Learning how to smoke meat offers a meat-lover many options. Smokers come in many different sizes, shapes and fuels. You can choose to smoke with electricity, charcoal, propane or the one tried and true method of wood. Pick your smoker based upon what you have available, what you can afford, but most of all one you can work with. A large wood kettle smoker is the most popular style and makes for a more flavorful meat. Charcoal enthusiasts will argue with that statement as you can add wood to charcoal as well, either way wood will make the flavors pop.
What you will need to smoke meat:
- Your meat choice; brisket, roast, pork shoulder, chicken, or any other
- A marinade you like or have tested
- A smoker
- A thermometer for your smoker
- A meat thermometer
- Fuel for heat (your choice electric, propane, charcoal or wood)
- Chunked wood for adding the smoke
How to smoke your meat:
- Pre-heating your smoker to 225 degrees is ideal for smoking. Plus or minus fifteen degrees will allow you some room to function. Too hot, and the meat cooks instead of smoking, to cool and the meat doesn’t cook at all. So use what ever your preferred fuel is and get the fires going.
- Once at optimum temperature, it’s time to add some smoke. Place a few chunks of wood on the fuel. If using electric and propane there should be some type of a wood tray. With all other types of fuels simply place the wood chunks on the coals and let the smoking begin.
- Place your meat on the cooking grill, keeping in mind you are smoking not grilling. Keep the meat away from direct heat and the smoking process will work as it should. The cuts of meat, type of meat and size of the meat will determine the length of time you will be smoking it for. Seven to twelve pound roasts or pork shoulders can take anywhere from five to twelve hours to properly smoke.
- Your meat is done when the internal temperature reaches 180 to 190 degrees for pork, chicken or well done beef, 150 to 180 degrees for a little more rare finish to your beef. Use your meat thermometer to determine the right internal temperatures. Serve as desired and enjoy.
Tip: Try different types of smoking woods to get different flavors. Fruit tree woods are known for their sweet smell and flavor. Hard and nut tree wood chunks give a woodsy flavor and smell. Try combinations of types of woods to be a huge hit at your next backyard get together.
Note: Adding fuel (hot coals) and chunks of wood throughout the smoking process will be instrumental in your success. Remember to keep the smoker at around 225 degrees. Only add a few chunks of wood at a time, when needed, to get great results. Too much wood creates too much smoke and will just ruin your meat. Too little smoke will give you poor flavor results, some experimentation may be needed to get the hang of it.
Safety: Please always remember to smoke meat outside. Smoking inside a home, garage, shed or any other enclosed structure will likely cause death due to carbon monoxide poisoning.