Outdoor cooking takes on a new meaning when you use charcoal smokers, especially if you use add some flavoring to the fire with which you are cooking. There are some charcoal briquettes that have flavors burned into the food during manufacturing, but many outdoor cooks recommend the use of specific wood with regular charcoal to enhance the flavor of the meat. There are many sizes of charcoal smokers available from the small tabletop size designed to hold about five pounds of meat, to the family size, a stand-alone unit capable of smoking up to 50 pounds and the almost commercial size for over 100 pounds. Whichever size and type charcoal smokers you choose, remember it takes longer to smoke meat than it does to grill.
For example, after soaking a four-pound rack of short ribs in bar-b-cue sauce for up to eight hours, at will take over two hours for them to be ready to eat. This will be depending on a few factors such as how hot the fire burns, and the type of meat being smoked. Briskets, for instance tend to absorb more smoke that muscle meats and will take longer in charcoal smokers. Type Of Wood Determines Flavor Different types of wood add a distinct flavor to the meat being smoked and not all wood will generate an appealing taste for all meats in charcoal smokers. For example, hickory offers a smoky flavor, almost like bacon and is the most common type of wood used. Walnut, on the other hand, provides a heavy smoke flavor and is usually combined with apple or another light wood.
If used alone it can leave the meat with a bitter taste. Pine and cedar are about the only wood that should not be used for smoking meats, as the absorbed flavor will not be pleasant. Wood from fruit trees, used by itself or with hardwoods like hickory or mesquite, can add a sweet flavor when used in charcoal smokers.
The size of your smoker will depend on how much meat you plan to smoke, and many backyard smokers prefer the barrel type with the offset burner in which to set the fire. This can be used in the yard or packed onto your truck and hauled to the picnic grounds for larger gathering. It is going to require about 12 briquettes for every hour of smoking and if mixing different wood, the recipe remains the same in charcoal smokers.
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