Smoking

Smoking is hands down one of my all time favorite methods of cooking and can be used in a much wider range than most people think. It’s one of the oldest cooking methods and acts to preserve the food while at the same time enhancing flavors.

Low and slow is key here. You really don’t want to cook the meat when your smoking and if your temp is higher than 200, your roasting the meat.

Obviously different woods have different flavors and fruit woods like cherry and apple are going to have a sweeter flavor than something like mesquite. I like to play around with different combinations depending on what I’m working with. Regardless of what kind of wood you use, you always want to soak it in water for at least 20 minutes. This might seem counterintuitive but it helps build a much richer smoke while helping to keep the temperature lower.

While I don’t recommend smoking in your oven, if you can get ahold of a small charcoal grill, you can still get the job done. All you need to do is get a small batch of coals going and then spread the damp wood chips over it. Place whatever you’re working with on the highest rack and keep an eye on the temp. You can adjust this with the vents but try to keep the lid on so that the smoke really gets in.

Don’t limit yourself to just smoking meat. Tomato sauce made with slow smoked tomatoes is amazing. If you’re able to keep the temperature low enough you can even smoke cheese and things like that but this requires a cold smoker and that’s a whole other beast.

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