Smoked food is a culinary trend that's lighting up the restaurant world right now. As chefs move away from delicate and complicated methods of cooking, they are embracing going back to an age that really focuses on flavor.
But smoking food isn't just something that is for the restaurant kitchen. It's possible to smoke food at home for you and your dinner guests to enjoy. And it's actually much simpler than you expect.
In this article, we will teach you how to smoke food, and explain the equipment needed for the job. Read on to find out more about all the complexities of flavor when you use a food smoker.
What is Smoked Food?
Smoking food is a traditional method of food preservation that's been around for thousands of years. It predates back to the neanderthal period when meat was cooked on a fire.
Smoking adds a smoked flavor to the meat whilst also preserving its shelflife so it's safe to eat for an extended period of time without the eater risking a bacteria infection.
Typically the meats that tend to be smoked are meats such as brisket, bacon, ham, pork joints, and whole pieces of poultry. Certain types of fish that are also popularly smoked, are salmon, herring, and oysters.
Why Smoke Your Food?
When it comes down to a traditional taste test, smoking your meats can really give you that extra edge when you are focusing on flavor alone.
Smoking your food creates unforgettable smoky aromas and taste sensations that cooking in an oven or on the hob alone can't achieve. Smoke can also tenderize a piece of meat or food item, which means that the food is more likely to melt in the mouth than doing it in a traditional way.
That softness and buttery texture can be difficult to replicate using traditional methods, whereas smoking your food gives it a tender quality you can't find elsewhere.
Smoking food is really a process of trial and error. You can work out how smoky and aromatic you want your meat or produce to be and then play around with the smoking process to develop the flavor.
It's all about finding harmony and balance in your food. For example, if you want an extra smoky flavor on some BBQ ribs, then pair it with a cooling ranch dip to balance out the smokiness. A squeeze of lime juice or lemon can also bring a bit of freshness and acidity to the dish.
Using a Food Smoker at Home
If you're interested in smoking your food at home, it has never been easier. Buying a handheld food smoker means you can get the highest quality in smoking, without going to a restaurant.
You can use charcoal BBQs or woodchipped fires, however, they aren't as effective as a hand-held smoke infuser. The gun produces cold smoke and can be used on any kind of food or liquid, it's not just meats that can be smoked.
It has a fully anodized aluminum smoking chamber and is fully portable, meaning you can use it anywhere. It doesn't even have to be confined to your kitchen, you can even use it outside.
The hand-held smoker is something that you can use in the cooking process, or as an aromatic element to your dish if you place the dish under a closh.
You can choose from a variety of different wood chips like Applewood and Hickory. But it's also possible to use more adventurous smoking materials such as hay and straw.
How to use Your Food Smoker
- Using a food smoker is very simple. Here are our quick tips for smoking food: First things first are to decide on your chosen meal or ingredient you would like to smoke.
- After you've done this you will need to find an airtight dish to place your produce in.
- Place plastic wrap over your dish and leave a tiny flap for your smoking gun.
- Load the burn chamber with your favorite burning material and turn the smoker on.
- Light the chamber.
- Place the smoking nozzle into the dish with the plastic wrap and leave for the recommended time period, depending on your food item.
- Remove the nozzle, turn the smoking gun off and carry on with your food preparation.
What's great about a smoking gun, is you don't always have to cook your food element, but you still get that great smoked taste.
A Few Handy Hints for Smoking Food
Remember that ventilation whilst smoking food in a home is important. When smoking food, open a window if possible and get a lot of air in.
This is because a small amount of the smoke can escape from the dish and potentially set off fire alarms or the smell of the smoke can get into fabrics.
Marinades can still be used in conjunction with a smoker, in fact, this can make the food more delicious and tender. A marinade and a smoker can work extremely well together, so don't be afraid to lather on the BBQ sauce.
Keep a smoking and taste diary as you use your food smoker. You'll be able to work out how long certain foods take to smoke for your tastebuds as well as what kind of woodchips to use.
How to Smoke Food: What Next?
We hope this article on how to smoke food has given you an appetite for trying new things in the kitchen. Smoking food doesn't need to be difficult, as long as you have the right tools for the job.
Investing in a food smoker for your home opens up a lot more possibilities for your dinner parties and weekday meals.
If you would like more information on the kitchen items we can supply, take a look at our product range and blog to learn more.