Looking to upgrade your BBQ skillset? Smoking meat on the BBQ is a great way to infuse your food with an even more authentic flavour that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
Smoking food was traditionally used to extend the shelf life of food, including meat. However, its popularity is now down to the extra flavour and moistness it adds to meat.
If you’d like to improve your skills or learn something new, smoking meat is a great place to start. In this blog, we will run through the need-to-knows about this BBQ technique and how to do it yourself.
What Does Smoking Meat Do?
Smoking meat is the method of cooking meat slowly over time to soak in the natural flavour, adding a more authentic taste to your food. When smoking meat on a BBQ, you shouldn’t cook it on high heat or place it directly on a flame.
It takes time to get it right, so practice makes perfect when trying out this cooking method.
Which BBQ is Best for Smoking Meat?
You can smoke meat on any type of BBQ, but gas grills aren’t designed for it. The extra gaps on a gas BBQ allow smoke to easily escape, making it difficult to smoke the meat. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try; it will just take an extra couple of steps to set it up correctly.
If you have a gas grill, you can use tools like a smoker box (listed below) to add flavour. Heat the BBQ to medium heat, place a digital thermometer inside and close the BBQ lid. Aim to get the temperature to between 200 – 250°F. Once it has preheated you can then add the smoker box and the wood, and add your food on the grill once the smoke has started to appear.
Using a gas grill won’t offer the same smokiness as using a smoker BBQ, but it’s still delicious.
What Tools are Needed?
To get the best results, you need certain tools and utensils. Shop for the following below to make the most out of your smoker.
- Smoker box – an easy way to smoke meat is using a smoker box. All you need is to add your choice of wood chippings, placing it inside your gas grill to infuse your food with the authentic flavour you’re after.
- Digital thermometer – to make sure your meat is cooked through, use a digital thermometer. This way you don’t have to cut into your meat to check if it’s cooked so it won’t dry out.
- Gloves – to keep your hands safe, heat-resistant gloves are a must. Especially when you’re checking the meat temperature, you need to keep your hands protected.
- Steel tongs – tongs are a necessity for when you need to grip, move and turn your food around to cook it evenly.
Which Type of Wood is Best?
There’s lots of wood to choose from when it comes to smoking meat, we’ve listed our favourites below:
- Oak is great for smoking lamb, beef, sausages and brisket. It’s the go-to, so if you’re a beginner this could be a great place to start.
- Hickory is a good wood choice when cooking with larger parts of meat, such as ribs and pork shoulders. It will add a sweet flavour but avoid using too much as it can start to taste bitter.
- Maple offers a more subtle smokey flavour, so if you don’t want anything too overpowering, this is a great option.
Smoking Meat Top Tips
- Smoking meat is all about temperature control. You need to keep it between 220 – 250 °F to keep the meat tender and to give it enough time to infuse the flavour. Use two thermometers, one inside the smoker area and one inside the meat to keep things under control.
- Make sure the meat is constantly surrounded by smoke for it to infuse. This means that you can’t open the lid regularly as this will let the smoke escape.
- The first few hours of the cooking process will infuse the meat in the smoke, then you should cover it in foil to cook the meat throughout. The last step is to remove the foil to get the outside crisp. Timings will depend on the type of meat and the size of it, so check the instructions.
- Don’t use too much wood. This can cause over-smoking, ruining the overall taste. Start light and add more
Practice Makes Perfect
Whenever you try something new, you can’t expect perfect results straight away. It might take some practice smoking meat to get the best results, but persevering will be worth it.
Trying out different types of wood and meat is an exciting way to spice up your BBQ evenings in the summer. Because burgers every night can become a bit boring, right?