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There is nothing like a bite of meat that has been smoked to tender perfection! When our early ancestors hunted for meat, they had to promptly devour the animal so it would not spoil. Eventually, they discovered how to preserve their precious food supply by drying or smoking it. Natives of the Caribbean islands perfected the art with flavorful spice rubs and slow smoke from aromatic woods. The process they called “barbacoa” is probably the origins of our “barbecue.”
Since colonial times, Americans have prepared farm meat and wild game in smokehouses. Today, smoking meat and other foods remain a respected culinary art. While some purists still use hand-dug smoking pits, the process has been modernized for home cooking purposes. Portable smokers may use charcoal, electric, gas, or water to smoke delicious cuts of meat and other foods.
Are you a smoked meat enthusiast? Smoking your own meats is not only economical but also an ideal way to impart outstanding flavors to your meat recipes. No matter which style of smoker you have, consider these helpful hints for mouthwatering results.
Choose the right wood or charcoal
The type of wood or charcoal that you choose for your smoker depends on the meat, and the flavors you want to infuse. Woods like oak, hickory, and apple are perennial choices for most meats. Mesquite is popular for the intense flavor profiles it imparts to red meats. More exotic woods like pecan, cherry, and alder lend delicate tastes to fish and poultry. Sometimes, a blend of wood or charcoal creates a terrific nuance of flavors. Experiment a little to see what is best for your recipe.
Marinades and Rubs
Smoking recipes and techniques are as unique as the people who swear by them. For optimal results, season your meat with a zesty marinade or flavorful spice rub. Some recipes call for a spice rub, then the addition of a tasty sauce during the smoking process. Use bold herbs and spices for red meat and wild game, and subtler ones for fish and poultry.
If you do not have a smoker, you can get mouthwatering results by using your grill or oven. For either technique, soak your chosen wood chips in water for at least four hours.
Season your meat according to the recipe. Make a pocket out of aluminum foil, fill it with soaked wood chips. Crimp the edges of the foil pocket, and poke a few holes in it with a fork, to allow the smoky flavors to escape. Place the meat and foil packet on the opposite side of the heat source, and slow cook (225-275 degrees) it until done. Baste often to keep the meat moist.
Put a sheet of aluminum foil on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the soaked wood chips evenly on the pan, then place a rack over them. Arrange the seasoned meat on the rack, then cover it with a tent of foil. Cook at 225 degrees until done. Baste often to ensure a moist and juicy product.
Try some of these fabulous smoked meat recipes for your next barbecue.
Do you want a plate of pulled pork that will have everyone coming back for more? In this easy recipe, we soak a pork shoulder in a marinade of cider and aromatic spices. After smoking it with hickory chips, the pork is fork-tender and has an unbelievable taste. Serve as a main course, or pile on a sandwich.
Turkey is an excellent meat to smoke; the meat stays tender and moist thanks to the savory brine marinade and the spice rub before smoking. Applewood chips infuse the turkey breast with a sweet smokiness. Serve it with this mouthwatering cider & bourbon gravy!
Chicken wings are the quintessential favorites for barbecues, so why not serve this tasty smoked version? Apply the rub of oil, garlic, and 7 other aromatic spices, and let the wings marinate for an hour. The slow smoking only takes 2 hours, and the result is delicious finger-licking wings that the whole family will love!
Salmon is a hearty fish that pairs well with smoky flavor nuances. It smokes beautifully with a little salt, pepper, and some flavorful spices. Choose apple or cherry wood chips to enhance the salmon’s complex flavor profile. In this recipe we rub with a sweet rub, that results in a sweet & savory salmon that pairs perfectly with standard BBQ grub. This isn't your Grandpa's Smoked Salmon.
Are you searching for a unique barbecue sauce for your smoked meat? Mix up a bowl of this classic Low-lands white barbecue sauce! Instead of the usual tomato base, it is a savory mixture of mayonnaise, horseradish, spicy mustard, and other aromatic spices. White BBQ sauce has just enough tang, sweetness, and heat to spice up any smoked or grilled dishes.
Who would have thought that strawberries could make such an irresistible barbecue sauce? The sweetness of the fruit complements the savory spices and tart cider vinegar. Not only does this beautiful mixture make an astounding sauce for smoking and grilling, but it is also delightful as a dip or elevated salad dressing!
Memphis-style is one of the iconic regional barbecue variations in America. It is renowned for its mouthwatering “dry rubs” used for both grilling or smoking meats. This easy dry rub recipe features brown sugar, white sugar, and 6 flavorful spices from your pantry. When you season your meats with this rub, they will stay tender, juicy, and burst with a savory barbecue taste.
Here is a tantalizing dry rub recipe with a kick of caffeine and subtle heat from ground chili and peppers. It uses spices you have on hand and mixes in just minutes. The warm flavor notes of the coffee accent the natural smokiness of the meat, while the savory spices please your palate. This dry rub is especially tasty on steaks and beef ribs!
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As all nut lovers know, pecans are more than a tasty addition to trail mix. Pecans have been a nutritious staple in the diets of people living in North America for centuries as an ingredient in recipes for both cold and hot meals and desserts. A wide variety of delicious recipes feature this delightful nut in different forms, including toasted, crushed, boiled and mashed.