Smoking is one of the oldest methods of preserving meat, long before there were refrigerators. The process tenderizes meat, adds a wonderful flavour and extends shelf life greatly. One point to note is that there are different methods to smoking. While some might take just four hours, others could take up to 20.
Here is a quick guide to how it’s done.
- The right meat: Pick fresh, tender meat for smoking. Since it is a process where the meat absorbs heat and flavour for a long time, you can afford to be generous with the portion. Thick cuts which otherwise might prove hard to cure would work nicely inside a charcoal grill.
- The right smoke: While some people prefer a smoker, a reliable charcoal grill would do the job just fine. Make sure you have plenty of charcoal already heated up. Best not to put the meat over cold charcoal. You can keep adding charcoal every 30 minutes to keep the temperature up. Do not use petroleum fuel. The Charcoal must be lit and burned the natural way.
- The right wood: There are a lot of opinions over what kind of wood to place over the coals to give the meat the right flavour. Some gourmets even bring in birch, apple or peach wood to give it a particular aroma. However, practically speaking, wood is wood and smoke is smoke! The only tip here is to avoid woods that are high on sap. Those will ruin the meat. Throw in some wood chips, soaked for an hour or two.
- The right touch: The right touch is to not touch the meat! When smoking, there is no need to flip the meat one way or another. The meat is being exposed to indirect heat, so just close the lid and let the smoke do its job. Just ensure the temperature is maintained at a toasty 220 or 250 degrees.
- The right spice: Don’t add brine to the meat. Some rough salt and pepper should be the only spices you add when you smoke meat. Brine makes it too salty, and any other pungent spices interfere with the flavours of the smoke. Once done, feel free to cook it with a variety of spices of your choice, in a separate pan or dish.
We hope these steps were useful. Beginner or veteran, follow these and you’ll end up with smoking tasty meat.