For ones that appreciate a good BBQ’d meat, we don’t really need to elaborate on the importance of slow smoking. Whether you use a pellet smoker or an electric smoker, you need to know effective and useful techniques that could make sure that the meat chunks are well-cooked and properly smoked.
Before we discuss smoking in more detail, we would like to talk about the importance of ‘well-cooked“ meat. If you consume meat that isn’t properly cooking and is still pink and raw, you are putting yourself at the risk of getting food poisoning. So, whenever you start the barbecue, cooking your meat well should be your top priority. No use falling sick over a raw, tasteless block of meat!
Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about some superb smoking tips.
Choosing the right smoker
A smoker is a piece of equipment that can act as a container to hold in smoke. Since they are different types of smokers available in the market, you need to take into account the fuel you use, this available space, and of course, your budget.
If you find electric smokers to be a bit expensive, you can always use smokers that employ the use of charcoal to save some bucks without compromising on the smoking quality. Just be very careful with the fuel you use and you will be good.
Use wood chunks, wood chips, or hardwood pellets
Speaking of fuel, we decided to elaborate on this point a bit more as this plays a very crucial role in the overall smoking method.
When you put your meat on the grill, add lots of wood. While some smoking experts prefer hardwood like apple or hickory, you can always go with the one you prefer the most. Even if you use a pellet grill, you only need to keep the hopper full. Basically, your aim here should be having a sufficient supply of wood. It is, after all, one of the key pointers for that delicious flavor and amazing aroma.
Keep a water pan handy and always stay near the barbecue
Imagine: you spent hours trying to cook the meat as perfectly as possible. You soon realize that while you took every possible step to ensure it didn’t dry out, it still wasn’t juicy enough. It sounds rather scary now, doesn’t it?
Fluctuating temperatures are one of the main reasons why meat loses its juiciness. It is also due to this very reason why you should always have a water pan nearby to keep adding some humidity while you cook. This should be done without fail whenever you are using charcoal for smoking.
Leaving their BBQ unattended for long periods is the other BBQ mistake commonly practiced by us. It is true that you don’t need to constantly monitor the smoker as smoking is most certainly low maintenance. Still, you shouldn’t forget about it as well. Also, at the end of the day, you are dealing with fire which is why caution is required.
Every hour or so, keep checking the temperature. If you need to make any adjustments with regard to the charcoal or wood, be quick about it too. This will automatically give you a better version of your smoked meat.
Maintain proper airflow at all times
Make sure that the air vents are properly functioning to avoid any accidents. For this purpose, you should keep your vents open on your charcoal grill. Position the lid vent on each side of the coals is to draw smoke efficiently without any interruption.
If you find the fire getting way too hot making it difficult for you to manage it, you can cover the top vent completely. Remember, you still have to sparingly open the lid. This is because every time you do so, you tend to lose smoke and heat, which are the key players in achieving that perfectly smoked chunk of meat.
Pay attention to the cuts of meat
Meat smoking is an elaborate job that differs from one meat cut to another. The general cut of choice is always briskets, ribs, or shoulders. The catch here is that having knowledge of the correct smoking process is extremely vital. For example, in the case of briskets, the traditional smoking of tough meats won’t turn out good.
You can also experiment with other meat cuts such as the leg portion, prime rib, or even whole fish or poultry. Typically, we choose pork shoulders for making pulled pork. But, you can also try out lamp shoulders as the taste is equally amazing. This will also give you a chance to experience something new.
You can always ask the seller to give you some guidance in case you get confused. Most of them have years of experience and could guide in selecting the best meat cuts.
Don’t get worried when you see white smoke
If you see layers of white smoke while you cook, you can go ahead and do a little celebratory dance. You see these streams of white smoke are indicators of the excellent aroma of smoky wood.
The only thing that you need to verify is good ventilation to prevent your meat from getting dried out. If you don’t, you’ll soon see black smoke. This sadly means that your meat’s juices are burning, and will result in bad flavor. Something which you definitely want to avoid!
Going slow and low
While going “slow and low” sounds like the description of a dance form, it is actually the best technique when it comes to BBQ.
Whenever you use low, indirect heat along with wood smoke, you maximize your chances of enjoying a well-smoked and cooked protein. Always be patient with your barbecue and make it a point to never place the meat directly above the flame. If you hurry up the entire process, you won’t get good meat.
Whenever you feel that smoking is taking too much time, remember: Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.