Smokers may not be used as often as the stove or the microwave oven these days, but they have been a part of American cookery for a long time now. In fact, there were even smoking houses built in the early days which were mainly used to preserve meat. Today, that kind of smoking food is still alive as evidenced by the smoked bacon, ham or lox we still have. Indeed, smokers have been around for generations and definitely for many more to come.
There are two kinds of smoking methods, hot and cold smoking. Hot smoking is simply letting hot smoke pass through the food to cook it. Smokers used for hot smoking not only cook the meat but also impart the flavor at the same time. To achieve this, the food being smoked is kept directly above or near the source of heat or the fire, in an enclosed compartment.
In cold smoking, the meat is kept in an enclosure separate from the source of heat at room temperature. The smoke is allowed to cool down before it is blown to the food. The flavor reaches the food but not the heat. Curing usually accompanies the cooking as a way to preserve the meat and it takes hours or days to complete it.
There are available in the market today every imaginable size, shape and make of smokers – a sign that we still value this cooking method. During the warmer time of the year, they are extensively used. Cookouts are never the same without the ubiquitous flavorful barbecue smoked to perfection.
There are now smokers made with digital technology so maintaining the temperature is very easy. Some use gas or electric while others use charcoal or wood. Wood chips, sawdust or briquettes usually go with the purchase.
Check out sites online that market smokers for comparison of prices and quality. Bear in mind the usual number of people you cook for so that you get a fairly-sized smoker. Prices vary as well so better set a price range. In choosing one, go for quality.
There are even companies that manufacture custom-made smokers to suit clients’ specifications. If you are up to it, they are found online as well for you to place that order.
Having a smoker in the house will allow you to cook more delicious, flavorful and nutritious meals for friends and guests.
What is your favorite smoked foods?