Learn how to make the most mouth-watering barbeques and master the technique of smoking your food.
Barbeques Are a Must During the Winter
Winter is coming and just like Game of Thrones, it is time for you to sharpen your knives and blades because it is BARBEQUE SEASON. This is the most expected event of the entire year. People long to enjoy the warm juicy taste of barbeque while seated amid a chilly breeze, all cozy in their jackets.
To make this even more exciting and pleasurable you can add different flavors by smoking your food. Challenge yourself and let your inner chef find its way out. You will be surprised by how only a slight change in technique can transform your regular backyard barbeque into restaurant-quality food.
The most excellent way to spend quality time with family and friends in winter is to grab a cup of tea, chat and eat some good quality, enchanting barbeque.
What is Smoking Food and How Does It Work?
Smoking is a culinary practice that introduces new flavors to your food by divulging it to smoke coming from burning or flaming materials such as wood, meat, fish, and many more. It happens to be a century-old technique that has gained quite fame all around the world.
This is a slow cooking method where fragrant wood chunks are soaked in water according to one’s taste that is added and distributed all over the coal. The coal is then set to fire which flames the wood and aromatize at a very low temperature (typically 180-220˚F).
The grill is then carefully covered, this allows the smoke to circulate and slowly cook the food adding a delicious essence to it.
Different Types of Smoking
You can groove with the traditional method of dry smoking. This will take a long time as very low heat is used and the wood is not burned. However as the smoke cooks the food indirectly, it adds aroma, flavor, and a whole new gist to the food.
If you want to hurry up the process you can use Gas smokers or aluminum water pans for the smoking technique (more commonly used). There are different kinds of gas smokers available in the market. If you wish to find a comparison table of each, here it is.
Types of Wood Used For Smoking Food
Now that you are ready with all the necessary equipment and freshly picked ingredients from your winter home garden, it is time for you to pick your preferred wood.
Choosing the right type of wood is very important as it is the main ingredient that is going to add the final flavor to your dish and just change the ball in the court.
The Southwestern Mesquite and Hickory wood
Have you watched Sheldon’s dad from the series Young Sheldon, hack away at that yummy Classic Mississippi/ Texas-style brisket, and wondered what it would taste like. Well, then you better get this wood.
Mesquite wood cooks slowly and adds the flavors of the wood into your dish. The flavors are typically sweet and unpretentious and can complement beef, lamb, and venison. It may take 4 hours to cook but it will be finger-licking good.
Hickory adds a strong sweet flavor to lamb, beef, and pork, however, it must be handled with care as adding too much can induce a bitter taste.
Wood That Can Be Used To Cook All Kinds of Meat and Fish
If you want an overall balanced flavor in the meat you are cooking (regardless of the type) you should go for walnut, oak, pecan, or maple wood. They even generate more smoke.
If you want to add some quick fruity flavors to your chicken, fish, or vegetables then you should go ahead and purchase some fruit tree woods such as lemon, orange, apple, and many more.
For an exquisite smoked salmon, you should consider alder and cedarwood as it adds a mild customary flavor to the smoked salmon.
Tips for the Beginners.
If this is your first time trying the smoking method, make sure to follow some tips that will not end in a disappointing result. Study the difference between wood chips and wood chunks and the amount of smoke you want to generate, choose your pick.
Keep a Constant Temperature
To have a constant temperature at all times, keep a pan of hot water ready. Add the hot water whenever needed. This will maintain the temperature and give an even cook. Have coal ready to increase the heat and a clean grill grate. You don’t want to eat burnt flavored barbeque.
Controlling the Smoke
To gain full control over how much smoke is being produced, using wood chunks is wiser as they can be moved around and removed when needed. Wood chips are too small for this purpose.
If you use too much, then the flavor of smoke will subdue the other flavors and that’s something you don’t want to eat. Make sure to smoke food that only can proclaim the flavor like meat, pork, poultry, and fish. Don’t smoke everything.
Be mindful not to burn your food as sometimes figuring out what’s happening under the smoke can be difficult.
ALL You Want to Do Now is Dig In.
Learning and experimenting with new cooking techniques is always an exciting thing. When you finally take your dish off the grill and taste that fine display of skill as the meat slowly melts inside your mouth, it is the best feeling ever (accompanied by the feeling of accomplishment that you will get once you master this method).
As I said, nothing can beat the spirit of winter barbeques cooked authentically, with loads of love and care. There is no greater way to celebrate life than sharing what you learn with your friends and family under the starry blue night sky with some warm beverages and music.
So call a party, get some wood, smoke that tender meat, and let’s get it going.