SMOKE SHOWING......Part 1
WITH THE WEATHER GETTING NICER IT'S TIME TO FIRE UP THE SMOKERS.....DON'T HAVE ONE? DONT WORRY, A GAS GRILL CAN BE CONVERTED INTO A SMOKER IN A FEW EASY STEPS.
Time to talk about one of my favorite "styles" of food in our Tip to Throwdown with our friends at the Firefighter Throwdown. It's all about barbecue, but I am not referring to burgers and hot dogs. I am talking the real deal with hardwood charcoal and fire. Unfortunately, this isn't the best option for firehouse cooking. It would be damn near impossible to properly smoke anything with real wood with the threat of being interrupted to go on a run and not be able to tend to the fire. But this is not the be all end all, barbecue with real smoke flavor is achievable using a gas grill. Whether you are cooking a pork shoulder low and slow or a salmon fillet hot and fast, smoke adds tons of flavor without the addition of any fat or calories. But not all smoke is created equal, let me explain.....
There are many types of wood you can use when it comes to barbecue, for a gas grill method your best option is wood chips due to their ease of use and fairly consistent burn rate. I prefer apple and hickory for pretty much anything especially pork and chicken. Cherry is also great if you can find it. Mesquite can sometimes impart a harsher smoke flavor, so I try to avoid using it with anything but beef. If I am using my offset smoker at home it's all oak, but thats a discussion for another day....
Barbecue can be intimidating, but it's fairly simple when you break it down to the basics.
What you need: Wood chips and either a cast iron wood chip holder (pictured below) or tinfoil. That's it.
Technique: Now take your wood chips and soak them in water if you would like for a half hour or so. I find the chips tend to burn less slowly when you do, which isn't a bad thing. Then place the chips in the holder. If your using the tinfoil method, wrap the chips in foil and poke some holes in it to allow smoke to escape. Place the holder or tinfoil on the grill burner covers after you have found the optimum setting/temperature for what you are cooking. For longer cooks, you may only need one burner on that is farthest away from the meat. After 5-10 minutes you should start to see wisps of smoke!
The temperature and time at which you smoke different cuts of meat can vary. That is the hardest part of barbecue, but don't worry because next week we will tackle that subject in Part 2 of SMOKE SHOWING. Stay tuned this Thursday for a THROWDOWN THURSDAY recipe, SMOKE SHOWING edition!