When it comes to smoking meat, there’s a lot that you have to pay attention to and make sure of. From making sure that the temperature is exactly what it’s supposed to be to making sure that you are using the right wood to get the flavor you want, it can be easy to mess up your first few attempts at smoked meat. Over time, you will learn how to correct these mistakes.
One of the most common mistakes that people will make with smoking meats for the first time is they will end up over-smoking it. While it might seem to be the end of the dish at first, there are a few ways that you can go about making sure that you can salvage and make the most out of the dish.
Knowing when you have over-smoked the meat is going to be pretty easy. The moment you take a bite of the meat that you have worked so diligently on, if it tastes bitter, or the taste of smoke overpowers the taste of the actual meat, then there’s a good chance that you have over-smoked the meat.
Even if the taste isn’t to your liking, some of these tips and tricks can help you remove the smoky flavor so that you can salvage what is left of the meat.
The Simple Solution
There are times when the simplest solution is often going to be the best one. In the case where you have smoked your meat too much, or you ended up with a bitter smoked flavor instead of a savory one, one of the best things that you can do to salvage the dish is to simply cut away as much of the smoked bits as you can. While this will undo a lot of the work that you put into smoking the meat, it will be worth it when you have some rescued meat that you can make a meal out of.
Unfortunately, because of the nature of smoking meats, there’s a good chance that the rest of the meat is going to have a considerable smoky flavor to it. Depending on your situation, you are going to have to decide if this is an acceptable amount of smoke flavor to have, or if the entire cut of meat has to be discarded.
In some cases, you might be able to get away with using exorbitant amounts of seasoning to mask the burnt flavor, but this isn’t going to be particularly better.
How to Prevent It from Happening Again
Typically, the bitter smoke flavor comes from white smoke, which is the wrong type of smoke for a smoker. You will want to have a thin, blue smoke coming out of the charcoal to make your dish taste spectacular. The best way to make sure that this doesn’t happen is to make sure that you are building up the fire properly. This includes having a good bed of coals, a good amount of wood, and not overloading your firebox.
If it’s just a matter of having left your meat in the smoker for far too long, or using too strong of a wood to smoke with, this is much more easily fixed. If you know for a fact that you left the meat in the smoker for too long, all you have to do next time is make sure that you take the meat out of the smoker sooner. This should cut down on the amount of smoke that the meat absorbs, allowing the actual meat flavors to show through.
On the off chance that you are using too much of a strong wood, all you have to do here is cut down on the wood you are using. If you are using a particularly strong wood, such as hickory or mesquite, you should off-set it with a milder wood so that it mellows out the flavor a little bit more.