Smokin’ Sections

Used to prevent the bloom of bacteria, preserve swiftly-spoiling meats and make tough ones more palatable, smoking techniques are used in every country from Norway to Namibia and for good reason: It’s our undiscovered 6th taste.
Text by Rony Mo | May 27, 2018 | Lifestyle

Just over a century ago, the ingredients that would’ve gone into your dinner were either purchased that day, cranked out of a tin can or drying somewhere in the house like a nutritious wind-chime. Then Fred W. Wolf changed the whole game with refrigeration. That doesn’t mean we had to lose our collective fondness for smoked foods we’d acquired over a thousand generations. These are the pillars of the ancient technology of smoking foods we can learn to harness today:
Seasoning. Most pit-masters give BBQ sauce a sideways glance and insist on dry-rubs only. Choose one that adds your desired flavor profile, tenderizes and allows smoke to adhere to the meat and create a crispy bark. If you’ve decided to sauce, do it at the end; constantly opening the smoker will release the exact aromas you’re trying to infuse. Apply thin layers of the caramelizing condiment in the last 15 minutes to put the finishing touch on your chargrilled creation. Try the exceptionally good Coffee & Garlic BBQ Rub from your local Trader Joe’s or one of Myron Mixon’s competition-tested seasonings from
Fuel. You could try your luck at Home Depot or play Paul Bunyan in your backyard, but chances are neither will net you enough of the quality fuel/flavor enhancer you’ll need for your newfound hobby. Fresh and softwoods are full of off-flavors and water, yet anything that sounds edible is a great starter. Fruitwoods, like peach and nutwoods, impart delicate aromas, yet are more forgiving than the popular hickory and mesquite. Get suggestions based on what you’re smoking from a collection of 10 types of dehydrated tinder at
Temperature. Low & slow is the first commandment of any fire-maker, but it doesn’t apply to everything in your icebox. A venison roast would benefit from hours in a tang & texture-improving smoker, but you’d get no love from lobster. Choosing quality ingredients is a given, but the next thing you need to learn is how to maintain a constant temperature, and Weber’s Smoke by Jamie Purviance or Peace, Love & Barbecue by Mike Mills are a pair of reads to get you started.
Equipment. Even with high-quality cuts of meat seasoned like a superstar, BBQ can still be utterly inedible if dry, over-smoked or unevenly cooked on equipment that doesn’t regulate temperature well. The modular systems provided by can grow with your interest, while the domed clay cookers from are praised for portability.
Outback Steakhouse and Chili’s recently launched wood-fired menus as franchised BBQ joints keep crawling into new domains, but only you know the right combination of sweet, spice and sizzle. But it will take some time to build up the necessary skills to grill. And just like that, you’ll stop worrying and start chomping away at your lip-smacking, finger-licking culinary creations.