Thanks to Home Herb and Garden CEO Patrick OBrien
Smoking with the kettle BBQ’s is easy. You get the briquettes or charcoal going, then pop a tray of sawdust on the coals, on one side of the BBQ. You can use an aluminium tray, but a cast iron smoker box is much better. Then pop in your meat or fish, and put the lid on. A piece of leg or shoulder pickled pork will provide beautiful moist ham.
If you are doing a piece of belly pork for bacon, you only cook to 58 degrees, not the usual 72 degrees as you would for ham. The reason for this is that you will slice and recook the bacon again, with eggs, or mushrooms, or baked beans and toast! Or all of them! Fish only takes 20 minutes or so to smoke.
Sausages are nice smoked, especially hot sausages such as Mexican or chilli. Don’t overdo the smoke though, just a light smoke is fine. You can also smoke vegetables, poultry, and cheese!
You can get a wide assortment of flavored sawdust and woodchips, maple, cherry hickory, mesquite, oak and pecan, which give a distinctive flavor to the smoked food. You can also put woody herb stems on the fire as well, rosemary, grape leaves, bay or thyme twigs. In Australia a favorite is lemon myrtle Also you can use nut shells, walnut, hazelnuts, or macadamia shells. Just soak in water for ½ an hour before using. I prefer not to soak sawdust, it burns too slowly or not at all, but wood chips or wood shavings need to be soaked to slow down their combustion rate..
There are a couple of tricks. One is to dry the pickled pork (or chicken or fish) thoroughly before putting it in the smoker. That way the color is enhanced, and the smoke takes better. That’s another reason why I like to put the meat in before the smoke starts, because it gets 5 or 10 minutes of heat to dry it properly.
With a whole chicken, soak it for a five hours in a mixture of salt and brown sugar. One part brown sugar to six parts salt, although you can increase the amount of brown sugar if you wish. The brine is the right saline strength when you can float a small potato in the brine. If doing chicken pieces or fish, three quarters of an hour, or ½ hour with fish, in the brine is usually long enough. If you wish you can put herbs in the brine too.
About Patrick OBrien: Patrick is a retired Master Butcher and businessman who also has broad horticultural experience. He has owned a restaurant, commercially grown organic vegetables, and he operated a herb nursery for many years.
To learn more about home herbs, garden, health, and homebiz, please visit: http://www.home-herb-garden.com