Despite what aficionados may say, there are really only two rules for making great barbecue: Cook low and slow -- and keep your smoke sweet. If smoke is stale or acrid, the food will have a strong or bitter taste.
To keep it sweet, maintain a constant heat source; keep air flowing through the smoker; use seasoned, high-quality wood for smoke. Hickory, oak, cherry, and mesquite all give food excellent flavor. Avoid any gathered wood from needle-bearing trees such as fir or pine, which have high levels of sap or resin and can make foods bitter.
Check out our smoking chart for tips on smoking time.
Steak Strips with Peanut Sauce Nothing could be simpler and more satisfying than this four-ingredient peanut sauce that's stirred together on top of the stove. Serve the steak and sauce with hot cooked rice.
Ginger-Orange Beef Ribs Soy sauce and fresh ginger give these meaty ribs Pacific-rim flair. An Asian cook might smoke them in a kamado, an egg-shape ceramic oven used for smoking in that part of the world for centuries.
Lamb Salad with Roasted Vegetables This gorgeous salad is perfect for summer entertaining. Arrange spirals of cheese-and-herb-stuffed lamb alongside crisp greens and colorful roasted vegetables.
Corn Bread-Stuffed Chops If you'd like to try something other than apple or cherry, maple wood would also give these hearty chops a smoky-sweet flavor. Serve them with sweet corn, steamed carrots, and hot biscuits.
Smoked Gremolata Chicken Gremolata -- the garnish of garlic, lemon, and parsley that's traditionally sprinkled over the Italian dish called osso buco (braised veal shanks) -- gives this smoked bird great flavor.
Continued on page 3: Fish & Seafood