Most of us know there’s nothing more delicious than fresh barbeque. And spending more time at home has made using a smoker more popular than ever. But, did you know that between 64% and 72% of North Americans own a barbeque grill or smoker?
If you feel a little intimidated by using a smoker for the first time, you’re not alone. But with instruction and patience, cooking with smokers can be a rewarding experience. All it takes is doing the proper steps.
So keep reading if you’re ready to dine out on the best-grilled food you’ve ever had.
If you hadn’t bought a smoker before or used one, it’s best to start simple. Smokers range in type from wood burning to charcoal or pellets. But the best smoker for those starting is the electric smoker.
Our lesson in creating the most refined smoked foods will center on electricity. The Mastrerbuilt smoker is great for beginners because smokers regulate heat more efficiently. So when using smokers, it’s essential to prepare the unit first.
Like you would with an iron skillet, season your smoker before your initial use. You will want to make sure the compartment is free of oils or dust from manufacturing. First, fill the chip tray with wood chips and place it inside.
Plug in the smoker and turn the temperature setting to its highest level. Now let the smoker run for two hours.
When you complete this process before cooking, you’ll have layered the smoker. Having that smoke cooked in gives everything after an excellent woody taste. So season your electric smoker at least a day before you begin to cook.
Depending on what food you choose first for your smoker, the next step is to prepare the meat. Then, follow the recipe for rubs or brines, and get ready for the cooking experience of your life.
Low And Slow
The secret to excellent smoked food is patience. Cooking in a smoker takes longer, but the reward is worth the effort. Your results will improve with proper preparation.
Near the bottom of the smoker, use a disposable foil pan as a grease tray. Use a pan or foil as wide as possible to save on mess later. Then, fill another pan with water and place it on the rack under the grease pan.
Preheat your smoker again, at the highest level, for about 45 minutes before adding meat. Once the electric smoker is hot, turn the temperature down to cooking level. If you’ve heard pros talk about low and slow, here’s what they mean.
Smoked meats cook best for more extended periods at lower temperatures. Aim for 225F for the perfect smoking experience. Then, with your level set, add some wood chips.
The best feature about the Masterbuilt smoker is the loading tube. First, turn the tube and pull it out of the smoker. Then, add chips and replace the tube.
It’s better not to overload the tray. You can add new chips for every hour of cooking time for the best result.
Let’s Get Using a Smoker
As you know, heat rises, so place thicker cuts of meat at the top of your smoker. Fish should sit near the bottom for a slow process. Arrange your meat in the smoker from the top down and try to be quick.
Your Masterbuilt smoker has a built-in temperature probe, so place it in the thickest cut of meat. Set your timer for longer than you expect the meat to take. You don’t want the smoker shutting off too early.
Also, set the temperature about ten degrees higher than your cooking level. Periodic door opening will affect the cooking temperature. Now you can relax for a bit while the electric smoker does its job.
But keep an eye on the wood smoke. When you see the smoke almost disappear, it’s time to add more wood chips.
The temperature will rise when fresh wood chips begin to burn, so don’t worry. The level will normalize again to the set temperature.
You can also keep your meat moist by basting it on occasion. Some people baste the meat every two hours with a spray bottle or squirt tube. Others replace the water tray every few hours as it evaporates.
Part of the smoking process is experimentation. So use whichever method works best for you. But remember, heat will escape when you open the door, so factor that into your cooking time.
There are smokers where chips soaked in water work best. But an electric smoker does not perform at its best with wet wood chips. So always add the chips dry for a Masterbuilt smoker.
For continuous pleasure using a smoker, perform a simple cleaning process each time. First, run the smoker with a tray of water to create steam. Then once it has cooled, use a cloth to wipe the wire racks one by one.
It’s crucial to remember that seasoning the smoker adds flavor to smoked food. So only remove loose debris, ash, and grease. And, of course, remove the drippings and properly discard them.
Use an old cloth again to wipe down the inner walls of the electric smoker. Be sure to get the seals on the doors and other surfaces where drippings fall.
Also, wipe the ash deposits out of the wood tray to keep the smoke happening efficiently. Citrus cleaners can help clean your smoker. But you will need to season again before using a smoker the next time.
Savor the Smoke
Cooking meats with an electric smoker is the simplest way to find your comfort level. So don’t be afraid to experiment with varying the process. As with anything worth doing, the more you try, the better you get.
After a short time, you will likely find using a smoker is the best way to enjoy meats. Then you’ll wonder why you didn’t get a smoker sooner.
So if this article helped whet your appetite, come back again for more great tips.