How To Smoke Meat At Home & Why You should be!

How To Smoke Meat At Home & Why You should be!

Smoking Food At Home UK Smoked Chicken

Smoking food has been used here in the U.K and around the world for many thousands of years! Learn how to do it the modern way and WHY this is something YOU want to be doing!

To most of us (Especially in the U.K) Smoking food over fire is a new thing and you may be forgiven for thinking you can't do it at home, you need lots of expensive kit and will take years of learning. But it's really easier and cheaper than you might think. Grab a beverage and read on to find out how...

Why smoke food? What does it do?

Smoking foods was traditionally a way of preserving them, keeping them good to eat for longer. Now though it's pretty much all about the flavour! You can smoke practically any foods and there are different types of smoking too. Here though we are mainly going to be concentrating on "Hot smoking" meat and fish. (More on the different types of smoking foods later) 

The simplest reason for smoking meat at home is that it tastes awesome! The smoke flavour from different wood types acts like a glorious seasoning, changing the flavour and colour depending on what wood types you use. (Click the link for more types of wood to smoke food with). It's also fun to do and a theatrical process to impress family and friends, opening the lid and waiting for the smoke to clear, revealing the beautiful food beneath it just gets the mouth watering thinking about it. 

What equipment do I need to smoke food at home?

The subject of equipment to use at home for smoking meat and other foods at home could be a whole book in itself. But below are the bare minimum you'll need and rough costs to get started. Even if you don't have a single one of these you still don't need to spend a fortune! This list is for Hot Smoking, cold smoking is a little different but still really cheap and easy to do at home! 

Things you'll need: 

  • A BBQ or gas grill with a lid of some sort - From around £20

  • Good quality wood to smoke with - From around £2 - £3

  • Fuel to light the BBQ with, either good quality charcoal or gas if using a gas grill - From around £6 - £10
  • Some form of food to smoke - A £3 chicken will do just fine!

Thats it!... No really... That's all you need to get started in the wonderful world of smoking food at home. As you can see, even if you don't have a BBQ, fuel to put in it and no food in the fridge, you can get started from just over £30! Even less if you already have some of the things on the list.

There are many things that will help and make things easier or more impressive, from tools and accessories to dedicated smokers. But that's all for another article where we will cover in much more depth the kit available and "nice to have" gadgets. For now, if you have the above, or can get them you are ready to get started! 

Ok, I'm in... So HOW do I do it?

Ah... The good bit! 

So, you've decided you want to give it a go. Now you want to know HOW to get that amazing Brisket cooked to perfection and the ultimate rack of ribs out tomorrow?

Ok... Slow down! 

Smoking meat, fish veggies with great results can be easy (We've already said that right?) It can also be inexpensive (We've said that as well!) And it's true, but it can also take time to learn and become very expensive, if using certain cuts of meat that are very hard to get right and can cost a pretty penny... Yep, that's the Brisket in a nutshell! 

Far better at this stage is to concentrate on taking the simple things that one step further. We will be covering far more in depth how to's in other articles, but for now let's keep it simple! 

Go with some easier meals to start - Chicken is great, either whole/spatchcock or thighs and wings. Pork shoulder is relatively cheap to buy and very forgiving so another great one to start with early on! Easy doesn't mean bad either, one of my favourite BBQ smoked meals will always be the humble Chicken. Give it a go, I PROMISE you it will be the best chicken you've ever eaten!

First, you want to generally keep your cooking temperature that bit lower than you may be used to for most things when smoking meat for flavour. This gives time for the smoke flavour to get right in there!

Second, make sure to use good quality Lumpwood charcoal or Briquettes (You don't need to break the bank but please no instant light in the bag charcoal! It is full of additives and will really taint the food you are cooking!)

Thirdly, for your smoking woods... Don't over do it! Less is more and you're looking for a nice thin wisp of light blue smoke ideally. Clouds of thick white smoke will at best, give far too much smoke flavour and overpower almost anything, at worst completely ruin whatever you have on the grill!

As for what to do with your wood chunks/chips...

Chunks can simply be placed directly onto hot coals, chips can be placed onto coals but will not last long. Better to use either a metal smoker box (Particularly useful with a gas grill) or simply a foil packet with a few holes poked through to let out the smoke. The parcel of chips can then be placed onto, or next to the coals (Or over the gas burner if using gas) and as the chips heat up, they will start to smoulder, producing that wonderful smoky goodness. 

That's it for now!

Check out our other articles for more in depth information as we add them. 

Don't forget to visit our shop online to get the very best Smoking Woods, Rubs and Seasonings at the best prices in the UK. It's free delivery on orders over £35 too!

Most importantly... Enjoy your journey into smoking food at home. It's fun and exciting, plus who doesn't love some epic food!?





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