We already are familiar with the fact that smoking is an ancient thing and is one of the famous ways of cooking meat. This method is used commonly in order to preserve all the flavors and proteins of meat while keeping it tender and juicy. A perfect smoked cooking is a slow cooking process with complete temperature control. In the process of smoking meat whether cold or hot smoking, heat slowly travels through the meat fibers that cooks all the raw proteins of the meat and make it a juicy tender thing to eat. Through the smoke cooking process, temperature should be maintained between 200-250 deg. F. However, the duration of cooking depends upon the type of cuts of meat. If you have thick heavy pieces, they can take an hour or more for cooking. A wide range of meat can be tried for smoke cooking however your personal preference and choice is what really matters.
Best Choices for Smoke Cooking
Some of the most recommended choices of food for smoke cooking include Ribs, Brisket, Turkey, Bacon, Boston Butt, Sausages etc.
When you are considering smoke cooking, ribs are the best of choices. Ribs have different cuts which may include county style, baby back, spare, short ribs or beef back. Whichever you have, you can use them with a sauce or dry rub. All these cuts can be gained from beef or pork too. Any of these parts must be slowly smoked over an electric smoker. Make sure that ribs remain tender, juicy and filled with flavors. For all those who are new to smoking, you should try with beef back as these are large pieces and less costly.
Brisket is termed to be king of meats when you are talking about smoking. This piece comes from cow’s chest and is really easy to cook with smoking. This piece is usually used for barbecue especially seen in competitions of smoking. You can cook it in two different ways. You can get it done with a rub or can have a sauce layer over it to make it crispy from outside. Either ways, it tastes great and it depends upon your taste preference. Briskets as other pieces are cooked with slow smoking heat in order to maintain the tenderness, texture and richness of meat. You must remain patient for cooking these flat wide pieces of briskets in a right manner. When you are done with smoking it, just slice and serve with some barbecue sauce. To make it healthier and hunger satisfying you can serve it with some sauté veggies or mashed potatoes.
Smoking goes wonderfully well with this bird turkey too. So now no need to popup turkey on thanksgiving in the oven for long hours and you end up having a dry meat. Instead brine turkey and then smoke cook it. You will find it more juicy and delicious to eat. Turkey is a bird served during festive seasons and this feast usually takes many hours to cook in the oven and if you don’t take care of proper temperature maintenance it gets dry in texture. Now smoke it on an electric smoker in order to retain its flavor and texture.
Bacon is a delicious treat and it is termed as a heavy meat. Various smoking techniques further enhances flavor of this naturally delicious meat. Main meat comes from the belly of the pork. You can either hot smoke or cold smoke the bacon. You can cook it in whatever ways you wish. However cold smoke is more preferred with bacon as all of its moisture and juices remain in cold smoking process. For diabetic patients, you should avoid use of sugar in the sauce and can keep the sauce plain. If you avoid taking nitrates, you must cook bacon until it remains pink and this gives you a nitrate-free meat.
5. Boston Butt:
Boston Butt is another great source for smoke cooking. This meat is the cut from front shoulder of pig and it is then packaged in to a butt (barrel). This one is a tough muscle and you would really need to cook it well. You need to have it in good brine for flavors and smoke gives Boston butt enough time to cook. When you are done with cooking, you would end up pulling more and more for making sandwiches as it is really delicious. You can feed a good amount of people with Boston butt.
Some tips to follow for smoking
- It is recommended that you get guidance from butcher at the meat shop for cooking time and tips for preparation. They may give you some wonderful relevant techniques that make smoking process easier. They have good experience dealing with meat and thus they can be a good help.
- Choosing wood for smoke is really important for conventional methods. This choice would surely give you difference in your smoked meat. You may use maple, pecan, hickory, oak and apple for great results.
- You should remove some extra fats but do not clean off all fat as when fat melts it adds great flavor and juiciness to meat.
- With smoke cooking, you need to remain patient and must have cooking temperature at low heat.
- Meat must be prepared in excess in order to prevent shortage.
- When dealing with brisket, chicken and turkey, let meat settle for 5-6 minutes and then serve while lamb, beef and pork must be served directly.
- Flip only when one side is done. Frequent flipping would let meat loose its color and shine.
- Over smoking must be avoided as it may dry off meat completely.
- Unused coal should be used however it may need some extra time for lighting up.
All these foods are the best choices for smoking however you can try others as well depending upon your taste. Some secrets that we have shared here will give you effective smoke cooking and would let you enjoy tender, juicy, flavorful and tempting meat. There are different kinds of smokers available and you can choose whether you wish to have a gas, electric or charcoal depending upon your requirement, budget and preferences.