How To Smoke Meats Without Drying Out

Published: 10th June 2011
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Learning how to smoke meats without drying out is much harder than learning not to burn the food or learning how to tell when food is done. There are a number of factors that contribute to moist, juicy meat in the smoker.

Begin by selecting the best meat. Choice or prime meat is more expensive, but you do get what you pay for. The most important thing to look for is the marbeling of the meat. Marbeling is thin strips of white that are woven into the meat. The white strips are fat. You want as much marbeling as possible on your meat (especially beef).

Brine pork and chicken before you cook them. Brining is soaking the meat in cool, salty water. Most recipe books will call for 20 to 30 minutes of brining the meat. Two to three hours is best, and do not be afraid to brine large cuts of meat overnight in the refrigerator.

Get the temperature right before you put in the food. If the smoker is not up to temperature or is too hot, it will cook too slowly or too quickly. Either of these can make the meat tougher.

Keep the lid closed unless it is necessary to open it. Add 20 to 30 minutes on to the cooking time for each time you open the lid during cooking. Lengthening the cooking time often leads to drying out the meat. Opening the lid also lets out the smoke flavor and the moisture that is trapped inside.

Use a good quality thermometer. Make sure the thermometer on your grill is accurate. You can place a meat thermometer in a potato and leave it in the smoker to judge how accurate your smoker thermometer is.

Do not pierce the meat. Avoid cutting into the meat or sticking it with a fork until you are ready to eat it. After the food is done, set it aside for at least 10 to 20 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices and flavors to redistribute in the meat.

Add a pan of water to the smoker. Some models come with a pan, but if yours does not it is fine to use a stainless steel or foil pan in the smoker to impart moisture.

After you learn how to smoke meats without drying out, you will be much happier with the foods that come out of your smoker, and you will be willing to try more expensive meats and meats that are more complicated to smoke.

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