Smoking is a slow cooking process that will give you delicious, tender, and flavorful results. Smoking is not difficult but it will require a little more attention than simply barbecuing food on your grill. If you are new to smoking, you may have some questions but on this page we will tell you how to use a smoker and hopefully answer any questions you might have.
Before you bring your meat out to the smoker, you need to season your meat with a dry rub or a marinade and let your meat marinate overnight. The next step is to get your smoker ready. If you are using a propane smoker, all you need to do is set your temperature and push the ignition button. If you are using charcoal or a wood fired smoker, you will need to light the fuel and let the fire burn down.
When you grill a piece of meat you will usually be cooking it at or above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoking a piece of meat is usually done in a temperature range of 200 to 275°F. Your smoker will have vents that will allow you to control the temperature range.
Slow cooking results in a much more tender piece of meat and also gives time for the flavors in the smoke to really penetrate the meat. Because the smoke from the wood is what gives your food its flavor, the way you prepare the wood and the way you smoke your meat is very important. Allow enough time for your wood chips to heat thoroughly before adding meat to the smoker. You will also want to add some water to the smoking pan and you may also elect to add some seasonings as well.
Once you have the proper temperature range dialed in and your wood chips are prepared, it’s time to add the meat. It’s a good idea to place larger cuts of meat on the lower racks and smaller cuts on the upper racks because the lower racks will have a higher temperature than the upper racks.
Cooking with a smoker is also going to require some maintenance during the smoking process. You will need to baste your meat every hour or two but keep in mind that every time you open the smoker you will be losing some heat, so try not to open the door too often. When your meat is getting close to being finished, in the last 30 to 45 minutes of smoking, you may need to add some more smoker wood and you can also add your favorite barbecue sauce.
I hope the tips on how to use a smoker that we have listed so far have answered some of your questions. To wrap things up I would like to include some guidelines for cooking meat safely. These guidelines come from the US Food and Drug Administration and they are suggested internal temperatures for safe cooking for different types of meat.
- Veal, lamb, and beef should be heated to an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Pork and most seafood should also be heated to an internal temperature of 145°F.
- All poultry should be heated to an internal temperature of 165°F.
- When cooking mussels, clams, and oysters, they should be cooked until the shells open on their own. If the shells do not open, throw them away.