A Beginner’s Guide to Smoking Meat

It’s the ultimate way to cook – outside, relaxed maybe with a cold beverage or two. Sure, it requires a bit of time at home (sometimes 12hrs +) but it’s way more hands-off than, say, pan frying or regular grilling. Still intimated? Here are the smoking basics (with recipes) to get you started.

Tip 1# Always begin with a quality piece of meat. “It’s a real bummer if you’ve worked for 12 hours and end up with a tough piece of meat.

Tip 2# Temperature is always key.

Tip 3# Rub with love When we are smoking, it’s key to rub your spices into the meat. Whether it’s salt and pepper or an ancho coffee rub, do it with love and really massage it into the meat well.

Tip 4# Cook it immediately after rubbing If your dry rub contains salt, put it in the smoker immediately – don’t wait or linger,

Tip 5# Keep it moist When using your smoker, add a small pan of liquid to the bottom of your smoking chamber. This adds just enough moisture to the dry slow cooking process. Some of our favorites are apple juice, beer, coffee and chicken stock.

Tip 6 # Slow and low Smoking is not something you can rush. You are better off smoking it early, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and allowing it to steam while keeping warm above a low flame. This will ensure a super succulent end product.

Tip 7 # Finishing touches, , make sure to always wrap your meat in a breathable material, like a towel for 15-20 minutes prior to eating.

Basic Beef Ribs Recipe

  • 1 rack beef back ribs
  • 1 bottle favorite dry rub
  • 1 bottle favorite barbecue basting sauce (one without tomatoes in it)

Directions

1. Heat smoker to 225 degrees. Remove skin from back of bone side of ribs and dis- card. Rub each rack of ribs with dry rub for a moderately heavy coating.

2. Place ribs meat-side down on rack of closed smoker midway from the main heat source. Cook 1⁄2 hour. Lightly baste each rack with BBQ Sauce then turn over and baste meat side.

3. Let temperature of smoker cool to 180 degrees. Baste every 11⁄2 hours for a total cook time of 61⁄2 hours. Check internal temperature of ribs in center of rack, making sure thermometer is not touching bone.

4. If temperature is 160 degrees, ribs are ready for removal. If not, monitor temperature every 15 minutes, until ribs have reached 160 degrees. Remove to wire cooling rack on flat sheet pan. Baste ribs once more, and separate individual ribs with sharp knife. Serve immediately.

Pork

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds of Boston Butt pork shoulder halves, untrimmed
  • 4 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • around 8 pounds 100% natural lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes
  • around 6 cups hickory wood smoke chips, soaked in cold water at least 30 minutes
  • 12 soft hamburger buns with seeds, split

Directions

1. First make your dry rub. Take 3 tablespoons of the black pepper, 2 tablespoons of the salt, and mix it with the brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne.

2. Put the pork fat side up on a flat surface, and cut each piece lengthwise in half. Drizzle the rub on top of the pork, and press it in. Cover the meat and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

3. While the pork is in the fridge, soak the wood smoke chips in cold water for 30 minutes.

4. Blend the vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, and vegetable oil, with the remainder of the salt and the black pepper. This is your mop; you’re going to be using it to moisten the pork as you cook.

5. You’re going to be smoking this pork at 225 to 250 degrees for about 6 hours, brushing the pork with the mop you made every 45 minutes. Follow your smoker manufacturer’s instructions about firing it up, and settle in for several hours of impossibly delicious smells.

6. When it’s done, serve on hamburger buns with extra sauce (if needed) and a vinegar-based slaw, as messy as possible.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 4 -6lbs whole pork loin
  • 4 medium Fuji or Gala apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white rice vinegar

Directions

1. Make your dry rub first by mixing together the onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2. Remove all of the silver skin and excess fat from the outside of the loin. Then rub the loin with olive oil, and lightly season it with the rub.

3. Smoke the loin (using apple wood, if you can) at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.

4. While the pork is smoking, make your apple sauce. Slice the apples and put them in a sauce pan with the sugar, the vinegar, and a pinch each of cinnamon, paprika, salt, and white pepper. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower to a simmer. Cook until the apples are tender.

5. Remove the smoked pork loin to a platter, covering lightly with foil, and let it rest for fifteen minutes before serving with the apple cinnamon sauce.

Classic Smoked Bacon

Note: this recipe calls for curing the pork for five days before smoking, so prepare ahead of time.

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 pound pork belly, skinned (you can have the butcher do this for you, if you don’t have the tools)
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple sugar, or a mixture of all

Directions

1. Mix the salt, pepper, and curing salt together, and add the sugar, making sure to even out any clumps.

2. Place the pork on a flat surface, preferably a baking sheet. Sprinkle your salt-sugar-pepper mixture onto the top half of the belly, rubbing it into the meat, and then sprinkle the rest on the bottom half, rubbing that in too. Put the rubbed belly into a plastic resealable bag on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, and refrigerate for 5 days. Make sure you turn it over every day to redistribute the juices.

3. Drain the pork belly in a colander, rinse well, and then blot the belly dry with paper towels. Now you have to let the belly dry, so put it in a cool place in front of a fan (for example, you could put it on a wire rack over a baking sheet in the fridge). You want the surface of the belly to feel tacky, so leave it for at least 4 hours.

4. Set up your smoker and preheat it at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the flavor you want, you could add hickory or apple to the coals. Smoke the belly directly on the grate for 2 to 3 hours, with an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Transfer the belly to a wire rack over a baking sheet, and let it cool. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it, ideally overnight but at least for 4 hours.

6. Slice, cook in a frying pan, and serve.

Smoked Pork Ribs

Ingredients

  • 2 racks pork ribs
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 dashes hot red pepper sauce (of your choice)
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3-4 dashes kosher salt
  • 2-3 cups water

Directions

1. Set up your smoker, and preheat it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Adding hickory to the coals will enrich the flavor, of course.

2. Remove the skin from the ribs, if you like. Mix together the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and rub the ribs with that mixture over a flat surface.

3. Position the ribs on the grate and cover. You’ll be smoking the ribs for about 4 to 6 hours. Mix together the vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, kosher salt, and water, and every 15 or 20 minutes brush the ribs with that mixture. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce, either homemade or bought.