There are a lot of personal preferences when it comes to grilling and smoking meats, but in particular there are a few points that you should understand if you want to have the absolute best success possible.
Always Season Your Smoker
Seasoning and curing a smoker is an important part of the process. This will make sure there are no leftover chemicals or odors in your smoker that can affect the smoking process and the taste that you experience. All you have to do in order to take care of this is set up your smoker and allow it to heat up and cool off several times. Doing this for about three or four hours will properly season the smoker and set you up for success.
Purchase The Best Wood Chips
There are a lot of different wood chips that you can use in your smoker, a decision which will depend on the kinds of things that you are leaning towards. In particular, people often use almond, apple, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, orange, or oak woods. These all come with different flavor profiles that are sometimes better suited for different kinds of meats as well.
Learn To Use Different Marinade Rubs
Much of the flavor in your smoker is going to come from the kind of marinade and rub that you use on your meats. This is exactly what can be the difference between mediocre and incredible barbecues, so learn how to take advantage of them. There are tenderizing marinades, flavoring marinades, dry rubs, paste rubs, and so much more than you can learn to use. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them and find the perfect one for you.
When you are smoking your meats, you have to pay close attention to the temperature and make sure that you are getting the most out of your experience. The internal grill temperature is incredibly important, so try to be an noninvasive as possible when you check on it. Use a probe thermometer to check it through the top grill vent and it should measure between 225 degrees and 250 degrees. Out of this range and it will be overcooked or uncooked.
How To Use An Electric Smoker
When you are preparing to use an electric smoker, or any kind of smoker, it is important to know what you are doing. The benefit of an electric smoker is that it is much easier to use than many other options and with simple directions you will be able to have the best meats of your life.
Before you start cooking, you should make sure that you have everything that you need. In total, you will need your smoker, cooking oil, meats, marinade or dry rub, water, a thermometer, and a quantity of wood chips that will last through the amount of time that you are going to be smoking your meats for.
To start with, you should already know how to season and cure a new electric smoker. If you don’t the process is relatively simple and doesn’t take much time. All that you have to do is coat the inside of your smoker with cooking oil and let it run for two hours. This will help get your smoker ready for smoking and make sure that you don’t have any odor or solvents remaining inside of the device.
Once you have seasoned your smoker, it is important to season the meat. use whichever herbs, dry rub, etc that you prefer and allow it to marinate overnight before throwing it into the smoker.
Once you are ready to go, you simply have to add water into the proper receptacle, if your model has one. You will also need to have purchased wood chips, which are available in a large number of varieties. You can find these at any grocery store or hardware store and they come in varieties such as cedar, cherry, hickory, maple and more, of which you will typically need about four cups for 5 hours of smoking.
Before you insert the meat and start it heating up, though, you will need to make sure you have it turned to the proper temperature. If your model has an exact temperature gauge, you will need to do the research and make sure you know just what to set it on.
Now you are ready to insert your meat! Once it powers up and is at the right temperature, you can place your meats on the racks inside the device and let them smoke for anywhere from three to eight hours depending on what temperature you would like them to be. Double check with a thermometer before you eat it, though, just to be sure that you are in the safe area.
How To Use A Charcoal Smoker
A charcoal smoker is one of the preferred ways of smoking meats and making sure that they are as juicy and taste filled as possible. These smokers will slowly impart the flavors into your meats and using flavored woods you will be able to do a variety of creative things.
In order to do this, you will need to have your smoker, charcoal, matches, water, and your favorite flavored wood chips.
Before anything, you may want to run the smoker for a few hours without meat in it, in order to season it and help ensure that there are no lingering odors of flavors that are anything less than your favorite. Doing this is a standard practice for most professional cookers, so you should make sure to take advantage of it now too.
The first thing that you will do is remove the rack and water tray from the smoker. Fill it with the appropriate level of charcoal, this will vary depending on the kind of smoker that you are using. Next you will coat the charcoal with lighter fluid and light it, allowing it to build up the proper amount of heat. This can take anywhere up to twenty minutes.
Now you can use tongs to place the flavored wood chips on top of the ashes that should now be coating the top of the charcoal. What kind of flavor you get will depend largely on the thickness of the chips and the kind of wood, although this is entirely up to you.
Next you will place the water tray on top of the flavored wood chips that you are using. Fill the tray three quarters of the way full and put the rack back into the smoker. The water is what will tenderize the meat as it is smoked to prevent it from drying out.
Once the water tray is in place you can place all of your meat onto the racks. Make sure that none of it is touching and everything has room for smoke to circulate around it. When all of the meat is in place, you will now be able to sit back and let it smoke on its own. You’ll have to make sure you have the right temperature setting used if it comes with a system for monitoring it, otherwise you will have to check it on your own with a thermometer.
The general rule is that it should smoke for an hour for each pound of meat that you have. Be sure to check it every two hours or so, though, to keep an eye on everything.