Being able to smoke meat like a pro is an epic skill to have – and dun to show off to your friends and family. But, even better, you get delicious tasting meats and a chance to explore cooking on a whole new level.
Smoking meat at home gives you plenty of time to practice smoking meats, and working to perfect your recipes. However, it’s not so simple as just getting a fire going and popping your meat over the smoke.
There is much more to it than that. Actually it is quite complicated with many options for you to choose from. You have different types of smokers, different meats that work differently when smoked, different woods which are each better for different meats.
Let’s not forget the importance of temperature and a steady cooking as well as the brine.
I’m sharing this article, because I believe that learning how to smoke meat like a pro is a basic life skill everyone can benefit from learning.
As you might know, I wrote a bestselling book called Happy Habits.
Inside my book I share a range of habits which boost happiness. And cooking is one of my research-backed and highly recommended happy habit.
So… Let’s get going on those 5 key things you need to know before you get invested in smoking meats.
There are various types of smokers. You should choose the one that works best for you.
When it comes to which meats are the best for smoking, you want to choose something that will benefit from smoking’s slow cooking. You shouldn’t avoid the cuts with a lot of connective tissue or marbling. Heavily marbled meat may actually be the best meat for smoking.
Brisket is a go-to, ribs, pork shoulder, a large steak, and more are all great options. Some will smoke a whole chicken as well!
Each wood you can use will work best with certain meats. Here are the woods and the meats they match with.
Brining helps to prevent the meat from drying out while you smoke it. The salt inside the brine makes the meat proteins absorb more water, and so when sodium and chloride ions get in the tissues of the mean it charges the proteins, so they hold more moisture.
This means that by brining your meats, you are less likely to end up with a dry, and disappointing dish at the end.
In its most basic form, a meat brine is simply salty water. Although adding in herbs and spices never hurt anyone and will add to the whole flavor of your cook.
Do note that brining can be a bit of a double edged sword as it will help in the moisture of the meat, but it will also make it more salty. Some chefs use sugar to counter this.
Slow and steady wins the race right? Whoever came up with that phrase must have been using a smoker at the time because that is exactly what you should be thinking when you smoke meats.
Low temperatures and slow cooking is the key to cooking meat properly on a smoker. You want your temperature around 200-2030 Fahrenheit. Low temperature will stop the meat’s cell walls from bursting which makes it juicier and keeps the nutrients in the meat where you want them.
It also helps to make tough collagen into gelatin without overheating proteins. It makes it smokey, moist and delicious!
Explore more happiness boosting habits, in my bestselling book: Happy Habits.