Who says smoking meat is not an art? A common definition of art states, a work of art evokes an emotional response. Needless to say, we have all experienced an emotional response upon eating.
“It’s to die for” and “I love it” are common phrases overheard in any restaurant on a given night, so who is to say smoking meat isn’t an art…certainly not me.
The Art of Smoking Meat
The art of smoking meat begins with your chosen medium. Like an artist selects a paintbrush, pastel, or pencil—the pitmaster must select their smoker of choice. There are an endless amount of smokers available on the market, so consideration of the location, heat source, and budget can be deciding factors in your search for the perfect barbecue unit.
Tips of the Trade
- As an artist selects a canvas, our cooking canvas is any meat, poultry, or seafood of choice. Below you can find five helpful tips to produce the best works of culinary art:
- Be careful not to use more than the recommended amount of hardwood chips. Following the manufacturer’s recommendation will evade an overly smoky or even strangely color smoked feast.
- Make sure there is a nice thick amount of smoke in the smoke chamber always in movement; this ensures the fullest flavor for your smoked meat.
- Leaving fat on the meat you smoke will guarantee great meat flavor and the fat burns off in the cooker anyway!
- Adding other juices or fresh produce to your smoker’s water pan can create a bright smoked delight.
- Reduce the number of times you open the cooker’s lid—a large amount of heat and smoke is lost when opened, interrupting the process. Pitmasters can use a probe thermometer with a long cord to monitor activity inside the smoker.
All About Your Heat Source
Many of the positive characteristics of gas smoking versus other methods of smoking are benefits of convenience. Gas smoking is often preferential due to its abundance and dependability. This efficient method of smoking is also very mobile. Smoking enthusiasts can easily travel with a gas smoke unit and serve their delicious creations not only at home, but also on the go, at your beachside barbecue or weekend camping. Gas produces a clean heat, less characteristic of bold smoky flavor found with other heat sources.
Electricity is a convenient source of heat for smoking for a number of reasons. The primary reason electric smoking is so convenient is there is no need to worry about gas, wood, or charcoal. As long as you have a source of power, you will be able to carry out your smoking with precise temperatures and little worry. Read more about electric smokers here.
Heating the barbecue box by means of wood or charcoal will result in the boldest, truest smoky barbecue. Smoker enthusiasts often rely upon these heating sources religiously. With these heating methods you will have no chemical taste and a flavorful spread. Some people opt to use other heat resources because a wood or charcoal smoke box requires more storage space and greater ventilation when in use. Read more about charcoal smokers here.
For the Convenient Smoker
Landmann USA Vertical Gas Smoker
Major pluses for the Landmann USA Vertical Gas Unit are its convenient source of heat and its immense cooking space. As mentioned, cooking with propane is a reliable and clean source of heat.
This model also is incredibly convenient due to ample cooking space, 1,576 square inches. This space allows for the proper smoking of your favorite meat, fish, and poultry products.
Tend to your smoker’s wood box and water pan without opening the chamber of your barbecue box. This additional amenity allows temperature to be adjusted without disturbing the current environment of the smoking chamber.
Landmann stands behind their products with a lifelong warranty on the cast brass burner and a 10-year warranty on the cast brass cap. Ample space, easy access, and quality materials make this Vertical Model one of the more advanced on the market. Extra features come at a cost, but also ensure a smooth smoking endeavor.
Masterbuilt Propane Smoker
Standing 30 inches tall the Masterbuilt Propane Smoker is a user-friendly smoker. With two racks, smokers are able to make multiple preparations with optimum temperature control.
Inside the smoke chamber there are 4 cooking racks with 717 square inches of cooking space. That is a lot of space for all of your smoking needs! Load up the cooking chamber with your favorite meats and press the user-friendly ignition button. Jumpstarting the smoke box to life, a porcelain coated woodchip pan warms water, beginning the smoking process.
Extras features like the built in thermometer and air damper allow for a fully controlled cooking environment. The thermometer facilitates the monitoring of the smoking process, and the air damper gives the smoker the ability to control smoke inside the chamber, creating the perfect level of smoky flavor for you.
Camp Chef Smoke Vault Propane Box
The Camp Chef Smoke Vault Propane Box prides itself on infusing your favorite meats with a great smoky flavor. With two racks, smokemasters are able to make multiple preparations with optimum temperature control in this Vertical Gas Unit. Along with the two racks for regular use, the Vertical Gas Box also appeals to jerky lovers. With the special rack for your jerky, your will be able to smoke snacks to your liking.
The 18,000 BTU burner and fully controllable dials make for a precise smoking experience. The pitmaster is able to adjust and monitor temperature easily with regulating dials and the built in temperature gauge. The smoking environment can also be optimized with the smoker’s system of dampers. Three smoke dampers allow the pitmaster to control how little or how much smoke is released from the chamber, determining your meat’s level of smoky flavor.
What do you think?
Still not convinced the art of smoking is just that, art? The many decisions that go into the practice of smoking meat make for a talented pitmaster. The pitmaster must draw on inspiration, selecting the appropriate meat, flavor palette, and smoking method. A perfectly smoked roast, paired with an ice-cold beverage is nothing short of art in your outdoor kitchen.
Please always remember to use a good smoker thermometer to ensure you’re cooking your meats to safe temperatures.