Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hot Smoking vs. Cold Smoking Meats: What is the Difference?

This is post is brought to you by Alto-Shaam.

The Culinary Art of Smoking

While smoking meats and cheeses was once expensive, involving specialized equipment, in recent years it has become much more affordable to the average cook. Inexpensive but reliable smoking equipment has coincided with the perfection of smoking techniques, and today anyone with the right equipment can learn how to make delicious, flavorful smoked foods.

Which Foods Smoke Best?

In general, smoking works best with savory foods such as meat, seafood and cheese. Pork products are especially receptive to smoking including ham, sausage and bacon. Seafood and fish can also be enhanced by smoking, as is the case of smoked salmon or lox.

Hard and soft cheeses can also be smoked. Gruyere and cheddar are common choices, but almost any type of cheese can spend time in the smoker to give it added flavor. Even delicate cheeses like Brie and ricotta are sometimes smoked, though they need to be handled with more care than their hard counterparts.

Hot vs. Cold Smoking

Food may be smoked in either a hot environment or a cold one. Hot smoking usually results in more moist and tender food, making it ideal for ribs, beefsteaks and other types of meat that are going to be eaten as a filet or entree. Cold smoking, on the other hand, results in dryer meat. It is ideal for bacon, sausage, salami and cold cuts such as prosciutto.

Cold smoking is also the preferred method for more delicate foods. Seafood and cheese should almost always be cold smoked to help preserve their more subtle flavors.

Try It for Yourself

If you are interested in smoking your own foods, check out the infographic below to find out more about how to get started!


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Product Review: Schultz's BBQ Sauces

By Dru Chai

One of my favorite things about smoking BBQ is being able to experiment with different flavor profiles on meats, which serve as a blank canvas to the art of BBQ. There are millions of BBQ restaurants all over the world, and there are millions of different ways to make BBQ.

On a recent backyard BBQ session, I experimented with a couple of Schultz's BBQ sauces -- Spicy Mesquite and Tangy Mustard. I tried both sauces on two full racks of spare ribs, both as a marinade and as a finishing sauce. I enjoyed the tangy mustard because it complemented the apple wood smoked pork ribs. The mustard-based BBQ sauce also contains molasses, and the sweetness typically lends itself well with pork ribs or pulled pork.

The spicy mesquite has a very strong flavor profile, and somewhat overpowers the pork. I love spicy foods, and this sauce has a sharp initial kick, but slowly mellows out after time. Once I tried the sauce with some brisket, it was a match made in heaven. The tang and acidic flavor from the tomato, jalapeno, and vinegar effectively cut the fattiness from the beef brisket. The spicy mesquite BBQ sauce would also pair nicely with a burger, or even as a dipping sauce for meatballs.

Dirty Smoke rating (3.5/5 stars) - Recommended