Smoked Foods

How to cook with a smoker – low and slow and oh-so-good!

By FamilyTime


Backyard smokers come in different shapes and sizes and their prices run the gamut from affordable to downright luxurious.

If you are a beginner, a less expensive smoker may be the right choice. Save your money for the more elaborate apparatus when you become an expert and know you will use it frequently.

Free-standing smokers are a better choice than relying on a kettle or gas grill. You can smoke in one of these familiar backyard fixtures, but tending the fire to keep it smoldering is time consuming. And the finished food will never taste quite as good as that smoked in a “real cooker.”

Smoking Versus Grilling
A lot of folks use the term barbecuing and grilling interchangeably. This isn’t wrong, but we make a differentiation between the two -- and the distinction is one champion barbecuers make as well.

Grilling refers to food cooked over a hot fire, or slightly off center of the fire. This kind of cooking takes place on a backyard or stovetop grill.

Barbecuing is the act of cooking food low and slow in a smoker, which is also known as a “cooker,” with the heat source in a closed chamber a good distance from the food so that the resulting hot smoke envelops it as it cooks.

Expert barbecuers build customized smokers, designed so that they can maintain the right heat and smoke output to cook food to its most tender and appealingly smoky best. Most home cooks rely on commercial smokers.

Why Smoke Food?
Smoked food is moist and tastes deliciously of smoke and of the wood or charcoal used to cook it. Meat and poultry are the most commonly smoked foods, and smoked fish is a real treat.

Most people agree that once they start smoking, they get hooked and want to try smoking everything from meat to fish to cheese! Ever tried smoked sausage? How about smoked peppers? Smoked mozzarella?

Smoking is the only way to get the authentic flavor of true barbecue. If you wonder why your ribs, pulled pork or brisket don’t taste as good as that you’ve eaten at barbecue restaurants throughout the South and Midwest, it’s probably because they have not been smoked.

Blue ribbon smoked meats are fall-off-the-bone tender. All smoked foods have a tantalizing smokiness that is neither subtle nor overpowering. You will know it when you taste it!