There are few foods more delicious than smoked meat. The case can be made that a good piece of smoked meat is like a work of fine art. It takes time, dedication, and know-how to get it right. Even if pit masters around the world disagree on the minute details, we’re confident they’ll all agree on one thing: smoked meat is freaking awesome. Here are our 8 Tips and Tricks You Need to be a Food Smoking Master!
1. Always Smoke Raw Food
Start to smoke early in the day as many of the flavor compounds in smoke are fat and water soluble, which means that whatever you are cooking absorbs smoky flavors best when it is raw. As the surface cooks and dries out, the smoke does not penetrate as well.
2. Go low and slow
The real food smoking process is cooked slowly over low, indirect heat with wood (bisquette) smoke. In order to not dry out the meat, you need to cook in lower temperatures to make sinewy meats so tender you will hardly need teeth. But don’t miss easy opportunities to experiment with adding sweet wood aromas in a variety of bisquette flavors for foods like steaks, shrimp, and even vegetables.
Cooking at low temperatures also makes it possible for tough collagens in the connective tissue of meat to be hydrolyzed into gelatin without overheating the proteins. In other words, smoking it low and slow lets all the tough tissue dissolve into the meat while simultaneously giving the smoke time to absorb.
3. You need to use Brine
Brining your meat keeps it from drying out during the smoking process. The salt in the brine makes the proteins in the meat more water-absorbent. When sodium and chloride ions get into the meat tissue, their electrical charges mess with the proteins (especially myosin), so they can hold onto moisture more effectively and lose less of it during the cooking process. For optimal moisture retention, soak your meat in a brine for 10-12 hours before smoking.
In its most basic form, brine is nothing more than salty water, however, it benefits from the addition of herbs and spices. To make a good base, add three tablespoons of salt to one quart of water, then throw in whatever else you prefer.
Pro Tip: Brining is a bit of a double-edged sword. It helps meat retain moisture but also makes it saltier. Some chefs use sugar and molasses to combat the salty flavor.
4. Don’t overdo the smoke
This is an extension of going low and slow. Don’t smoke the food for so long that it dries out the meat. After a long time in the smoker, the meat might taste bitter. In general, you should smoke food for no longer than half its cooking time. Also, the smoke should flow like a gentle stream, not like it is billowing out of a train engine.
The Bradley Digital Smoker allows you to set the timer for as long as you want the smoker, and the precise temperature you need for the preparation of any recipe!
5. Airflow is important
Keep the vents on top of your Bradley smoker open and position the vent at least halfway open. The open vents will draw smoke from the Bisquettes so that it swirls over your food and out the top properly, giving you the best ventilation and the cleanest smoke.
6. Buy the Best Meats to Smoke
When hunting for the right chunk of meat, try to pick something that will benefit from the slow-cooking process. Don’t shy away from cuts with lots of connective tissue and fat known as “marbling.” A generous marble will make the finished product more succulent and delicious. Beef brisket, ribs, pork shoulder, and steak. The selection is endless!
Even lesser known cuts like tri-tip and chuck eye can be thrown in the Bradley smoker. Who knows? You might just fall in love with this new-found cut of meat.
7. Use Bradley Bisquettes
Our Bisquettes are the secret to the Bradley Smoker. The bisquettes have a unique design burning at consistent temperatures and for controlled periods of time. They consist of precise quantities of hardwood sawdust, coupled with controlled pressures and wood densities.
Bisquettes offer perfect, consistent results every time.
Using the Bradley Bisquettes, you don’t have to worry about your sawdust burning too hot for too long, and giving your food an off-taste. They’ll give you perfect results! The same results that Bradley users have been enjoying for years.
Part of the excitement of food smoking is experimenting with different hardwoods. Try out till you find that perfect woody flavour for your food.
The Bradley Flavour Bisquettes use hardwood sawdust bound together with precise quantities at controlled pressures and densities, the flavour of the smoke determined by the variety of wood burnt.
For instance, alder and maple give a rich and distinct flavour commonly used with seafood, hams and bacon. Apple and cherry impart a sweeter, milder smoke flavour, commonly used with poultry and wild game meat.
Find the best quality smoking bisquettes by visiting our Bradley Smoker website today.
8. Maintain the Moisture
In addition to making sure your smoker is smoking, you also need to make sure it is steaming. Keeping the water pan full, provided in the Bradley Smoker package, is a crucial part of the smoking process. If you have a large smoker, you will probably need to refill the water pan a few times while smoking.
The water bowl adds moisture to your food preparations. This part is not optional! Adding a marinade before cooking or a sauce while the meat is smoking will assist in keeping the meat moist, but this is completely up to you.
So many people in the past have avoided smoking meat because of the challenges of maintaining consistent heat throughout the smoking process. Bradley Smokers allows you to create a no hustle, no babysitting experience. With Bradley, you will never have trouble smoking notoriously difficult meats such as brisket ever again.
Never before has smoking meats been this easy. As long as you apply these tips and tricks, then you will create some amazingly smoked foods.
Remember to visit our Bradley Smoker blog for more delicious food smoking tips and tricks!