The art of smoking tender, succulent meat to perfection can be mastered with experience, but to serve it warm and tender even after a couple of hours is a challenge. Pitmasters from all over the world faced this problem. That’s when Aaron Franklin, the celebrated pitmaster came up with the idea that holding the meat after smoking or grilling can enhance the taste. This changed the barbeque game around the world.
What is the method of holding meat?
When the meat is left to rest for about half an hour to one hour after smoking or grilling, it tastes better. This rested meat has enhanced flavor and tenderness as compared to freshly smoked or grilled meat.
How does resting meat taste better?
Relaxes fibers: When protein in the meat reaches a high temperature, it contracts and that hardens the fibers. As the meat rests, the heat tends to dissipate, and the fibers relax to give more tenderness.
Turns juicier: When meat is smoked or grilled, it starts secreting juice. This loss of moisture tends to dry up the meat making it a bit hard. When the meat is rested, it reabsorbs all the juice turning more succulent.
Perfect doneness: Sometimes the center of a large cut of meat remains slightly uncooked after smoking because the thickest part receives the least amount of heat. When the meat is rested for some time, the residual heat continues to cook it slowly. This helps to achieve the level of perfect doneness by the time it is served.
Ways to rest grilled and smoked meat
Generally, pitmasters prefer to rest the meat in a dedicated food warmer. These food warmers are specially designed to keep it warm without overcooking the meat. Backyard chefs should not worry about investing in a food warmer to serve perfectly smoked delectable steaks.
The technique is the perfect way of resting for big cuts that cooked for long periods such as brisket, pork shoulders, pork butts, and even tomahawk.
Here is an improvised way to rest home-smoked meat. Follow the steps below:
- Wrap the smoked or grilled meat in aluminum foil. You can also try using unwaxed butcher paper instead of aluminum foil to get a crispy outer layer on the meat.
- Now wrap the meat again, but this time with a towel.
- Put it inside the cooler and close the lid for about half an hour to one hour (depends on the size of the cut of meat).
This process works as a natural warmer for enhanced flavor and tenderness of the meat, so you can get all the great advantages we explained before.
Tips for perfect grilling
Now that you have the basics covered, here are some quick tips to help you ace grilling food to perfection.
Start clean: It is important to start with a clean griller so that the food doesn’t get contaminated or absorbs the flavor of the food that was grilled earlier. More tips on cleaning on the next pages!
Flip less often: This is a common habit to flip the food to ensure all sides are cooked well. However, flipping undercooked food can damage the texture as it tends to stick to the grill. When the food is cooked completely, it automatically detaches from the grill and can be flipped easily.
Don’t disturb the food: Some people tend to flatten or squeeze the food while grilling. This might make the food dry or leave it overcooked or undercooked.
Keep a spray bottle: Sometimes the grill might char the food more than required. To save the food from charring keep spraying the food with little water or even seasoning mixtures as it tends to dry up. This will keep the food moistened and less charred.
Use Thermometer: We covered all you need to know about the use of a thermometer, but it is good to keep that in mind!
How to ace the art of food smoking
While a grill works fine, on a smoker the flavor is stronger because a smoker can capture, hold and circulate the smoke more efficiently.
#1. Smoke it all the way: One of the big myths out there is that you should finish the meat in the smoker after it already mostly cooked. The problem with this approach is that you don’t get much smoke flavor because the smoke flavor penetrates meat better while raw.
#2. Maintain low heat for slow cooking: The secret to making succulent and tender meat is to cook it at low temperatures so the meat doesn’t dry out.
#3. Brine the meat before smoking: Salt used in the brining process enhances the water-absorbent properties of the meat. This helps the meat stay moist throughout the smoking process.
#4. Allow airflow: Keep the top vent of the smoker open to enable clean ventilation. This will let the smoke from wood reach the food and then pass out from the same vent.
#5. Balance the moisture: Keep the water pan for the steamer filled up while the smoker is on. This will ensure the food is steamed simultaneously while smoking to retain its tenderness.
#6. Smoke Clean: When wood chips turn to ash they release smoke that makes your meat foul-tasting. You want the wood to extinguish before they turn to ash to get clean smoke and the best flavor. A Bradley Smoker delivers it to you automatically!
Don’t forget to check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.