You may be a master griller, but a man cooking on a smoker is a completely different situation. A smoker is designed to slowly infuse the flavor of the wood into the meat through the smoke. There are many different types of smokers from the small backyard variety to the pull-behind a car type that people use in competitions. We’ll stick with the smaller variety, as that’s the type you’re most likely to have.
Choose Your Wood
Perhaps the most important aspect of smoking meat is the type of wood you choose. Some woods will burn fast and some will burn slow. Some will give the meat a sweet or fruity taste and others a bitter and harsher taste. You can also mix different woods to create a taste all your own or use woods from wine casks. The important thing to remember is the wood must not have nails, glue, etc. or else it will interfere with the smoking process and make the meat taste bad.
The main different between grilling and smoking is the temperature that you cook. A grill can be upwards of 400 degrees or more and a smoker is designed for lower temperatures around 200 degrees. Grill meat is turned several times throughout the cooking process, but in a smoker that isn’t the case. Each time you open the smoker, heat escapes and that increases the cooking time. Meat in a smoker should only be turned once or twice during the entire process.
How Long Should Meat Cook?
Meat cooked on a grill takes only a short time to cook. We’re hungry and we want to eat. A smoker is designed to slowly infuse the smoke flavor into the meat over several hours. The more meat you cook, the longer it will take. A general rule of thumb is to cook 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of meat. To be sure, you’ll need a good meat thermometer. Beef and veal should have an internal temp of about 145 degrees, poultry should be minimum 165 degrees and pork should be 145 degrees after sitting for three minutes.
Don’t be afraid to seek out a little help if you get worried during your meat smoking adventure. Explore dadsthatcook.com for fellow dads, like us, that can help you out.