Learn how to prepare any meat for smoking - DIY Guide

how to prepare any meat for smoking
3-2-1 Method Smoked Pork Ribs Recipe
Smoked Ham with Honey Glaze Recipe

Smoking meat has become increasingly popular over the years. This specific type of preparation brings out all the rich flavors and makes for delicious meals. We have comprised some basic guidelines for DIY meat smoking.

Make Sure You Know Your Smoker

Barbecuing is unquestionably a disorderly field, which is precisely why the numbers can bring a certain comfort. That just might be the thing that explains the popularity of the so-called 3-2-1 ribs-cooking method.
Are you not familiar with this method? Basically, it's a process divided into three separate time blocks - the first lasts for three hours, the second for two, and the final one for just one hour.
In this article, we'll be taking a closer look at this popular recipe, examining it in details, analyzing its advantages and downsides, and we'll also take a look at some variations and alternatives to it. Read on!
The most convenient way to smoke your food is by using a high-quality electric smoker. The best thing about this product is that they are convenient, easy to use and will save you time and money. You just need to place the food into it, set the right temperature and leave it to do the job for you.
Ham can be a fantastic meal when it is adequately smoked. It’s not the easiest task, but if you follow our step by step smoked ham recipe, you will have the best possible results. Anyone can make this delicious meal because there are no tough preparations or complicated steps.
This honey glazed ham is a mouth-watering dish that is ideal for the festive season. Your whole family will love this meal, and it will become their favorite. It is slow-cooked to the perfection and serves eight to ten people.
It is best to cook this honey glazed ham in advanced, so you get the most flavors.

Choosing and using a smoker is a fun part of preparation. The only things you need to make sure of is to read the instruction manual to know how to operate the smoker properly. You need to know how strong your smoker is, so you don’t dry out the meat.

Choose the Right Type of Wood

Wood for your smoker is chosen based on which meat you are going to be smoking. For example, you can use Hickory for pork and beef, but never for chicken and seafood. On the other hand, Alder is an excellent choice for poultry, fish, and seafood. Do the research beforehand so you can nail the taste and serve some savory dishes.

What Meat to Choose

If you are a beginner, we suggest you start with meats which are the easiest to smoke. These are beef ribs, corned beef, brisket, pork spare ribs, pork shoulder, pork crown roast, even ham. What is more, chicken and turkey are probably the easiest to prepare and smoke. As far as fish goes, you can always smoke lobster, tilapia, and trout.

How to Prepare the Meat

The biggest question is how to prepare meat for smoking? Well, there are quite a few recipes, but there are some golden rules you can always go by.

It can be sliced thinly, so it smokes faster. It is also good to slice it thin because it will absorb more flavors. The goal is to smoke it evenly and thoroughly.

First off, the classic seasonings you can’t go wrong with are salt pepper, a bit of brown sugar, and some chili flakes or paprika. That is the only the basic seasoning. The marinade should contain more ingredients. The ingredients in the marinade will depend on the type of meat you are preparing. For example, mustard goes well with pork. So you can always rub mustard onto the pork. For fish, you can use garlic or garlic powder and lemon juice. Just keep in mind that you want the meat to be as juicy as it possibly can. For most meat, barbecue sauce is the best choice.

Preparing Meat For Smoking

The Longer it Soaks – the Better it Tastes

The meat should be left in the marinade overnight. This is a golden rule everyone goes by. It will enhance the flavors and let it soak in the taste. People usually leave it for 8 or more hours in the fridge.

Extra tip: Remember to take it out of the fridge for at least an hour before you start smoking it. Leave it in room temperature so it can gradually warm up.

Step #1 - The first step consists of preparing the ribs. Prepare them for the 3-2-1 method by carefully removing the membranes, after which you can apply some of your rib rub.
Step #2 - It's time for the first time block. Set your smoker at 225F (110C) and place the ribs (bone-side down) into it. Cook them for the duration of three hours.
Step #3 - After those three hours, get the ribs out of the machine and wrap them in some aluminum foil. Do it as tightly as you can in order to form an airtight seal. Return the ribs to your smoker and smoke them for two hours.
Step #4 - Now would be the time to un-wrap the meat and return it to the machine for one more hour.
Step #5 - During the last half an hour of the cooking time, you can, optionally, apply some sauce to the ribs. To prevent the burning, you'll have to make sure that the cooking temperature is no higher than 265F (130C). Also, don't forget to apply the sauce in a couple of thin layers.
To place a large roasting pan, adjust the racks. With a shallow roasting one, fit the pan. Before start preparing this meal, preheat the oven to three hundred and fifty degrees F.
Under the cold water, rinse the ham, after you have unwrapped it. Put it in the roasting pan on the rack.  Use the foil to cover it and cook the meat for one hour and forty minutes. In the meantime, mix the honey and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook until the sugar has dissolved and mixture becomes smooth, over medium heat.
Use the brown sugar glaze to pour it over the meat and roast it for another one hour and forty minutes. Make sure you baste it with the drippings in the roaster, at least twice while it’s cooking. Calculate twenty minutes for one pound of meat, to adjust the right roasting time for larger or smaller meat.
Use a meat thermometer to check if the meat is done. Place it into a meaty area, but make sure it’s not touching the bone or it’s not in the fat spot. The device should register the temperature of one hundred and sixty degrees F.
Before slicing the ham, leave it to rest for about fifteen minutes. That way you are allowing the juices to set correctly.
The Advantages and Downsides of the 3-2-1 Method
How to Smoke a Ham?
This process is guaranteed to give you ribs that are tender ("fall-off-the-bone"), which is something that many people consider to be the climax of smoked ribs. On the other hand, it probably won't help you win any sort of barbecue competition.
And the reason behind that is the fact that some people have an entirely different opinion on what a good rib is. For some, a well-cooked rib comes with meat that doesn't stick to the bone but still holds to it. To put it more simply, they think that, when you're biting, the meat should be removed away cleanly from the bone - and not fall off.
However, if you're not considering getting into a barbecue competition, you shouldn't worry - just follow this method and your guests will surely be pleased.
The first thing you need to know when buying a ham is that it is always better to pay a little more money for a product that hasn’t 1/3 water weight. Choose the spiral sliced, bone-in, cooked meat that weighs about ten or more pounds.
The next thing is to keep your meat fresh before you want to smoke it. Just place it in the fridge and leave it to rest. When you are ready to prepare smoked ham, remove it from the refrigerator and set aside.
Place it on the baking sheet, use yellow mustard and squeeze it all over the meat to add a little flavor to the ham. Grab a handful of the brown sugar and rub it. Or you don’t have to use any additions if you don't want to, that depends on your personal preference. After you have done that, turn on the smoker.
Put the meat into the unit, on the center rack, flat side down. Set the temperature between two hundred and two hundred and twenty-five degrees F. It is essential to reach the internal temperature of hundred and forty degrees F, so it’s wise to use a digital thermometer.
Leave the meat to smoke for about an hour, hour and a half. Make sure you are checking it so that the ham’s bottom doesn’t get too done. Lower the heat if you notice that it is dark brown.
Take the meat out of the appliance at 2 ½ hours and put it on aluminum foil (double thickness). It is essential that you have enough of it to wrap the whole ham. But, before you do that, use orange juice to spray the meat’s outside.
The next step it is to use the remains of the brown sugar and sprinkle it over the food and then you can wrap it. Return it to the unit until the internal temperature reaches one hundred and forty degrees F, for about one hour.
When it is done, take the meat out of the appliance and leave it to rest for about twenty to thirty minutes, while it’s still wrapped. When you remove the foil, there will be juices on it. But, don’t throw it, because you can use it to pour over the ham right before you serve it.
The Variations
This technique has been mainly designed for the pork ribs - the timing works best for this type of the meat. Those that prefer the baby back ribs should give a try to the so-called 2-2-1 method. Otherwise, they will be risking having the baby back ribs overcooked and dried out - you certainly don't want that to happen!
If you're interested in long-term smoking, you could try placing the wrapped ribs into your oven, after which you could finish them off on a grill (at a low temperature). Due to the fact that most of the smoke flavor is usually delivered in the first couple of hours, this technique won't have an adverse effect on the overall outcome.
All meat has high levels of protein. Ham is pork meat, and it has about 18 g of protein. Protein in beneficial in keeping you full longer. Eating 1 serving of low sodium ham 1 or 2 times a week could help you lose weight. Ham is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The nutrients found in ham are: Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Thiamine, and Zinc.

How Long Should the Smoking Last

Smoking can be calculated easily. The usual rule you should go by is to add a half an hour for each pound of meat. Though you will get an approximate time frame of the smoking process, you will have to monitor the meat all the while.

Keeping an eye on the progress is very important. It will actually determine the duration of the smoking. You will have to take into account the strength of your smoker, the type of meat, how thinly is the meat sliced and at what temperature will you prepare it.

The meat should always be smoked slowly and with a lot of patience. The slower it gets ready, the more tender it will get. Some meat will take longer to prepare than other meat. For example, pork and beef will take almost double the time you might need for chicken or turkey. Try finding the recommended time of smoking for meat type in the manufacturer’s manual of your smoker.

How To Prepare Your Smoker

Clean up your smoker beforehand. Use regular cooking oil to wipe it down inside and out. The next thing you’ll want to do is to heat it up.

The meat shouldn’t be put it until the smoker reaches the recommended temperature. Position the meat in the smoker so you can move it around quickly. You will need to change its positions later to make sure it is evenly done.

Smoked meat and tomatoes

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Foil

To make the process go faster, you can use tin foil to cover the meat. What you need to remember is that this has to be done in the mid-smoking process. You cannot do it in the beginning as that’s the time when it will absorb the smoke the most. The best way to go about it is to let the meat smoke for 2 or 3 hours and then cover it with foil. You can uncover it for the last hour but never leave it on for too long. It can severely influence the taste of the meat. What is more, it should be uncovered for the last hour because that’s when it gets its delicious savory crust. Remember to look at the recipe and see if the foil is included.

Buy a Thermometer

Invest in thermometer for measuring the temperature. This can help you monitor the meat and how it’s coming. Make sure to place it in the central part of the piece so you can get an accurate result. That is a helpful tool for both beginners and experts.

What is The Right Temperature

As a rule, every meat is prepared differently and at different temperatures. What is more, every smoker will emit a different type of heat. You need to monitor the progress constantly to know when it’s done. Poultry is usually best prepared at 160 – 165 degrees, while for pork a good 225 degrees are recommended. As for steaks the temperature should be lower depending on how rare you want it prepared. Still, you’ll need to check your recipe and determine by looking at the meat how it’s coming along.

As you can see, the 3-2-1 technique for the pork ribs is easy-to-do and guaranteed to leave you with meat that looks and tastes great. It comes with a predictable time frame and doesn't require any unique ingredients or equipment, and the results are sure to impress your guests.
A word of advice, though - this technique is good only for two or three racks of pork ribs. If you intend to smoke just one rack, the whole process probably won't last for entire six hours. For the really small racks, try the 2-2-1 method.
With our perfect smoked ham with honey glaze recipe and the right electric smoker, you will learn how to make this incredible meal in no time. Surprise your friends and family with this delicious dinner and amaze them. We are sure that this would be their new favorite meat recipe because it’s just perfect.
It doesn’t take much time to prepare it and it’s very easy to smoke the ham. Good thing is that you can just set the smoker and let it do the rest for you. Feel free to explore and experiment with the ingredients and spices. That way you will learn from the first hand, which of them you can combine and which not. Enjoy your meal! Bon appetite!
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