How To Smoke Meats - The Process

How To Smoke Meats - The Process


Meat smoking has been around for more than One Hundred years. In fact on my last journey to the mountains of Norway (2011) I saw many farmhouses with individual smokehouses on stilts just yards from their backdoor. Smoking not only adds flavor to meat but removing or drying out the liquids will allow the smoke to act as a preservative in most cases. As cultures go perhaps the most famous "smokers of meat" were the Caribbean natives who smoked it on a rack over a smoky fire, a setup they called "barbacoa".

When we choose to smoke meats we follow this process listed below. The results are fantastic but keep in mind smoking requires "time" so if you don't have a minimum of 4-6 hours I would opt for the standard slow barbecue process or the faster high heat grilling process.

To start the process you need a smoking unit. We're going to assume that you've taken time out to locate a suitable smoker before starting this process. Next, consider the meat to be smoked, including the quantity and the type of meat either brisket, beef ribs, pork loin, chicken or steaks. This is important because it affects the amount of time and the type of wood that you would use to create the smoke. As I lightly mentioned temperature is important. You will need to pay close attention to good temperature control. Meat smoking is best done in the range of 200-220 degrees F. To be safe most smoke meats need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F and poultry to 165 degrees F. However, to get real tender barbecue you want a higher final temperature, say around 180 degrees F especially for pork smoke meats. Basically smoking is a long process of over cooking tough meats to get a tender and flavorful meal. One should also invest in at least two accurate thermometers. One inside the smoker in the area where the meat sits will tell you the smoker temperature and one meat thermometer in the meat to tell you the internal temperature of what you are smoking.

Low smoking temperatures allow the smoke enough time to sink in as well as providing enough time to naturally tenderize the meat. Slow cooking gives the natural connective fibers as well as collagen in meat time to break down, become tender, and change into basic sugars. This is an important part is the overall smoking process for barbecue.

Once the smoker is ready at the right temperature place the meat inside the smoker so that it is surrounded by smoke. You want a good thick stream of smoke around the meat at all times to give it the kind of exposure you need to enhance the flavor. The smoke needs to be moving, always moving to maximize exposure and prevent the smoke from making the meat bitter because of a build up of creosote.

Finally smoking is more of an art form and good art requires practice. Don't expect your first smoking session to come out perfect. Give it a couple of tries while tweaking the process to match your particular tastes.

Follow the process below for everyday smoke meats and Ribs:

Locate your ribs and trim as necessary. Make sure your ribs are thawed before starting the smoke process. Bring your smoker to about 200 to 220 degrees. Once the heat is ready add hickory chunks on the coals. Make sure you have a water pan and the pan is full of water. Coat your ribs with Jake's Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Rub or Jake's Pure Santa Maria Dry Rub. Place the ribs on the smoker then quickly cover with the lid. Having a built in temperature gauge will really help when checking the temperature. Resist removing the lid during the cooking process because this causes heat loss and increases the cooking time. When smoking keep and eye on the smoke, when it is dark the meat will be bitter tasting, if the smoke is light in color the meat will be smoked perfectly. Smoke color depends on the wood used so check our page on wood smoking tips to help you decide which wood to select.

How do you know when the meat is done? After 5 hours of smoking remove the meat onto foil. Be sure to replace the lid on the smoker. If the meat is not ready you can return the meat to the smoker. When the meat is on the foil fold the meat backward looking at the underside of the meat, if you see the meat tearing away from the bone easily the ribs are done. If you want to add BBQ Sauce you can baste on Jake's Original, Medium or Inferno then cover with the foil and place back on the grill for 30 minutes. The foil will act to steam in the sauce making the ribs juicy.

Once completed let the meat rest for 5 minutes then serve.

Here's our Snake Method video for making Baby Back Pork Ribs. This is one of the processes we use when grilling and smoke meats:


Ask a question about this item
Product 34/63

This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 21 September, 2017.