Smoking uses low temperatures, 180 to 220 degrees F, and long cooking times to cook and flavor foods.
how to smoke meat
Hey, Charlie Worthington here. If you think you've got to use a smoker to get that smoky flavor, you don't. You can use a gas grill or charcoal grill. Let me show you how. Give it some smoke, baby. Smoke that, baby. If you wanna smoke on a charcoal grill, you basically set it up for indirect grilling. You set the briquettes around the edge, you put a drip pain in the center, fill it with water, then you gotta choose what you're gonna use for wood. You've got chips here which have been soaking for about an hour. You use chips, they will burn up quicker. You might need to add some if you're doing a long smoking item, but if you're smoking a bit shorter, those work perfect. Then you've got chunks and, again, these last longer if you're cooking a brisket or a pork roast, whole chicken, you might wanna go with chunks, they last longer. The other thing you need to choose is the wood you use. If you're gonna do something like a brisket or pork, you can go ahead like mesquite, that's gonna take to that because it's a strong flavor but lighter flavor things you gonna wanna go with a hickory or an applewood, again, a milder wood. So, basically, you take your chips, sprinkle some on there, shake off the water, you don't wanna put your briquettes out. Now, they're gonna start smoking in just a bit. You cover it up. You wanna make sure you leave your vents open a little bit until the smoke gets going then you can turn that down. You don't want it to go too fast 'cause you'll burn up your chips too quickly. Let me show you how to do it on a gas grill. It's basically the same. You're working on indirect. You wanna turn off part of the grill. Get this hot. Some grills come with a built-in smoker box which you'd add the wet chips and they usually run along the side. If they don't have that, you can also use a purchased separate piece that sits on top of the grate. If you don't have that, you can do 2 things. You can put a pan right on, directly above the heat source or aluminum packet with holes poked in it with wood chips inside. In this pan, you would just take your wood chips and sprinkle them right inside of that. Let me show, get some in there right now. It's starting to heat up. And then that'll start smoking. When that gets smoking, you put your meat on front, close her up, and you've got a smoker without a smoker.
- Low heat makes smoke as wood smolders, rather than burns, to impart the smoky flavor.
- Water-soaked wood chunks, chips, and/or aromatics are distributed among the coals to enhance the flavor.
- Grill is covered to allow heat and smoke to slowly penetrate and cook the food.
- Dry Smoking Dry smoking uses indirect cooking with a low, smoldering wood fire to slowly cook foods while infusing smoke flavor.
- Wet Smoking Wet smoking, or water smoking, is more commonly employed and uses a pan of water to maintain moisture and tenderness.
- Keep water pan full, replenishing as needed with hot tap water.
- The water helps to maintain temperature and adds moisture to keep food tender.
- Don't peek! Heat and smoke escape each time the lid is lifted, sacrificing aroma and flavor and increasing cooking time.
- Start with small amount of wood to see if you like the flavor, adding more for more intense smoky flavor.
- Make wood chips last longer and prevent burning by bundling wet wood chips in a foil packet with holes. Place the packet directly on the coals.
- Smoke only those foods that can handle the assertive smoky flavor: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, oily fish, and game.
- Add an aromatic dimension by tossing fresh leaves, stems, or herbs onto the coals.
- Bay leaves, rosemary, grapevine cuttings, fruit peel, or cinnamon sticks are examples of aromatics.
- Generally aromatics with higher oil content provide stronger flavor.
- Soak branches and stems, which otherwise burn quickly.
Try experimenting with different foods and woods to find the flavor combination you like.
- Alder, delicate: Pork, poultry, especially fish
- Apple, delicate, mildly sweet, and fruity: Veal, pork, poultry
- Cherry, delicate, mildly sweet, and fruity: Veal, pork, poultry
- Hickory, strong, hearty, smoky: Brisket, ribs, game, pork
- Mesquite, lighter, sweeter: Most meats, vegetables
- Oak, assertive, versatile: Beef, pork, poultry
- Pecan, similar to hickory, more subtle: Pork, poultry, fish
- Seaweed, tangy, smoky: Shellfish
Continued on page 2: Setting Up the Grill