words Al Woods
There are few things on this planet as majestic and delicious as smoked meat. Actually, anything smoked tastes better. That flavor the wood imparts is second to none on the chart of umami goodness. Do you remember the first time you had a good smoked meal? Of course you do. It’s probably the only meal you keep in your long term memory bank.
There’s something primal and patient about a smoked meal. There’s really tender love and care in the tenderloin and chuck. And do you know what? That’s exactly what you can give to your family and friends for Christmas. What says, “I care and appreciate you” more than a set of smoked meat? Nothing. Nothing even comes close. Kind of lost as to how to go about it? Here’s how you can get started.
Get A Smoker
Before anything, you need a smoker. If you don’t have one, get one immediately. It’s an absolute necessity. Every person needs a smoker in their lives. There’s a whole bunch of different kinds you can choose one. But whatever the setup may be, Ktchndad seems to be on the ball with all their selections. Go through that list and find what suits your lifestyle and space best. Remember, if you’ve got the room in your backyard, go for the biggest and worst one you can get.
Get Some Wood
Next, choose your wood. Most fruit trees work pretty well. Alder is a lot lighter than most and is naturally sweet. Applewood is a standard go-to for sweet smoke, as well. The granddaddy of would flavors has to be hickory. It’s by far the most popular and definitely the strongest and most distinct. If you’re in a region that doesn’t have applewood or any of the other traditional meats, go for lychee wood. It’s a great cherry wood alternative.
Brine Your Meat
Next up, brine your meat. Brining keeps your meat from drying out in the low and steady heat of a smoker. Add a cup of salt, half a cup of peppercorns, some bay leaves, and an optional half a cup of sugar to 2 gallons of water. Throw your meat in there for at least 10 hours before you smoke it.
Slow And Low
When you smoke it, you best stick to the slow and low method. That means keeping your smoker between 212 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours. That’s a whole job shift. Also, maintain a good oxygen balance and in there so that your meat doesn’t develop that “oversmoked” acrid taste. That can also come from using green wood. Make sure your wood is properly dried.
Let It Sit
Once you’ve got it all set up and your meat has sat in the smoker all day, it’s time to pull it out. It may be tempting to immediately get a slice from the slab of meat, but you’ve got to let it sit and rest. Let it rest for up to 20 minutes if you have to. This allows the connective tissues and collagen to re-solidify a bit and hold its shape.
And there you have it! A quick and dirty guide to getting a smoked meal direct to your friends and family. Be sure to bring their favorite drinks and maybe a gift or two. But really, deep down, they’ll be just as happy with more smoked meat.