10 Rules to Abide By When Smoking Meat

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Without a doubt, there’s nothing like the aroma of the smoke on the tender and well-smoked meat. While it’s true that you don’t need extensive knowledge in smoking the meat, you will need to do certain things the right way to ensure an adequately done meat.

Nowadays, smoking has moved on from just preserving the meat for a long time. It’s now all about the flavors and textures of the meat. However, smoking doesn’t only add flavors, but it will also transform the worst cut meats into a beautiful piece of meat.

Similarly to any other art, it takes time to smoke the meat. You will need a lot of time and patience to ensure that the meat comes out as you expect it. Therefore, you should keep the temperature low to prevent overheating the proteins. You also need to research smoker reviews to find the one that adds the deep flavor you seek for perfect-tasting meaty treats and makes matters easy for you during the preparation process.

Below you will find a guide on the rules that you must consider when you want to smoke the meat.

Rule #1 – Start Early

If you’re butchering the meat by yourself, you should quickly cut it and place it in the device that you have. The reason for this is because the flavor compounds will stick to the fats and water-soluble in the meat. So, for the perfect smokey flavor, the meat should be as raw as possible.

Otherwise, the surface will dry out, and the interior will not absorb the smoke. On the other hand, if you haven’t done the cut yourself, you should remember that the meat should be thaw entirely before you begin to smoke it. The reason for this because the smoke will not penetrate through the frozen parts.

Tip: Never thaw the meat at room temperature as you’re giving the bacteria the perfect environment to multiply.

While using the microwave to thaw the meat is a popular option, you have to remember that some parts will begin the cooking process. So, the best option would be to leave the meat in the refrigerator until it’s completely free of ice.

Rule #2 – Nice and Slow

As mentioned above, you should rush the process. Chances are if you’re smelling smoke, it means that the meat is smoking. The reason why you should take it slow is that this action will preserve the color and the flavor of the meat. Therefore, you should always check that the temperature is constant. If it ranges from 150 to 220 degrees, it means that it’s smoking correctly.

To ensure that the smoker has reached the ideal temperature, you should check it to see if it’s working before you place the meat inside. Usually, smoking should appear once it has reached the desired temperature.

Rule #3 – Color of Smoke

When you notice a whiteish smoke that flows in a gentle stream, and it’s not overpowering, it means that it’s smoking correctly. The key idea is that the smoke should not feel intoxicating. Don’t worry if you can smell it as this is normal with hot smoking.

In case you’re noticing a black smoke coming from the area, it means several things. The first being that there isn’t enough ventilation. Additionally, it means that the juices in the meat are burning. Thus, you will be left with chewy meat that’s not very appealing.

Tip: If you’re smoking jerky, you should remember the golden rule. A jerky should bend and not break in half.

To ensure that you’ve cut the meat the right size, you should put it in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes until it’s firm to slice through.

Rule #4 – Weigh the Meat

You want to know the exact weight of the meat to know how much seasoning to use. If you’re using too little, it means that the meat will not have any flavor. Some people will not find it tasty, so your hard work can go to waste.

In addition to this, you also want to know the exact weight to figure out what type of seasoning you should use. For example, some spices and herbs may overpower the others if not used correctly. To avoid this, you must be accurate with your measurements.

Another thing that you should remember is to put sauce on the meat in the last 30 minutes of smoking. The reason for this is to prevent the sauce from burning or browning. If this is the case, the meat will taste like it’s burned.

Rule #5 – Try Not to Peak

Every time you open the smoking device, you are losing heat and smoke. Without these two crucial elements, you are not smoking the meat properly. Therefore, you should open the smoker when you believe that the smoke is too overpowering or if you need to tend the fire.

Ideally, you should take care of everything that you need quickly and at once. Afterward, you should tightly close the lid. However, this doesn’t mean that you should provide the right air circulation. Keep the specially designed vents opened to give a clean smoke.

Rule #6 – Know Your Preferences

Knowing what wood to use is essential. Similarly, with barbecuing, you will produce a different taste with every wood you use. If you determine the right amount of smokiness for you, you will find it easy to pick the right material.

It’s known that Mesquite wood will produce a bold smoky aroma. Therefore, it’s one of the most popular choices for beef brisket, whereas oak is less mighty and demanding. The moderate smoky flavor means that you can use the wood for a range of meats, including fish and poultry. Additionally, pecan, cherry, or applewood will provide delicate flavors. So, if you like the smoky flavor but not too much of it, this is the right choice.

Tip: You can also choose to use a range of fruits and cinnamon sticks for your meats. Ensure that they don’t burn during the process.

Rule #7 – Check On the Drip Pan

This tool will allow you to control the smoker and to help to tenderize the meat. Therefore, you have to ensure that it’s in perfect condition. Additionally, you also have to remember a few facts about the tool. For example, the more liquid there is in the pan, the lower the ambient temperature. Therefore, you have to ensure that it’s at the right level.

Usually, people will keep the water level about half an inch. If it’s any other length, it will increase or decrease the smoking time. While some people choose to have a shorter smoking time, you should know that it reduces the shelf life of the meat. Nonetheless, a longer time means that it requires more attention.

Rule #8 – Ensure That It’s Cooked

If the meat is too chewy or if it breaks, it means that it hasn’t been cooked properly. Therefore, you have wasted your time. If it isn’t cooked, there’s no point in placing it back in the smoker as the outer shell is too cooked and cold. Hence, the smoke will not be able to penetrate through it anymore.

In case you’re nervous about whether it has reached the right cooking level, you should use a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature inside of the meat should be around 160-degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is high enough to kill all of the bacteria that may have resided in the raw meat.

Another thing that you should remember is that even though the inside of the meat, such as pork or beef, is pink. It doesn’t mean that it’s not cooked. This isn’t the case for traditional cooking. The reason why it has that color is that it’s an effect of smoking the meat. Some people have given the name of “smoke ring.”

Rule #9 – Don’t Soak The Wood

The best flavor comes from natural wood. Therefore, you don’t have to soak it. However, this isn’t the case with everybody that uses this method. So, if you don’t like the penetrating smoking taste of the meat, you should soak it but change it often. This action will ensure proper smoking, but it will not give the food a strong taste.

Rule #10 – Don’t Just Stick to Meat

You don’t have to smoke just meat. Many people use vegetables and cheeses in the smokehouse. The smoking process remains the same at large. The only considerable difference is that you must put the foods in a metal container to prevent it from falling or crumbling.

Furthermore, you also have to figure out what type of wood to use. For example, the vegetables should have a moderate to low smoke. So, woods such as maple will do an excellent job. Whereas, if you want to smoke cheeses, you need something much stronger like mesquite.

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