Smoking Meat Can Add Extra Flavor
On the next sunny day, give it a shot.
Another rainy weekend and I’m sitting inside watching an old Beverly Hillbillies episode. The Clampetts were visiting New York when Jethro stumbled upon a group of hippies in Central Park. He invited his far out friends for vittles stating “Granny's gonna smoke some crawdads but first I need to find a little pot." Needless to say it was pretty funny.
Now I don’t know a whole lot about smoking crawdads or smoking pot but I definitely have the smoking meat thing down.
Any quality meat can be smoked. Sausage, brisket, pork roast, turkey, chicken, ribs, you name I’ll smoke it. All you need is a charcoal grill or smoker, a thermometer, and some charcoal and/or wood. I’ve used box smokers, side smokers and a plain old Weber grill with a cover. The key is to take your time and keep the heat down. Low and slow is the way to go.
If your using a regular grill, start your fire to one side keeping it as far from the center as possible. The trick is to keep the meat as far from the direct flame as possible. This allows the smoke to infuse the meat and add all that wonderful flavor.
Speaking of flavor different woods infuse different flavor. My favorite is apple wood or cherry wood which adds a slight sweetness to your meat. Maple works great with pork. Hickory, mesquite, or oak is much stronger and lends itself to red meat and ribs. I always use a charcoal base and add wood to the hot coals. I like the smokiness of coal but it’s not necessary.
Another trick is to season or brine your meat before smoking. Dry rubs on the more fatty flavorful cuts and brining on the blander less flavorful meat like chicken or turkey. Certainly salt is the main ingredient to both a dry rub or brine but adding your favorite herbs and spices to the salt can be both creative and delicious. Brining consists of soaking your meat in a flavorful broth before cooking and dry rub is pretty self explanatory.
Make sure you have plenty of time because smoking meat is not a quick process, nor an exact science. It is a culinary art. The best and easiest way to determine when your dinner is done is to stick it with a good meat thermometer. It is difficult to control the temperature of an open fire so cooking times vary greatly. The rule of thumb is 165 degrees or until the meat starts to peel away from the bone.
If we ever get a nice warm sunny day give it a shot. It sure beats flipping burgers and dogs all afternoon. And there are all kinds of vitals that go great with it.