Advice on smokers
What is a smoker?
A smoker looks like a barbecue, but isn't the same. It's specifically built for smoking food. A smoker should be able to fully close. Otherwise, the smoke won't impart its flavor to the meat. Smokers are available in different sizes. There are small smokers for 1 piece of meat or fish, but also entire smoker cabinets that smoke up to 20 fishes at the same time.
How does a smoker work?
At the bottom of a charcoal smoker, you can place charcoal or briquettes and light them. An electric smoker simply needs to be turned on. After that, you scatter smoking sawdust or wood chips on top of the coals or in the tray. The smoking sawdust must be damp in order to properly smoke. That's why you always first need to soak the smoking sawdust in cold water for 30 minutes. You place your meals in the top of the smoker. After that, you close the smoker. The smoke will rise up and impart its flavor to the food.
What types of smoking techniques exist?
Hot smoking is done at a temperature between 95 and 110 degrees Celsius. The preparation time differs per type of meat or fish, but it can take up 2 because you're cooking the ingredients slowly. Before you start, always make sure to first check the manual of your smoker for preparation times.
Cold smoking can be done with fish, for example. Cold smoking is done at a temperature of roughly 25 degrees Celsius. This means the fish isn't cooked with heat. When cold smoking, you need to take into account a preparation time ranging from 10 to 20 hours. Thanks to the long smoking process, bacteria is killed and your fish is imparted with an intense, smoky flavor.
How do I use smoking sawdust?
Without smoking wood, you can't smoke meat on your charcoal barbecue. Buying smoking wood can be difficult, as there are many different types. Decide on what to prepare first, and choose a flavor to go with it. Before use, you need to soak smoking wood in water. The packaging often indicates for how long you should soak it. Keep in mind that you drain the wood first before use. Wood chips that are too wet may start to steam, which is different from smoking.