Food preservation is an ancient technique to preserve food and add flavor. It is prevalent still today not for the original reasons of course, but for the unique taste and flavor, it imparts to foods like meat, fish, and poultry.
Here we’ll share some Bradley tips & tricks on curing and smoking meat for food preservation but before we dive in we need to cover the importance of curing meat.
Benefits of curing meats
Meat has become an indispensable part of food smoking. The sound of a perfectly charred sizzling steak can make anyone hungry. What many of us don’t know is the little pitmaster secret that lies behind that tender and succulent smoked steak.
It is the process of curing. Apart from enhancing the flavor of smoked foods, curing has other benefits too. Here are a few of the biggest benefits:
- Increases shelf life: Meat tends to decompose faster because it is prone to bacterial growth. Curing slows down the process of decomposition making the meat unfavorable for bacteria to breed. This helps to preserve the meat for longer.
- Prevents food poisoning: As curing decreases bacterial growth in the meat, the chances of food poisoning also reduced.
- Enhance flavor and tenderness: Curing is a way to add more flavor to the food before smoking it. Curing also keeps the meat juicy even after smoking, preserving the tenderness and enhancing the smoky flavor.
Process of curing the meat
Curing of meat is done in two ways. The tried and tested method is salt curing and the popular one for food smoking is brining. The most basic form of curing is to preserve the meat in salt. For instance, to cure a 5-pound steak, approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt is required. Sometimes sugar is also used along with salt. It depends on the meat and the recipe.
Just like curing, brining is also used for fermenting, preserving, and pickling the food. Brining enhances the color, flavor, and texture of the food. Generally, a high concentration of salt and water is required in brining. For instance, to brine 15 pounds of meat, approximately 6 tablespoons of salt is required. The water should be enough to submerge the meat in the container. Once the meat soaks in the brine from all sides, it is ready to be smoked to tender succulent steak.
Curing/ Brining Tips for Perfect Smoking
Curing or brining is a major secret behind perfect smoking. It helps the meat to absorb the smoky flavor preventing it from drying up during cooking. Here a few hacks to ensure you cure/ brine the steak near to perfection.
Don’t stuff the container: When you are curing the meat or brining it, make sure not to stuff too many pieces in a container. The meat pieces should be kept loosely in so that all the sides are exposed and can absorb the brine evenly.
Meat to brine ratio: While curing the meat use a sufficient amount of salt to cover it uniformly from all sides. The same rule applies for brining also. Use enough water to cover the meat so that it absorbs the brine from all sides.
Stick to the recipe: Certain recipes may require adding some spices to the brine or curing to enhance the taste. This can add to the flavor of the smoked steak.
Use a pro food smoker: Lastly but most importantly use a quality food smoker to get the best food smoking experience. A pro smoker is designed to work self-sufficiently without frequent tending to give you the required doneness and perfect smoky flavor.
Features of a good food smoker
The most important feature of a quality food smoker is that it doesn’t require any babysitting. All you need to do is to fill up the fuel tray and let the meat smoke to your desired doneness.
Many food smokers available in the market lack one feature or the other. It is difficult to find one food smoker with all the advanced features. Thankfully we have Bradley smoker that stands out from the rest. Bradley is one of the few brands to provide all the advanced features in a user-friendly design.
The Bradley P10 Professional Smoker Features
- Smoker internal operating temperature range 30 c – 160 c/ 86 f – 320 f
- Built-In smoke generator with window bisquette compartment and automated bisquette advancement to smoke up to 10 hours with no refilling
- Professional grade 76l stainless steel body design
- Improved temperature accuracy and dual temperature problems featuring pdi (proportional-integral derivative) controlled heating
- Smart smoking with up to 50 of your favourite recipes that can be created or downloaded using a USB stick. Controlling, time, smoke and temperature for the perfect recipe
We hope these simple Bradley tips & tricks on curing and smoking meat have been helpful to you. Years of practice and experience are required to ace the art of food smoking but these hacks on the basics of curing can help beginners to have a near-perfecting food smoking experience.
For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.