Summer is the perfect time of year to get outside and cook, and there’s all sorts of opportunities to do so! With just your grill and ingredients, you can produce some amazing dishes. Barbecuing is a favorite among American cooking techniques, but you probably know how to make a mean barbecue chicken by now. Consider upping the stakes by smoking meat this summer. Of course, every cut and type of meat should be treated differently, and you’re bound to learn a few techniques of your own. As you start your smoking adventure, take a look at these tips for getting the perfect level of flavor:
Know your woods
Using a wood smoker allows you to impart the delicate flavors of different types of wood smoke into a dish’s overall flavor profile. These smokers cook meat using the heat and smoke from burning wood chips. Alder, cherry, hickory, apple, maple, pecan and oak are just a few of the many different types of wood from which you can choose. Read up on each type before you select one, as you will pick your wood based on the flavor it produces and the meat you are cooking. Stronger meat flavors should be paired with a wood that won’t be overpowered by the food.
Use smoker recommendations
Your smoker will come with manufacturer suggestions that tell you how much wood to use. Follow the guide to get the right amount of flavor in your meat. If you use more wood chips than the smoker calls for, you’ll oversmoke the meat, giving it an off taste. Oversmoking can even cause some poultry to turn an unappetizing gray color.
Talk to your butcher
When you buy your meat, don’t be afraid to talk to the butcher. This person is well versed in protein, as he or she works with it all day. Butchers can suggest cuts that are great for smoking, the types of wood to pair with your meat, and how long to cook each item. If you decide to try one of their suggestions, let them know how the meal turned out next time you stop by. This way you can begin to develop a rapport with your butcher, which is sure to result in the swapping of many more amazing recipes.
Keep the fat on
As bacon has taught us, fat imparts flavor in meat. Leave the fat on your cut as you smoke it to allow all that amazing taste to seep into your food. The fat will melt as your meat smokes, so you won’t have to worry about eating it.