Smoking was traditionally a technique used to preserve meat. Although we now have better ways to keep meat fresh, the popularity of smoking it has never died. It’s the best way to bring out the deep, rich flavor of brisket, ribs, and other cuts of meat that simply taste best when they’re smoked until the meat melts off the bone. You can brine your meat first or dress it in a rub, use a charcoal grill or a high-tech electric smoker, and choose from a variety of woods that each impart different flavors to the meat. Regardless of the particulars, the meat is cooked on low, even heat for many hours until it’s smoked to delicious perfection.
You need to practice good temperature control. Meat smoking is best done in the range of 200-220 degrees F. To be safe most meats need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F and poultry to 165 degrees F. However, to get real tender barbecue you want a higher final temperature, say around 180 degrees F. Basically smoking is a long process of overcooking tough meats to get a tender and flavorful meal. I recommend two accurate thermometers for smoking: One inside the smoker in the area where the meat sits to tell you the smoker temperature and one meat thermometer in the meat to tell you the internal temperature of what you are smoking.
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