Smoking meat has been around since man discovered how to create fire. There are several reasons why this cooking method has survived the ages and why it’s used in almost every culture around the world. The benefits of smoking meat are numerous, but we condensed it down to our top 7.
Smoking meat and fish has been around since man’s early beginnings. Indigenous cultures used wood smoking as a way to keep food safe from bugs. Shortly thereafter they discovered it was also a great way to preserve their food since smoking dries the moisture out of meat. This drying effect made the meat inhabitable for most forms of bacteria and it is the reason why your beef jerky can be stored in a pantry instead of a refrigerator.
Smoking has since been used in almost every culture throughout the world. Most famously, smoking meats is considered BBQ in the United States. In the Caribbean and in several Latin American countries, meats are smoked in racks which are stored in circular, covered pits. This smoking method is known as barbacoa.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of smoking meat and why it’s been such a popular cooking method since prehistorical times.
Smoking has a uniquely distinct flavor that cannot be duplicated with other cooking methods such as grilling or baking. The process of smoking meat “low and slow” breaks down collagen (a protein found in muscle tissue), making the meat much more tender. It also melts fat which combines with the tender meat for a truly delicious eating experience. The flavor of the meat is also enhanced by the smells that smoking adds.
The hardwoods used as fuel also help add flavor to the meat by enhancing the aroma of the smoke. When wood is burned, chemicals from cellulose and lignin
The main hardwoods used in smoking are:
Depending on which type of hardwood is used, different aromas are released into the smoke as the wood burns, which eventually infuses into the meat as it cooks, adding a variety of different flavors into the meat.
Smoking also creates an acidic coating around the meat which is quite tasty and gives the meat a unique appearance and texture. When done properly, you should see a pink smoke ring just inside this coating. The smoke ring is a signature sign of properly smoked meats and is sought after by pit masters and chefs all over the world.
In prehistoric times, early cavemen would hang their meat in their caves to dry it out and store. Since these caves and huts did not have chimneys , the smoke would loom and slowly cook their food storage. Thus, our early ancestors accidentally discovered that this smoking process preserved their foods better than previous methods. They also enjoyed the taste.
The lack of moisture in the meat after the smoking process and the acidic coating creates a harsh environment for bacteria to survive. The coating prevents bacteria from entering the meat, and if it does manage to creep in, the dry environment makes it difficult for bacteria to survive and multiply.
Smoking food is in our DNA. We’ve been doing it for centuries and as such, we can’t seem to get enough of the site of a fire and the scent of smoke. The aroma created from those two elements brings a primitive delight to our senses. Not only do we inherently love smoke, we love to combine smoke and meat together. Bringing loved ones together for a day of smoking ribs or brisket out in the backyard is the perfect way to bring people together.
It turns out, smoking and cooking food low and slow is a great way to add flavor to leaner, less tender cuts of meat. Lean meats can help build lean muscle mass since they have a lower caloric value and less fat. It’s important to stick with raw, uncured meats for the smoking process because there have been recent studies suggesting cancer risks when using meats filled with preservatives. Cooking meats like fish, game meat, turkey, and chicken low and slow can be a fantastic way to add lean protein into your diet.
You can smoke just about any kind of meat plus you can smoke vegetables, sugars, salts, oils, fruits, spices and it will add flavor elements that would otherwise be missing.
Check out this divine smoked berry lemonade recipe!
One of the reasons that Pellet Grills have taken the barbecue world by storm is how easy and convenient they make the smoking process. This is due to:
Regular smokers can have wild temperature swings since the strength of the fire can fluctuate as the wood burns. Since wood pellet grills insulate and circulate heat more efficiently, there are much less heat fluctuations and average temperature is maintained throughout the process.
Louisiana Grills offer the most cooking options out of any other pellet grill on the market. Smoking, BBQing, Charring, Broiling, Baking, Roasting, Grilling, and thanks to our patented SearZone™ Plate which allows for direct heat, Searing.
Pellet grills store An auger then feeds pellets into a burn pot whenever internal temperature starts to dip. This helps the grill maintain temperature without the user having to keep adding pellets. A full 20 lb capacity hopper should give you around 20 hrs of cook time, so you could literally set it and forget it, even on long smokes for meat cuts like a brisket or pork shoulder.
Whether you want to smoke a rack of ribs or the whole hog, Louisiana Grills has a pellet grill for you. We make the finest pellet grills and vertical smokers on the market. Stop by a dealer and check out a grill for yourself.Locate a Dealer