July 16, 2024
A Guide To Grilling & Smoking From Home

Summer months are often coupled with the sweet aromas of freshly grilled and smoked food coming from the grill. Though, with proper mastery, these aromas can soar through the air year-round. Grilling and smoking meats can yield some excellent results. However, it’s important to understand that while these methods are similar, they’re both executed in a different way. This post will shine a light on the differences between both grilling and smoking and highlight a few tips to grill and smoke meats at home like a true specialist.

Beginning with the former, grilling is the process of cooking food through a source of direct or indirect heat. This heat produces a charring that allows foods to seal in their natural flavors and juices. Most grilling takes place atop a gas or charcoal grill, but sometimes will be done on an infrared grill as well. Grilling is the barbecue method that’s quickest compared to smoking. Direct grilling is the grilling method used to prepare meats like steaks, pork chops and chicken breasts. Indirect grilling is the lower and slower approach, which is best used for meats like ribs, briskets and pork shoulders.

The latter, smoking, is a much slower process of cooking foods. This is done through the heat emitted from burning woods at a low temperature. Whichever wood you decide to use, will then provide an additional smoky and natural taste to whatever foods you prepare. When compared to grilling, smoking is meant to break down the collagen in meat which makes much more tender. This smoking process is usually done in specialized meat smokers or grills that support cook temperatures between 68° and 176° Fahrenheit.

Acquiring a mastery over grilling and smoking will take some time. With the help of some professional tips though, anyone can feel more comfortable. Here’s one for your grilling clean up. Rather than using a grill brush that’s way past its expiration date, use some balled up aluminum foil to clean your grill grates after use. The aluminum is capable of removing all of the grime and grease that remains from use. Alternatively, using a fresh onion will have the same impact. Its acidity strips the grates of all residual grease and grime as well.

Preparation can be tricky as well, so here are a few tips to ensure you get all of the flavors out of your meats. The first is a misting of your meats with a combination of equal parts water and equal parts apple cider vinegar. This mixture helps food remain moist throughout the cooking process while providing even more smoky flavor. Speaking of smoked flavor, improving smoked foods through aromatics is another great tip. Add some herbs to the coal mixture that provides heat to improve any meat.

For home-based barbecue enthusiasts searching for additional information, be sure to check out the infographic featured alongside this post. Courtesy of Barbecue At Home