Different types of wood are commonly used when smoking meats to add enhanced levels of taste, smell, and color, as well as flavors like cherry, oak, peach, hickory, apple to the meat. Wood can also add bitter, more savory, rich hints to the meat with using mesquite.
The wood used to generate any smoke should be a hardwood such as post Oak, Hickory, Apple, Cherry or Mesquite. Pine,Cider,Cypress or any other resinous wood or sawdust are not recommended because the smoke from these woods will be sooty and strong-smelling.
Hardwoods are made up mostly of three materials: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Cellulose and hemicellulose are the basic structural material of the wood cells; lignin acts as a kind of cell-bonding glue. Some soft woods, especially pines and firs, hold significant quantities of resin, which produces a harsh-tasting soot when burned; these woods are not often used for smoking.
Cellulose and hemicellulose are aggregate sugar molecules; when burnt, they effectively caramelize, producing carbonyls, which provide most of the color components and sweet, flowery, and fruity aromas. Lignin, a highly complex arrangement of interlocked phenolic molecules, also produces a number of distinctive aromatic elements when burnt, including smoky, spicy, and pungent compounds such as guaiacol, phenol, and syringol, and sweeter scents such as the vanilla-scented vanillin and clove-like isoeugenol. Guaiacol is the phenolic compound most responsible for the “smoky” taste, while syringol is the primary contributor to smoky aroma. Wood also contains small quantities of proteins, which contribute roasted flavors. Many of the odor compounds in wood smoke, especially the phenolic compounds, are unstable, dissipating after a few weeks or months.
Since different species of trees have different ratios of components, various types of wood do impart a different flavor to food. Another important factor is the temperature at which the wood burns. High-temperature fires see the flavor molecules broken down further into unpleasant or flavorless compounds. The optimal conditions for smoke flavor are low, smoldering temperatures between 570 and 750°F. This is the temperature of the burning wood itself, not of the smoking environment, which uses much lower temperatures. Woods that are high in lignin content tend to burn hot; to keep them smoldering requires restricted oxygen supplies or a high moisture content.
Smoking Woods (FAQ’s) Frequently Asked Questions
What wood should you not smoke with?
Avoid wood from conifers such as pine, redwood, fir, spruce, cypress, or cedar. These trees contain high levels of sap and turpentine’s which results in a funny taste and can make people sick. Cedar planks are popular for cooking salmon, but do not burn the wood for smoke
Should you soak wood chunks before smoking?
In truth, soaking your wood chips and chunks is not necessary and here is why. Wood chips and chunks that have been soaked have to get rid of any moisture before they can produce smoke. There is not enough moisture to produce significant steam or smoke, however, it will produce flavor on your food.
What is the Best Wood for Smoking Meat?
Why does my smoked meat taste bitter?
Identifying Creosote, the Bitter Flavor on Smoked Meats. The secret of barbecue is heat, time, and smoke. … You need to bring smoke to the meat, but you cannot hold it there for too long. Smoke that becomes too heavy or stays for too long creates a substance called creosote.
What color should my smoke be when smoking meat?
The first bit of smoke coming out of the exhaust will be dark gray, then it will become white as the fire progresses, and eventually it will move to the desired blue smoke stage. This is the smoke color you want to maintain throughout the cooking process
At what temperature does meat no longer absorb smoke?
Depending on the meat and how hot your fire is, most will stop absorbing smoke anywhere between 140–150 degrees
Should bark be removed from wood for smoking meat?
I personally do not waste a lot of time with trying to remove the bark. Bark being left on your stored wood increases the chances of a good home for bugs and will also hold moisture and can cause the wood to start rotting quicker if not stored in a dry place.
Can you use fresh cut green wood in a smoker?
Conventional wisdom says that walnut, elm, eucalyptus, and sycamore are also unfit for smoking. Likewise, any green wood — that is, freshly cut wood that has not been properly seasoned (dried) — will contain too much moisture and sap, making it burn unevenly and sometimes imparting an unpleasant flavor.
Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces and Good-One Smoker/Grills
Preparing lamb differs from beef in that it contains several lean cuts, such as the shoulder, rib, and leg…From a health perspective, that is excellent news. For the home cook, it means that you must balance doneness without drying out the meat. A butterflied leg of lamb removes the challenge of ensuring that it’s cooked through to your desired temperature without charring the outside.
Let’s go through the cooking process step-by-step.
Your butcher can take care of the cut or you can remove the leg bone yourself. The key to grilled a butterflied leg of lamb is…
After trimming any excess fat, place the meat between two pieces of plastic wrap or inside of a Ziplock bag. Pound it gently with a kitchen mallet.
At this point, you have some choices to make.
You can marinate the lamb with a rub, a selection of fresh herbs with olive oil, or use a barbecue sauce to baste it over the coals.
You can also tie the meat into a roast with kitchen twine and smoke it. It’s a tasty way to make buying this smoker a smart investment.
Spice and Herb Options Garlic and rosemary are the soulmates of lamb. However, they aren’t your only choices. It also works well with Mediterranean spices like turmeric and cumin. Give it a French twist with tarragon or herbes de Provence.
The possibilities are endless.
Getting Ready for the Grill You should bring the lamb to room temperature before you cook it. That will assure even cooking throughout the meat. If you’re using a marinade, it’s a great opportunity to do both things at the same time.
Since it is a relatively large cut, you’ll find it helpful to use skewers both horizontally and vertically tomake it easier for you to turn on the grill.
Prepare your grill to get it to medium to medium-high heat. A quick gauge of this temperature is being able to keep your hand over the coals for about 5 seconds.
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels, which you should do anyway even if you didn’t marinate it. That will prevent the lamb from sticking to the rack.
Get Set! Barbecue!
You will need a set of tongs, hand oven mitt, and an instant-read thermometer. Also, have a platter with a sheet of aluminum foil within reach. It’s essential not to use the same plate that held the raw meat to prevent foodborne contamination.
Make sure the rack is clean and oil it lightly. You can grill the meat for 10 to 15 minutes on each side, depending on the doneness you prefer. FoodSafety.gov recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for fresh cuts like the butterflied leg of lamb.
That temperature puts it in the medium-well category, which can be a bit tough for a lean cut like this one. If you prefer something different, the ranges for the doneness levels are as follows:
You should, of course, verify the temp with your instant-read thermometer to be certain. Place it on the clean platter, and cover lightly with the foil. Remember that the temperature will continue to rise as it sits.
We recommend waiting at least 10 minutes before you cut into the lamb.
Using a Barecue Sauce
The method for using a BBQ sauce varies slightly because of the basting. We suggest that you use the sauce as you grill the meat. Don’t coat it before you put it on the coals.
The reason is…sugar.
Since your medium to medium-high grill is over 350 degrees, the sugar will likely burn first instead of getting the yummy caramelized effect from the Maillard reaction. You might also risk a flame-up when the sauce hits the coals.
Not a good thing when you have a platter in hand and tongs in the other.
Lamb is a healthy lean protein that makes a delicious addition to your grilling rotation. It cooks quickly and is versatile for a wide range of cuisines. The smoky goodness that the barbecue adds makes it taste that much better. Get out of the beef and hamburger rut! Give lamb a chance for something new.
Annabelle Carter Short is an experienced writer, editor, proofreader, blogger, teacher and photographer. She likes to cook, sew, and she’s very passionate about healthy food that tastes delicious. She loves designing new healthy recipes in her kitchen. She writes for seriouslysmoked.com
Have you ever cooked a perfect chicken? Were the breasts moist and tender and the leg completely cooked? Chances are, not always. Why is it so hard to get the dark meat cooked perfectly without over cooking the white meat? The reason is that a chicken is two distinctly different kinds of meat. The breast meat is very different from the leg, thigh and wing meat. This can create a real challenge when it comes to cooking the perfect chicken.
The make-up of a chicken:
At the biochemical level a chicken is a combination of approximately 3 parts water to one-part fat and one-part protein. Most of the meat comes from muscle fibers in the chicken, which are mostly proteins – notably myosin and actin. Because chcikens rarely fly but rather walk, they contain far more fat in their legs than in their breast, which results in the strong differences in texture between these sections of the bird – and the difficulty in making sure that all portions of the bird are properly heated.
The science of cooking a chicken:
As you cook the chicken, muscle fibers contract until they begin to break up at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Bonds within the molecules begin to break down, causing proteins to unravel, and the dense muscle meat to become tenderer. Collagen in the bird (one of three protein fibers that attach muscles to the bone) breaks down into softer gelatin molecules as it unwinds.
The dryness of a chicken is a result of muscle proteins coagulating within the meat, which can result if it is cooked too long.
Temperature differentials in cooking a chicken:
Part of the problem, as described above, is that the different nature of the light and dark meat in a chicken results in different rates to reach the coagulation of the muscle proteins. If you cook it too long, the breast meat has coagulated; if you don’t cook the bird long enough, the dark meat is still tough and chewy. Harold McGee, a food science writer, indicates aiming for 155 – 160 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast), but you want 180 degrees or above in the leg.
Myth #1: You should wash raw chicken before cooking it.
Bad idea. In fact, the USDA advises against it. When you wash raw poultry, the pathogens get on your hands and in the sink. Cooking poultry thoroughly deactivates these pathogens, so you should avoid handling raw food as much as possible. If you use a cutting board, sanitize it and the knife properly, and discard the packaging carefully.
Myth #2: Removing chicken skin and fat will help lower my fat intake.
Not really. If you do this, your chicken will be dry and flavorless. Cook your poultry with all its skin and fat, and it’s fine to eat some cooked skin. In fact, it can be healthful if it comes from a well-raised chicken.
Myth #3: Yellow chickens have more fat than paler chickens.
Not necessarily. A chicken’s pigment comes from the color of its feed. A chicken that eats feed containing xanthophyll will have more yellow hue than one that does not. Either way, chicken skin is not an accurate measure of its fat content, nutritional value, tenderness or flavor.
Myth #4: If the Chicken label says “fresh,” then it’s fresh.
Not always the case. According to the USDA, any poultry stored below 0 degrees Fahrenheit is considered “frozen” and above 26 degrees Fahrenheit is considered “fresh.” However, a turkey at this temperature is neither “frozen” nor “fresh.”
Myth #5: Cooking a chicken until its “juices run clear when pricked” is standard poultry advice but, according to Cook’s Illustrated, it’s not a very dependable way to tell if your chicken is properly cooked
So how do you know when the smoked chicken is done?
Use a thermometer. It is the best way to know that your bird is safe to eat. Chicken is cooked at 165 degrees F but when smoking you want to overcook it. Test the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken breast. A good smoked chicken will be very tender, have a late summer tan, pink meat.
Cooking times and temperatures for chicken pieces:
170-Dark 165 White
170-Dark 165 White
Why is smoked chicken skin tough?
“The Chicken Skin Problem” One of the biggest issues with smoking chicken is the skin. Roasted at high temperatures, chicken skin will render fat and moisture and can become crisp and easily bitten through. Slow smoked, at a low temperature, the skin can become tough and rubbery
How do you make smoked chicken skin crispy?
Try bumping your temperature up to at least 350 when you smoke it. OR, you can throw it under the broiler for 2-4 minutes once you take it off the smoker. I smoke my chickens at 250 and use Three Little Pigs Championship rub on the skin and add a couple tablespoons of corn starch, never have much of an issue with crispy skin.
Why Brine Chicken?
Brining chicken not only adds moisture to the chicken, making it nice and plump, it also helps prevent it from drying out when you cook it. The result is a delicious, moist and juicy chicken.
Brining not only affects the texture and juiciness of your chicken, it also affects the taste. A few hours in a brine will let salt penetrate deep into the chicken meat, enhancing its natural flavor.
Of course, there is one disadvantage. All the extra water that ends up in the chicken can make it harder to get a crispy skin. Luckily, that’s easy to fix.
How Brining Works
Brining is a neat little bit of science at work. In this section, I’ll talk about what goes on when you brine chicken.If you understand what’s going on, it’s easier to modify the technique a little bit to suit your taste or apply it to a new situation.
There are two major processes at work during brining:
Diffusion. This is when particles move from a region of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. For example, when you’re brining chicken, the brine has a lot more salt in it that the chicken. To balance things out, the salt gets absorbed by the chicken — not just on the surface, but all through the meat (although it does take a bit of time).
Osmosis. This is when water (or another liquid) moves through a membrane from one region that has more water to another region that has less water. When you brine chicken, you’re creating just that situation: the brine has a lot more water than the chicken, so the water moves through the chicken cells, from the brine to the chicken. The result? Moister chicken!
On top of diffusion and osmosis, there’s another neat thing that happens when you brine chicken. When the salt gets inside the chicken flesh, it makes some of the protein’s molecules unravel. Then, when you cook the meat, the unraveled proteins interact and create a kind of shield that holds the moisture in.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
How to Inject a Chicken, we all know that chicken tends to be a dry meat especially in the best area. This is a way to push moisture into your chicken while infusing it with great flavors at the same time. Just remember that this is a marinadeso it will need some time in the meat to get the flavors.
5- Points of Injections Chicken.
Different “Whole” Chicken Cooking Methods
Beer Can Chicken:
Beer can chicken the only thing beer can chicken does is wastes a perfectly good can of beer.
The 12-ounce can insert into the rear end of a chicken does not distribute beer flavor, nor will it boil and steam the bird cavity and make it moister. The product tastes delicious because roasted chicken cooked over hot coals tastes delicious.
The chicken cooks uneven due to the breast being set high on the stand into the heat verses the legs and thighs cooking lower.
The beer can, snugly nestled in the cavity, blocks heated air from flowing through the bird. As a result, there is the very real danger the interior will not cook quickly enough to prevent bacteria from developing.
Beer can interiors are coated with an epoxy that contains Bisphenol A (BPA). Is the popular method of cooking a chicken perched on an open beer can really a good idea? Some studies have linked BPA to cancer and other harmful health effects.
For those who have any remaining concerns, there is always the vertical roaster, which works just as well and cleaner as a low-tech option.
Spatchcocking Chicken, A spatchcock chicken (also called “butterflied chicken”) is a whole chicken with its backbone removed. The chicken is then opened like a book and laid flat before smoking. (And it’s a whole lot easier than it might sound.)
Benefits of Spatchcocking:
Cooks Faster: Flattening the Chicken out exposes more surface area to heat, so overall cooking time is reduced. A 10-pound spatchcock turkey was done in only 2 hour 45 minutes at 250º F. Compare that with the 4 to 4½ hours it takes to cook an unstuffed whole chicken at the same 250º F.
Crisper Skin: All the skin is exposed evenly to the heat, with none of it hiding on the underside. That means it all crisps up evenly. And who doesn’t love crispy skin?
Juicier Chicken: Chicken has two different kinds of meat that are cooked through at two different temperatures. And there’s the problem. Breast meat starts drying out after it reaches 150° F, but dark leg meat isn’t thoroughly cooked until 165° to 170° F. People try all kinds of tricks to keep the breast from drying out while the legs are still cooking, but simply opening the turkey and cooking it flat brings both kinds of meat to doneness at the same time. Problem solved.
How to Spatchcock a Chicken:
Place the chicken breast-side down with the tail facing you. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone, then repeat on the other side of the backbone.
Turn the chicken breast-side up and spread it out on the cutting board. Press down on the breastbone with the palm of your hand to flatten the chicken.
Use a chef’s knife to split the chicken into two halves if you like
On the Preparation process the chicken was spatchcocked (Backbone removed), Rub Some Butt Carolina Mustard BBQ sauce was applied to front and back of the Spatchcocked chicken and Three Little Pig’s Memphis BBQ rub was applied to both sides. Then I used a Jaccard tenderizer to puncture the skin on the breast side to help render the fat to force flavor deeper in the chicken.
I added the Chicken on the PK360 Grill, once the temperature reached 350 degrees and maintained that temperature the entire cook. I grilled the breast meat to 165 degrees and the thighs and drums to 175 degrees. The dark meat will cook quicker due to higher fat content and not as dense as the breast meat. The Grill time was 1:20 minutes to hit temperatures running at 350 degrees.
Three Little Pig’s Boneless Chicken Breast Recipe:
This is going to be a real treat if you have not
experienced a smoked poor man’s burnt ends meal.
Using a chuck roast instead of smoking a whole brisket, puts
this recipe in the “poor man” category. You will be surprised at the
culinary magic that happens when you smoke a properly seasoned chuck roast to
make burnt ends. Forget the brisket. You don’t need it. A beef chuck roast is
all you need to astound your family and friends. Also, your wallet will be happy,
due to the saving at the grocery store. Pick an evenly marbled roast for the
Beef tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef and it is
located within the loin. This is where we get filet mignon, which is
made from the very tip of the pointy end of the tenderloin. There is also very
little fat within the tenderloin, making it a very lean cut. Because of all
that, beef tenderloin is one of the most expensive cuts of beef.
Tenderloin is the long, narrow, and lean muscle located
within the Loin; this is the most tender cut of beef available. The Tenderloin
is the source of Tenderloin Steak or Filet Mignon and is a component
of T-Bone and Porterhouse Steaks.
What are the different cuts of the beef tenderloin?
The whole tenderloin is broken down into three parts.
The Center Cut
What is a Good Price for A
FULL Beef Tenderloin?
This conversation starts and ends with
Costco and Sam’s Club. Both are places to go to get beef tenderloin. They offer
entire tenderloins that you can cut up yourself (unpeeled), or tenderloins
already trimmed (peeled). And if you are
ever going to learn how to cut your own steaks, the tenderloin is a great
start. Both offer a large selection of tenderloins peeled and un-peeled daily.
You might even be able to score a better price, especially right after the
holidays when they are trying to clear out inventory. The cost per pound commonly
run between $9.99-$16.99 Per pound (Un-peeled) to $16.99-$24.99 per pound (Peeled)
for the full strap of tenderloin. They usually both carry a stock of Choice and
Prime to choose from.
Peeled Tenderloin– Peeled typically has the “chain” and silver skin removed (and
much easier for when you trim)
Un-Peeled Tenderloin– Has the silver skin
and surrounding muscle still on it, often referred to as “the chain”.
Can I trim my own Beef tenderloin the answer
is “Yes” 3 easy steps?
Remove the side chain. The side chain is that grizzly piece that runs the length of the tenderloin and is about a ½ inch in diameter. To remove it, insert your fingers between the two muscles and gently separate it with a tug. It should separate easily; you may need to use your knife to totally remove it.
Next, remove the “silver skin” which is a shiny membrane on the outer side of the larger end. Insert the tip of your boning knife under the silver skin about two inches from the end and cut. Lift up on the piece of silver skin, gently slide your knife along the underside of the skin toward the small end. Repeat this until all the silver skin is off.
Remove any fat nodules or hard pieces on all sides of the tenderloin by rubbing up and down the muscle with you hands, cleanup any unneeded pieces with youe knife.
HOW TO REVERSE SEAR BEEF TENDERLOIN
Beef Tenderloin is incredible cooked on the smoker. Use the reverse sear method to create an
incredible smoky flavor, then finishing it over a hot grill for that perfect
sear, then you get the exterior texture
of the hot grill marks to enhance the beef flavor.
What is the reverse sear method?
Smoke – Process in which the lower heat and
smoke will flavor the meat. We use Cherry and Pecan wood and smoke at 250
degrees F until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 130 degrees F. The
Tenderloin is not done yet, we are going to continue cooking over high heat to
our desired finishing temperature of 145 degrees F.
Sear – When the beef tenderloin reaches the
desired smoke internal temperature of 130 degrees, remove the meat and add it
to a high heat to finish. In this case we removed the meat, Then increased the
temperature of the smoker’s grill, then finish it by searing it over the hot
grill. Alternatively, you can finish it in a searing hot cast-iron pan.
RECIPE FOR SMOKED BEEF TENDERLOIN – REVERSE SEARED
Trim beef tenderloin. Remove chain mussel, remove
all the silver skin and excess fat nodules off the tenderloin, remove the butt
end for a uniform center cut whole tenderloin, save the scraps for other
Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and
remove from plastic wrap. Prepare your smoker using cherry or pecan wood at 250
Place the tenderloin on the smoker until the
internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. This should take approximately 45
minutes to an hour. Once the temperature of the meat reaches 130 degrees remove
Prepare grill for high heat or direct grilling.
Grill tenderloin 3 minutes per side and remove when the internal temperature of
the tenderloin is 140 degrees F, about 8 – 12 minutes total. You will find the
tenderloin has roughly three sides as it grills and it easy to rotate.
Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes prior to
Chris Marks -CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s
Rubs & Sauces/Good-One Manufacturing
What are WAGYU? WAGYU – a Japanese beef cattle breed – derive from native Asian cattle. ‘WAGYU’ refers to all Japanese beef cattle, where ‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow. Wagyu were originally draft animals used in agriculture and were selected for their physical endurance. This selection favored animals with more intra-muscular fat cells – ‘marbling’ – which provided a readily available energy source. Wagyu is a horned breed and the cattle are either black or red in color.
Wagyu vs. Kobe Beef You may have heard “kobe” used interchangeably with “wagyu,” or used to tout an expensive cut of meat. So, what is kobe beef? Kobe is essentially just a brand of wagyu beef, in the same way that Nike is a brand of shoe. In order for something to be labeled as Kobe beef, first of all, it has to originate in Kobe, Japan. Then, all parties who have a hand in getting this sought-after meat to your table—from the farm to the slaughterhouse to the buyer to the restaurant—has to be licensed by The Kobe Beef Association. “Everyone is paying to be part of the thing called kobe beef,” Heitzeberg says. “But the final thing is they have to be rated A4 or A5—so everything else could be true, but if it’s an A3, you can’t call it Kobe,” Heitzeberg says.
And if you see the words “American kobe” on a menu, take it as a big red flag—American kobe doesn’t exist. “Kobe is from Kobe, Japan, just like Champagne is from Champagne,” Henderson says. “To be true kobe beef, it has to be from Kobe. [Restaurants] cold be part of an association where they’re able to sell kobe beef, but kobe beef is not able to be produced here.”
What’s the Difference Between Japanese and American Wagyu?
In addition to the looser rating system and divergent cattle-farming techniques, the biggest difference between American wagyu and Japanese wagyu is that Japanese wagyu is purebred, where American wagyu is crossbred. “[American wagyu] is still going to be crazy marbled with intense flavor, but it’s most likely wagyu bred with angus,” Henderson says.
“Almost all of that stuff is angus beef crossbred with wagyu in an uncontrolled, unregulated, unspecified percentage of DNA,” Heitzeberg says. “I’ve eaten my bodyweight several times over in Japanese wagyu and American wagyu, and I haven’t tasted anything that’s angus mixed with wagyu at any percentage that tastes like Japanese wagyu does at 100 percent
Besides yield and quality grading system, you will also find Beef Marbling System in the classification of Wagyu beef. This grading system specifically looks at the beef marbling, with 1 for the lowest marbling score and 12 for the highest marbling score.
Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces and Good-One Smoker/Grills