What is smoking (for cooking)?
Smoking is the process of flavoring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smoldering material, such as wood. Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses, vegetables, and ingredients used to make beverages such as beer are also smoked.
Types of Smoking
Smokehouse temperatures for cold smoking are typically done between 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F). In this temperature range, foods take on a smoked flavor, but remain relatively moist. Cold smoking does not cook foods. Meats should be fully cured before cold smoking.
Hot smoking exposes the foods to smoke and heat in a controlled environment. Hot smoking occurs within the range of 52 to 80 °C (126 to 176 °F). Within this temperature range, foods are fully cooked, moist, and flavorful. If the smoker is allowed to get hotter than 185 °F (85 °C), the foods will shrink excessively, buckle, or even split.
Smoke roasting or smoke baking refers to any process that has the attributes of smoking combined with either roasting or baking. This smoking method is sometimes referred to as "barbecuing", "pit baking", or "pit roasting". It may be done in a smoke roaster, closed wood-fired masonry oven or barbecue pit, any smoker that can reach above 250 °F (121 °C), or in a conventional oven by placing a pan filled with hardwood chips on the floor of the oven so the chips smolder and produce a smokebath.
Tips and Tricks
- Start with a small amount of wood to see how you like the flavor and then add more for a more intense smoky taste. Too much wood smoke over long periods can make food taste bitter.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure smoke-cooked foods are done but not overcooked.
- Remember, a large cut of meat will continue to cook a little after it has been removed from the smoker due to the heat contained inside the meat itself.
- You want to place the food in the smoker chamber with the heat temperature between 180 and 200 degrees F.
- The wood needs to be heated thoroughly before you add the meat and you will need to watch the temperature while you are smoking the food.
Smoking cheese intensifies the flavor. You really get the smokey taste in smoked cheeses. Enjoy these recipes!
Smoked meats are often smoke roasted or smoke baked. All meats can be smoked- but the most common ones are red meats. Turkey and chicken can also be smoked. Recipes: Hickory-smoked Barbecue Ribs, Brown Rice Pancakes with Smoked Turkey, Smoked Beef Jerky
Smoked fishes are decadent. Everyone has heard of smoked salmon, but have you ever explored smoked trout or smoked oysters?