Friday, April 15, 2016

adventures in smoking

No, I haven't started smoking cigarettes!  Gross.  We got a smoker a couple weeks ago and I used it for the first time this past weekend.

We got the Brinkmann vertical smoker, which was on clearance at Home Depot for less than half the price.  (I later found out Brinkmann is in bankruptcy, which would explain the rock-bottom price.) I wasn't even thinking about buying one, but I know several people who smoke meat and they really enjoy it.  I figure maybe it will be a new hobby. Plus, I have dreams of delicious fall-off-the-bone ribs and juicy mesquite chicken.

Saturday I decided to cure it.  Smokers have to be cured before they can be used.  It's to protect the smoker from rust and to burn off the smells from manufacturing.  First of all, their instruction booklet (Yes, it's paper!  I didn't have to download it.) leaves a lot to be desired.  I think whoever wrote the steps needs to learn how to put them in order correctly.  Obviously, that made the process confusing, since I've never cooked with charcoal before. I eventually got it going, but it never reached the correct temp for curing (250 for two hours and 400 for one hour).  I think it was because it was cold outside. Also, I had to coat the whole inside with vegetable oil first, which as a bit messy.

I used it Sunday and this is what I made.  It's skirt steak (one of my half-price meat purchases).  I didn't use any marinade.  Just salt and pepper.  I smoked it for about two hours, maybe a little more, and the doneness was perfect (I like mine medium rare). I used charcoal and about five chunks of mesquite wood.

Fresh out of the smoker. It was so hard to wait 15 minutes to cut into it.  Gotta let the meat rest! That's always the hardest part, since I'm a steak lover.

You can't see it very well, but it has a nice smoke ring.

How did it taste?  It was...smoky.  I definitely will use a marinade next time, as all I really tasted was the smoke.  It wasn't bad, but just too smoky for me. It was very tender and juicy.  I used it on top of a salad the next day, and Bob took some to work for lunch.

Overall, I like the idea of smoking meat.  Pretty much hands off except for making sure it stays at the correct temperature. I'm all for things that are "set it and forget it."

I think next time I will try chicken.  Any suggestions for wood type and/or marinades?

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