you should keep your smoke in that thin, light blue shade.

Thick white smoke is known as “dirty” smoke as it makes your meat taste bitter and contains creosote, the oily and unpleasant tasting residue of poorly burnt wood or charcoal.

To get that good light blue smoke, proper airflow should be maintained so that oxygen circulates properly, ensuring that your wood burns thoroughly.

You should also facilitate the forming of the coal bed in your firebox so that the next batch of wood burns at a closer and more consistent temperature than the first.

5. Keep the lid closed as much as possible.

Smoking requires two important components to work properly: smoke and heat. Both are lost whenever you open the lid to check or tend to your meat, so you better do it as little as possible.

Using a timer and meat smoking calculator such as this one instead of just estimating the remaining time ensures that you keep everything consistently as it should be.

6. Spritz your meat.

Spritzing your meat is the way to go if you don’t want your smoked meat to taste dry, but you have to be careful of the formula and number of applications since it can easily overpower the smokey flavor you have built upon.

Using a watery spritz also tends to wash away your rubbed seasonings, making it lose more flavor than it gains. Using a thicker solution helps solve this problem.

Due to the moisture that spritzing adds, this could also increase your meat’s cooking time.

This isn’t much of a worry when you smoke at high temperatures over a short period, but if you’re trying the low and slow method, you can expect your cooking time to be lengthened by about 10 to 20%.

Conclusion

Smoking your meat is a great way to experiment with a new family recipe or spend some of that long cooking time bonding with family and friends.

Either way, one cannot deny the unique taste it brings contrary to just simply cooking that well-earned meat.

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