Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Things to Know about Smoking Food

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Things to Know about Smoking Food

Article excerpt

Five things to know about smoking food

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Steven Raichlen wants people to know there's a difference between barbecue and smoking.

All barbecue is smoked, but not all smoked foods are barbecue. Texas brisket, Carolina pork shoulder and Kansas City ribs are examples of barbecue, but ham, smoked cheddar and smoked salmon are not barbecue.

"In the United States, at least, barbecue has a down-home bubba association, but in fact it can be very elegant. At a very fancy tea you can have smoked salmon. Salmon caviar is astonishing smoked. My wife and I did that for New Year's Eve," he says.

Here are five things from Raichlen to know about smoking:

FIVE MEALS TO MASTER: Pork shoulder, chicken or turkey, salmon, ribs and brisket.

Raichlen recommends novices start with pork shoulder. It has fat on the outside and marbling on the inside, making it tender, and it's difficult to harm if you get an unexpected spike in temperature.

Brisket and ribs, on the other hand, have to be cooked low and slow for a long time to be tender.

"Brisket is the measure of your mettle. It's not hard to make if you follow instructions, but brisket is an intrinsically tough muscle. A whole brisket has muscle fibres going two different directions. It's big," says Raichlen, adding the key is patience since the process requires a dozen or so hours.

"If you do it wrong, if your temperature spikes, if you lack patience, if you don't wrap it, then you get a mouthful of shoe leather, so that can be frustrating."

FLAVOUR RAW FOOD: Pre-smoke flavouring techniques include salting, curing, brining, rubbing, marinating and injecting. During smoking, you can add mop sauces, sprays, bastes, glazes and barbecue sauces.

A basic barbecue rub is used a lot on fatty meats like pork shoulder or ribs. Brine is very often used with lean meats like chicken, turkey and pork chops -- some of the saline solution is absorbed into the meat, making it very succulent. …

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