The most wonderful smoked meat is meat that is flavorful, tender and juicy. While smoking meat, even at a low temperature (200-225 degrees) it is possible to overcook the meat. This can result in tough, dry and rubbery meat. My best suggestion is to prepare the meat correctly. Never smoke frozen meat. It is best to start with room temperature meat. It will stay tender this way, and absorb the flavors of the smoke and steam. Trimming excess fat is fine, but leave some fat to keep the meat juicy, tender and tasty. You can trim it again later, if desired. Extra lean meat can be tough and dry. Look for ribs that aren’t too fatty, and remove the membrane on the backside of the ribs. Use a sharp knife to start in one corner, and then pull it off. This will allow the meat to come off the bone easily, and to move on the bone as it shrinks slowly. When buying a brisket, find a marbled piece with a somewhat even thickness to the cut. If the meat is too varied in thickness, you will get varied results. Trim fat to about 1/4 of an inch in most places. Cut out large chunks of fat. One way to be sure this doesn’t happen is to monitor the internal temperature (145 degrees) and to use the 3-2-1 method brisket and ribs. This method starts with three hours of cooking with just rub on the meat. I like to make the rub with two cups of brown sugar, a tablespoon of garlic salt and a tablespoon of onion powder. Remember to help the rub adhere to the meat by starting with a moisture rub like yellow mustard, marinade, or salad dressing that is not vinegar-based. The flavor of the mustard or dressing will disappear and the rub flavor will take over. Next is two hours wrapped in aluminum foil. This step helps steam the meat as it continues to cook, but saves the smoky flavor. I like to put about a half cup of apple cider in the foil with the meat. Last, one hour of uncovered cook time, with sauce if desired. Many people prefer no sauce, as the meat is so flavorful already.
When smoking meat, the flavor of the wood chips is important and fun to experiment with. I find that hickory and mesquite are my favorite for beef ribs. For pork ribs, chicken and turkey, I like to use apple, orange or peach. Wood chips should be soaked in water for at least thirty minutes. The moisture tray can be filled with water, but I prefer apple cider for pork, turkey, and chicken. For beef, I prefer to flavor the water with Bourbon, whiskey or wine, depending on the cut of meat. One to two ounces of liquor is enough. The apple cider makes a nice crust on the outside of the meat, along with great flavor.
For an unusual but delicious venture, try smoking your corned beef rather than boiling it. It will taste richer and will be tender and juicy, but not stringy like boiled corned beef. I add the spice package provided in the package to the apple cider in the moisture bowl. I use only pure apple cider and not juice because most juices have added sugar, which changes the crust on the outside of the meat.
After removing from the smoker, there is no need to rest the meat. Serve it and enjoy that unique, smoky flavor. For more tips and tricks for smoking meat, visit our blog or website, or contact us today!