Fancy yourself as a meat-smoking connoisseur? That’s great! BBQ season is around the corner, so whether your smoking food such as chicken, fish, or the latest vegan alternative, it’s time to invite your neighbors round for the ultimate gathering.
But let’s face it. You can’t get stuck into that succulent, tender, smokey goodness without knowing the finest meat smoking techniques. After all, you’ll want to impress your guests by allowing them to experience the finer flavors in life.
To help you along the way, we’re going to strip it down make sure you’re well-prepared. Here are eight meat smoking tips for barbecue beginners and pros alike.
1. Separate Your Meats
Best BBQ meat is often a combination of different meat selections. It gives your guests a choice and variety, and when done right, can provide some incredible flavors!
That said, we know it’s tempting to throw it all on the same barbecue. But you must be aware of any dietary or religious requirements. For example, Hindus don’t eat beef, and Muslims don’t eat pork, while others may choose to substitute meat for ethical reasons.
So check first with your guests if they have any additional requirements. Make sure that you have smokers with multiple levels such as the Bradley electric smoker, or consider a second smoker altogether if the smoke isn’t allowed to touch based on religious grounds.
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail, as they say!
2. Buy The Finest Quality Meat
Of course, you don’t need to spend a fortune, nor buy too much meat. That’s where complementing your meats with alternative options such as veggie kebabs works well. You can buy enough meat for your expected guests without wasting quality food.
Cheap meats are normally pumped with chemicals and water and don’t absorb the smoke as well. So if you can opt for quality over quantity, it’s also a great way to support your local community by visiting your local butchers or organic grocery store.
3. Understand What Smokes Well Together
Now you’ve understood what needs separating. It’s time to work out what types of meat or alternative options work well together to create the ultimate smoky flavor.
You don’t want one dish to be too overpowering or salty for another. Remember, the smoke adds flavor to whatever else is cooking at the time.
For example, chicken paired with various fruits and vegetables works well with the natural sugars in its ingredients and adds sweetness to the dish. But if you’re smoking meat alternatives, fish, or deciding on a refreshing cold salad, consider what you could make as an alternative.
4. Types of Smoker
There are several options for smoking your meat, but how much do you know about each one?
The most commonly used smoker is the electric variety, which doesn’t produce as much heat or smoke as a traditional charcoal or gas model. As a result, they are useful for small gatherings or if you want a quick turnaround with little fuss.
Make sure you do your research before splashing out on the latest smoker only to realize you didn’t need the one you bought.
5. Get Your Timings Right
The secret to smoking food is timings. Get your timings wrong and your guests will be very disappointed!
To adjust your cooking times, you’ll want to adjust the temperature of the grill or smoker and never leave the barbecue unattended. If you’ve got a gas or charcoal model, this can be achieved by using a thermometer and adding wood chips (be careful not to burn down the house!)
For those with an electric smoker, turn your dials up or down to regulate the temperature. Make sure that your food is cooked through and don’t leave your smoker unattended.
6. Know When to Pull the Meat Off
You should never overcook smoked meat. So you’ll want to pay attention to when it’s time to remove it from the barbecue.
But how can you tell without ruining the presentation? If you’re not sure if your food’s cooked well enough or if it’s time to pull it off the barbecue, try testing with a skewer or stick of wood. If there are still any signs of pink in the meat, keep cooking.
The safety of you and your guests comes first. Nobody want’s to take home the gift of food poisoning!
7. Use Sauces and Condiments Wisely
It would help if you never used too much sauce or condiment. Instead, you should only add the seasonings and sauces necessary. If you can, allow guests to add their own condiments post-smoke.
That said, if you’re using sauces during the smoking process to enhance the flavor, it’s best to soak your meat for several hours before cooking. Doing this will prevent the meat from drying out and improving the quality of the end product. It also saves money as it can be extremely expensive to buy pre-soaked meats.
8. Don’t Open the Hood Too Often
The secret is to minimize how often you open the hood for the obvious reason that you’re letting all the smoke out when doing so. That’s why timings are essential. Ensure that your timing device is working correctly, whether your smart home tech or phone has enough charge.
Understanding your cooking times for different meats and meat alternatives will help make sure you get it the right first time. Also, serve the food all at once in batches, rather than per person.
That way, the lid only has to open once every so often. You can always keep the food warm on a warming grill or similar appliance for those who want to come and go as they please.
Good Meat Smoking Is a Skill
So there you have it. With these eight meat smoking tips for BBQ beginners, you’ll be on the way to the best barbecue party in town in no time!
Keep reading for more excellent cooking advice!