Smoking Your Meat: The Best Practices
The most primitive form of cooking meat is perhaps smoking it. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Our forefathers have been hunting game animals and smoking them in an open fire. In the past, it was the basic necessity to cook the meat and make it edible.
This survival practice stayed with us, even after so much innovation and technology around us. It was also necessary for social purposes. In the olden days having a clan or a community was everything. And sitting around a fire while cooking and enjoying conversations with each other is how our forefathers bonded.
This functionality is even still prevalent today. Any meat smoking is followed by some sort of party, be it- someone’s birthday or just a summer pool party. Smoking meat is still a way of getting people together, continuing this tradition for thousands of years.
Although the current methods are more casual and much more comfortable, there are still some tricks to meat smoking. If you do not do it properly, you could spoil your special party. This article will discuss the best practices for smoking meat.
It is the early processing of the meat. Take your meat out the day before you want to smoke it. Then you have to rub it with ½ spoon of kosher salt generously. This pre-processing increases the flavor.
It has some other functionality too. Rubbing your meat with kosher salt starts a particular chemical process. The process is called denaturing. This helps release the meat more water and stay moist at the time of cooking. This process is called dry brining the meat.
Take the meat out of the fridge beforehand
You would want to take out the dry brined meat out of your fridge sometimes before smoking your meat. Usually, the meat has to be taken out at least 1-2 hours before smoking it.
The reasoning behind it is- it brings up the temperature of the meat to room temperature. That way, you do not have to spend extra fuel to cook the meat and take it to room temperature. Also, keeping it at room temperature means the meat will thaw, and the water will break; thus, the meat will be moist and easy to smoke.
Patience is the word here. The best flavors of meat develop when you cook slow and low. Doing this will ensure the meat is cooked correctly.
The best practice is to cook the meat at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. You will have to be alert at the time of smoking, to check inside your smoker once in a while. The fine line between burnt and smoky flavor is very thin, and you have to be alert that you don’t cross it.
Special warning, if your meat contains some sugar( which is perfectly normal and might even add some nice flavor to your meat), then you have to be extra careful. Sugar burns very easily, and it has a shorter burning point than the other components. If you cook at high temperatures for a long time, you are sure to have some burnt caramel on your meat – which does not taste good.
Time is another key to perfect smoking meat. Do your research about the type of meat you are going to cook. Whether it is brisket or shoulder, depending on the kind of meat, you will have to leave it on for different amounts of time.
For larger cuts of meat, you may want to start cooking the night before the day of your serving. At around midnight, throw your brisket into the smoker and go to sleep. The best practice is to check on it at least once before waking up. You can set your alarm in the middle of the night for this purpose. It may sound inconvenient to put this much effort into smoking the meat, but the benefits are equally satisfying.
Smoking supplement requirements
Smoking your meat requires you to have some equipment. Firstly, the smoker. Look for a manufacturer that offers the most versatile options for a smoker. The most common smoker is the gas-burning kind. You can also opt for something more modern like an electric smoker, or go traditional and get a wood smoker. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you decide to go with the wood-burning smoker, you may have chosen the best option. Because using this smoker, you can regulate your meat’ by using different types of wood and charcoal.
There are many types of wood, depending on the kind of meat you are trying to cook. For cooking fish, you should go with alder woods. These are very mild types of woods in nature and go well with smoking fish. Apple, Cherry, and Pear are moderate types of wood with a sweet smell and taste. These are mainly used to smoke poultry or pork type of meat.
Then you have your Oak and Hickory woods. These woods just about go with any type of meat- fish, pork, or beef. Oakwood is a bit harsh, so it is mixed with a slight amount of fruit woods to give a better flavor. Mesquits are a heavy type of wood that can be used to cook any kind of meat. But you have to be very careful that you do not go overboard using mesquite as the intense flavors can be overpowering if overused.
Aluminum foil is another essential item. Many people prefer to cook without it, to let the flavor of the wood into the meat. But wrapping the meat with foil keeps all the meat flavor and juice inside. As a result, you get juicy smoked meat at the end of the process. You can also combine cooking with and without foil to let the wood’s smoky flavor into the meat.
However you choose to smoke your meat, it is a very fulfilling method of cooking. Smoked meats are also a delicacy for any family gathering. So, plan ahead and smoke your meat correctly to enjoy it with your family and friends.