We are a society that loves meat, and most of us love it best when it’s hot off the grill and has that delicious smoked flavor. Achieving that pinnacle of grilled flavor is easy when you follow these 6 rules for great smoked meat flavor when grilling.
Start the smoking process while the meat is raw so it will absorb the smoky flavor easier. Most of the flavor compounds in smoke are water and fat soluble, making the raw meat and fat like a sponge that absorbs all the aromatic smoky goodness. Once the meat has begun to cook and the surface is seared and sealed, the smoke has a difficult time penetrating and the finished product will not have the smoky goodness radiating through and through.
Just a Little
A little wood is all that’s needed to smoke meat while it’s grilling. Using too much wood will leave a bitter taste in the meat. Start with one handful of wood chips, then add more next time until you find the amount of wood chips that delivers the desired smoky flavor for your taste buds.
White smoke is good, black smoke is bad. White smoke infuses the meat with savory flavor and is achieved when the fire is getting enough ventilation. Without proper ventilation or if the juices from the meat are dripping down on the fire and burning, the smoke will turn black and your grilled meat will taste burnt.
Proper ventilation will also create a smoke swirl inside the grill that will continually coarse over the meat while it’s cooking. Open the vents on the opposite side of the charcoal (or fire in a gas grill) so the vents will draw the smoke from the bottom and billow it up to the top where the sizzling meat is located.
Each time you open the lid on the grill you loose heat and smoke, which means you’re loosing flavor. No peeking and only open the grill when you must tend to the fire or turn the meat.
Different wood types produce different smoke flavors. If mild smoke flavor is want you like, use apple, cherry or alder wood chips for grilling. If you like moderate smokiness, use oak, hickory or maple chips. And to infuse your grilled meat with a bold smoky flavor, nothing tops mesquite wood chips.
The Grilling Spot