Smoking meat with ash could be a way for you to impress your friends and family at a regular BBQ. As the world of cooking grows, so does the way we cook meat. Those of us who like to experiment and learn new things are forever testing the waters when it comes to certain methods of cooking.
We all want food that tastes good, that looks good and of course, sometimes we want to impress those around us. It can be something different and fun to do if you’re hosting a smoking BBQ, especially considering you don’t have to stand and watch the meat cook in case it burns.
However, you want to make sure you do it right because there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of. So, let’s dive into what smoking with ash and other woods is and how you can get the perfect piece of meat when doing it yourself.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Smoke Meat With Ash
- 2 Checking Your Wood
- 3 Invest in a Good Grill
- 4 How to Prepare Your Grill
- 5 What Wood Should You Choose
- 6 What Cut of Meat Should You Use
- 7 The Importance of Temperature
- 8 The No-No’s of Smoking Meat
- 9 Final Thoughts
Why Smoke Meat With Ash
Firstly, let’s break down why smoking meat with wood can take your meat to another level. Back in the day, smoking meat with ash was used to preserve meat for a longer period of time considering there were no refrigerators. However, today it’s used to enhance the flavor more than anything else.
Of course, you don’t have to only use ash but you also can’t use just any wood either. The most common type of wood used is hardwood and depending on which wood you use; the flavor of the meat can taste a little different.
Why Hardwood You May Ask
Hardwoods are the only wood that is recommended to use when it comes to smoking meat. This is because it’s hard, as the name suggests. It’s also low in resin and sap which is exactly the type of wood you need.
Hardwood is also flavorful which, of course, gives your meat the added flavor you’re looking for. You can use just about any hardwood while getting the perfect smoke.
Checking Your Wood
As stated above, you don’t have to just use ash but it’s important to use wood that isn’t corrupt in any way. You need to make sure there are no unwanted metals or materials, especially if you’re not using prepackaged wood.
It’s also vital to check your wood isn’t damp or full of mold. If this happens, you’re going to battle to keep your fire burning. And, it’s not good for your foods to be smoked with moldy wood.
After double-checking your wood is in the clear, next you’ll want to make sure you use the wood in the correct way depending on what type of grill you’re using. Each grill will need to be used the correct way for you to get the desired effect.
Invest in a Good Grill
We’ve talked about the different woods and the different pieces of meat you can use but it’s also important to note that the grill you use is also important. Now, you don’t have to rush out and buy a whole new grill just for smoking meat but a good grill goes a long way.
If you’re looking into smoking meat with ash or any other wood more frequently than every other month, investing in a good grill will give you the smoke you need and want. Anyway, we can assure you that once the smoking bug bites, you’re going to want to smoke every weekend!
There are different attachments and techniques you can use in order to smoke your meat. This is helpful for those who want to start off with what they have before investing in anything else. Being able to use the grill to its best ability will give you the full effect.
How to Prepare Your Grill
If you’re using a gas grill, make sure you don’t clog the burners. You can either place the wood chips in a smoke box or wrap the wood with foil, poking a lot of holes in it while making sure it’s as close to the heat as possible.
However, if you’re using a charcoal grill, you can place the wood directly on the charcoal once it’s heated up. It’s important to note that the grill has to be smoldering hot no matter what before placing the wood in.
Watch this video to see how you can set up your Weber for smoking different meats!
What Wood Should You Choose
When picking out which wood you want to smoke with, it’s good to know the different flavors each wood can give off as this can change the overall taste of the meat. Generally speaking, if the wood produces fruit or nuts you like, you’ll most likely enjoy the flavor it will bring to the meat.
It’s good to experiment with your wood options so let’s discuss some of the different woods available to you.
When it comes to smoking meat, ash is the most commonly used wood so if you’re just starting off it could be the one to try first. It has a unique flavor that isn’t too overpowering, making it the perfect wood for any meat.
The best meats for ash wood are red meats and fish.
This wood has a very strong flavor so a little goes a long way. It’s best suited with lamb and beef due to its intensity.
While similar to Hickory, Peachwood is a lot sweeter and milder making it the perfect wood for poultry and pork.
With its mild flavor, lemonwood is good for any meat, including seafood.
As with ash, cherry wood is also very common and popular in the meat smoking community. It’s sweet and mild which can go with everything.
What Cut of Meat Should You Use
As with everything else, when it comes to smoking meat with ash, everything is up to you. The different woods will give you a variety of different flavors while the meat you choose is solely up to you.
However, you must keep the quality of the cut of meat in mind. It can’t be a cheap piece of meat that wouldn’t give you the end result you’re looking for. Going to the butcher and discussing exactly what you’re looking for will help you make the best smoked meat.
You can use meats such as lamb, ribs, beef, and pork shoulder which is commonly used for pulled pork. Poultry and fish can also be used, of course.
At the end of the day, the meat and wood pairing is up to you.
The Importance of Temperature
The general idea of smoking meat is smoking the meat for a long period of time. This creates that tender piece of meat you’re looking for because it breaks down the fiber inside the meat.
It is important to regulate the temperature as that is the vital part of smoking meat. If you want to get the perfect smoked meat possible, you have to smoke the meat at the right temperature.
In this instance, slow and steady wins the race!
The No-No’s of Smoking Meat
With all the tips you’ve been given on what woods to choose and how to set up your grill, it’s important to keep all the ‘don’ts’ in mind so you don’t mess up your meat while smoking. it’s no good if you take all the above information in but make other mistakes along the way, completely ruining the overall outcome.
Look at the list below and try to keep these things in mind, always!
- Never open the lid while the meat is smoking, trust the process!
- Don’t use lighter fluid to light your charcoal, this will change the overall taste of the meat. It will actually taste rather disgusting. And, it will alter the flavor of ash wood.
- Make sure you give yourself enough time. Smoking meat isn’t a slow process so don’t cut yourself short.
- Always check the temperature! The end result of your meat depends on the temperature so make sure you keep an eye on that before putting the meat inside the grill.
- The right cut of meat is key. And, of course, pairing it with the best wood flavors is key too!
As a food lover myself, I can honestly say, nothing tastes better than the perfect piece of meat. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how it’s cooked, as long as it tastes good and there’s no denying that smoking meat with ash will produce a flavorful piece of meat.
With the added flavors of ash wood as well as different spices, you can smoke a piece of meat to absolute perfection and be the talk of your friends’ group.
The overall time and care that goes into smoking meat is more than just using an oven or stove, of course. However, it’ll be well worth it in the end, especially when you get that melt in your mouth sensation from a perfectly smoked piece of meat.