Once you have learned to use a smoker, you will discover that your cookouts will never be quite the same. Some people even throw out or give away their grills and go to full time smoking. If you are curious about it, but do not know how to use a smoker, there is no reason to be nervous. It is an incredibly easy method – easier than lighting your barbecue – and it produces meat that is a lot tastier.
Smokers are wood burning items that cook food using the smoke from the fire. They produce incredibly flavorful food, and the only real secret to knowing how to use one is the types of wood you use. Every wood will offer a different flavor to your cooking.
For instance, mesquite is known for producing a robust taste in salmon and steak. Try all different kinds, from apple wood to hickory to oak, to see what the results are. Avoid smoking with pine, however, unless you like the taste of turpentine.
When setting up your smoker, the first step is finding a location that is low in traffic. That is because it takes a long time to cook food with a smoker, and you will be leaving it unattending for short periods.
That means you need to make sure it is somewhere that kids and pets will not encounter it, and that passing strangers will not take a look. Make sure that you pay attention to the prevailing winds, as well. You do not want the smoke to get in the way of things you are doing elsewhere or to flood your house or your neighbor’s.
You will want to start a fire in a pile of briquettes in the charcoal pan, and fill your water pan. The water will keep your smoked food from drying out. Add your chosen wood chips to the briquettes to produce the desired flavor.
The wood should burn for an hour or more – experts in using a smoker will tell you that knowing how long to heat the wood and how much to add when you get started smoking are the keys to perfect smoking. It is ideal for the wood to burn at an even temperature – two hundred to two hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit is ideal in most cases. It takes a little bit of practice, so if you do not get it right immediately, do not give up.
Once the wood is thoroughly hot, it is time to add your food. You will need to pay attention to the temperature constantly to make sure that the food is being smoked correctly. Flue and damper adjustment can be tricky, but they will help you keep the temperatures correct.
Choose rubs only as seasoning for your meat, since sauces and marinades will tend to burn. Rotate it often, and be sure to use a meat thermometer while cooking. Keep the coals and wood burning at the right temperature and the water pan full for the best results.
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