Our family loves to smoke meat! It’s been a fun thing to do and SO gratifying to see how much people enjoy the flavor of smoked meat. Now, I have to say that we are not the kind of family that goes “hog wild” entering competitions and such. We’re not too particular about the “right” way to do it. It’s just how we do it, no big fuss. However, we do like it to taste as good as possible! So here are just some things we do that make the meats taste really good.
- Low Temperature: We keep the smoker temperature around 225 – 275.
- Favorite Cuts:
- Pork Shoulder – cook all day, at least 14 hours, internal temperature should be 170
- Pork or Beef Brisket – Cook all day, at least 12 hours, internal temperature should be 170
- Bone-in Turkey Breast – Cook 4-6 hours, internal temperature should be 180
Keep smoking until the meat reaches the right temperature. This is why it’s important to keep the temperature low, so that the process takes a long time to reach the right internal temperature.
- Score the fat on the pork & beef. Trim the fat so there is about an inch and a half layer of fat on it. Then just use a sharp knife and make a checkerboard in the fat all the way down to the meat. It helps all the fat juices to drip down into the meat…more flavor!
- Rub the turkey. Marinate the Beef & Pork. There are a lot of schools of thought as to how to do the flavoring. Some brine the turkey before doing the rub. Some rub the beef & pork. Some smoke them with the barbecue sauce and some dry. I’m sure all of these methods are really yummy. But we just do ours this way. For the Beef & Pork, we use Lawry’s Steak & Chop Marinade. (I got a big jug of it at Costco.) It has garlic and pepper and all the yummies we would normally like to see in a marinade. This just saved us time. Just find a container or pan that will fit your meat and pour it all over. I put ours in the fridge overnight. The turkey rub recipe is one that we created by trying out different recipes and tweeking it. The recipe is at the bottom of this page.
- Let the meat rest. After smoking, just wrap the meat in foil for at least an hour before slicing. The meat will have a really dark crust around the outside, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Don’t worry. It is perfect inside! It would be good to leave it in tact until you are ready to serve it. We have brought our smoked meats to lunchtime picnics, which means that we spend the day before smoking the meat. Then I wrap it in foil and keep it in the fridge for the night. Then in the morning, I slice it and put it in foil trays for serving, but then put it in a warm oven just to heat it through. (Although, it’s really good cold too.) I pour the unused marinade over it as well to keep it moist.
Serve warm. We just put out the sliced meat on a tray and let folks eat it how they like. We set out buns for sandwiches and barbecue sauce. Coleslaw and sweet pickles are great side dishes, and some like to put both on the meat in the sandwich. Delicious!
- Keep improving it! We smoked our meat several times before we figured out a good way to do it for us. We had to just evaluate each time, and then decide what might work better. We looked online for advice and we were not afraid to change up the recipe. Convenience was a factor for us too, because we have small children and are busy with other things. So we do some short-cuts like using a store-bought marinade and buying just the turkey breast. Sometimes there are more important things than focusing so much on a piece of meat.
So enjoy your smokin’ good meat!
- 4 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 Tbsp Seasoned Salt (like Lawry's)
- 3 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 3 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Sage
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Mix thoroughly and rub onto a turkey coating it liberally. Roast your turkey or smoke it as normal.