How To Smoke Food on The Barbecue: Tips For Cooking Delicious and Tender Meats on the Grill

Smoking food on the barbecue produces delicious food and is not as hard as you may think.

The man fuelling the flames, chef Jason Laurin, is on a mission to teach everyone that barbecuing shouldn’t be a scary endeavour and the taste in smoked food is incomparable.

“Nobody should be intimidated be a barbecue,” says Laurin of Essense Cateringin Ottawa. “They are not like the big bully in the school-yard.”


Despite this, Laurin admits that many people still fumble around cooking things at a low temperature. They do fine with intense heat and grilling something like a chicken breast, but get scared to get low, he says.

According to the chef though, it’s not all that hard if people are able to master a few basic techniques – ones with a large pay-off.

“You end up with this meltingly tender, melt in your mouth, fall off the fork meat that you can not achieve that in any other cooking method. And once you introduce smoke into that equation – it’s just incomparable.”

Gauging Temperature is Key

Now that he has your mouths watering, Laurin says the first key is to a successful smoke is looking at the temperature gauge. When smoking, the heat on a charcoal grill should remain under 280 degrees and a meat probe is a good tool to ensure this temperature is achieved.

To create this temperature, Laurin suggests cooking the meat on the opposite side of the coals for an “indirect heat” effect.

Choosing and Flavouring Your Meat

Next comes the type of meat of meat to use. He admits that a lot of people get intimidated by the size of smoking meats for the barbecue.

“It’s more reminiscent of a cow than a steak or some ground beef would be, so I think that scares a lot of people.”

The barbecue veteran recommends tackling something that is similar to a stewing meat, or for beginners, pork shoulder or pork ribs. Flavour the meat with a rub you like and you’re ready to get smoking.

Begin by smoking your cut of choice for about five hours on the barbecue. If the bones aren’t starting to look clean, finishing up in the oven is always an option says Laurin.

Smoking: Not only for Meat

If you’ve become convinced that smoking’s the way to go, there is no need to stop at just protein. Laurin uses some creative ways to infuse smoke into things like cream and Oreos to accent various dishes.

“I follow the trinity,” says Laurin. “There is time, temperature and love. If you’ve got all those three things you’re going to do fine.”

But if all else fails with your smoke out, no need to sweat and call 9-1-1; Laurin offers classes every other weekend for barbecuers of all levels. He also writes a blog called Sticky Fingers with food tips and tricks.

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