Smoked Meats –Tender Juicy Roast
Smoking Meats for Delicious Meals
Summer is the time of year many meals of smoked meat. Every type of meat, poultry, salmon, or game can be cooked in a smoker. It is possible to smoke more than one type of meat at a time, which takes care of more than one meal, provided you have plenty of room for the smoke to circulate around the meat continuously. When you can do more than one piece of meat, it is a great help. Smoking meat actually started more than a century ago as a way to preserve meat, but today it is a way to have added flavor and tenderness.
If you don’t have a smoker you can probably pick one up at your local stores for about $50, unless you want to get one with a few extra gadgets which cost more. You can find smokers quite frequently at flea markets or garage sales. Amazon has several listed but they are a little higher priced as they come with covers and some extras.
Pork Loin Being Smoked
Directions for Using a Smoker
Smokers are easy to use. A pan of water, maybe with a little apple juice, is placed in the bottom of the smoker to keep your meat moist. Then you fill the next pan up with charcoal and get a good fire started. Once the coals are hot you are ready to add your favorite wood chips (which you have had soaking in water) place them on the charcoal.
Your selected meat goes on the top rack. You can marinade your meat, as there a huge number of marinades available in the store and many recipes can be found on the Internet. You will also find a lot of smoker recipes. In addition, you can add you favorite barbecue sauce.
You want to close the whole thing up and keep it closed so you can get to the perfect temperature (about 200-220° F) and you want to keep it at that temperature. Cook the meat at this low temperature to tenderize it and to let the smoke flavor sink into the meat.
The slow cooking gives the natural connective fibers in the meat time to break down and become tender and it changes into basic sugars which give you that nice sweet flavor. Use a meat thermometer as well. Most meats need to be at least 145°, poultry at 165°, but if you want very tender barbecue it is fine to have an internal temperature of 180°.
Woodchips for Smoking
There are several types of common wood chips used in smoking. Any hard wood that is free of resin (or sap) can work. Some of the more common choices are apple, cherry, hickory, maple, alder, honey mesquite wood, red oak, pecan, dogwood, pear, peach, plum, grapevine cuttings and herb woods such as basil, thyme and rosemary.
Hickory is the favorite of man Midwesterners and Southerners for barbecue. Alder wood is well suited for pork. Cherry wood is good with beef or pork. Maple will darken the color of your meat and it often mixed with alder wood for balance. Red oak is considered one of the best varieties for smoking and dogwood is similar. Many of the woods listed you would probably have to buy from a specialty shop or have available on your property. The point is there are many choices available for the types of wood you like to give the meat your favorite unique flavor.
Types of Wood Chips Commonly Used
What You Can Smoke
The types of items you can smoke are almost endless. Beef brisket is very popular, but any type of beef roast is suitable. Beef or pork ribs are also a great choice, with baby back ribs ranking very high on the goodness scale. You can smoke ham, turkeys, turkey breasts, Cornish hens or whole chickens. Atlantic salmon is another tasty dish to smoke.
Many people smoke game they catch or purchase, such as venison, elk, rabbits, bison and I’m sure there are many others. So, there is a large choice of the types of meat you can smoke.
It takes at least a couple of hours to properly smoke any meat and sometimes much longer depending on the size of the meat, and if you keep the heat constant. You may have to add a few pieces of charcoal occasionally and also you must keep your water in the pan.
The more you practice, the better you will get at judging the temperature and time necessary to get the perfect meal. The basic reason we smoke meat is to take a tougher meat and turn it into a wonderful tender meal. One of my favorites is smoked turkey breast which is obviously not a tough meat. Some things just taste better smoked
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© 2010 Pamela Oglesby