Cooking Smoked Meat

Get that delicious, smoky flavor on tender chicken, ribs, fish or sausage.

| April/May 1999

Okay, all you smoked food lovers, it's time for the Smoking Quiz. The question: If you want your meat to have a smoky flavor you would: a) put the lid on the grill while you're grilling the meat, b) throw some water-soaked wood chips on the coals in your grill, c) drown the meat in liquid smoke and call it a day. And the answer is ...none of the above. Save the "Am I mentally challenged?" remarks until I confess to you that six months ago, I would have flunked for sure. I just loved that smoky flavor, but I was unable to produce a piece of smoked food without my trusty bottle of smoke oil and a jar of barbecue sauce. The confusing question for me was, "Is there a difference between grilling and smoking?"

Grilling is basically putting on a silly apron, arming yourself with grilling tools, and setting the food on fire. Unless you're grilling a turkey, the food cooks fast and furious, charred on the outside but tender on the inside. Before your attention can deficit, it's time to eat. Smoking, on the other hand, is a slower cooking process, requiring some patience. The food is cooked by smoking it at a lower temperature so that the smoky flavor can penetrate the food. Smoking meat is also healthier than grilling, since carcinogens are known to be produced by meat juices dripping onto coals. With smoking, the juices drip into a water pan.

So now, you're convinced and ready to convert your kettle grill into a smoker, right?

Forget it, I've been there. After I figured out that my grill was incapable of smoking food, I called Brinkmann, a Texas company specializing in smoker grills and accessories, to get my hands on a water smoker. The trial-and-error cooking process was mercifully brief, and soon the gentle but maddening aroma was turning heads a hundred yards in every direction. Smoking food isn't difficult; you just have to force yourself to hang around the backyard all afternoon, catching rays and drinking whatever. It's a tough call, but you can do it.

Equipment for Smoking Meat

The Smoker  

The vertical charcoal water smoker is the most commonly used smoker. It's a cylindrical-shaped unit that resembles Star Wars' R2-D2. Our Brinkmann water smoker retails for about $60 (in 1999). The unit contains two racks for grilling, a water pan, and the heat source: either coals or a detachable electric coil, which can be purchased as an option. In water smokers, the food is steamed and smoked, which prevents leaner meats from drying out. The water pan can also be filled with beer or wine for added flavor.

4/18/2007 8:04:37 AM

Please i want to send me the recipe and precesses for brining or curing the solution for chicken to be smoked.

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