Once you have mastered the kitchen, there is another place to level up your cooking skills. Smoking meat has become something of an art form. It is also the oldest form of cooking there is, and it has been constantly developed over the years.
If you feel like the kitchen has taught you all you could possibly want to know about cooking, then a smoker might be the perfect next step for you.
When it comes to techniques for smoking meat, there is not much we can say, because everyone has their own unique style, ways of using wood flavorings, what type of smoker they use and so on.
But what we can do is give you tips on techniques for smoking meat, things you should be doing to get the best out of every dish you smoke!
Before you get smoking you need to have a smoker that is ideal for you. Look at fuel types: electric, wood, pellet, charcoal, propane and so on. Then consider wood.
Wood will provide different flavors, and some woods will pair best with certain meats. You should also consider the reason why smoking is so good.
It uses low temperatures and a slow cook to really craft a tender meat, and retain moisture, so do not forget to brine.
Think about the meats you will use as well. Any meat you want to smoke will need to be thick meat. Things like briskets do best when smoked.
Tips For Technique
So, as you start off using a smoker to upgrade your cooking skills, what tips can we give you for your technique? Here are 5 tips we have to make your technique great from the get go.
#1. Choose The Right Smoker For You
You want to invest in a good quality smoker if you will be smoking meats regularly. You can have an electric smoker, a wood smoker, gas smoker, or a charcoal smoker.
Electric smokers tend to be the most expensive with wood and charcoal being the cheapest. However, with wood and charcoal smokers they do need frequent maintenance to keep an eye on the temperature.
If you can’t afford a smoker, a grill might do, but it’s not really the same.
#2. Select The Appropriate Meat
When you are choosing meat to smoke, you can technically put any meat on there. Yet, smoking meats is a technique that works best with tough cuts of meat, making it turn from tough to tender.
Chicken, ribs, lobster, turkey, brisket, and salmon are all meats that reap benefits from being smoked.
#3. Prep Your Meat
Not only do you want to get high quality meat, but you also want to properly prepare your meat. You can use a rub or a marinade for your meat, store bought marinades are okay, but if you want to get really creative, try making your own.
Rub flavors into the meat too, you should consider salt, garlic, and spices added into the meat before you start cooking.
You need to prep the meat a good 2 hours before you cook it, perhaps even 12 hours before to make sure all the flavors added sink into the meat.
#4. Choose The Right Temperature
On a smoker, meats should be cooked at a lower temperature, generally around 200 to 230 Fahrenheit. To enhance flavors, smokers work at a low temperature for an extended time period.
You want the smoker at a good temperature to allow your meat to be properly cooked. You may want to start higher at 250, starting off to break down connective tissues. Heat should then level out at 220.
You should monitor the temperature regularly to keep it around 220, however, monitor it from time to time and adjust it if you need to.
#5. Don’t Open The Lid
Speaking of which, when we say, keep an eye on it, we do not mean you should be constantly checking it. It makes sense to check on it from time to time, especially with such a lengthy cook.
However, you should not be opening the lid to check on how your meal is cooking. This is because every time you do so, your meat won’t be cooking, and you lose vital heat.
Only open the lid if you need to add more cooking materials or to ensure that your food is cooking as it should be. Aside from this, keep it closed so that you get the results you seek.