Nothing on this earth says vacation, weekend, or even just a few hours of relaxation like the smell of meat being smoked. From the smoke rising from your oven of choice to the awesome smells created by your home-made rub on the meat, just thinking hard enough about the process can make a man salivate. Unfortunately, for those who are working to become an Adonis for the ladies will be calorie counting, leaving them wondering if the process of smoking adds calories to meat.
Smoking meat does not add calories to meat. It is a way to add a complex variety of tastes to meat without removing or adding any calories. The only part that can add calories to meat is the rub you will be using to make your meat taste like something out of this world. Many store-bought rubs will have sugars in them, and if you make a homemade rub, you will be in control of this particular issue.
The act of smoking meat is an art. Knowing how to do it perfectly is more than just reading a recipe; it is practicing the timing, the flavors of rubs, the types of wood, and in some cases, the temperature of the surrounding air. Becoming a perfect smoking master is one of the marks of true manliness, a surefire way to counteract the hours spent grooming oneself in front of the mirror.
Get your grill ready, your tongs snapping, and leave your sensitive side back in the house. This is how you become a master smoker!
How to control carb intake for smoked meats?
First, we need to control the carbs that are on the meat once done, as having a controlled amount of carbs will ensure you never gain pounds while doing what you love. Many dieticians will immediately tell you that smoking meat is not something you can enjoy while carb controlling. However, they are wrong; there is one simple thing you can do to stop excessive carbs.
All smoked meat needs to have a rub applied to them as this is how many of the flavors are made. Removing all sugars from your rubs will immediately remove the majority of carbs from the meat. Further, choosing which meats you eat will be important, as chicken and beef will have less fat in them than pork, lamb, or some types of game meat.
Removing sugar and specifically choosing meat that has less fat might seem counterintuitive. However, there is one savior that has recently been reintroduced into markets that will save your flavor. Ostrich meat, red meat that tastes fantastic but has almost no fat in it, can now be found in most stores worldwide. The only other way to control your carb intake would be eating less of the smoked meat or having some on your cheat day.
Why is smoking so good?
A barbecue is great, slow cooking is fantastic, and oven-baked meat can be amazing with the right pans. However, all of these can fail when compared to well-smoked meat. It can be hard to tell when smoking meat was first introduced, but we are quite sure even the pharaohs had dedicated balconies where they had a glass of wine with friends while a servant tended to the smoker.
There is no flavor as complex and rich as well-smoked meat. This is because the act of smoking any meat does more than just cook it. Wood, coal, or even grass can infuse new flavors into meats that few people can resist. Further, smoking was the original way of slow cooking meat, with many smoking techniques from around the world almost having no heat, just smoke for the meat.
Added to the smoke’s flavor, you can create more complex spice rubs for your meat. This is because a well-built smoker won’t require you to flip the meat, just ensuring that there is constant smoke. Cooking the spices into the meat just as much as you are cooking the meat, usually ending with a piece of meat that is so perfectly cooked that it falls apart in your hands with each layer giving a new taste.
What are some of the best meats to smoke?
There are lots of meat in the world, with so many choices to pick from, even the casual weekend griller can be entirely confused most days. When you enter the world of smoking, you will quickly realize that there is so much more to meat than you could ever have imagined. Luckily, we know something about meat and the process of smoking them.
These are the five easiest, tastiest, and less likely to go wrong meats you can attempt to smoke for your first try!
- Pork Loin: Squarely aimed at your cheat day, a pork loin won’t ever win any awards for low-calorie counts. However, where it fails in being healthy, it excels in taste, with its natural fats almost being enough to give it all the taste it needs. Pork loin should never be eaten slightly raw; however, it can be left slightly longer once cooked without going completely dry. This makes it perfect for the first-time smoker that needs to learn the basics!
- Thick Steak: This is the test to see if you are ready to move onto more complex meats to smoke. A thick cut of steak can be tricky to smoke, especially if you are using a wood smoker, as it can quickly be overcooked on one side and still rare on the other. Fortunately, you can use steak to learn how to cook other meats without sacrificing too much. Just remember, rare smoked steak is still a fantastic steak.
- Chicken: Going up one level from pork and normal steak, chicken is both forgiving and extremely punishing. A smoking session that has not been hot enough or long enough for chicken can easily be fixed by putting them all in the microwave. Unfortunately, if you overdo your heat or smoke, chicken can quickly become too dry. This leaves hard skin and barely any meat that is still edible.
- Lamb: Not to be undertaken by the faint of heart, lamb is extremely similar to steak. Easy to know when it’s done and responding well to the same spices. There is only one thing that catches people off guard when smoking lamb. You will either be smoking lamb shoulder or lamb legs, which are both quite large and require several hours of work to get them properly and fully cooked.
- Skewers: Made by yourself or bought from the local butcher, most skewers can be grilled without too much hassle. This is because the meat on these skewers is usually well prepared and already small enough to cook through easily. The best part is that skewers are usually a bit more inexpensive than full meats. A big advantage to smoking skewers is the speed at which you can do them, requiring a fraction of the time spent on other meats.
How long should you be smoking meat?
Many people that start smoking make the mistake of overthinking how long they should be leaving the meat, forgetting to check on the meat, and focusing on the clock instead. This has caused many people to become confused as they enter the world, hoping to find salvation in temperature monitors, exactly timed cooks, or sometimes ignoring everything and overdoing it constantly.
Except for fish, the only way to know how long your meat should be in the smoker is by checking on the meat. You should not be opening the smoker every five minutes; however, you should be checking in on the meat. Ensuring that it is cooking evenly and that the rub is still perfectly coating everything. By cutting open one small piece or simply monitoring the color of the meat, you will soon learn when it is ready.
This is, unfortunately, the part where practice starts coming into play. You can use a temperature monitor; however, these temperatures require exact cuts from the meat and the perfect temperature for your smoker. Practicing how to smoke meat is the only way you will learn how long each cut and type of meat you like to smoke will take to cook.
What is the best medium to use for smoking meat?
We all love to sit around a fire, talking with a drink in our hands as we enjoy the company of friends. However, there is a painful truth to life that we cannot always do this, and when the pang of longing for nice smoked meat hits you, a proper smoker may be hours away. To make things even more frustrating, some places have these annoying things called building laws.
Fortunately, there is more than one way to smoke your meat, and knowing what the big three ways of smoking your meats are will enable you to choose the best one for your living arrangements.
This has become the most loved way to smoke meat in the United States, with many people having some type of gas grill already in their house. Smoking meat using a gas grill is close to how you would do it with an electrical appliance as well. However, gas grills allow you to do more than just a few pieces at a time, which means you can entertain a party full of people.
Gas smoking involves a few sacrificial flakes of wood, whichever smoking wood you prefer, placed on a pan or foil sheet. This is placed over the burners on one side of your grill, where the heat is turned up until the wood starts smoking. At that point, the heat is turned down, and the lid is closed. Smoking the meat and cooking it with a combination of generated inside the gas grill.
As much as we would like to all have the perfect gas grill on our porch, it is not always the truth of our lives, with most of us only having electric ovens in our kitchen. Some specialized electric smokers can be bought, but they can be expensive and serve only one purpose. To smoke meat in an oven is one of the more complicated and time-consuming setups you will have to undergo.
You will need a pan, a meshed stand, and a lot of tinfoil to smoke meat in your all-electric oven. You need to pre-heat your oven to around 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the pan, you will spread your chosen wood chips on the bottom, put the meshed stand on top, and then cover everything with foil. Placing all of this into the oven, you will know everything is going well once smoke starts rising from the side of the foil.
While this does work in smoking meat, it is not recommended for larger slices of meat as you will need to replace the wood constantly, and it can take several hours, if not most of the day.
There is only one way to taste perfectly smoked meat: using a grill that has been purpose-built to smoke meat. These can be drum-shaped or even be your Weber Kettle grill, with the amount of time you spend on smoking your meat only being decided by the type of meat you are using.
Smoking using a grill like this involves making a fire in the grill initially to get the heat building, with many people preferring to make a second fire in another weber or grill. Once you have all the required hot coals, you will start placing your chosen wood on the coals, only small pieces at a time, so that the wood does not catch fire. You will need to constantly check on the coals in the grill, the levels of smoke you are getting, and the progress of your meat.
However, this may be the most work you will have to do when smoking your meat. The taste, if done properly, is not something that can be described. Just be sure you know what you are doing before you try to do this for a party; nothing says disappointed like a steak cooked in the microwave because the griller forgot to buy enough wood.
When should you be making smoked meats?
Smoking meat is an event, never something you do after a day of working on anything; you might be likely to burn your house down if you do that. Many dads will already claim they know how to do it, leaving young men wondering just how they found time to learn how to do it. Some of the greatest smoke grillers are backyard dads that love nothing more than a steak cooked in 10 minutes on the open coals.
However, there are times where nothing but smoked meat will work, and getting the knack of doing it properly before these moments is vital to your manhood score. Though, we’re never quite sure who is keeping the tally of those numbers.
- Practice: When you get the chance, on long weekends, bored Sundays, or just short spurts of unemployment, these moments are perfect for practicing. You don’t need to smoke 20 steaks at a time. Doing one at a time will allow you to be ready when the right opportunity eventually does come along.
- Parties: You get catered parties, then you get the much livelier parties where you make the foods. Now and then, the perfect way to start a long and relaxing party is by having a smoked meat party. Many people would be willing to join in, bringing side dishes, be sure you can afford to get enough meat for everyone you invite!
- Events: Oddly enough, there are some events where it is needed that the meat blows the mind of those who are eating them. You can start preparing smoked meat a day before it is eaten, with the smoked tongue being one of the best cold meats on earth. Just be sure you are using the right spices; tongue can be oddly tricky to cook.
- Weekends: If you have a chance to have your significant other be relaxed, it may be worth it to have them relax over the weekend. Taking matters into your own hands as you prepare the Saturday or Sunday meal by having a cheeky smoking session in your backyard. Many people prefer to do this when they know they have nowhere to go and want to enjoy some truly magnificent food.
- Vacations: The ocean, the bush, the desert, or even the tropical forests of the world can all benefit from one thing, a good meat smoking session. One of the go-to things to do when on vacation for many dads is to recommend some smoked meats. This allows them to gather around the grill of whichever place they are in and have everyone enjoy the stories they have to tell.
What are the greatest ingredients to use for your rub?
Now, an important part of your meat smoking experience is the actual smoke, which is governed by the wood available in your area. There is one other thing that will greatly affect the taste of your smoked meat, the rub you are applying, either day before the smoking starts or dribbling on with a brush as the smoking is happening.
These are not all the spices you can use for your rubs, but some of them should always be included in them. Just be sure the meat you are smoking will taste well. Some game meat requires specific spices to taste great.
- Salt: It’s salt; all your dishes should have some salt in them.
- Pepper: This is pepper, white, brown, crushed, or dried. You should always have a few shakes of these in your rub. It helps to combine the other flavors a lot better.
- Brown Sugar: This is why smoked meat will have a lot of calories. Every store-bought smoking rub will have some sugar in them. The sauces you can buy to be brushed in will have triple the calories of a small piece of steak. Only add this if you want a sticky, calorie-rich piece of meat.
- Mustard: The unsung hero of more rubs than can be listed in one article, mustard comes in every shape and size you can imagine. Adding a dab or two powdered mustard will always have your rub taste a bit more unified.
- Onion Powder: Onions are great for most meats, with onion powder particularly shining with pork or lamb meats as it adds a nice little zing to your rub. Just be sure you don’t add too much, as onion powder will boost certain flavors while mellowing out others.
- Garlic Flakes: The most dangerous flake to add to your meat is that of garlic. If complemented with the right spices, it will create an amazing tasting rub that will be remembered for generations. If you add too many garlic flakes, the only way your rub will be remembered is by the burning sensation most will get when they think of your smoked meat session.
- Paprika: The taste of paprika is hard to explain. If you have some in your hand, it will taste like nothing; however, it will be missed if it is not in a dish. Like salt or pepper, paprika is a good way to combine other tastes into one taste. You can never go wrong by adding a bit of this to your rub.
- Cayenne Pepper: Not at all like normal pepper, cayenne pepper is for those who like a bit of hotness to their life. A perfect pepper to combine with mustard and paprika, the three will usually combine into something beautiful to eat. However, it will still give a slight pinch as you are enjoying your meal.
- Rosemary: One of the two spices we recommend having in your rub to introduce a lot of freshness a hint of an herbal taste, rosemary should be in every great meat lovers cupboard. A great addition to most meat dishes, rosemary is part of the mint family that is a must.
- Thyme: Thyme is not meant for normal meat that we eat. The herb can be overpowering or lost in the cacophony of other flavors that we like to eat. However, when you do choose to make some game meat, thyme will come out shining, working on reducing some of the stronger and stranger tastes this meat will have.
- Allspice: Using allspice is not cheating, and adding it to your rub will introduce some balance to it that you may be inexperienced to add. Just be sure not to add too much as allspice will have salt in it, making anything too salty to eat.
- Oil: Not meant for every piece of meat, a soft rub down of oil will help your rub adhere to it. Sometimes you can make your entire rub mixture inside some oil and simply marinade everything in it, allowing you to brush on more throughout the smoking process.
Smoking meat does not increase the calories inside the meat. However, having an overly sweet rub will add more than you could imagine. By taking control of your smoked meats, you will gain several things: a taste for finer things, a few new tools, and most important of all, man points.
Just be sure you have a bottle of whiskey nearby; smoking meat always seems to make us men want a nice glass of the stuff nearby!