Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Low & slow

Smoking meat is all about 'low & slow' - cooking at a low temperature for a long time.   You can kind of think of it as roasting meat at 225° - 275° in a smoky atmosphere.   It's not a process that is for the impatient.  And also like sailing, the journey to smoky goodness is a part of the enjoyment.  (There - I worked in a sailing reference, making this a legitimate post for this blog.)

3 chickens on their way to a smoky Nirvana

For my birthday, I received a smoker.  No, let me rephrase that. For my birthday, I received permission to buy a smoker.  I chose the one above: an offset type.  This means that the firebox is in a separate chamber from the cooking meat, rather than being directly below the meat.  I like the design because of the separation of function, and because of the large cooking surface - 36" x 18".  However the large size means more external surface to keep hot, so this smoker burns more charcoal than the more compact smokers, tho I'm not sure that would be true on a per-pound-of-meat basis if I always ran it with a full load.


And here is the result of the effort depicted above:  6 chicken halves, deliriously, deliciously smoky.  Done properly, the taste is smoky, not acrid.  And the flavor goes the whole depth of the meat; it's not just on the surface.  Have you ever been in the South and stopped at a roadside BBQ joint?  Yeah, that good.

They were smoked with alder wood - alder grows like a weed around here, and if you have any, you know that eventually the stems get big enough to just fall over.  So we have lots to use for smoking.

ISBN: 978-0-7624-3609-5

Even tho this post is tagged with 'recipe', I'm not going to post a recipe here.  Instead, I am going to exhort you to get a copy of what I now am calling the 'Smoker's Bible'.  Truly everything you will need to know is in there.  I started from scratch and followed the directions in the book (the chicken was Lesson 2) and the results have been unbelievably good.  Really.

With the book, you can too.

So get smokin'!
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4 comments:

S/V Ti' Punch said...

Will the marina let you keep it on the dock? ;)

Robert Salnick said...

Technically, no.

But in practice?

Hmmm...

middlebaysailing said...

I bought a "L'il Chief" when we lived in Poulsbo. That was probably 15 years ago. To date, I've only smoked salmon in it. But what a great taste. I still use it several times a year, and it's the only place I know of to get smoked salmon like that out here in the east.

Your photo of the chicken is making my mouth water!

Rick

Robert Salnick said...

Rick -

I think the L'il Chief is the perfect device to do salmon. It needs to be smoked at a *very* low temperature, and I don't think I could turn mine down low enough to do it justice.

But then I'm only on Lesson 2.

bob

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