How to smoke food
Great Smoked Food is All About The Process
The Preparation of the Meat or Vegetable, the choice of wood and so much more.
I love the smell and flavor of slow Smoked Food cooked on a Bar-B-Q or smoked in your own smokehouse. During the good weather months, I can be found outside with the BarB fired up most afternoons.
As much as I love Bar-B-Q, I have to tell you, there is just nothing that tastes as good as slow cooked smoked food. I do not care if its Roast, Fish, Sausage or Poultry, nothing can beat the taste of Smoked.
This is my small place out back ... The Smokehouse ... so Welcome and Enjoy
What is Smoke Cured Meat
A little insight and history about smoked foods
Curing and smoking meats is an ancient method used for preparing all types of meats. Before refrigeration was available for food storage, this process was a primary food preparation process for enhancing flavor and preventing spoilage. This page offers comments on the process and several recipes are proposed for different poultry species. The same procedures can be modified and used to prepare many other types of meats.
Salt is the main ingredient common to all curing/smoking processes. It contributes to the flavor and texture of the meat, and discourages growth of spoilage microorganisms that could render the meat inedible. Additional ingredients are often used to enhance the flavor and improve the appearance of the finished product. In some cases the addition of sugar counteracts the salty flavor, drying, and toughening that results when only a salt brine is used.
Additional preservatives like potassium nitrate (saltpeter) or sodium nitrate were used in the past to protect against the growth of spoilage organisms like Clostridium botulinum that causes botulism. Today, many people prefer to avoid use of these preservatives due to possible health risks. When nitrates are used, the cured meats exhibit a pinkish color.
The basic ingredients for curing include salt, sugar, preservatives like saltpeter, flavors like sauterne wine and spices like pepper, onion or garlic.
The curing solution and meat are kept cool to discourage possible growth of microorganisms. Temperatures of 35 to 40 degrees F. are ideal during the curing phase. After the curing process is complete, carcasses are removed from the brine and allowed to drain. Additional brine can be removed by rinsing in cool water. Before smoking, allow the carcasses to dry slightly to improve the adhering of the desirable smoked color.
Various woods are used to smoke the meat. Each type of wood contributes a distinctive effect on the flavor and color of the finished product. Woods frequently used include hickory, oak, maple, mesquite, apple, cherry, plum, and peach. Soft woods are never used due to the presence of resinous substances in the woods.
The internal temperature of the meat at its deepest point must reach 160 degrees F. or higher. If this temperature is not attained, additional cooking in a conventional oven is necessary to produce a safe product. Using a cooking thermometer ensures complete cooking. Smoking at 185-190 degrees F. during the first 2-3 hours, followed by lower temper
About Smokehouses from no Frills to Fancy
There are a large number of smokers available today.
The smoker can use wood or charcoal, it can be electric or gas. How should you choose? First you want to look at how often you will smoke foods and the amount you will be smoking at one time. This of course will let you know how fancy and how big you need.
The more traditional the fuel, the more work it is going to be for you. Wood and charcoal need you to keep an eye on them almost constant as you have to keep adjusting the heat. For me, this is a large part of the charm but you may feel its too much work to be worthwhile. If that is the case you want to look into the fancier smokers and choose one that is gas or electric.
You may also choose to build your own smokehouse. If this is the case, you can build a building for large amounts of smoking or you can build a smoker from a trash can. The limits are only set by your imagination.
I have added a Squidoo lens that will help you build a variety of smokehouse styles for the DIYer. These range from a cardboard box smoker to a full size smokehouse, and every size in between. Check out How To Build A Smokehouse
Brinkmann offering great taste at an affordable price
There are many different smoker types that range in price from inexpensive to very expensive. Here is a nice selection that would fit any budget.
Grill Zone, Gourmet Electric Smoker, Burgundy Color With Grill Zone Decals, Double Grill Electric Smoker, Tall Size, With Front Hinged Door, Converts Easily To An Electric Grill, Separate Base Pan Design For Easy Set Up, Base Pan Houses 1500W Electric Heating Element & Lava Rocks, 2 Chrome Plated Steel Grills For 50 LB Cooking Capacity, Wooden Handles & Porcelain Coated Steel Water Pan.
Journey into a Real Traditional Smokehouse
Take a peek inside a traditional smokehouse and watch the process that has existed for centuries.
Hot smoking and cold smoking
Hot Smoking takes a few hours and the idea is to create the smoke flavor and cook the food at the same time. You want the heat in the chamber the food is placed to be between 130 and 180 degrees F. If you are using a Bar-B-Q, you would place the food as far away from the heat source as possible. If using wood or charcoal, you must tend to the heat constantly during the smoking, cooking process.
Cold Smoking takes even longer and often takes days. The food is placed so that there is no heat from the fire. You in fact want the smoke area to remain at room temperature during the smoking process. This is usually between 60 and 80 degrees F. Cooking does not take place during the process and microbes living in the food are not eliminated. For that reason foods that are cold smoked are usually cured with curing-salts. A good example of this would be Ham and Bacon. After they have been smoked for preservation and flavor, they must be cooked before being eaten.
The Combo This is a combination of Cold and Hot smoking. You smoke the foods at a low temperature for a longer period of time and then slowly over a few hours increase the temperature to the 170 degree temperature for cooking. Always check the internal temperature of meats and reach the temperature needed for safe eating.
FOOD SMOKER TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Always position the food smoker on a level, heatproof surface away from buildings and out of traffic patterns. It's best to find a place away from the house, since smoke aromas can linger for hours.
Weber's Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker has three grates-one for charcoal and two for food-and a water pan. To prepare the smoker, heap charcoal in the center of the cooking grate, ignite the coals, and when coals have a light coating of gray ash, spread them evenly across the inside of the charcoal chamber. Check recipe for number of charcoal layers needed. If you are using the water pan, place it on the lower bracket of the center ring and fill it with hot tap water. Add seasonings to water, if desired.
Place soaked woods on the coals through the door on the front of the smoker. Keep all vents partially closed for smoke-cooking. Place food on the top and/or middle cooking grate, depending on recipe and food quantity. Arrange food in a single layer on each grate, leaving space for smoke to circulate around each piece. Add 12 to 14 briquettes and as many wood chunks as needed to fire, and replenish water and seasonings.
Weber Chef's Tips for Beginners
Use a meat thermometer to make sure smoke-cooked foods are done but not overcooked. Smoke-cooked foods look different than other grilled or oven-prepared foods. They may be pink or red when completely cooked (applewood especially will make chicken look red, for example).
Use tongs and barbecue mitts to add charcoal, turn meats, refill the water pan, or adjust vents.
Do not use charcoal infused with starter fluid-it can add an unpleasant taste to your smoked foods.
Experiment with different woods and meats until you find the right combination for your tastes.
Start with a small amount of wood to see how you like the flavor, then add more for more intense smoky taste. (Just don't overdo it; too much wood smoke over long periods can make food taste bitter.)
Try combining woods as you get more experienced for unique and flavorful results.
Keep a food smoker's notebook while experimenting. Jot down ingredients, wood amounts and combinations, and results so you can repeat successes. (Unless, of course, you want to keep your best recipes a secret!)
Suggestions courtesy of Weber
Smoked Meat Tip 1
You can warm smoked meat but be careful not to cook it. Simply cover with foil and heat in a low oven.
FOOD SMOKING WOODS CHART
Hickory - Pungent, smoky, bacon-like flavor. - Pork, chicken, beef, wild game, cheeses.
Pecan - Rich and more subtle than hickory, but similar in taste. Burns cool, so ideal for very low heat smoking. - Pork, chicken, lamb, fish, cheeses.
Mesquite - Sweeter, more delicate flavor than hickory. Tends to burn hot, so use carefully. - Most meats, especially beef. Most vegetables.
Alder - Delicate flavor that enhances lighter meats. - Salmon, swordfish, sturgeon, other fish. Also good with chicken and pork.
Oak - Forthright but pleasant flavor. Blends well with a variety of textures and flavors. -
Beef (particularly brisket), poultry, pork.
Maple - Mildly smoky, somewhat sweet flavor. Try mixing maple with corncobs for ham or bacon. - Poultry, vegetables, ham.
Cherry - Slightly sweet, fruity smoke flavor. - Poultry, game birds, pork.
Apple - Slightly sweet but denser, fruity smoke flavor. - Beef, poultry, game birds, pork (particularly ham).
Peach or Pear - Slightly sweet, woodsy flavor. - Poultry, game birds, pork.
Grape vines - Aromatic, similar to fruit woods. - Turkey, chicken, beef.
Wine barrel chips - Wine and oak flavors. A flavorful novelty that smells wonderful, too. - Beef, turkey, chicken, cheeses.
Seaweed - Tangy and smoky flavors. (Wash and dry in sun before use.) - Lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels, clams.
Herbs & spices (bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, mint, orange or lemon peels, whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and others)
Vary from spicy (bay leaves or garlic) to sweet (other seasonings), delicate to mild. Generally, herbs and spices with higher oil content will provide stronger flavoring. Soak branches and stems in water before adding to fire. They burn quickly, so you may need to replenish often.
Vegetables, cheeses, and a variety of small pieces of meat (lighter and thin-cut meats, fish steaks and fillets, and kabobs.
Courtesy of Weber
Cooking With Captain Morgan - How to use Smoke in the art of BBQ.
Awesome video and hey, you get to learn with Captain Morgan!
How to build a Cold Smoker - Great for smoking Cheese and other things
Quick ... Simple ... inexpensive
Smoked Meat Tip 2
Once the smoked meat is open keep it in the fridge, but don't cover with plastic it needs air.
The Finest offerings from Bradley Smokers
Here are some great choices in smokers that offer more features for the person that smokes foods more often.
The new 6-rack Digital Smoker gives you the advanced features of digital technology. Temperature, time, and smoke are now completely controllable so you can decide how much smoke you want, how long your food is going to be smoked for, and at what temperature. This baby is perfect for entertaining, creating gourmet foods in your own home, or just your enjoying flavor that smoking brings all for yourself!
My Favorite Recipe - Maple Cured Smoked Salmon
large salmon fillet Brine:
1 quart water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup amber or dark rum
1/4 cup lemon juice
10 whole cloves
10 whole allspice berries
1 bay leaf
In a medium sized bowl combine all the brine ingredients. Place salmon fillet in a non-metallic dish and cover with the brine. Make certain the fish is completely submersed in brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove salmon from brine and pat dry with paper toweling. Place salmon, skin side down, on smoker rack and allow to air dry for about an hour.
Preheat the Smoker to between 150Â°F and 200Â°F.
Using Alder cook the salmon for approximately 1-1/2 hours.
Smoked Meat Tip 3
If you hang pieces of ham and beef they can keep
for years, but will be very tough to eat.
How To Smoke Salmon - Lets smoke some wild Alaskan Salmon
Got some salmon to smoke - check this out for techniques to use.
How to Build a Smoker or Smokehouse
Building a Smoker does not need to be complicated or even extremely expensive. If you are semi handy with a few hand tools you can build a smoker today!
If you would like more information on building your own smoker or even a full smokehouse check out my Squidoo Lens "How to Build a Smoker" today!
Naughty Salmon dip
12 ounces canned salmon
3/4 cup Miracle Whip (may substitute with mayonnaise)
3 oz. of cream cheese
1/4 cup horseradish sauce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green onions
1/4 cup diced red onions
2 Jalapeno peppers diced
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1 teaspoon grated lime
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Throw everything in a food processor and mix in low speed for about five minutes till all the ingredients are nicely mixed.
Cover with wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best results.
Serve with Crackers
For more great ways to use your Smoked Salmon visit my Squidoo Lens " Smoked Salmon Recipes"
Smoked Meat Tip 4
Smoked meats improve with age and are best kept in a dry area. They can hang in the pantry or meat safe and should be washed then dried with paper towel before storage.
How to Make Sausage
One of the easiest and greatest foods to smoke is Sausage. Create you own gourmet sausage at home and control the ingredients and quality.
Demonstration of a Stumps GF222CM cooker
The StoveTop smoker is for all seasons and reasons
The idea of smoking your own foods might be appealing yet for many reasons, you do not feel its for you.
Perhaps you never fix enough food at once to make buying or building a smoker practical.
You only want to smoke foods a few times each year.
You prefer smoked foods when you are camping.
You want something that is quicker and easier.
There is a great answer if this is you ... Check out my Lens about
The Cajun Microwave
Where The Smokehouse meets the Barbecue Grill
Have you ever tried to put a 70 pound pig in your smoker? Tried to smoke cook a couple of Turkeys for dinner and still wanted to let the kids barbecue some dogs? I have and it does not work so well. The Cajun Microwave might just be the worlds greatest answer.
With the simple addition of some accessories you can slow smoke cook your favorite roast while grilling a few burgers and why not rotisserie cook a couple chickens at the same time.
To learn about the Cajun Microwave check out my Lens:
The best sites for Smoked Turkey
- Smoking Turkey - My Barbecue Turkey Recipe is Awesome
Smoking turkey is something you can do using our easy turkey smoking techniques
- Smoked Turkey Recipe
Smoked Turkey Recipe - My cousin, Mike Koury, taught me how to smoke turkey about 25 years ago, and I have been doing it ever since. This tastes great! The smell while smoking is guaranteed to drive your neighbors crazy!
- Smoked Turkey Breast
Easy directions for smoked turkey breast
The Polling Place - Your opinion does count
How would you rate this lens
How to smoke food by DMedley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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