Smoking Meat in a Winter Wonderland
Publisher： YRYM HT
Now that the frantic hustle and bustle of the end of year Holidaze is coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about the year to come and expanding horizons in the kitchen! Some will try making bread, others will get out that new pasta attachment they got for Christmas, and some others still will give up entire food groups in hopes of a thinner, healthier version of themselves.
I, my friends, will be digging deeper into the delicious world of smoked meats. The practice of smoking meat is a glorious one, and the possibilities to give or take certain aspects to make it your own are endless. Meat can be smoked in a pit, in an electric or wood smoker, in a hole in the ground, or even in a standard oven in a pinch.
Honing your meat smoking skills at this time of year is great, simply because it requires a lot of time and patience. Winter is all about moving slow, enjoying warmth and good food. It just fits.
So today we will focus on using a smoker outdoors, some of the challenges that come with cooking outdoors in winter, and the tools you should have on hand to make sure this venture is a success.
Know your Enemy
Winter! The beautiful snow, quiet long nights by the fire, ice skating….. ferocious winds, below zero temperatures, black ice and frozen fingers. Using a smoker out in the elements is definitely doable, but there are things you have to be ready for.
Cold temperatures and frosty winds can easily penetrate a thin walled smoker, so if you aren’t the owner of something super sturdy like a Green Egg, for example, you’ll have to keep an even closer watch on the fuel and internal temperature. You could also insulate from the outside using double foil insulation or a welders blanket, but use extreme caution if going this route, and keep in mind not to block airflow and definitely do not place in direct contact with the firebox.
A slow and steady cooking temperature is the most important factor when smoking. Cooking in the cold is going to use more of whatever fuel you decide to use. Whether it’s charcoal, wood chips or gas, make sure there’s enough on hand for a full day of cooking and then some, because once that internal temperature goes down, the final product is compromised.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
As tempting as it is, especially when father winter is trying to suck the heat out of your smoker, you should refrain from continuously opening the lid or door to see what’s going on in there. Opening the lid allows heat to escape and will put more time between those ribs meeting your mouth. Investing in a bluetooth thermometer is an awesome idea, and it’s a tool you can use for other kitchen adventures as well. And you can use brown butcher paper to wrap your smoked meat. Brown butcher paper can hold moisture and keep meat tender with great breathability and durability.
Using a smoker in the winter requires a little bit more attention to detail, but the end result is always worth it.