Have you ever wondered how the professionals get their barbeque meat to taste so good? The answer is they use a meat smoker. The mouth-watering barbeque flavour of smoked meat is timeless. In order to get that flavor restaurants can spend thousands of dollars on their equipment.
A restaurant quality smoker is usually a great hulking metal giant that takes up half the kitchen and is kept running for twenty-four hours a day. Meat smokers need to run constantly because smoking is a slow process. It can take hours or even days to prepare the meat properly. If you want to create that delicious smoky taste for your self you don’t need to buy a professional meat smoker, you can make your own.
Before you start, you should understand the principles of how a meat smoker actually works. Every smoker basically works in the same way; you have a chamber where the meat is, a smoke source and a separate heat source. The smoke source will usually be a separate tray that sits under the meat and contains wood chips. The heat source is what cooks the meat and, it also causes the wood chips to smolder, which are what smokes the meat and gives it its flavor. The wood chips are contained in a separate area to the heat source so that they do not catch fire. They have to burn slowly to produce a lot of smoke.
The simplest way to make your own meat smoker is to use a metal barrel or oil drum. Cut it in half lengthwise and attach hinges to one side so that it opens and closes. One half will be the lid and the other half will be for smoking. The half used for smoking is divided in two with a metal divider, which can be any scrap metal. The heat source will be on one side of the barrel-half and the other side will be the smoking area. To make a grill for the meat you can use some old barbeque grills that you have lying around or else you can use chicken wire. Your meat will sit on top of the smoke source on one side of the barrel-half and the other side will be the heat source.
Professional meat smokers will often use gas or electricity for the heat source as they are the most convenient but, for our purposes, you can use charcoal. Charcoal provides plenty of heat and is inexpensive and readily available. There will be a bit of a learning curve when using charcoal but it shouldn’t take you long to get the knack of it.
The next thing to consider is the type of wood chips that you will use. There are a few types of wood that are no good for smoking such as cedar, elm, cypress, pine, fir and redwood however there are plenty of types you can use like alder, birch, acacia, walnut and so on. The list of suitable woods is huge so you should not have much trouble finding the right chips to use. Make sure you do some research fist.
Smoking meat is not a fast process. You need a place where you can leave your smoker burning overnight or even for several days. You will not see the results after only an hour and you need to be prepared for that. However, if you have the patience, your efforts will pay off. With the expertise you gain, you can produce a feast of smoked meat that can’t be beaten for flavor.