Smoking Meat 101: Barbecue for Beginners

If you can smoke ribs, you can smoke the whole pig. There is no one trick to making an amazing smoked dish. You could smoke anything from a Brisket to a rack of ribs to a chicken. There are a few things that always stay the same.

This is why there is always a guide to smoking meat, because it’s not just about lighting embers and throwing them in the grill. You need to understand more about the ins and outs of grilling.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Know your preparation

To begin your journey as a smoker, you need to familiarize yourself with the preparation you need to do.

Slow and steady wins the race

Grilling burgers is like the hare in the race, but smoking meat is the turtle, and the turtle always wins.

Smoking meat will take some time, in fact, you need a whole day for this. That’s why it’s a cooking style that’s not for everyone, but if you can get it right, it’s totally worth it, and you’ll never regret the effort you put in when you finally feel the flavor!

The good meat

Choosing the right meat is a challenge, but getting it right is so important. If you want to smoke ribs, there’s no difference between ribs and ribs, but what you want are ribs that will provide plenty of moisture.

Smoking is quite dry, and with many meats you will need to add moisture to keep them tender and succulent, but if your meat has a lot of fat, this will keep it moist for the majority of the cook.

Also, not all meats are good for smoking, for example, a steak is not ideal for smoking, but a beef brisket definitely is!

The good wood

Different woods will give you a different flavor, and different woods pair better with different meats. Not all will work well together, some woods are better for poultry, some for fish, and some are better for cuts of beef or ribs.

Make sure you know which types of wood work best with which meats. However, oak is quite strong and will go with most meats.

But mesquite is a strong flavor, and while some may use it, it can be overwhelming.

Start your coals

While it’s always easy to use lighter fluid, it’s generally ideal not to use this technique. You want to keep the coals lit and you have to use charcoal or briquettes to light it.

Always come back to check your coals to keep them hot and burning hot to prevent them from going out.

You may want another grill full of hot coals ready to throw in when your smoker needs a refill. It seems tedious but it is worth it.

Rub, rub, rub

Brines are ok, but rubs are best, especially for breasts, ribs, chickens, etc. If not using rub, use kosher pepper and salt. You will cook slow and slow allowing the collagen in the cut to do its thing, break down and become a gelatin.

You don’t need much to make a good rub, and you can use anything, but for an easy rub, use lemon pepper, kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and lemon flakes. chilli pepper.

This is especially good for rib rubs.

smoke it

Now to smoke it, you still can’t throw your meat in there, there’s more…

grill anatomy

You need to know how much your grill can fit in it. If you don’t have a proper smoker yet, you may not be able to fit much into it if you’re only using a barbecue.

You’ll also need a temperature gauge, so a laser heat gun can do that for you. You can also hold your hand above the grill, and if you can hold it for 3 seconds, your grill needs more coals.

The right temperature

Your grill should be at 250 degrees maximum. Once it hits that heat, you’re as hot as you want to smoke. Each meat will have its own ideal temperature, but smoking is slow cooking, so 200 to 250 is recommended.

No Touch!

Do not touch it! Leave the lid closed and do whatever it takes to avoid having to open the lid. It must remain closed to cook. If you open it, you disturb the cook!

About Mariel Baker

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