A Newbie’s Guide to Cooking Meat with a Gas Smoker
Smoking meat is one of the best ways to enjoy cooking outdoors. Plus, it gives a unique flavour to the food that you can’t replicate with other cooking methods. In order to smoke food though you need a good BBQ smoker. And in today’s day and age the most convenient solution would be a gas-powered one. Why? Because they do not require a lot of cleaning nor do they have a long preparation period. Not to mention, powering them is cheaper than using an electric grill.
However, the main reason you’d want to buy a BBQ gas smoker would be because it gives meat that smokey charcoal aroma without the need to use a charcoal grill. Charcoal grills create a lot of smoke which makes using them quite uncomfortable. On the other hand, BBQ gas smokers operate by having a gas burner at the bottom that heats up usually lava rocks or chunks of wood which then heat up the water in the drop tray. The heat or steam from the water slowly enters and cooks the meat which is what gives it the tenderness and juiciness.
While settling for the right smoker is simple (gas is the best option, obviously), smoking the different types of meat isn’t as it requires different temperature levels and time for the perfect flavour. Here are some of the main things you should know in order to ensure tasty results.
How to Smoke Meat in a Gas Smoker?
Lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and duck can be part of your summer cookout but be sure to smoke the birds the right way. When smoking any game hen on a BBQ gas smoker, you need to watch the temperature it’s smoked at. For example, ground poultry such as meatballs, and burgers need to be smoked at 74 °C. Pieces such as legs, thighs, and wings are also smoked at 74 °C as well as frozen raw breaded chicken products. Whole poultry needs to be smoked at a constant temperature of 82 °C.
When smoking beef, the brisket is what most people go for. Originating from the chest of the cow, the beef brisket is one of the most popular meats smoked on a BBQ gas smoker. Smoking beef brisket or any other tenderised beef and veal temperatures should range from 63 °C to 77 °C with 71 °C being used to make medium smoked beef.
The most popular meat that people like smoking, in general, is pork. With a smoker, you’re able to cook pork to the point where the meat falls from the bone. But in order for this to be possible, you need to smoke pork at 71 °C no matter if it’s pieces or ground pork we’re talking about.
Seafood & Sausages
Whilst both seafood and sausages are very different from each other in regard to taste, when it comes to smoking them there isn’t really any difference. One thing both types of meat have in common is that they don’t take a lot of time to get that juicy flavour. All you need to do is set the temperature a 74 °C and wait for a couple of minutes. For fish, you’ll need a running temperature of 70 °C for them to be nicely smoked.
How to Season a Gas Smoker?
To make smoking a big part of your life you need to ensure the longevity of your smoker itself. Gas smokers, like any other smoker, out there need to be seasoned. This is a process which not only extends the life of the smoker but it also helps clean away contaminants. These contaminants are usually what’s left over from the manufacturing process, meaning you need to season your smoker as soon as you get it. Of course, it needs to be hooked up to a gas tank or your household propane supply before you start this process.
Once you set up the smoker properly, give it some good cleaning using dish soap and water. Make sure to remove all the grates, pans, and racks and the rest of the removable parts. Clean all those parts too as well as the interior of the smoker and the firebox. Once you’ve done that let the smoker dry off on its own.
When you have the smoker completely dried off get some healthy canola or grapeseed cooking oil. You want an oil that has a high burning point as it will leave a hard protective surface when the smoker has gone through polymerisation (heating process). Apply a thin layer of either oil with a spray or soft cloth on the inside walls, door, and lid of the smoker. Make sure to coat the racks and grates too and let everything soak anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes.
Now you need to start the heating process. This process includes slowly raising the temperature in the smoker and then keeping it there for about 2 – 4 hours. You need to have both intake and exhaust vents open to allow for the maximum amount of airflow. When your smoker has reached a temperature of about 150 °C and keep it there anywhere between 2 to 4 hours.
You’ll need to check the walls and grates from time to time to find out when the heating process has done its job. Once the grates and walls have a dark brown colour, the process is complete. This means that you’ve formed a nice protective layer and now all you have to do is let the smoker cool down on its own. Once that’s done remove the ashes and you’re ready to prepare delicious meals.