Smoking is a cooking process where smoke is used to tenderize and add flavors to the meat slowly. It is a popular and renowned technique of barbeque. The beauty of this process is that it can be done even in a backyard also. Smoking is enhanced with the right type of meat and cut used.
The key is to learn what to smoke. Almost any type of meat can be smoked if done properly. But there are specifically some cuts of meat that get very well smoked. Before getting into the best types of meat or cuts the most important thing is to know about making the cut and the process.
It is a process of slow and low cooking. The smoking process generally takes over 30 minutes a pound, but it can also be longer even for 20-22 hours depending upon the meat. Many good cuts of meat become inedible and dry out but also at the same time there are tougher cuts that need time to tenderize. Meat full of collagen and fat is best for smoking as the meat comes out tender, delicious and flavourful as the collagen when smoked breaks into sugars which keeps the meat moist and sweetens the meat.
Making The Cut
The most important thing is to understand what cuts of meat good for smoking. The answers are the flavor, fat content, and texture that make meat suitable for smoking. Also, there are some meats which a little preparation before smoking for good smoking.
The Best Meats For Smoking
Feral Hogs, Razorbacks, Javalena And Russian Boars:
As far as it is about the smoker all the above four are interchangeable. These are very different animals than domestic pork. They are tender, succulent and moist. Wild pork is the best meat available on land for smoking. Slow smoking wild pork is a must do for barbeque enthusiastic people.
If wild pork is smoked with mesquite instead of standard wood then the meat will respond very excellently and gets an amazing flavor. The meat is much darker than domestic pork like a young beef or deer. The meat tastes sweetish with complex flavors that can make any make anyone ask for more.
The texture is tender, mildly stringy, not greasy and very moist. The best cuts of the meat to smoke are ribs, shoulder, lower legs, spare ribs, and loins. And if a there is a big smoker available then smoking the whole hog would provide a great taste sensation. Rather than individual cuts, the whole hog has much more flavors.
The rear can be good hams and the hocks, jowl, and side meats are best for bacon. The key is slow and low. While smoking a whole hog the temperature should not be more than 93 degrees and for not more than 14 hours.
This is an all-time favorite and can be said as the official meat for a Texas-style barbeque. Naturally, brisket is tough, nearly flavorless and chewy until it gets into the smoker. After getting into the smoker many wonderful things happen.
All the collagen present in the meat melts and baths the whole meat in moist, wonderful and flavourful gelatine.
The melted fat injects its flavors inside the meat which turns the chewy and tough meat into tender, stringy and sweetish piece of culinary heaven.
A brisket smoked properly can taste like a combination of roast beef and good steak as well as more tender. It is an ideal choice for taco meat. The slow and low process can make it easy to smoke it.
This is very important to remember in case of brisket as it takes some time to break all the fat and connective tissues. Brisket also may require a little preparation beforehand like bringing it or putting a rub on it and after that put it in the smoker.
The meat needs around one and half hours per pound to properly smoke.
These are one of the most favored and popular meats to go in a smoker as the ribs have a great amount of collagen and fat. The ribs can be get boiled for hours and then bake them to make them edible. But smoking the ribs can add flavors that boiling and baking can’t even touch.
Ribs are affordable cuts of meat available everywhere.
When smoked the ribs detach from the bone tender as they become moist. They gain a complex and sweetish flavor that can get anyone drooling.
But the ribs may need some preparations beforehand. They can’t just be put in the smoker right after taking out of the package. Not only ribs but most of the meat types require a beforehand preparation.
First, the tough membrane present in the back of the rack must be removed which is very easy to remove. Not removing them can result in ribs not getting the same texture and flavor.
They will be just poor imitations. The ribs come in two parts joined by ligaments which are the lower spare ribs and the ribs proper.
They are available individually as well as intact as a whole. This depends upon the size of smoker whether to separate them into lower and upper sections or to keep them intact.
Intact ribs provide more flavor. Ribs have enough amount of fat so bringing them for around 45 minutes per pound can be wise before putting into the smoker.
The ribs should not be smoked over 107 degrees Celsius and for not more than one and half hours per pound.
After smoking them they can also be barbequed by dipping them in a barbeque sauce and placing in an oven at 176 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Barbeque sauce should not be put on the ribs while smoking as it can adversely affect the process.
Turkeys are the heart of every Thanksgiving season. Smoked turkey can be called as a superior high-quality product and is better than turkey prepared in any other way.
Smoked turkey has a firm texture, delicate moist and a sweet creamy taste which is gained by the flavors of the smoked wood.
The aroma that gets out from smoked turkey keeps a person motivated to smoke a turkey. Not only for turkeys but this also works for chicken, goose, pheasant, and duck but the timing needs to be adjusted according to the bird’s size.
To prevent drying, turkeys need bringing, but it’s always worth the effort.
Turkeys and other birds can be brined for one hour per pound. Then they can be rinsed, dried and applied rub. Turkeys respond very well to rubs. The turkey should be smoked at 107 degree Celsius for 30 minutes per pound. The water should be kept in the drip pan. Before carving, around 20 minutes should be given to the turkey to rest.
Many people love smoking pork chops as they are easy and quick. Pork chops don’t have a lot of connective tissues, unlike butts, ribs, and shoulders that need to be broken down.
They can be just ready to be eaten with some amazing flavors in not more than an hour.
A thick cut chop should be used for smoking like an inch thick. Thinner chops have the risk of getting overcooked or dried out.
The pork chops should not be cooked for more than one and half hours. They can be great if smoked with apple, maple or cherry smoke woods. The internal temperature should be 145 Fahrenheit.
Deer meat is normally gamey and dry but can taste outstanding if smoked. For smoking, all parts of a deer can be used among which tenderloins and shoulders work best.
The meat should be brined overnight as it supplies more moisture and the smoking takes eliminates the feral flavors.
Apple smoke wood is ideal for smoking deer meat, but oak can also work. Fruit smoke woods like cherry can help in removing the gamey taste.
Deer meat that is properly smoked can taste like a really amazing roast beef with the twist of stringy texture.
Rock Hens Or Cornish Hens:
Smoked Cornish hens or rock hens can impress anyone. Cornish hens if properly smoked can provide a much more delicate flavor than a turkey or regular chicken.
They can be compared with partridge. Brining Cornish hens before smoking is a must as they easily dry out. They should be brined for one hour per pound.
Rubs are very great for Cornish hens. Smoking experts highly recommend them.
Apple smoked rubs work very well with Cornish hens. The rub helps to create an amazing crust as well as adds a wonderful flavor to the bird.
The best smoke wood for Cornish hens is mesquite. The meat should not be smoked for more than 107 degree Celsius and should be smoked at 45 minutes per pound. They are much more flavourful and moist than regular chickens.
Goats consist of less fat compared to any other red meat. They are low in calories and cholesterol. Goat is consumed as the main meat in 75% of the world excluding the US. When goat meat is smoked, it has a wonderfully sweet, slightly stringy, smokey, sweet and firm texture.
It can be said as the best taco meat out there.
They can be compared to really good deer meat. The meat has to brined otherwise dried up meat is along the way. The key is to treat it same as deer meat, and it will do fine in the smoker.
The meat can be brined for one hour per pound. Mesquite smoke wood and pepper-lemon style rub are very good for goat meat.
The goat meat can be smoked at 93 degree Celsius and for not more than one hour per pound. During smoking, the drip pan should be filled with water.
Goat meat is also excellent for a barbeque. Apart from goat, lamb meat can also be prepared in the same way.
Chuck roast is the best thing out there to go in a smoker. The advantage of a smoked chuck roast is that it offers the complexity and beauty of a brisket within a very less time frame that is around 12 hours. Small is better for chuck roast.
The chuck roast should be slowly and lowly cooked due to the amount of connective tissue and marbling present. This can be defined as a next level pot roast.
The chuck roast should not be cooked for more than 5-6 hours and in not more than 205 Fahrenheit. Pecan and hickory smoke wood are ideal for smoking chuck roast.
Carp meat is very firm, medium white, medium fatty and offers an amazing sweet taste. It can be defined as floral overtones.
The meat is not at all fishy or oily. Other than salmon, crappie, and walleye; crap is better than other freshwater fishes. They are hard to catch on a fishing rod. They are available in millions, and there are no limits on seasons for them.
They are vastly underappreciated and underused. But smoking them is good. All that is needed to be done is fillet them like any other fish, and then the dark red meat is to be