Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Smoke is a huge tool in my repertoire at home. i love it, i wish i could smoke almost everything i cook. it is an amazing flavor enhancement, and takes so much technical aptitude that i am infinitely drawn to it. i cant necessarily find literature about smoking so what i know i have experienced first hand. i own a small barrel smoker, that i break out ever so often, but as often as i use it i actually chose to use my Weber grill as much or more. i find that i have a bit more heat control with my Weber. i don't even think that the flavor of smoke is what i am after but i am absolutely infatuated with the prepping of smoked foods and the amount of time involved. if you haven't realized by now i don't have any sort of issue with dedicating 10 hours of work to pull off an amazing meal for my family and friends. i smoke with a pretty wide variety of wood but the thing to remember is you have to smoke with hardwood. softer woods like pine give off some rather nasty chemicals and there for should be avoided. hardwoods vary in flavor but all hard wood smokes exactly the same unless you smoke for more than 5 or 6 hours, i lean towards fruit woods usually like apple, and cherry. whatever i am smoking, i will usually try to rub with a spice blend at least 24 hours in advance, then apply smoke liberally as needed, often finishing the item in the oven. smoking is a true passion of mine, and i find myself toying with things that aren't smoked often. i love smoked cheese, tomatoes, corn, vegetables, etc. it isn't odd to find smoked pork of course, but i really enjoy smoked beef as well. with my infatuation of smoke comes some sort of natural desire to cook ribs at least once a month. i smoke pork ribs often but also enjoy beef shortribs as well. i sometimes think that SMOKE would be a great name for a restaurant. when meat is properly smoked it develops a smoke ring that cant be faked for all the money in the world. smoke will actually penetrate meat and give it a pinkish hue in the outer layer. by brining the meat before and then air drying you can also form what is called a pelicle layer, bringing water soluble proteins to the surface of the meat, which in turn with act as a smoke adhesive. regardless of what your preference of meat is, it is very rare that someone says "i don't like the taste of smoke" and if you ask me. we need more of it at dinner time.