When preparing smoked meat, you want to have that delicious smokey flavor. In addition, it’s important to enjoy meat that’s not only filled with flavor but juicy moisture as well. Biting into a steak that’s dried out and hard to chew is incredibly frustrating. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to smoke meat without drying it out.
Before we narrow it down to the smoking process, we will first need to discuss the cut of meat to buy. There is no doubt that a juicy chunk of barbecued meat starts with the right choice of meat. Starting off with a bad cut of meat will give bad results.
We advise getting a cut of meat with an excellent lean-to-fat ratio. This applies to numerous different types of meat. Whichever cut of meat you settle on, ensure you go for a high-quality piece. Keep in mind that a good lean-to-fat ratio is essential for smoking meat that is moist and tender.
Season Before Smoking
Seasoning, marinating, or using a rub on the piece of meat is also essential. There are a wide variety of spices you can use to season the meat. We recommend selecting your favorite spices that go well with the particular type of meat you want to smoke.
Seasoning is equally important to achieving a juicy and tender piece of smoked meat. The rub or spices applied before cooking help hold in the moisture throughout the cooking process. This is in addition to enhancing the natural flavor of your meat to bring out that delicious savory taste you are looking for.
Salt is one of the key ingredients for any seasoning process, and we recommend including it in any spice mix. It’s actually the ingredient responsible for the ‘denaturing’ process, helping the meat retain moisture.
Place a Bowl of Water in Your Smoker
Adding a bowl of water to your smoker while smoking food is another way of protecting your meat from drying out. Some smokers, such as our Bradley Smoker features that.
As the temperature increases inside the Bradley Smoker, the water in the bowl will evaporate. The moisture generated is one of the good ways to keep your chosen cut of meat moist.
You will also need to keep refilling the bowl as your meat cooks. We also recommend keeping a close eye on the bowl to note the water levels. The water bowl is also essential to the cooking process as it helps regulate the smoker’s internal temperature.
Wrap the Meat
Wrapping your meat is another way to enhance the tenderness. This helps the meat retain moisture. The secret lies in completely sealing the meat so there are no gaps for the juices can find their way out, ensuring most of it will be retained in the meat.
You also should not immediately wrap the meat when you place it on the food smoker. We recommend allowing the meat to cook openly for a while, preferably for a few hours. This allows the meat some time in the smoker to cook, absorbing all the smoke flavor you want.
Remember, start smoking with no foil, then wrap it hours into cooking to contain the moisture.
Smoke Low and Slow
Smoking low and slow is the ultimate rule to a slice of juicy barbecue meat. Smoking calls for patience, and you must be ready to commit a few hours of your day to the cooking experience.
We recommend smoking at low temperatures for long durations. This allows the meat to cook well without drying, keeping it moist and tender. It will also result in well-cooked meat with a nice bark that isn’t burnt.
Most of the rubs used to season meat do not go with high temperatures. Sugars, for instance, are known to be great flavor additions, but they also don’t hold up in high heat.
Use Indirect Heat
We highly recommend using a smoker that produces indirect heat while smoking for you to achieve a soft, tender, and delicious meal. This is also the best way to achieve the low temperatures required for the smoking experience.
Allow Your Smoked Meat to Rest
Don’t be in a hurry to slice and serve your meat immediately after smoking. We recommend allowing the well-smoked chunk of meat to rest for a while, at least five minutes. This is an often assumed but very essential step in the entire smoking experience. Any experienced pitmaster will never allow you to eat the meat straight away in their presence as it can easily ruin the entire experience.
A quick fact to note is that juices tend to recollect in the central parts of the meat that are cold. Therefore, cutting open the meat will give these juices the chance to leak away from the middle. Get your meat from the food smoker, place it on the kitchen counter or chopping board and leave it there to rest for a while, allowing the juices time to reabsorb back into the meat. This makes the smoked meat juicier and more tender with a well spread-out flavor.
Here are some great articles about how to smoke some juicy BBQ:
How to Smoke the Juiciest Beef Ribs
How to Add Moisture Before and During Food Smoking
Directions To Smoke Juicy St.Louis Style Ribs
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.